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.

Hawaii, Lahaina, Maui

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.

fort, Hawaii, Lahaina, Maui

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.

banyan tree, Lahaina, Maui

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.

Finn McSpool, Hawaii, Lahaina, Maui

Of course, this was before we noticed this sign…that Finn promptly climbed onto.

Finn McSpool, Hawaii, Lahaina, Maui

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.

Finn McSpool, Hawaii, Lahaina

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….

Finn McSpool, Hawaii, shave ice

…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.

11 thoughts on “A Monstrous Look at Lahaina

  1. Well, Lahaina looks just lovely! Clear blue skies, and that tree is incredible (even with its no-fun policy of no climb, no swing)! As for the other things – whaling has probably had its day and needs to stop now, and if I were Finn and presented with that shave ice, I would flop into it and make ice angels until I cooled down! 😀


    1. Lahaina would be lovelier if shop workers weren’t standing outside their stores insisting that you take one of their free samples (without even saying what in the world it’s a sample of) and then harassing you if you don’t take it. At least the whaling has stopped from the ports of Hawaii. Now, the only boats sailing out are hauling tourists around (although some of those tourists are indeed whale-sized). Finn was tempted to jump in, but only to get to the coconut ice cream at the bottom of the cup…I’m not sure how effective he’d be at making snow angels with those little arms (and with the book in hand).


      1. Yes, he sure loves that book! 😂 Mind you, who wouldn’t want to swim in a bathtub of coconut ice cream on a hot day? I’m a little intrigued by those free samples though… What’s the big secret? Why wouldn’t they tell you what they were? Could they have been whale meat?! 😨


      2. Ick! A good way to deal with these people is to pretend you only speak Irish. Even the most diligent hawker, who will call out to you in 8 languages until they get the right one, will be completely stumped… 😂

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      3. Oooh, and then corner THEM and just start babbling out “Dia dhuit! Tá Gaelige agam! Agus tusa?!” and see how fast they run. I think all of Lahaina might give me a good service award for that noble deed.


      4. Neeeeeeerd! At this rate, you’ll be teaching me when you come over… I’m embarrassed to say that my Irish is limited to a smattering of random words and phrases, even though I’ve been living here for more than 15 years! 😂

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  2. Honestly, Finn is going to get himself arrested some day! Imagine them taking his mugshot:

    ‘What the hell you smiling about, boy???’
    ‘I can’t help–‘
    ‘What, you think is funny?!’
    ‘No, I–‘
    ‘You can’t take any of that fancy pants literature into prison, son!’

    (Additionally, that shaved ice looks like it needs a bit of rum!)

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