Tag Archives: Kauai

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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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