Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Ahoy from Lahaina

On the southwest short of Maui is a little town that is pretty much THE happenin' place. It's known as Lahaina.

The official (one wonders what qualifies as 'official') Lahaina Town Action Committee web site says it's the "jewel in the crown of Maui." I think of it as a combination Key West, Fell's Point, Old Town Scottsdale all rolled up in Maui.

Not, mind you, that any of that is bad. That's just what it reminds me of.

If you know what I mean.

The last night we were in Maui (aka 'on Maui'), we were cruising through some of the shops in 'downtown' Lahaina. All five blocks of it.

There is a little mall type of place on the ocean side with a handful of little shops. One of them turns out to be this way cool place called Dan's Boat Shop. It consists of three rooms - two are about maybe fifteen feet wide and thirty feet long. The third room is about half of that.

The rooms are all lined with these amazing boat models. I was sort of gaga going through them. The detail is very impressive. I'm not sure how much of the items on the ships such as guns and hatches, etc, are "prefab" plastic, but there is a tremendous amount of handwork that goes into them.

My eyes were getting crossed looking at all the rigging.

Not to mention all the details such as guns, decking, etc. etc. I don't know a whole lot about boats other than what 'starboard' and 'port' are and that the latter is not to be confused with the potent Spanish wine of the same name. (And which many a captain probably imbibed back in the day).

"Dan," (IF that is his real name...) turns out to be a pleasant Vietnamese fellow. He tells me that he has a crew of 45 folks who build these models. Quite an operation.

I have this mental picture of these folks sitting around in front of little tables doing this amazing hand work. What was really mind-boggling was the sheer number of them. There had to be close to a hundred, if not more.

And there were not just models of old sailing ships - there was a model (two, I think) of the Titantic and the Queen Elizabeth II.

You can see that dey ain't cheep either. This one - marked at $1600 - was typical. I saw a couple in the high three figures, but most were well over a grand. One wonders how many sales they make in a day or even a month.

While wandering around, I thought of an old friend from school who was at one time working on a plastic model of a ship called the Thermopylae. This ship was a fast clipper ship. I just remember my friend spending endless hours working on the model, and I especially remember how involved the rigging was.

Naturally, even though I don't know a lot about these things, I can certainly appreciate the craftspersonship (get it?) that goes into them. Pretty amazing, isn't it?


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