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Circle of Excellence - Maui, Hawaii

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S: Circle of Excellence Maui, Hawaii 2010

FC: Aloha from Maui!

1: We're in Maui ! Upon arrival , as is Hawaiian custom, we were welcomed by our hosts and each presented with aDendrobium Orchid Lei as a sign of affection . Then we were on our way to the resort.. . This breath-taking view is from the lobby, looking toward the ocean at sunset, on our first evening. The inset upper left is a similar view during the day and is equally inspiring.

2: After arriving at the Fairmont Kea Lani, the first thing we did was to go down to the beach to see the Pacific Ocean at sunset. I also wanted to put my feet in the sand. Who could resist, we were on the island of Maui in January!

3: Views from our room | The sunsets were spectacular

4: The Welcome Reception Luau | Mary Jane & Mark Lyons Cris & Rich Schaller Brian & Aliah McHenry Jerry & Kathie Tower Lisa & Greg Gustin

5: Some more shots from our balcony. Above we caught a picture of one of our many feathered friends who would stop by to visit during our stay.

6: The walking path from the Kea Lani Resort & Spa to The Shops at Wialea and the Grand Wialea Resort. Nestled between ocean cliffs, private properties and hotels, it offers exceptional views of the resorts along with breathtaking vistas of Wialea Bay. Jerry and I climbed onto the rocks to capture some close up shots and videos of the waves hitting the shore. Being so close to the crashing waves was exhilarating. Getting back up the cliff was a bit more difficult than climbing down to the waters edge; however, the pictures and videos we were able to capture made it worth the effort.

7: We stopped for lunch at Ferraro's Bar e Ristorante' in the Four Seasons Hotel and Resort. The signature Lobster Sandwich & salad paired with their "Ultimate Mai Tai" served frozen in a hollowed out pineapple was truly an experience not to be missed!

9: F5 Circle of Excellence Closing Evening Event "Pirate's of the Caribbean" Costumes were optional and prizes were awarded Right: Mary Jane & Mark, Jerry as "Will Turner" Below: One of our hosts for the evening Opposing page: The Grand Wailea Resort A life size statue of King Kamehameha welcomes guests as they arrive

10: We rented a convertible to drive 'The Road to Hana.' We paused often to take pictures. At one point we came upon these trees with amazing multi-colored trunks, we called them "Crayon trees." We learned from one of the locals they are "Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees," known in Hawaii as Kamarere Trees. We also visited "The Garden of Eden."

14: A black sand beach. The "sand" is actually volcanic ash. It feels soft and gritty and because it's made of very fine tiny polished volcanic stones it doesn't stick to the skin like traditional sand.

16: After the four hour drive we finally reached the town of Hana. The ride back was a little quicker since we already knew what to expect; even the brief showers in the lush tropical rain forest portions of the drive didn't bother us. The setting sun was so captivating that we had to pull over more than once to take pictures. It was just too beautiful not to take advantage of this once in a lifetime, opportunity.

17: We took a Sunset Cocktail & Whale Watching Cruise on the "Pride of Maui. After setting sail the crew set a buffet with variety of locally grown fruits including strawberries, kiwi and pineapple, Guava Glazed Ribs, Chicken Breasts in a light chardonnay sauce and an assortment of vegetables and salads. Maui's finest acoustic guitar virtuoso Joe Cano provided a unique musical backdrop for the evening. We did see a number of whales and one even breached about 10 feet from the boat we captured it on video.

18: The "Hawaiian Canoe Experience" offered by the Kea Lani Resort began with our guide blowing a conch shell and explaining the ritual of asking the island gods to bless us with a safe journey through traditional Hawaiian chants. After showing us proper rowing techniques and teaching us the Hawaiian terms for switching sides, we prepared to set sail. Pushing the canoe into the knee deep waves, our guides had us climb in first; then they hopped aboard. We waited for just the right break, then paddled with all our might into the crashing waves making our way into the deep waters. Our trip only lasted 45 minutes, but the memories will remain with us for a lifetime.

19: We took a Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour of West Maui & Molokai. Below: Kalaupapa, established in 1866 on the island of Molokai is one of the last remaining Leper Colonies in the world. In 1873 Father Damien deVeuster came to help improve the living conditions and start a mission. He served there 16 years until he died of leprosy. No longer contagious, and free to live anywhere, less than100 surviving patients choose to live there to this day.

20: We rented a second more sporty convertible; this one a Chrysler Crossfire and set out on a leisurely drive along the Honoapiilani Highway on the way to Lahina for a day of souvenir shopping followed by the Feast at Lele Luau.

21: The majestic mountain vistas served as a panoramic backdrop to the vibrant turquoise waves gently crashing on the shore. Jerry and I decided this was a good place to stop, relax and take it in. It was a wonderful location to create a few photo memories.

22: Before going to to the "Feast at Lele Luau," we planned to visit the town of Lahina to do some souvenir shopping. We parked on a side street and walked a few blocks and we were surprised to find the main street closed because, Clint Eastwood was filming a movie. | Stopping to watch filming, we asked others who gathered, if they knew the name of the movie and the lead actors? We were told the movie was "A Year After," starring Matt Damon. They got the actor part right. Right: The extras in the scene being filmed, Matt Damon wasn't on the set this day.

23: The scene being filmed in Lahina was that a Tsunami hit Maui and people on main street were attempting to escape impending doom by trying to out run the giant wave. The actual wave would be digitally added later. After about three 'takes,' Director Eastwood got the footage he needed and they were finished. Below is a copy of the movie poster. | Between takes people would call out to Clint Eastwood. He finally looked over and waved to acknowledge to the crowd of on lookers, one of which I was. Got the picture! Thanks Mr. Eastwood!

24: The Feast at Lele Luau - A tour the Polynesian Islands that is a feast for the senses featuring authentic costumes, music, dances and delicacies. Our tour begins in Hawaii, where we dine on Roast Kalua Pig, Pohole Fern and Heart of Palm Salad, Fresh Fish with Mango Sauce and Poi. The Hula dancers are poetry in motion as their elegant and refined movements flow with the music. Next our journey takes us to Aotearoa - New Zealand; home to the Maon people who wear facial tattoos or "Moko" to symbolize genealogy and personal identity. The men perform the 'Haka' a war dance used to intimidate their enemies. In Aotearoa we enjoy Sea Bean Duck Salad with Poha Berry Dressing. We're encouraged to sample traditional beverages of the isles, such as a Mai Tai, Lava Flow, Planters Punch and Island Ice Tea. | Then we were on our way to the land of intrigue and romance -Tahiti. Capturing the imagination with the verdant majesty of its mountains rising from the midst and startling clarity of its coral lagoons. Tahiti is considered by many to be the image of Polynesia and throughout history has beckoned many explorers to her shores.

25: The sensual swing of the dancers hips combined with the pulsating rhythm of the ancient drums create a titillating feast for the eyes, while our pallet enjoys Fafa Steamed Chicken and Taro Leaf in Coconut Milk and Baked Scallops on Shells. Our journey ends in Samoa, the cradle of Polynesia and literally, the sacred center of its fiery soul. The staccato slapping of the legs and feet and rhythmic clapping of hands punctuates the energetic and vigorous Samoan dance. Supasui - Grilled Steak and Palusami - Breadfruit and Taro Leaf with Coconut Cream finish out our island dining experience. Chocolate Hawaiian Truffles, Exotic fruits and Caramel Mac Nut Tart topped with Haupia - Fruited Coconut Pudding complimented the Fire Knife Dance to end our evening.

26: While it is yet dark, our last day on Maui begins... Our final adventure is to experience "Sunrise at Haleakala."

29: Standing above the clouds, you truly feel as though you are on the top of the world. The rock formations and foliage at this elevation appear other worldly. Some areas actually look more like the surface of the moon than the Earth. It was such a wonderful experience and we would do it again. As our guide explained no two sunrises are the same, each is unique and amazing in its own right.

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  • By: Kathleen T.
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  • Title: Circle of Excellence - Maui, Hawaii
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