This expedition began, as have so many before it, at dawn, in lovely Newark, New Jersey.
My first stop was the island of Maui. There is no shortage of sugar cane fields such as this one on Maui.
Colleen, formerly of Glastonbury, Connecticut, was kind enough to put me up for a few nights. Of course, how could you help yourself from becoming a generous and welcoming person if you lived in a paradise such as this?
One of the perhaps not-quite-so-obvious advantages of hanging around with Colleen is she knows everybody on the island, including one of its more colorful residents, Steven Tyler.
Having convinced Colleen hard work and diligence is vastly overrated, she took the afternoon off, and we decamped to a luxurious house in the hills, where her friend Kara Taylor was staying.
There are certainly worse places in the world to end up on a Thursday afternoon in February.
Later in the day, I visited the town beach in Paia and was introduced to Ed, who works for the state cleaning rocks at the bottom of the ocean.
On Friday, I left for Lanai, and on the way out of town, I stopped to take in the view of the surf rolling in.
Colleen saw me off at the ferry slip in Lahaina.
The West Maui Mountains above the port town of Lahaina are quite dramatic.
You can rest assured we will see more of them further down in our little photo exhibition.
The ferry was all efficiency and expedience, and I arrived on Lanai after a very pleasant trip.
You know what? It's going to be tough, but I think I'll be able to survive a few days in this place.
I spent the first evening on Lanai at the rehearsal dinner for my friend Peter's wedding. The dinner was at the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele where they had a lovely orchid house.
And more orchids!
Yet more orchids!
The orchids just won't stop!
Miss Emma Shoaf was kind enough to take a moment to pose for me in the pagoda. Because any self-respecting Hawaiian lodge must have a pagoda. Duh!
The groomsmen assembled the next day in anticipation of the happy event. How weird is it that we all wore the EXACT SAME OUTFIT? Crazy coincidence, I know.
John Davis tells us "how he rolls," but Pete was a bit skeptical and decided to call security.
Eliza Eckstein in all her wonderful flower-girliness.
With a hug from her dad.
I will confess, I didn't take any photos of the ceremony itself because I was busy being a groomsman, but, after the ceremony, I couldn't resist the charms of the beach at sunset.
No, that's not a Russian meteor exploding, just the sun.
I do so love palm trees. And I thought I would try to prepare for Palm Sunday.
On the Sunday following, we decided to walk around the point to see what we could see. I'm sure we weren't the first party to remark that the lava islands look like what we non-astronauts think of as a moonscape.
The anemone of my anemone is my friend. Or something like that.
Anyone up for a game of hide and seek?
Typical day-after flower-girl detritus.
The sun shining on our moonscape.
I promise this is the last of the anemones. But, you have to admit, they are a crazy-looking lot.
With the sun beating down on us, we did start to feel a bit crabby.
Waves crashing on our moonscape.
The elite members of our expeditionary force.
OK, listen, here's the deal: we don't get any of this lava island thing in the east, so I just kept snapping away.
And then the waves came rolling in and I had to snap just one more.
I am Christine! I am John! This is my island!
Tidal pools and crazy lava formations.
A little peek-a-boo hole in the wall.
A natural bridge. And the only way to get to "The Forbidden Beach." Oooh, how exciting! Keep scrolling.
I dunno if that thing has a name, but I liked it.

Location: +20 44' 4", -156 53' 25"

(Update: I was informed after posting this page that "that thing" does in fact have a name: Sweetheart Rock or Pu'u Pehe in Hawaiian.)

After crossing the natural bridge, I rounded the point and got my first glimpse of The Forbidden Beach. (Yes, that's just the name I made up for it. So shoot me, OK?)
Not sure if the sense of isolation and solitude comes through in these pictures, but it was an amazing place.
The sun had warmed the soft sand.
Another view of the unnamed thing.

(Update Continued: Legend states that many years ago a jealous husband confined his wife, Pu'u Pehe, in a sea cave near the rock where she drowned when the tide came in. The husband was so distraught over her death that he climbed the rock with the help of the gods and buried her in a tomb at the top and then leapt to his death.)

Peek-a-boo from the other side.
Unnamed thing again.

(Update Continued: He did what? Confined his wife to a sea cave because he was jealous? Seriously? I'm not sure that earns the designation "sweetheart" in my book.)

I finally set foot on The Forbidden Beach.
As far as I'm concerned, when your time comes, this is as good a place as any to go.
Late afternoon sun.
The moonscape poking through the sand.
Layers upon layers.
A lovely spot to sit and listen to the surf and have a nap.
A little slice of heaven on Earth.
Be careful that, when you bend over, your brain doesn't fall out.
The time came when I thought I should head back to the resort.
Back over the natural bridge in the late afternoon light.
Call me bug-eyes one more time and I'll nip off your nose!
Wild turkeys! What did this island NOT have?
Back at the resort with more palm tree love.
View from the depatures lounge for the ferry back to Maui. Hey American Airlines, when your Admiral Club has a view like this, maybe I'll consider upgrading.
As promised, more of the West Maui Mountains.
Yet another shot, trying to give you a sense of the rain-forest-ness of them.
Always, always, post a lookout. That guy getting tossed off the boat is NOT having fun!
Posted 23-Feb-2013 by James Spier