It’s time for another look into the adventurous life of Finn McSpool. Even though he had fun playing the underwater Hawaiian explorer, sometimes a Beastie needs to spend some time on dry land. And that land in question this week is the little town of Lahaina in West Maui.
Although now Lahaina is mostly just a place to stroll along Front Street gawking at all the tourist trap shops and restaurants (and, as I mentioned last week, this includes four or five ABC Stores in less than a mile), it became the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1820. Looking for a more exciting place to call his capital, in1845, King Kamehameha III decided he liked Honolulu better and made that the top city of his kingdom instead.
Around the same time they lost their status as top city, Lahaina took front stage when the whaling boom hit in the mid-1800s. Up to 400 ships were sailing from Lahaina and murdering poor cetaceans around this time, and one of those ships contained Mr. Moby Dick himself, Herman Melville.
Living up to their reputation as rabble-rousers, the sailors didn’t exactly get along with the Christian missionaries who were working their mojo on the island and didn’t appreciate the sailors’ love of hookers (not the ships) and booze. And by “not exactly” getting along, I mean riots. Riots that led to a British whaler lobbing some artillery at Lahaina. To protect themselves from the roustabout, ne’er-do-well sailors, the governor of Maui had a fort built in Lahaina in 1831.
Disappointingly, I later discovered this chunk of remains isn’t the real fort, which was dismantled in 1854. What you see is just a reconstruction put up in 1964. But still, a certain monster didn’t mind the lack of authenticity and decided to try his hand at being a look out for troublemaking whale killers.
Since Finn reported that all was clear, we decided it was safe to turn our backs on the sea and continue wandering.
In the same park as the “fort” is a ginormous banyan tree. How ginormous is ginormous? Take a peek at the photo below. All those tangles of limbs and trunks that look like dozens of trees is actually a single tree. Planted about 150 years ago, the tree now has a canopy of roughly 30,000 square feet (2900-ish square meters), is about 49 feet (15 meters) tall, and has 16 trunks.
All those limbs seemed like a perfect place for Finn McSpool to get some climbing in. Before I knew it, he was scrambling up a trunk…and reading the graffiti along the way.
Of course, this was before we noticed this sign…that Finn promptly climbed onto.
The original name for Lahaina is “Lele” which means “cruel sun” and it certainly does get toasty with the super intense Hawaiian sun beating down on your head. Finn, being made of wool, was really complaining about the heat. Suddenly, he went dashing off shouting that he’d found some shade.
Um, Finn, maybe not the best place to escape the heat. There is another way to cool down in Hawaii if the cruel sun is getting to be too much….
…a shave ice bigger than you are!
Hope you enjoyed this latest installment of Finn’s Hawaiian Fun. He’ll be back next week with some more land-based activities, and I’ll be back next Wednesday to tell you a little more about my upcoming book! See you then, and if you have any comments about Lahaina, whaling, or shave ice, be sure to leave them!
The Maze: Book Three of The Osteria Chronicles is now available for a special pre-order price of $2.99 for e-books and $10 for print books AND I’ve made it easy for you to jump into the series with discounts on the first book (The Trials of Hercules). For full details, please visit this post.