BEFORE waking up on KAUAI:
AFTER waking up on KAUAI:
The aloha begins.
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:
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:
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
a hui hou
Next up: North Shore Wandering