Kaua’i & Maui, Waimea Canyon 3/15/14

Our 3rd Full Day on Kaua’i Our morning coffee on the lanai was served up with this sunny blue sky.

 palms enhanced

Good Morning Poipu Sunshine!

We watched the honu, sea turtles, surfing in the waves along the rocky lava shoreline. I kept thinking they would get bashed against the rocks. They must know what they’re doing, and enjoy it, since they seem to congregate here.  And the whales – no matter how many we see, always amaze me!

We watched the honu surf the waves outside our condo

We watched the honu surf the waves outside our condo

The gorgeous blue skies promised a day of wonderful weather. Brian checked the forecast, and found rain and clouds predicted.

Morning palms enhanced

Look At That Perfect Blue Sky

Should we drive west to Waimea Canyon? When skies are clear, the views are stunning. The earlier in the morning, the better chance of clear skies. Well, it wasn’t that early anymore, but we decided to take a chance.  We hit the road and planned to drive all the way to the final lookout without stopping.  We hoped we could beat the clouds that would surely move in later in the morning. That last lookout, Pu’u O Kila, has dramatic views of the Kalala’u Valley on the Napali coast. If it’s not fogged over.

Canyon highway overlook panorama

Waimea Canyon Preview at an Overlook on Kaumualii Highway

This overlook was a nice sneak preview of the canyon and a good photo op. We hadn’t planned to stop, but right around the time we passed here, Brian noticed the brake light on. Hmm, not a good plan to visit a canyon with brake problems in your rental car. Thank goodness, it turned out that the parking brake had been engaged just a little. Fixed that, no problem! We were on our way with a few clear sky photos of Waimea Canyon. It was possible this might be all we would be able to get. Conor & Brian Highway W Canyon Overlook   Waimea Canyon from highway Clear blue sky made me hopeful that we had time for a clear shot at the top lookout. I shot some video as we drove along. Google+ surprised me by taking some of that video and setting it to music with some of my still shots interspersed. I don’t know if these things are made completly by computer, or if a person has some creative input. Who, or whatever, chose the still shots, did not choose the ones I would have! Nevertheless, it’s kinda cool. I get nervous on mountain roads. I had worried that this drive might be scary. For me, It wasn’t at all. There are really no shear dropoffs or one lane sections with blind curves, like the Hana Highway on Maui, or Haleakala. If you’re wondering what the drive is like take a look. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ-rpfLcnok   Google+ didn’t include any of the video I shot during the last 10 minutes or so as we got closer to the top. The clouds started to form all around us. Wind blew and rain sprinkled. The temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees F.

20140315_103031

Pu’u O Kila Lookout was completely fogged over.

2014-03-15 22.29.30 With every minute the clouds and fog around us grew thicker. We parked and noticed that even the chickens that were hanging out up here were foggy colored! We started up the path to the lookout to see if there was a chance at a view.     No chance!     Mt. Waialalae, one of the wettest places on Earth. And today, one of the foggiest. The sign says Mt. Wai’ale’ale is “ONE OF THE WETTEST SPOTS ON EARTH”. On this day we were in one of the FOGGIEST. We could barely see our feet when we looked down! No Mt. Wai’ale’ale or Kalalau views for us today. The walk back down to the parking lot was a little bit sad.  And a lot cold… brrrrrr. I wonder, if we had left Poipu a half an hour earlier, would it have been clear? It seemed as if the clouds were gathering even as we got to the top, just in time for us.

Walking in the Clouds

Walking in the Clouds

At the next few lookouts down we did get some lovely, if hazy views.

So C-c-c-o-l-d-d-d

So C-c-c-o-l-d-d-d

Brian protecting me @ Waimea

Brian protecting me from the big bad cold wind.

1396149738   1396149737   20140315_111150     2014-03-15 22.15.43   Waimea foggy   1396149716   Waimea Canyon many colors Canyon enhanced canyon w branch

On canyon road

Driving back down the Canyon Road

Driving down, we returned to blue sky and red dirt. Even the chickens were more colorful down here.     W Canyon Rooster Fav bright canyon   Brian Waimea Canyon, love this one Waimea Conor Brian zen enhanced My guys, finding their Zen.     Bright canyon clouds I am a geek and will spend hours in a museum given the chance. My family didn’t give me the chance that day! I was out-voted in stopping at the Koke’e Natural History Museum. They just gave me another reason to plan our next trip to Kaua’i. Besides, was I going to vote against a picnic at Salt Pond Beach Park? Not a chance! We stopped at Ishihara Market in Waimea. It’s another little long-time grocery market with a great prepared local foods section. We picked up a couple kinds of poke, of course, and some Filipino pancit – stirfried noodles with pork and vegetables. We got a package of coconut mochi too. In the parking lot at Koke’e Park, we had bought some homemade coconut candies and pinapple cookies, and a nice bunch of rambutan. So we were set for salty and sweet! https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t1.0-9/248573_132612703482464_7464206_n.jpg This photo of Ishihara is from Facebook.

Salt Pond Beach

Salt Pond Beach Park

rambutan-is-a-fruit-with-sweet-red-shell

Rambutan is a sweet lychee-like fruit. I copied this photo awhile ago and and can’t remember where it came from. Aplogies to the creative spirit who made these happy rambutan people.

image   Conor Salt Pond picnic When you share poke with Conor, you need to steak a claim on your own before it all dissapears! image   image   image image     image Salt Pond Beach had beautiful, calm, clear water, and a peaceful kind of happy, that matched our day perfectly. On our way back to the condo we talked about picking up something to grill for dinner. After all, I had named this our “Cheap Eats Trip”. Staying in a condo, it just makes sense to cook some meals, right? Ha! We laughed! We are on vacation, and with the best of intentions to grill at our condo, we have yet to do so in 8 Hawai’i trips. We decided not to break the streak. We had driven enough that day, though. So after cleaning up and hanging out on the lanai for a while, we decided to walk to Brennecke’s Beach Broiler. It seemed to be within easier walking distance than anywhere else., probably 15 – 20 minutes, but without sidewalks much of the way. 2014-03-15 21.42.27 Wow! Brennecke’s was crowded. We should have called ahead. It’s a very casual, beachy kind of place. With the crowds, we completely missed any beach view. The host looked at us like we were a little uncouth to walk in without reservations! We decided that our options were limited, and since we were already there we’d wait the 45+ minutes they quoted us. In our hometown that is par for the course at any popular restaurant on the weekend. So we squashed shoulder to shoulder in the bar to wait. We got a drink and mingled with others who were waiting as well. We noticed several Iowa State Cyclones shirts and talked about cheering on our team in the NCAA b-ball tournament.   image   The Kama’aina Pupu Platter that we shared was probably our favorite that night.  We each ordered an entree and a drink or two, that were fine but forgettable. With tip we certainly spent over $150. While I don’t feel that’s unreasonable, we really enjoyed our $25-30 takeout picnic lunches on Kaua’i even more. The quality of the food was as good or better. I’m comparing some of our favorite mid-priced restaurants on Maui, with those on Kaua’i, and finding that we prefer places like Star Noodle or MonkeyPod Kitchen on Maui to Brennecke’s or Hanalei Dolphin on Kaua’i. However, we really did like Kaua’i’s less expensive, take-out places. This judgement could certainly change on our next trip. I look forward to the research!

Our view from upstairs at Brennecke's.

Our view from Brennecke’s.

We left just before the live music began at 8:00, too tired to stay and listen. We were glad to have my little flashlight for the dark walk on the road back to the condo. The night time ocean breezes were chilly but delicious.  We were wishing we had much more time to experience Kaua’i. At the same time, we were happily anticipating our return to Maui in 2 days! Up next, hiking gorgeous Mahaulepu.   Aloha, A Hui Hou

Until We Meet Again

Until We Meet Again

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Kaua’i & Maui March 2014 – Day 2 North Shore Kaua’i

 If you have ever been to Kauai or ever dreamed of going,

you know that the North Shore is magical.

Scraps of song and misty images spring to mind:

“Puff the magic dragon… lived by the sea… and frolicked in the autumn mist… in a land called Hanalei.”

and frolicked in the autumn mist (or springtime), in a land called Hanalei

In a land called Hanalei …

Nurse Nellie Forbush in South Pacific on Lumaha’i Beach, under the shower singing, “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair!”  And from the same movie, the mythical, mystical strains of the song “Bali Hai….” will forever bring you to the jagged green peaks of Kaua’i’s North Shore.

 

Kauai taro overlook

So many movies have been filmed here, South Pacific, Jurassic Park, The Descendants, Elvis’ iconic Blue Hawaii, and an old classic that I found in a search for all things Kaua’i – Donovan’s Reef. I almost felt as if I had been here before, at least in spirit, like I knew this place in all my dreams.

Here’s a link to the coolest song about Kaua’i! It’s “The New Hula Blues” by Taj Mahal and The Hula Blues Band. Band was named after the song, it was so good! I think a little bit of gritty blues is perfect for Kaua’i. It’s the real sweet thing. The album is “Sacred Island”. Brian just got it and it’s my new favorite! Hope you like it:

Sunny Poipu has a few clouds too, all beautiful

Sunny Poipu has a few clouds too, all beautiful!

We stayed on the south shore, in Poipu, this March because we needed sunshine.

Brian was definite that we should stay where we could be more assured of sun, and find an ocean front condo for a reasonable price. Poipu, I found, was the place.  March in Hawai’i, especially Kaua’i, especially north, we heard, can have volatile rainy weather. Where did we learn all of this valuable information? Trip Advisor forums! I also learned that to get to the quaint neighborhoods of Haena and Hanalei you cross one lane bridges that are regularly closed in storms. We just didn’t have a long enough trip to take the chance of getting stuck in, or out of, our vacation lodging. Even though we loved the idea of lush green north,  embodying our ideal of Kaua’i, we knew it takes lots of rain to create all that green. When we return to Kaua’i next it will be summer, when the weather and ocean conditions on the North Shore can make it a vacation dream.

So when we chose to stay oceanfront in “Sunny Poipu”,  we knew that getting up to the North Shore had to happen, rain or shine. We hoped for the shine.

With our delayed arrival, we had only 4 and a half days total on Kaua’i, and so many things we hoped to experience. We knew this was just a taste, added on to our Maui trip, and we would plan a longer return trip.

We had narrowed down the  THINGS WE REALLY HOPED TO DO – Relaxing on the lanai, soaking up the sun, and watching the ocean, plus these 4:

  • Napali Coast boat trip
  • at least one day of wandering the North Shore
  • Waimea Canyon
  • Mahaulepu Lithified Cliffs hike

Beach time with snorkeling is always a priority for me, but on this trip I knew I could get that on Maui. On Kaua’i we planned to fit in beach time where we could, choosing activities each day in a flexible way, depending on the weather.

Perfect day to sail the Napali Coast

Our first day had been perfect to sail the Napali Coast.

We had lucked out on fantasic sunny weather for our first day with Captain Andy’s Napali Sail! Check that one off.  I didn’t want a check list vacation, but it would be so easy to miss out without at least a list of priorities.  Weather forecasts always seemed to include rain, but when we woke up on Day 2 it looked like there would be sunshine on the North Shore.  A visit to that part of the island was absolutely our next priority.

After a quick consultation on Facebook with my Kaua’i loving friends, we decided to simply grab our swimsuits and drive north stopping where we would.  With the three of us consulting on the plan, and that lanai calling us to sit awhile with our coffee, we didn’t get going as early as we should have. I have a friend who always says, “Never should on yourself!” I think that’s especially apt on vacation, so strike that “should have”.

We took off around 8:00, after a bit of breakfast on the lanai, watching the ever changing blues of sky and sea. It can be hard to pull ourselves away. If we had been very early, say 6:30, we would have driven all the way to the end of the road hoping to be one of the first to score a coveted parking place at Ke’e Beach. Even though we have all these great tips from TA, it’s not always easy to follow them and still enjoy a little island time. We knew we wouldn’t get an early spot now, so we thought maybe later we could catch someone leaving. We would work our way to the end of the road. You’ll see how that plan turned out.

Ahi poke Before Hawai'i I never would have dreamed that I would fall in love with raw fish and seaweed!

Ahi poke
Before Hawai’i I never would have dreamed that I would fall in love with raw fish and seaweed!

Besides warm sunshine, tropical sea breezes, and snorkeling, I had been dreaming of fresh Hawai’ian fish. Ahi tuna, mahi mahi, ono, opah…. seared, grilled, or raw… In soups and sauces, salads, sushi, sashimi, tacos, and especially in poke, that delicious Hawai’ian specialty of fish chunks – usually raw, marinated with various sauces and seasonings, seaweed and vegetables.  Yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I posted a question on Trip Advisor. Where should we eat lunch?

TA screen shot      TA screen shot 2

TA came through for us! I had a list of great possibilities fom Kaua’i experts: coalminer, 22 Kauai, jebett and shantybob. Hanalei Dolphin was supposed to have very good fresh fish in their restaurant and fish market. “Pat’s Taqueria, a food truck down by the pier” sounded good, and Kilauea Fish Market too, or Mediterainian Gourmet on Haena Beach. My good friend Joan made a wonderful suggestion to bring lunch out to the Hanalei pier. So, we would see where we ended up, choosing as the wind would blow us, but we did have a list of recommended choices.

We drove through our little section of Poipu, up through Koloa Town again and through the tree tunnel.  Very cool.  We drove along happy to drink in the green scenery, and watch the people lucky to be  going about their lives in Lihue and Kapa’a. We kept going past roadside beach parks where I’d love to stop. We drove on through the east side until we got to our first north stop, Kilauea. Brian didn’t always trust my navigation at first, but I got us there. Between signs, Trip Advisor and Google Maps I felt no longer “directionally challenged”. Hooray!

Conor Kilauea Lighthouse sign

Kilauea Lighthouse & Bird Sanctuary was a cool little stop. We got there before the lighthouse was open so we looked around a bit and decided to stop again on our way back. Kauai is the Hawai’ian Island for birdwatching with species not found on the other main Oahu, Maui or Hawai’i Island. They don’t have the mongoose that was imported to the other islands. Mongoose eat the bird eggs. And the piercing mongoose cry can scare the beejeebers out of a couple looking for a little romance on a night time stroll in the wilds of South Maui.    😉

Nene, State Bird of Hawai'i

Nene, State Bird of Hawai’i

The little nene geese, found only in Hawai’i, may be endangered, but they were not shy at all, wandering around our feet,  nibbling the plants and posing for pictures. At the overlook to the ocean and the lighthouse we could see most of the birds shown on the sign soaring and swooping around each other. Our phone cameras just can’t capture them from such a distance. Those albatros, shearwaters, boobies and tropicbirds in the blue sky over the bluer water were a sight to behold.

bird sanctuary sign Kilauea

 

Brian and Conor lighthouse

Kilauea lighthouse 2   The lighthouse out on the point reminded me of the ships of old finding their way across the ocean, navigating by stars, and even using the birds to find their way. The light beacon would help them steer safely around this island. Even longer ago, the original sailors in their outrigger sailing canoes arrived from Polynesia by following a bird, the golden plover. Now the bird sanctuary helps these birds to safely live and breed on the island of Kaua’i despite the human development.

Doc, a cute old albatross chick who loves the open and the sunshine, from Bob and Joyce at http://albatrosskauai.com/blog%202014%2004apr/page03.html

Doc, an albatross chick who loves open spaces and sunshine, from Bob and Joyce Waid at AlbatrossKauai.com http://albatrosskauai.com/blog%202014%2004apr/page03.html

When researching our trip I had found this blog about the albatross of Kaua’i. It’s worth your time to take a look at the monthly photo blog.  http://albatrosskauai.com/page%20blog.html

They post amazing photos and stories of the chicks and adults that they get to know generation after generation. The fuzzy little guy featured on the front page of their April 2014 page is CJ. They write,  “C.J. is now 10 weeks old and he continues to thrive.  He likes to stay in the shadows of the shrubs between the yards.” This month they have 12 more photos and observations. These are the coolest birds. The chick’s grow up wandering the Princeville neighborhoods and golfcourses. They are funny flightless things until they’re ready to go soaring off the cliff in their first flight. Then they stay at sea, feeding for 3 years. Then they return to their breeding grounds to nest in the shrubbery or on the golf course and raise their own young. The lucky residents here follow the lives of their favorite albatross friends. I would love to see those adorable clown-like adolescent albatross one day. We did see adults soaring gracefully in the sky.

Anini Beach

Anini Conor

I wonder, was he pondering soaring off like the albatross?

Peaceful blue Anini Beach was our next stop. It was already our second day, and I had not had my usual Hawai’i arrival ritual of running down to the beach and sinking my toes into the sand and surf.  Arriving so late at night, and the next day finding our way around a new island, then taking the Napali cruise, we had somehow missed even a short beach stop. I still can’t believe I let that happen!

First feet in the sand and water. Ahhhhhhh...

First feet in the sand and water. Ahhhhhhh…

And so, when the gentle waves of Anini kissed my toes, it became my very first beach on Kaua’i. There is a certain joy the touch, that words just can’t explain.

Driving up along the rolling ocean on the East shore and then watching the wild waves at Kilauea, we assumed that all the North Shore beaches would have high surf. At Anini the waves broke in the distance on the fringing reef. Inside the reef were acres of placid blue water. The chill in the morning air and the even chillier water told me to leave my jacket on and enjoy my feet in the ocean. I would wait a bit longer for a swim.

Anini calm

log on Anini beach

This morning there were only 4 other people as far as I could see on this long golden beach. The road that runs behind the beach is lined with quaint cottages that gave me a longing to spend an entire summer right there. Unfortunately, our fortunes at this time would not stretch to cover the cost of such an idyllic summer. But we can dream. And a happy dream it is.

 

Anini view to left

Brian Anini with cottage

Calling that house behind Brian, “ours” would be a dream come true!

on the road NS Kauai

On the road on Kaua’i’s North Shore. Not a bad view to be found.

As much as I would have loved to plop down for a long beautiful beach day at Anini, we knew there was much more that we wanted to see this day. And our tummies were rumbling. On vacation in Hawai’i our bodies are still on Central time. We don’t eat by the clock, we eat when we’re hungry. Even though it was only midmorning, I liked my friend Joan’s suggestion of bringing something our to the iconic Hanalei Pier. So we were on the road again, off to find some food, and explore.

We stopped at this amazing overlook above the taro fields. Did this view look any different hundreds of years ago? It must have always been stunning. I pray that it always will be.

NS palm taro overlook

 

NS rooster

My first, but not last, chicken shot. Who says Hawai’i doesn’t have big colorful tropical birds?

B and T NS overlook

We knew from Maui that Foodland Farms grocery stores have very good poke. We had missed Kilauea Fish Market, so we stopped in Princeville and picked up a few items for our early lunch on the Pier. Or our first lunch, as we had decided to do an early lunch and a late lunch. Hey, we were on vacation. No eating rules! We got water, Maui onion chips, and 2 half pounds of poke! In the store we sampled several different pokes and chose ahi wasabi, and sesame ahi. LOVE it!

All the essentials from Foodland.

All the essentials from Foodland.

We also picked up some sunscreen. You’ll notice in these pictures, my pasty white skin. Some of that is just what you get being a fair skinne Midwesterner in March. But some of it is slighty pasty white, mineral based, reef-safe sun block. I ordered 3 ounce tubes of Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen from Amazon before we left home. They’re small enough to work for carry-on luggage, which is all we travel with. I belive in the importance of reef-safe, skin -safe products. However, it is a bit of a pain to rub it all the way in. And it still looks a bit white, despite the word “Clear” in th eproduct name. So Brian and Conor decided they won’t wear the chemical stuff in the ocean, but they would take a chance on their own skin and use the standard chemical sunscreen when not in the ocean. I’d sure like to save their skins too, but they are big boys and can decide. No chemical sunscreen in the ocean, though. I now step down from my soap box. Thank you for your patience.

Here’s another beautiful overlook pullout where we had to stop and take photos. I believe that’s Hanalei Bay behind the guys, right where we were headed.

Brian and Conor overlookoverlook 2 portrait     overlook 2     North Shore overlook Bali hai?

 

 

Bridge to Hanalei

Bridge to Hanalei

Hanalei Beach Park by the Pier:

Hanalei surf board

Hanalei pier

Hanalei Pier

Hanalei beach park at pier

Bright blue skies to the east of the Hanalei Pier

Watching the shifting clouds and sky this day was fascinating. You can see a bit in these pictures. The pier was in full sun but straight ahead and to the left (west) were thick clouds and rain over Mount Waialeale. To the right (east) of the pier was bright blue sky, full sun with a few white fluffy clouds.

Calm blue water on the right side of the park

Calm blue water on the east side of the park

to the left of the pier

Surf schools teach tourists how to ride the waves under thick clouds on the west side of the pier.

The famous surf board house in Hanalei

The famous surf board house in Hanalei

 

Another one lane bridge. They span the many streams flowing down from Mount Waialeale, the wettest place on Earth.

Another one lane bridge. They span the many streams flowing down into the ocean from Mount Waialeale, the wettest place on Earth.

We headed for the end of the road, Ke’e Beach and the Kalalau Trail. Now that it was afternoon we hoped that people who had been there early may be leaving and we could catch a place to park.  As we drove the folliage became denser, wilder, more of a rain forest now. Also becoming much denser was the traffic. Yikes! Our plan was a definite bust. There was no place to park that we could see at any pullout, parking lot or roadside shoulder. We passed the dry and wet caves. I would have liked to stop, but where? No place to put the car. We crawled along with the crowds of cars to the end where it was overcast and rainy. We turned around, still scanning for any possible parking.

Now we know for sure that getting there very early is the only way to be sure of parking and some semblance of peaceful hiking or beach time. Truthfully, for us, the beauty of this area was far outweighed by the crowds of people and cars. I will definitly return, and hope to stay nearby for easy early morning acecss. By the time these crowds descend I will hope to be ready to find a less visited, though perhaps less specatular spot for the rest of my day.

Finally, as Brian drove over one bridge and then another, I spotted an open space to park under the ironwood trees. Waves were crashing and splashing high on the rocks at the left end of the beach below.

Lumahai west end close We walked through the trees and onto the sand, watching the waves . This was no swimming beach today. We walked downhill toward the water, feet sliding in the sand. It was a gorgous place to sit and contemplate the power of the ocean.

west Lumahai kds

We wondered what beach we had found. I got my phone and hit up Google maps. There we were, next to the Lumahai River flowing into the Pacific at the west end of Lumahai Beach.  Gotta love Big Brother Google! The east end of this beach, about a mile down, was where that man was washed right out of Nellie’s hair.  Or at least the attempt was made. I do believe that love won out in the end. Which is exactly as it should be, in the movies, on vacation, and in life.

left side of Lumahai?

L beach??

Coconut on Lumahai Beach

Coconut on Lumahai Beach

lumahai coconut in water

I watched a coconut on the beach get swept out in the waves and tossed around, only to roll back to the sand, time and again.  I believe creation designed a coconut for such tossing. I was a bit concerned, though, that the two young children playing at the edge of the surf could be swept out in a similar way. I doubt that kids are made to withstand such force as a coconut is.

Teri on L? beach

The waves here seemed a bit unpredictable, steady for a while, then a big one would sneak in and surprise us with a mamouth splash. We stayed well back from the water here. My swimming time was not yet to be.  We loved hanging out on the sand at this spacious beach.

West end of Lumaha'i Beach looking east

Big splash!

The texture of the sand was intriguing, with bits of black lava, white coral and tiny tan pebbles rolling against each other. Walking the mile long beach would have been a good workout, the way the sand slid when we walked.  Instead we decide that it was time for “2nd lunch”!

sand at L? beach

We headed back to Hanalei, wondering if we should look for a happy hour or just some good fish. We had wanted to stop at Tahiti Nui, made famous in The Descendants movie for it’s rustic Kaua’i atmosphere, great local music, and not so good food or service. We heard on TA that the mai tais couldn’t be beat, and every now and then the pizza was good.  Hanalei Dolphin won out for it’s reputation for good fish and the peaceful outdoor garden setting next to the Hanalei River. We watched kayakers making their way along and planned our next trip, the one where we would stay in Hanalei town.

2nd Lunch at Hanale’i Dolphin:  I love to try lots of different fish tacos. The ones on the menu at the Dolphin were breaded and fried. That sounded too heavy for me, so I passed and ordered a salad with rare seared ahi fillet.  Brian had fish and chips, I think.  Conor said all he wanted was a dessert, so he ordered some sort of ice cream pie, the kind of thing you could easily put together in your kitchen. It was something like $10 a slice. It came immediately, and he promptly snarfed it down, and then decided to order a fish sandwich too!

We weren’t in any hurry but it was quite a while before our food came. I love the way ahi tuna, seared and rare inside, is like butter, so smooth, tender and rich. I sliced into mine and ran into some tough stringy sinew that the steak knife wouldn’t cut.  I tried another spot, and found the same. Hmmm… the salad greens were tasty enough, but this was a bad piece of fish. sinew ran all through it.

I rarely make a complaint in a restaurant, but I looked for our waitress. Maybe it was a shift change because we never saw her again. We also looked for iced tea refills for a long time. Finally another waitress came by. As soon as she saw my mangled fish  she took my food, and said she would get me a new order. When it came it was fine, but meanwhile I sat for 15 minutes with nothing to eat. Of course, by the time I got the new one the guys were done! This was the first of our restaurant experiences that led us to believe that cheap eats are better than the more expensive places on Kaua’i. We enjoyed our Foodland deli poke at the beach park so much more than we did the Dolphin.

We drove around Hanalei a bit and looked, but did’t end up stopping anywhere. We tried to find the cottage where my friend Deb would be staying soon. No luck there, and I think we were so close! We did end up reocognizing the cottages in the movie, The Descendants.

I would have loved to stop back at Anini Beach and go for a swim, hoping it had warmed up a bit. Brian and Conor were ready to head back, though. We were all tired. We still wanted to stop by the Lighthouse and go into the park while it was open. We got there at 3:50 and the sign says it closes at 4:00. Darn! Oh well, we knew we couldn’t do everything. And this would definitly not be our last time here!

Back to Poipu and Beach Time for Teri! So, off to the south side, through the east side traffic we went. We stopped for a few things at a grocery store, and the guys were ready for some lanai time when we got home around 5:30 or so.  No one cared about dinner.

I needed to get into the ocean. I walked down the road a few blocks to the west, to a small beach I had seen. I scrambled over the lava rocks a ways instead of walking on the road, when the sidewalk ended. So much more fun!

The sun was so warm I was hot. Bring on the sweat! I had missed that heat so much. At the beach I waded in and dove into a wave. So Happy! I wished I had brought a boogie board. The waves were nice. I swam out a little past the breakers and back floated in the sunshine – pure heaven.

I talked to a dad and daughter who were attempting to snorkel. They told me this was Brenneke’s Beach.  I wouldn’t call it a great snorkeling spot, but they said they were seeing turtles. As I was going in to lay on the beach a turtle swam right by me, but the shallow water was pretty cloudy. A local girl came over, picked it up, and brought it to the surface to show me better! Ummm…. yikes! I think there’s a $1000 fine for that! Very friendly of this girl, but not such a good idea to even touch the turtles. She said she wasn’t worried about it. Well I was, but didn’t want to be unfriendly. Hope the turles there will not be harrassed, and can be enjoyed from a safe distance.

I didn’t bring my phone since I walked over alone, so no pictures here. I was so happy to have my real beach time with swimming. I wish I had a picture or two, but this blog helps me enjoy the memories again.

Poipu Makai Sunset

I walked back to the condo in time for a lovely sunset and a fresh fruit and Koloa rum concoction on the lanai.  Ahhhh…. yes!

day 2 beginning of sunsetSunset on lanai 320140314_18315520140314_184741and the sun goes down on the coconut trees

 

Island Time Found

Island Time Found

Aloha, A Hui Hou

Until we meet again,

Teri

 

 

 

 

Kauai & Maui March 2014 – Day 1 Kaua’i at Last


BEFORE waking up on KAUAI:

I tried desperately to entertain the guys on that long travel day.

I tried desperately to entertain the guys on that long travel day,

With no effect at all.

with absolutely no effect.

AFTER waking up on KAUAI:

The aloha begins.

Now this is not bad, even with the parents.

Feeling the aloha, even with the parents.

Happy

Aloha setting in…

So happy...

Aloha… yes!

 Thanks to BarefootnAR from TA for the before and after “the aloha sets in” idea!

The travel day madness continued:

Thank goodness the Aloha of Kauai did not escape us that first morning, even though we had just survived the world’s longest travel day. Besides the series of canceled and long delayed flights, sprinting through some of North America’s busiest airports, trying to to keep our spirits up,  and wondering if we’d ever arrive, we had quite a surprise that first night after landing and picking up our rental car.

Enterprise car rental at LIH was full of aloha, with a couple of employees staying late until we arrived. The gal who took care of us was cool. She knew who we were. We talked about her own family back in Iowa and the years of flood and drought we’ve had recently. She let us pick out an upgrade, no charge, without ever trying to upsell us. They had a midsize on the lot, but she looked at Brian and Conor and said, “You tall men might like a bigger car. Why don’t you take one of these new Altimas?” She asked us, “You’re staying at Poipu Makai with Parrish, right? Do you need directions?” We told her we had studied our maps and had our smart phones so we should be good. We took the packet she handed us and off we went in the very comfortable car.

Caffeine had gotten us this far and Brian felt confident that he’d be able to make it to Poipu awake, but he’d love to have a beer or two when we got to the condo. Ugh! Why hadn’t we ordered a few groceries delivered? Well, because we thought we would arrive at 4 PM, not midnight. We drove a few blocks and saw an ABC store all lit up, pulled into the parking lot and saw that it was closed. While Brian turned back out of the lot, I opened the packet that Parrish Kauai Properties had left for us at Enterprise with keys and check-in information.

I mentioned a surprise, right? No keys. No Parrish packet. Only rental car information. Uhhh??? “Brian, did that nice gal at Enterprise give you another packet? One with condo keys from Parrish?” No. We didn’t get it.

Luckily we were only about 3 blocks away and we made a beeline back to Enterprise. Lights out. I got out of the car to try the gate. Locked. Brian phoned Enterprise. No answer.

As I turned from the gate, the guy from Enterprise was there asking if we needed help. Whew! I was so glad that we could get the condo keys. Guess again, he was just a lowly employee without keys he said. The boss lady was gone. He was concerned but he couldn’t help us. 

OK, wait, I did have all the information that I had printed from Parrish in my essential trip folder. Thank goodness I was awake enough to find the after hours emergency number. You can imagine that the normally sweet Parrish employee on-call, Maddie, wasn’t thrilled to be woken up at midnight. She gave us directions to the Parrish office in Koloa town and said she’d meet us there in half an hour with the keys. And, by the way, there was a $50 charge for the service because we didn’t ask outright for the packet at Enterprise. Whatever.

We could tell we were driving through the tree tunnel but couldn’t see a thing around us. The helpful regulars on the Kauai Trip Advisor forum had warned us that the rural roads are DARK at night.  We couldn’t wait to see it in the daylight, as was our original arrival plan. Oh well. Koloa Town looked cute from what we could see by a few street lights. And Maddie was much friendlier in person, even comforting, giving me a big hug. Boy did I need that! And did we ever need a good night’s sleep! We made it to our condo on the point in Poipu. Dropped the bags and opened the lanai doors to hear the ocean even if we couldn’t see it yet. Then sleep, glorious sleep.

And this what we awoke to:

Good Morning Kaua'i

Good morning Kaua’i!

 

Love walking out fom our bedroom at Poipu Makai to this view.

Love walking out from our bedroom to this view.

Poipu Makai building

We had the ground floor unit on the left end.

Our morning view gave us whales spouting in the distance and honu (sea turtles) bobbing in the waves.

Our morning view gave us whales spouting in the distance and honu (sea turtles) bobbing in the waves.

We woke in the comfy bed around 7AM, later than we’ve ever slept on the first morning in Hawai’i! The sun was up and the sky was a mix of bright clear blue, and white fluffy clouds. And the Pacific Ocean… that beauty that I had not laid eyes on for more than a year… there it was! Smack dab in front of my face as I got out of bed and opened the door.  Thank you God! Our first real look at Kaua’i was beautiful. And there was so much more to come!

I discovered the small packet of Kauai coffee on the kitchen counter and the coffee maker looked brand new. Now, filters. Hmm, none in the welcome basket with the coffee. Every condo we’ve stayed in has had numerous packs of coffee filters along with various kitchen items left by previous renters. I reached up to look in the cabinet above. And I reached up, and up. I stood on my tiptoes to see into the bottom shelf. Empty. I had to get a chair and look all around the kitchen in those upper cabinets that started above my head. Kind of weird how those cabinets were built so high. This could be a great condo for a family of basket ball players. Finally I did find some filters stashed in a blind corner. The cleaners here do a good job and don’t leave junk around anyway. The kitchen was OK since I don’t cook on vacation. It was clean but far from gourmet. The coffee, however was wonderful!

Overall our Poipu Makai condo worked well for us at a very good price. we had 2 nice bedrooms, 2 baths, with plenty of space, especially the large lanai, for $229/night. Ocean front is harder to come by on Kauai than on Maui, and this wasn’t on a beach, but out on a rocky point. To our surprise, there were also no crowing roosters! Suffice it to say that this condo had most of we wanted and everything we needed with a fantastic oceanfront lanai.

After the ultimate luxury of watching whales spouting in the distance and honu surfing the waves in front of our lanai, we needed to go out for some food! We always have breakfast out on our first morning.

Friends suggested that we:

Eat at Joe's

Eat at Joe’s

Joe’s on the Green was a great breakfast place with huge open vistas of palm trees, plumeria, golf course, mountains, and ocean. We ate  in the warm sunshine and let all that stress, and the memories of cold and snow simply evaporate into the blue.

We talked about our day. We wanted to explore so much in our short 5 days. We were thrilled too, that the weather was gorgeous. You can not count on that on Kauai in March. We knew our plans had to be flexible. Our friends, who we meet later, on Maui, had arrived there the previous day, and had more rain than we did during the time we were on Kauai.  Good timing for us. But even with the March rains there were plenty of gorgeous days on both Maui and Kauai.

 

Starving Men!

Starving Men!

Breakfast at Joe's on the Green

Breakfast at Joe’s on the Green was just what we needed.

Conor couldn't wait to dig into his loco moco with the works!

Conor couldn’t wait to dig into his loco moco with the works!

Oh, what a beautiful morning!

Oh, what a beautiful morning!

We had to go back to the Parrish office in Koloa and exchange the emergency keys for the correct ones, so after breakfast we headed that way.  While there I let them know that the bathroom drain wouldn’t open and the molded plastic lounge chair on the lanai had a crack in it. After the $50 fee, I didn’t want to pay for damages we didn’t do. They were very kind and stopped by to fix the drain while we were out. They also took the lounger, which had been fine to use with a towel on it. There was no replacment, so no lounger on our lanai, disappointing.

In Old Koloa Town we stopped by Sueoka’s market, a friendly little family store. We picked up those essentials that we should have had delivered the day before: Maui Brewing Company Coconut Porter and Big Swell IPA, Maui onion potato chips, macadamia nuts, cheese, crackers, coffee & cream along with lots of local fruits and juice. We checked out Sueoka’s Snack Shop, known for it’s yummy cheap plate lunches, but we were much too full from breakfast to even share a shave ice. We planned to return.

On the water with Capatin Andy:

I had booked Captain Andy’s Napali Coast sunset dinner cruise on the Southern or Northern Star.  Check in was at 1:30 at Port Allen on the south west side, so we headed that way with time to spare after exploring around Poipu Makai a bit and enjoying our lanai again.

Kauai’s north west Napali Coast is a spectacular sight that can only be viewed by sea, by air or by a rigorous hike.  The amazingly steep lush peaks and valleys have no roads.  We chose to book our Napali boat tour for our first day so that we could rebook if weather or ocean conditions on the wild North Shore forced a cancellation. Again, Trip Advisor forums were a great help here. We knew that cancellation was common this time of year. And this particular company, boat and trip came highly recommended. It was a very good choice!

Captain Andy's

Captain Andy’s

We drove to Port Allen in Ele’ele loving the ocean and mountain scenery along the way. Brian commented on the peaceful town of Kalaheo. It looks like a place he would like us to live, and I certainly can’t argue with that. We stopped at a country shop looking for motion sickness meds since we knew that this could be a rough ride.  Luckily, none of us had any inclination to feed the fishies, though a couple on the boat did. We didn’t find the Dramamine there but we did get a couple of tee shirts, Wish I could remember the name of the store, though I had declared this to be a “no shopping and cheap eats” trip.

After check in while waiting around to board, we were told it was fine to wander into the shops up and down the street for a bit. Kauai Chocolate Company was supposed to have wonderful icecream, and I had to check it out.  Oh my gosh! The lilikoi mango icecream was absolute heaven. In that shop full of chocolates I can’t believe that I didn’t try a single one but I know I made the best choice. Yum!

On the Northern Star

The weather was perfect. The crew was friendly, helpful and full of information. The catamaran was beautiful. The ocean was glorious with humpback whales and dolphins playing all around us. Brian took a few pictures with his phone. There were plenty of waves and the ride was not always smooth. We didn’t take a lot of photos, didn’t want to lose our phones. We soaked in every minute of the day enjoying the moments whether or not we got those perfect shots. Pictures can not do justice to this gorgeous day in any way.

 Napali Coast

Napali Coast

Napali again     Kauai Napali

sailing Kauai    more Napali

Wow Napali    Napali view (portrait)

I loved the riding up front with the wind and spray in my face, feeling the rolling waves.  I said the crew was helpful right? Almost every time I stood up to move around, this helpful guy would spring to my side to make sure that this little old granny didn’t go flying overboard, I guess. I wanted a picture up on the prow. (Is that what it’s called?) I gave Brian my camera and walked over, when Ready Freddy jumped right into the picture! That photo bomber!  It turned out fuzzy anyway because I had put my phone into a clear dive bag so it wouldn’t get ruined by salt spray. I learned that it doesn’t take good pictures through plastic.

Teri with photo bombing crew member

Teri with photo bombing crew member

 We chose the sunset dinner sail based on the recommendations of people I trust from Trip Advisor. We didn’t want a snorkel cruise because the snorkeling  on the Napali trips is often cancelled in March and not top notch when they do go. Dinner cruises are not usually our thing, but this tour, on the Northern or Southern Star catamarans is a very nice one. The boats are outfitted with a full comercial kitchen and comfortable seating with plenty of room for all the passengers.

There were pupus (appetizers)and drinks before dinner, with very good salads, grilled shrimp & New York strip steaks, and nicely grilled veggies too, with cheesecake for dessert. It wasn’t fine dining, but it was quite as good as I had hoped.  Some people really got their money’s worth sitting at the open bar too. A couple of drinks was enough for us, but the bartender did a very nice job and earned some good tips.

The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed with very good Hawaiian music with a little Jimmy Buffett, played in between comentary from the captain. We appreciated the choice of laid back music rather than loud party tunes. I would say the company has a bit of class.  Altogether it was a perfect introduction to Kauai.

Northern Star     

Teri and Conor on Captain Andy's Sailing     Brian and Conor Kauai 2014

Napali whale tail framed

Brian got one shot of a whale tale tail slap! The whales were very active with mothers, calves and escorts breaching and slapping, and even playing with some bottlenose dolphins.

 

mast

This is what happy looks like.

This is what happy looks like.

Napali Panorama fom Captain Andy's Northern Star

Napali Panorama from Captain Andy’s Northern Star

sunset on Northern Star

 Aloha

a hui hou

 Next up: North Shore Wandering

 

 

Napali Coast on the Northern Star

This is Kaua’i.

This is Iowa:

With temps like this don't we deserve a little Hawai'i?

With temps like this don’t we deserve a little Hawai’i?

Enough snow already!

Enough snow already!

This blog is my personal scrap book and journal. I’ll share it with anyone else who’s a Hawai’i freak like Brian & I are. Our trips have been made much better because of the generous people I’ve met on Trip Advisor Hawai’i forums , and the blogs, trips reports, and knowledge shared there.  And we have made some true friends through TA. I hope whatever I share here will give some enjoyment or useful information too. Photos of this trip are taken with our phones and some of our best times had no pictures at all. We were too busy just being there.

Some of our previous trips:

2010  West Maui Mountains from Paragon Sunset Sail

2010
West Maui Mountains from Paragon Sunset Sail

2011 Teri and Brian on Oahu at House Without a Key

2011
Teri and Brian on Oahu at House Without a Key

2012 Our View at Honua Kai A Promise from Maui That We wil Return

2012 Our View at Honua Kai
A Promise from Maui That We Would Return

2013 Maui Scotch Mist Sunset Sail

2013 Maui Scotch Mist Sunset Sail

Brian and I have been blessed to spend a week to 10 days on Maui (once on Oahu) most of the last few years in December or January. This year we decided to wait until spring break when we could take a 2 week trip, and make our first visit to Kauai along with Maui. Our youngest son, Conor would join us for the first week.

The countdown was 1 day. The bags were packed. The mail was stopped. Nails were manni’ed and peddi’ed.  Reservations were confirmed and flights were checked in. Boarding passes were printed. I was floating on air at work that last day. I even wore my Hawai’i “slippahs” in the library to give my toes some practice at breathing! Nothing could bring me down.

Until… I got a text… and a phone message… and an email. United had cancelled all flights into Chicago the next day due to a forecast winter storm.

I had a conversation with myself, “What???? You can’t cancel my flight!” “OK. Breathe Teri. We’ll just fly to another airport to connect to Hawaii.” Unfortunately it wasn’t so easy. Every traveler in the Midwest was scrambeling to find flights. After many hours on the phone and computer we finally had a flight booked on American , but it was into ORD again, and we had very little confidence that it would actually go.

Nevertheless, we woke up an hour before our alarm went off at 4:00 AM and got to the airport by 5:00 for our 6:30 scheduled flight.  We were in better shape than most people in the airport that morning. It seemed like many had not even been notified that their flights were cancelled and were being told that there was nothing out of this airport available for several days.

The American flight was canceled as we expected, but the United workers at the Eastern Iowa Airport were angels for us. Two women in particular worked their butts off for us to find connections as flight after flight was cancelled or delayed. They were fantastic!

After untold hours in that airport, we made it onto a flight to O’Hare, where we barely caught a connection to LAX. My friend Deb messaged me, “I can just see it.  A crazy blond hauling ass down the corridors of O’Hare, pulling her carry-on, with her two guys trailing behind, ”  and she was spot on! If I hadn’t RUN for it we would have missed our first day on Kaua’i. I was NOT going to let that happen! In LA we got a connection to Honoulu, and finally after more than 24 hours without sleep we were in Hawai’i!

The gates at HNL were confusing in our sleep deprived state. We must have seemed like a pathetic trio as we tried to figure out if we were at the right gate, and discussed the pressing topic of who would use the restroom first and who would watch the carry-on bags. I called the rental car agency to make sure they knew that we would arrive late, so they would stay open for us.

After dithering about we decided we were in the right place and I settled back to wait for our blessed last flight. Try as I might I was not anywhere near slipping into my beloved island time state of mind.

A soft deep voice adressed me as a big beautiful Hawai’ian lady sat down beside me. “You one busy lady.” She looked at me deeply with dark eyes. I started to explain about our crazy long travel day.  And then I stopped. “You going to Kaua”i?” she asked, giving me that same deep look. “Yes”, I said. And that was all that mattered.

Our First Morning View Form the Condo at Poipu Makai

The Sun Lights Up the Palms on Our First Morning

Poipu Morning Sun Lights Up the Palms

Poipu Makai Kauai

We arrived on Kauai close to midnight Hawaii time, 5:00 am Central time.  After another hour of crazy mixups with our condo, we collapsed in the dark and gave thanks for a comfy king sized bed.

In the morning we knew it was all worthwhile the minute we opened the bedroom door onto our oceanfront lanai. Ahhhhh… we had made it. Thank goodness for the Kaua’i coffee in the welcome basket from Parrish.  Just give me coffee and my guy on an oceanfront lanai. Heaven.

Poipu Makai morning coffee

Up next… More pictures of our first day on gorgeous Kaua’i. And maybe fewer words… we’ll see.

Island Time Found on North Shore Kaua'i

Island Time Found on Kaua’i, Happy Happy