The last time I was in Lahaina, the streets were closed and crowded with ghosts, goblins, vampires and the undead. Hey, it happens especially when it seems like the entire island of Maui crowds into this historic whaling village for the Halloween parade. Lahaina (also home to the largest Buddha statue outside China) draws more tourists than any Maui attraction other than the beaches. It's also where you'll find PADI Gold Palm IDC Resort Lahaina Divers, which has explored Maui waters for more than 25 years. In an ironic twist, after my night of canoodling with the devil's minions, I was heading off to church. Well, sort of.
Lahaina Divers is a relatively short run from the island of Lanai, which has some of Hawaii's best diving just offshore. Two of its most famous sites are caverns believed to have been formed by giant bubbles in the lava. At First Cathedral, you enter into a dome at about 55 feet. The sensation once you enter is of being in a place of worship. Shafts of blue light pierce the shadows through the collapsed ceiling. All that's missing are a manger and angels. Seeing a whitetip reef shark meander in and out of the light is like watching a ghost.
Once I got over my initial sense of awe and actually began to explore the 100-foot-long room, I found loads of interesting, shadow-loving critters. A pair of lobsters dashed into a crevice they must've heard my stomach growl. When I found a little enclave of squirrelfish I thought to myself that it must be the choir, dressed in holiday red. Later I discovered the deacon, a whitetip reef shark snoozing beneath a ledge. Just outside, a swirl of pyramid butterflyfish seemed to be holding vigil, and though I didn't see them, I heard the distant clicks of passing dolphins.
Lahaina Divers heads off to Lanai every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so you'll have plenty of opportunity to explore the full spectrum of experiences that await off what is commonly referred to as "Hawaii's most enticing island."