following isnt your usual travel guide of what to see and do on Kauai.
Its a collection of our thoughts while spending three weeks on The
Garden Isle and a letter to you about some of the things we saw and did.
If you just want our recommendations on places to stay, where to eat and what
to do, rather than read our Letter from Kauai, here are links
that will take you quickly to pages of interest to you.
Get the lowest rates for Kauai' Hotels
Hai Fabulous views of Hanalei Bay.
Ultimate Kauai. Not only the best guide book for Kauai, the best
guide book weve ever read.
North Shore Beaches - an excellent web site with details on the beaches on
Kauai's north shore.
Tours and Rentals
Kayak Adventures ran by top notch people, excellent guides and fair
breaking on the reef and birds cooing stir my senses awake. What a great way to
start the morning. Pat is already up and soaking in the sunrise that is creeping
up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. God is blessing the Garden Isle of Kauai.
I write this letter to you, Im sitting in a comfortable chair looking out
the window. Theres a fan palm in front of me, palm trees to the left and
right, flowering plants and trees here and there. Our meditation suite at the
Mahina Kai sits part way up
a hill allowing me to look down on this scene.
swimming pool, which more closely resembles a pool youd find at the bottom
of a waterfall. The border of the pool is bounded by rocks of various sizes. On
one side is lush tropical vegetation. A small stream cascades into the pool. The
bottom is painted so as to give the allusion that youre floating over a
natural bottom of various depths. At the end of the free form pool sits the spa
in a pagoda like structure, open on three sides, with a blue tile roof. Palm trees
and flowering shrubs dot the grounds. 100 yards from the pool is the Pacific Ocean.
on Kauai yesterday to begin a three week retreat from telemarketing calls
and the routine nuisances of everyday life. Right now, Pat is going through all
the brochures on what to see and do on Kauai. This is so very cool because
as she reads off the dozens of sites and activities she says, Done that.
Done that. This is our third trip to Kauai. The last time we were here,
five years ago, we stayed for four weeks and had all of our kids with us. We saw
and did almost everything. We put 4000 miles on our rental car and the main road
on the island is only about 60 miles long!
time were just going to be cool and let the energy, the spirituality of
this island sink into us. We havent rented a car. Were going to see
if we can get by on the Kauai Bus. The local bus, which locals tell us no
one rides, and by walking and biking. When we got off the plane yesterday our
plan was to walk to the nearest bus stop, about a mile away, and take it to Anahola,
which is where were staying.
probably wondering why the local bus doesnt come to the airport. Well it
became obvious to us, as we researched transportation options for this trip, that
the local government, who runs the bus service, doesnt want tourists taking
the bus. The government, and I assume car rental and taxi companies, wants us,
and you, to use privately operated transportation services. So, no local bus at
the airport. We plan to walk the mile and a half into Lihue to catch the Kauai
always travel light with little luggage and this is particularly true for this
trip. What you can carry on the bus is very restrictive. You're allowed one bag
and it can not be bigger than these dimensions:
Obviously these dimensions are smaller than most travel luggage but not all.
You cant bring surfboards, boogie boards or skateboards on the bus either.
But no matter, because weve managed to keep our luggage to the size allowed
on the bus.
had the bus schedule with me but what I had failed to do was print out the weekend
schedule and this is a Saturday. I call the bus company and find that the last
bus for the day has already left. So now were going to have to take a taxi.
No big deal. I use the taxi phone at the airport to call for a taxi and one is
here within minutes.
costs us $31.00 to get to Mahina Kai and I tip the driver another $4.00.
one of the owners, meets us at the entry and gives us a rundown of how things
run at the B&B. He shows us to our suite, which has our name on the door panel.
Nice touch. Makes us feel very welcome. Joe, the other owner joins us here to
welcome us as well.
One of the things we put away as we unpack is daily time.
All we need do is make sure that we know when its time to check out to go
to the next place well stay at during our three weeks here. Well be
at the Mahina Kai for a week. Then its off to Princeville, above Hanalei,
where we have a condo reserved for the remainder of the three weeks.
dinner time. Well walk the mile back to the main highway to the Whalers
General Store and the little hamburger stand we saw there. About a ½ mile
from the Mahina Kai the road is shaded with large trees whose branches stretch
over the road from both sides. I wouldnt call it a jungle but the vegetation
is green and lush. The branches have a beautiful symmetry. The ocean has been
just off to our left during our walk but up to this point the shoreline has been
pretty rocky. Now theres more beach and we walk through the trees to the
beach. This must be a good surf fishing spot because we see a half dozen surf
fishing poles stuck in the sand. I ask one fisherman what he catches here.
from little ones to big ones, he gestures with his hands.
on the road we come to the main highway and walk about a hundred yards to the
hamburger stand. They have a lot of sandwiches on the menu. We opt for the Old
Fashioned Ono Burger. It has cheddar cheese, a big slice of Maui Sweet Onion,
tomato, sprouts and is served on a large Kaiser roll. I season mine with some
special seasoned sea salt that they have on the counter. The burger looks great.
Its cut in half and is just pretty to look at showing off yellow, white,
green, red and brown. Pat declares it one of the three best hamburgers shes
ever had. I agree. Others must think so too. While we eat our hamburgers theres
a constant line of people coming up to order.
Whalers General Store is next door. We pick up some small groceries for
snacks at the B&B and head back to the Mahina Kai. Its 84 degrees. Not
hot but humid, humid in a very pleasant sexy tropical way.
only 7 PM but its hard to keep our eyes open. We only got about 5 hours
sleep last night and our bodies think its 10 PM not 7 PM. But weve
got to get into the time zone here. So, we sit on our porch overlooking the garden,
the pool and the ocean and we let the magic of Kauai and the Mahina Kai
sink into us. Finally, at 9 PM we go to bed. Lights out. Listen: sounds of surf,
leaves shuffling in the breeze and the occasional chirp of a gecko.
its back to the wake up that I began this letter with. Coffee is ready at
6 AM. I pour a cup and join Pat on the porch to watch the first light of the sun
begin to add colors to the sky, the ocean and Kauai. We figure well
have breakfast when its ready at 7 AM but its 7:45 AM before we know
it. Weve just been messermized by the sunrise.
main feature of breakfast is a tray with papayas cut in half and then each filled
with strawberries and pineapple. Under glass are very sweet smelling cinnamon
muffins. But we cant have any because we have resolved on this trip to not
eat sweets and these things sure look and smell sweet. There are hard boiled eggs
and several choices of cereal. During breakfast we are joined by several other
guests of the Mahina Kai. Over coffee, we linger for awhile to get to know our
neighbors, Julie and Jennifer.
10 AM when we are ready to walk out to see what meets us for the day. On the way
out the door, Henry, Robs son, asks us what were doing for the day.
My answer is that we dont know. Were just going to start walking down
the road, remember we dont have a car, and see where we end up.
beach is where we end up. Just a half mile from the Mahina
Kai, we jump from the road to the beach and begin walking on a long crescent
of sand that extends about a mile up the coast. Within about 200 yards we find
a perfect setup. Theres a big shrub like tree where we can be protected
from the sun and still run down to play in the water.
thats it for most of the day. We do walk a bit further up the beach to a
lagoon protected from the surf. The water is like bath water. Pat gets on my back
and I carry her piggy back swishing through the water. To the west of the lagoon
is a tall rocky mountain, maybe 2000 feet high, its green outline silhouetted
against the blue sky. To the east is a 25 foot opening in the beach where the
water from the lagoon flows into the ocean. Around the sides of the lagoon is
a variety of trees and shrubs partly concealing houses. We can count maybe 25
people within our eyesight.
at the Mahina Kai we shower, swim for a bit in the pool, and then get ready to
walk back to the highway where we plan to eat at a restaurant thats across
the street from Ono Burger. Just before we walk out the door a torrential rain
starts coming down. Theres one umbrella by the door. We take it and head
out. Several hundred yards down the road it's clear that the umbrella only keeps
half of us dry. Pat, in particular, is soaked on her back. We try thumbing a ride
but people going by in cars just wave at us. No big deal. Its warm rain.
Nor does the rain distract us from discovering even more intricacies in the foliage
and houses along the road. You dont get to know an area by driving through
it. You have to walk it, or, at least ride a bike. Weve probably spotted
a dozen wild chickens on our walk and lots of smashed and dried up frogs. There
are so many frogs that we name this the Walk of the Dead Frogs. They
must come out at night and then get run over by cars. Its around 4 PM. About
to the highway Pat asks if Im sure the restaurant is open.
Of course its
open. I checked the sign yesterday and it says its open 7 days a week from
10 to 6.
the restaurant we first see the big closed sign and then the small print on the
sign, which I couldnt read yesterday from across the road. The sign says
Sunday and Monday 10 to 4. Its Monday and its 5 PM.
So, we go to Ono Burger for our second dinner. Last night we had gotten up to
the order window just before two van loads of people showed up. Tonight, two van
loads are ahead of us. I hate lines. We go into the Whalers General Store
to see if we can find anything there to eat but theres nothing we want.
We go back to Ono. Tonight we order fish sandwiches. And just like the hamburgers
from the night before, the fish sandwiches are awesome.
our entertainment is Scrabble. Theres no TV here at the Mahina Kai. Pat
is the champion Scrabble player. The only time Ive ever beaten her is when
we were in Costa Rica. The heat and humidity there must have hindered her ability
to think of great words with which to destroy me. Tonight is humid but not hot.
Pat beats me in the first game by 85 points. In the second game I employ a different
strategy. Thats to make moves not designed to get me points but to make
it difficult for her to make high scores. It works. Shes frustrated, complains
about bad letters. I win. We quit and go to bed listening to the geckos chirp
and the breaking waves.
been told that the bus system here isnt very good. We find quite to the
contrary. Out on the highway the Kauai Bus is there right on time. It gets
us to Lihue just as fast as a private car. Theres only one main road on
the island. Most of the time the road is just two lanes, sometimes theres
three lanes. Between Kapaa and Lihue the traffic moves at a snails
pace. So, why not take the bus? Leave the driving to the excellent, friendly and
helpful drivers of the Kauai Bus.
off at the Big Save in Lihue, we walk over to the county offices and purchase
bus passes for the month. Theyre just $15 apiece. What a savings. A bus
ride is $1.50 whether you ride the bus for a block or 40 miles. During the course
of our day in Lihue were on and off the bus 6 times. That would have cost
us $9.00 apiece if we didnt have the pass and we still have 17 days to go
on the island.
the bus heading back to the Mahina Kai, were not looking forward to the
walk back from the highway. Weve been grocery shopping and our bags now
way about 20 pounds apiece. The driver lets us off the bus. I try several
ways of carrying my bag and finally settle on putting it on my head. The walk
isnt so much fun now and we try to hitch a ride with every car that passes.
Theyre all tourists. I tell Pat that only a local will pick us up and, sure
enough, a local who lives along the road stops and has us hop on the back of the
tailgate on his pickup. Too bad, though, he can only take us about half way to
our destination. Its still another ¾ mile to walk. More cars pass
us. Then two of the people staying at the Mahina Kai, Julie and Jennifer, driving
a little jeep like vehicle, pull over for us. Theres no room in the jeep
for us but we can put our bags in the back. Then Pat and I each get on the running
boards and hang on tightly for the ride back.
says to us, Jennifer said arent those the people staying at the Mahina
Kai.? I said, No. That looks like some surfer guy carrying a boogie board on his
head. As we passed you, I saw that it was you.
a biker. I ride mountain bikes and road bikes. When we get back from Kauai
Ill be riding on a 100 mile road ride in the High Sierra with my youngest
daughter, her husband and the husband of my oldest daughter. So, while were
here, I need to keep riding to stay in shape. I ruled out bringing over one of
my bikes because of the cost, United wanted $85 each way, and there was the risk
of having it damaged during shipment. My thinking is to see if I can either rent
a bike here for three weeks, or, if I cant cut a good deal with a rental,
consider buying a cheap bike at Wal-Mart or K-Mart and just leave it here when
we go home.
morning we took the Kauai Bus to Hanalei. I checked with two bike rental
companies but couldnt find any deal to my liking. Yesterday Id checked
out buying a bike in Lihue and that looks like the deal for me. Pat stays in Hanalei
and I hop the bus back to Lihue. Its a hour and 15 minute ride back.
already know what Wal-Mart and K-Mart have to offer in the way of bikes. I think
Wal-Mart has the best deal but Im going to check out K-Mart one last time.
The bus drops me off at Kukui Grove shopping Center, which is right next to K-Mart.
I find a bike which hadnt been out yesterday. The price is $75. Keep in
mind that my bikes are $1500 to $2000 bikes. The K-Mart bike cant be compared
to my Razorback, full suspension, mountain bike but at $75 its a great deal.
up the stuff I need to go with the bike - helmet, pump, patch kit, pay for it
and Im out the door. Ive brought my riding jersey with me. I put it
on. Stuff everything into the pockets on the back and Im off to Anahola.
avoid the traffic that goes through Lihue by cutting down by Nawiliwili Harbor,
onto the 51, out past the airport and then cut back into the 56. The time is 2
PM. Im ahead of the rush hour traffic which gets really bad between here
and Kapaa around 3 PM. Theres a wide shoulder to ride on. Riding creates
a breeze that keeps me cool. Now Im seeing Kauai in a different light.
Ive driven this road many times on past trips to Kauai but now my
bike gives me the freedom to see sights I havent seen before. Im going
fast enough to make real progress yet slow enough to let my eyes really see the
ocean, the breaking surf, the sand the palms. The traffic to my left doesnt
distract me from the sights to my right.
really backs up at the signals going through Kapaa. Im able to race
past all of the cars that are going stop and go. Im five minutes past Kapaa
before any cars that Ive passed entering the Kapaa traffic dead zone
catch up with me.
the road is closer to the beach and the ride is even nicer. The hills between
Kapaa and Anahola are minor and I climb them easily on my new 21 speed mountain
bike. I arrive at the Anahola General Store and Ona Burger at 3:30 PM. Pat will
be here at 4 PM on the bus from Hanalei. Ill grab some onion rings and a
fruit drink here and wait for Pat.
tonight is canned ham and string beans heated up in the microwave. Pat then gets
her revenge on me in a Scrabble game where she beats me 317 to 215. By 9 PM we
cant keep our eyes open any longer and we go to bed.
our amazement, we sleep in until 8 AM. While Pat has breakfast, I take off for
a bike ride. The guide book, Ultimate Kauai, says there is a cane road that
I can ride from Anahola to Kealia Beach. I find not one but several red dirt roads
down by the ocean just north of Anahola. I have a great sense of direction and
place. I quickly find the right road and begin dirt riding on a bluff just above
the ocean. The foliage is so thick that I can only see the ocean every once in
awhile but I know Im heading in the right direction.
maybe a ½ mile I spot a single track going off to the left while the dirt
road angles off to the right away from the ocean. The single track appears to
be going in the direction I want to go which is along the ocean bluff. What the
heck, I take it. The track is narrow, just wide enough for a bike or motorcycle.
The track dips, twists, climbs through the dense undergrowth. Im sure glad
there arent any poisonous snakes or spiders in Hawaii.
I have to make a choice where the track appears to split. Only once do I make
the wrong choice. That track led me right to the edge of the bluff. I backtrack
a couple of hundred feet to get back on the single track that I want.
probably less than a mile when I approach a clearing and the track is blocked
by a bunch of boulders that have obviously been piled there to keep people from
progressing further. I carry my bike over the rocks and begin riding again. I
go across a narrow piece of flat land and then ride up a small hill. From the
top of the hill I look down onto another green piece of relatively flat land and
across it the dirt access road to Donkey Beach. However, to get to the road, I
either have to cross a deep ditch, or, ride to my right back to the highway, south
several hundred yards and then back onto the dirt road, which I assume would take
me to Kealia Beach. I know from Ultimate Kauai that a private landowner
is blocking access to Donkey Beach from the highway. This is a good place to go
over to the highway, 56, and ride back to Anahola and the Mahina Kai.
I find that I could have ridden on the highway a couple hundred yards to an access
trail that the landowner has created to allow access to the beach and the cane
road that goes on to Anahola.
is Wednesday and that means the roving fresh produce marketplace will be in Kapaa
today. But thats not until 3 PM. We have time to check out a section of
beach that we havent been on. From the Mahina Kai, it appears that access
is blocked to the beach by private property. To us it looks that the only way
to legally get to the beach is to walk to the end of the road, about 100 yards,
go through some rushes, climb down into a stream and walk the stream out to the
beach, less than 50 yards.
put on our reef walkers for this little expedition. These are rubber booties that
allow you to walk on rocks without cutting up your feet. We dont know what
the bottom of the stream is like, so the booties are a precaution. I lower myself
into the stream and find that right at the entry point the water is over my head.
I swim out into the stream, which is maybe 25 feet across, and find that it quickly
becomes only waist deep. I scout downstream for a ways and then go back to help
Pat in and to get our beach bag. Wow, this is like an adventure. Even though there
are houses around the stream, the foliage gives the short walk a real jungle feel.
Walking towards the mouth of the stream, the ocean is framed with palm trees to
the left and right and the mouth of the stream is blocked by a sand dune. We wade
out of the stream and onto the sand and walk down the beach maybe 50 yards to
a good entry point into the ocean to try snorkeling.
are big houses all along the beach behind the palm trees. However, in Hawaii,
the beach is always public even though people regularly block access to the beach
with private land. Its perfectly legal for us, then, to be using the beach
in front of these homes.
try snorkeling but theres not much here in the way of interesting fish.
The bottom is too sandy, not enough rocks for fish and the surf, though broken
by a reef, still keeps the water choppy.
on the sand, weve got some time to just hang out before we need to head
into Kapaa. Whispy horsetail stratus clouds drift across the sky from east
to west. One cloud catches my attention. About 10% of the right hand side has
a reddish color. Slowly the red begins to engulf the cloud. With the red almost
halfway across the cloud, yellow appears where I first saw the red. The yellow
advances and it is followed by green. And now, the right hand edge of the cloud
is blue. The whole cloud is now colored going from red on the left to yellow to
green to blue. The colors are not pale, they are iridescent. Pat sees all of this,
too. Maybe 15 minutes pass before the colors fade and the cloud returns to the
same color as the rest of the clouds in the bright blue sky. During this whole
atmospheric episode not another cloud in the sky has any color other than white
the beach, Pat and I begin our walk out to the main highway to allow us time to
catch the bus into Kapaa, visit the shops and catch the opening of the produce
market at 3 PM. Weve been told that the vendors begin arriving early in
the afternoon but the public cant purchase produce until 3 PM. However,
the public is allowed to inspect the produce and determine which vendor they want
to be in front of when the whistle blows at 3 PM.
we decide to hitchhike in earnest because its very hot and theres
no breeze. Within a few hundred yards a pickup stops for us. Were only hoping
to be taken to the bus stop in Anahola but hes going all the way to Kapaa
and cheerfully offers to take us all the way. Of course we accept.
were in town much earlier than we had planned. This turns out to not work
in our best interest. With so much time we walk further than we had planned, maybe
a mile. Its hot. Its humid. Pats face is red and she and I are
sweating profusely. Rather than walk back, we wait for the bus to take us back
to where we think the produce market is. But it turns out this isnt where
the market is located. A woman tells us its about a mile away back behind
the town. She sees that we are whipped and offers to drive us there. We accept.
a hoot is the produce market. There must be 50 vendors here. People are milling
around the stalls waiting until the 3 PM starting time. We begin inspecting and
find an amazing array of common and exotic fruit and vegetables. Theres
even an aid wagon stationed here. I ask one of the medic personnel if it gets
pretty rough when the bell rings.
my anticipation level is really up. Looking back for Pat, I find that she has
found a vendor with lettuce and tomatoes that interest her. Others also apparently
like this vendor because there must be 20 people hovering around the stall. The
bell rings and people begin shoving money at the vendor and grabbing bags of produce.
The smart people have the exact amount so they dont have to wait for the
vendor to make change. For the most part, this vendor is just standing there and
next vendor for us is one who makes plumeria leis and sells them for $5
each. Pat has already asked this woman to stash a lei for her. All we need do
is hand over the money and get the lei. From here we go to collect our large and
fresh avocado for $1 that we had asked the vendor to hold for us. Now we split
up to explore on our own.
looking for something to drink. Theres a lady selling ice cold coconuts
complete with straws. I hand over $2 to her and suck the coconut dry within a
few minutes. A few vendors down from her I spot the guy who owns the bicycle shop
in Kapaa. Hes left the shop to sell, among other things, rambutans.
Ive never seen this fruit before and he tells me how to eat it. I buy 4
for $1 and quickly become an expert on this fruit.
like a lychee, only better. The ripe ones are roundish and red with thick strands,
like hair, protruding out from the shell. The strands look like they might be
prickly but theyre not. To peel the fruit, jab your fingernail into the
skin. Dont be gentle about it like I was on my first try. Jab your fingernail
in there. Youll pierce the outer skin, peel that off. Youll see a
white inner sheath covering the fruit. This has to come off as well. It may have
come off when you peeled away the outer skin. Now you have a light green fruit
about the size of the first index of your thumb. Pop it in your mouth. Theres
a big seed there. Chew the tasty fruit from the seed and spit out the seed. I
bought 8 more and now wish Id bought the whole box, they were so good and
juicy on this hot day.
back to the Mahina Kai, I
now have lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, pineapple and apple-bananas. Oh, I forgot
to mention those little apple-bananas. Theyre about half the size of mainland
bananas you get in the market but they have 3x the flavor.
As were leaving
the produce area, I spot a vendor selling Hawaiian Lau Lau. Thats meat wrapped
in taro leaves, then ti leaves then cooked in the ground. I purchase ½
pound for $3.
tonight is a colorful salad of organic greens ringed with tomatoes and covered
with avocado. Added to this is the pork lau lau mixed with some rice left over
from another meal.
been a little too busy here at Mahina Kai. Today we hang around the pool for most
of the morning. In the afternoon, we make a trip into Kapaa to visit the
craft fair. Mostly locals are there selling handmade crafts. A photographer is
displaying his work. One photo catches my eye. Though its a sunset scene,
the colors in the cloud are just like the colors I saw yesterday. I tell him what
I saw and he tells me that he has seen the same phenomenon while flying but it
isnt often seen from the ground. The cloud, he says, was fracturing the
colors in the sunlight into the basic colors in a rainbow.
we are just hanging at the Mahina Kai. Not that we havent enjoyed our forays
into Kapaa but we need a day when we do nothing. My bike ride this morning
is a loop ride up into the up country from the Kuhio Highway. Almost all of the
traffic on the island is along this main road that connects the towns. Go off
the road towards the mountains and you have the island to yourself. Thats
my ride this morning. I climb up onto the plateau. Cattle graze on ranch lands
to my right and left. Looking back, the Pacific Ocean shimmers in the early morning
light. Big fluffy clouds are drifting in over my head and going towards mountain
spire called Waialeale
afternoon is spent on the beach a few hundred yards from the Mahina Kai. Crabs
ranging in size from ½ inch to 3 inches scurry around the beach. When we
first plop down on the sand the crabs are no where to be seen. But as we lie still
for about 5 minutes, the crabs, one by one begin coming out of their holes in
the sand. When one of us makes a sudden movement, the crabs disappear quickly
back into their holes.
This could have been a difficult day for us because we moved to Princeville,
about 14 miles further down the road. My original plan was to ride my bike to
the new condo and to carry a pack full of our stuff. Then I would walk the ¾
mile out to the bus stop and catch the bus to Anahola, where I would walk the
mile to the Mahina Kai. With
Pat and the rest of our belongings, we would walk back out to the road, catch
the bus to Princeville and then walk the ¾ mile to our condo.
and Suzanne saved us from all of that. They drove us in their Sebring convertible
to our condo in Princeville. Then we went with them to Hanalei for breakfast and
to take in the farmers market.
condo turned out to be a bedroom with a microwave. This wasnt what we expected
and sent an e-mail to that effect to the condo owners, who live in Nebraska. To
our surprise, within a few hours the property manager showed up with keys to a
beautiful 1 bedroom condo with a loft. This was more like it. We now had a big
lanai with a view of the mountains, a kitchen, bedroom and a spacious living room.
The condo is in the Sandpiper
Village complex which has a large swimming pool, Jacuzzi and barbecues. We
highly recommend dealing with the people who rented us their condo. They are honorable
and have a large unit with several configurations ranging from the simple bedroom
we first hand to a spacious condo with two lanais, full kitchen, two bedrooms
and a loft. The prices are very reasonable.
celebrate our arrival into a beautiful unit with views of the pool and the mountains
of Hanalei, I rode my bike over to the Foodland market and bought food for a preparation
of a feast. Over candlelight we had BBQ Hule Hule chicken, chips and dip, salad
and sushi. All of this was topped off with great MaiTais that I made with
Trader Vics Mai Tai Cocktail and a dash of Trader Vics dark rum. Wow.
Last night we were dining with microwaved food in a bedroom and tonight we have
took the bus today to the Waimea River where we planned to rent a kayak to paddle
up the Waimea. To our dismay, we learned that the government now only allows a
specific number of kayaks per day on the river and the kayak rental limit had
been reached. This policy jumped the kayak rental prices from $35 a day for a
double kayak to $70. We had no choice but to catch a bus back to Princeville.
Pat went to the Princeville hotel and I went to our condo. For both of us it turned
out to be a good day to just hang loose. In the evening we put together our plan
for what we would do with the days we had left on Kauai The condo has an
excellent library of books on Kauai and Tahiti. I became really engrossed
in a book about the voyages of Captain Cook to Tahiti and Hawaii.
been off my bike for a few days so I took a 90 minute ride out the Powerline Trail.
This trail runs from near Princeville to a road that winds down to Wailua. I only
went a few miles out on the trail but still had spectacular views. Later we went
down to Sea Lodge Beach, which is about 1/2 mile from the condo. As soon as we
dropped our towels on the beach, we went into the water with our fins and masks.
Snorkeling was perfect. You should keep this point in mind about snorkeling on
Kauai, what may be great snorkeling one day can be lousy the next. In the
afternoon we kicked back in our condo. Pat and I played Scrabble. We were near
the end of the letters and we were separated by just a few points. Then I came
up with QUICK on a triple word score and laid down 73 points.
took the bus into Lihue. Pat picked up her pendant and we had 5 hours to kill
before we picked up a rental car. We took the bus to Anchor Cove. Its right
on the bay and I watched the surfers while Pat browsed the shops. Then we walked
over to the Marriott and found it to be an awesome hotel. The building, though
an ugly pink, is decorated beautifully and the grounds are magnificent. The hotel
looks out onto the bay. Its a classic Hawaiian scene. After touring the
grounds we went back to the Anchor Cove where we had dinner at JJs Broiler.
The MaiTais were excellent. I had two, Pat one, and both of us had a good
buzz. We split Seafood Chowder and Pork Lau Lau with cabbage. The dining area
is open and our table gave us a full view of the beach and the ocean. A very cool
place to eat. The food was top notch.
we went back to the Marriott to see if we could get a ride on their airport shuttle
out to the airport where we had to pick up our rental car. There was no problem
doing this. We just got on the shuttle. No one asked if we were staying there.
Real freedom. Weve done nicely without a car but its nice to have
the freedom a car gives you. The last Kauai Bus runs at 6 PM. Tonight, with
a car, we stayed out till 10 PM. One of the things weve missed on the trip
so far was Hawaiian music. So, tonight we got a Hawaiian music CD to listen to
while driving around. What a difference this made to our Kauai experience.
in Princeville at our condo, I made some more Mai Tais and a toasted cheese
sandwich with Maui Onions. Yum
was a beach day. With a car we could check out some beaches that were too far
to walk from a bus stop. Waiakalua was an awesome beach. The trail down is very
steep and would be difficult if the trail were muddy. But it was dry today. We
had the beach to ourselves for several hours before another family showed up.
As we were getting our towels spread out beneath a shade bush, Pat spotted a Monk
seal swimming along the shoreline just two feet from where the ocean ebbed onto
the sand. We followed him down the beach for a hundred yards and then returned
to our shady spot. The water was too rough and the current too strong for good
snorkeling but we did see different coral. Our next stop was Secret Beach, which,
as you might guess, is no secret. This is a very popular beach. The walk is along
a gently sloping trail that goes through a tropical forest before opening out
onto the beach. The waves were big here. The beach is wider than most beaches
on the north shore and at the far end to the east the beach was backed up by cliffs.
We thought the waves were too big and rough for us to go in swimming but we did
see several guys who were awesome their on boogie boards.
we went back to kayak on the Wailua River. We chose Wailua Kayak Adventures because
of the recommendation from the Ultimate Kauai. Weve kayaked the Wailua before
but today would give us a chance to see the river through the eyes of an experienced
guide who promised to show us something very unique.
group paddled up the river about a mile and then took the north fork of the Wailua.
In about ½ mile, the river narrowed to a channel about 30 feet wide. Dense
green foliage covered the sides of the stream and tropical trees reached there
branches out over our heads. Within a few hundred yards, we beached our kayaks
and waded across the waist deep stream where we climbed a slippery bank. Now were
on a trail that follows an ancient aqueduct built by the Hawaiians to bring water
to their taro fields. After maybe 30 minutes of walking we came to an 80 foot
waterfall. They call this Hidden Falls. We are arriving late in the afternoon.
There are about 50 people in and around the pool at the bottom of the falls. Eden,
our guide, tells us that it was not unusual to find a hundred or more people here
if you came around mid-day. But I have to tell you that these falls were so beautiful
and the pool so perfect for swimming that no number of people could diminish the
attractiveness of this place. Of course, it would be nice to have it to yourself.
The only way to do this would be to have your own kayak and start your trip from
the mouth of the Wailua at sunup or in the evening. Pat was the first one in the
water from our group. I followed after taking some pictures of her frolicking
in the tropical pool. The waters cold but not too cold. Its best to
wear reef walkers as you enter the pool because of the rocks. A few feet from
the edge I began swimming to where the falls entered the pool. Wind coming up
the valley shifted the fall of the water coming down from the mountain stream
80 feet above us. But when you get positioned under the falls you get a wonderful
all had a swim now and we're heading back to our kayaks. Pat and I are continuing
to take pictures when our guide tells us to be sure and save enough film to take
pictures of what he's going to show us.
guessing that we're within a 1/2 mile of the kayaks when Eden leads us off the
trail and deeper into the jungle. Shortly, the vague path we're walking on appears
to end abruptly at a tall thick living green wall. The wall is made up of big
vines that have attached themselves to the surrounding trees from trunk to top.
You can barely make out that there are trees inside the vine wall.
has led us to a small opening that we have to get on our hands and knees to crawl
through. We are all wondering what he has in store for us. Emerging from the small
tunnel, our breath is taken away. We are in the midst of a green cathedral with
no roof. The trees here, for whatever reason, have formed a large circle around
this area. I'm guessing that the circle we are in is about 100 yards across, maybe
a little less. The trees are close to 100 feet high. They are almost totally hidden
by the vines with big green leaves that link the trees together. The foliage is
so thick that we can't see beyond the perimeter. The ground in the clearing is
covered with plants about knee high and so thick and dense that you can lie on
them and your body won't touch the ground. Off from the center of the clearing
is on lone tree. It's dead and hollow. This is a mystical place.
wish we could stay longer here but we need to get back to the kayaks. The paddle
home will be a little more difficult because we'll be paddling into the wind.
we moved to another condo in the Princeville area. It's at the Hale
Moi and, though smaller than the condo at the Sandpiper, has a great view
of the mountains and a greater feeling of seclusion. The book Ultimate Kauai'
gives the Hale Moi a low rating but we found it quite nice and the price very
reasonable. If a studio that sleeps four and has a lanai and great view would
suit you, I'd recommend you contact the lady that rented us this unit.
settling in, we head off to the Hanalei Art Festival. Oh, it's nice to half a
car so we can go when and where we please without considering how we're getting
back. The art festival was okay. Nothing to rave about it but we enjoyed ourselves.
at the Hale Moi we got on our beach gear and walked down towards the Princeville
Hotel, about 1/2 mile and then took the trail down to Hideaways Beach. We spent
the afternoon on this beautiful beach which has lots of shade to protect you from
getting too much sun.
about an hour before sunset. We're waiting for the Bali Hai restaurant in the
Hanalei Bay Resort to open for dinner. If you want a ringside seat on the balcony
for watching the sunset behind Hanalei Bay and the pinnacle they call Bali Hai,
you need to be here with reservations and before they open. Tonight we'll celebrate
our 36th wedding anniversary. They're getting ready to open and we get up to the
entrance so that we're second in line. The lady who seats people tells us that
she doesn't show a reservation for us. Well we had made one. We ask for the manager,
explain that we made reservations and that this is a special occasion. He personally
takes us to a great table.
that the Ultimate Kauai' says about this restaurant is true. The view is incredible,
the food just okay, and the service poor. But we'd go back in a heartbeat because
watching the sunset from there is awesome.
a car now we can get out to Ke'e Beach. This is at the end of the road where the
Na Pali Trail begins. The parking lot is full but we know from past trips here
that we can park about 1/2 mile back down the road and walk through the jungle
to the beach. The beach you come out onto has very few people. In fact to show
this, I took a picture towards the main beach and 100 yards away you see bodies
jammed onto the sand. I turn the other direction and in the picture you see a
deserted beach. Yet, you can get into the water here or walk the short distance
to the lagoon that attracts all of the people.
out snorkeling. Pat's back on the beach. All of a sudden I see a turtle swimming
from the lagoon out over the reef, where the water is only a few feet deep, towards
deep water. I follow him as he makes his way out to sea. He goes right by people
standing in the water who don't know a turtle is passing by. I go back and tell
Pat that I bet we'll find lots of turtles is we go past the reef into the deeper
water. We make our way out over the rocks in knee deep water and then ease into
the deep water. I'd found a perfect spot where could easily exit from the rocks
into the ocean without getting banged up by waves breaking on the rocks.
the ocean must be 25 feet deep compared to the maybe 10 feet in the lagoon. It's
only a few minutes before we spot three turtles drifting lazily in the ebb an
flow of the ocean as it approaches the reef. Pat and I get within two feet of
them but don't touch them for fear that we'll disturb them. We allow ourselves
to drift side by side with them going with the movement of the ocean. One breaks
off and dives for deeper water. I follow him for aways but don't want to dive
deeper. I have no idea how long we stayed out here with the turtles. Time stopped
for us. The crowd back on the beach hadn't a clue that there were maybe a half
dozen people out beyond the lagoon swimming and drifting with turtles.
do want to caution you that you wouldn't want to do this during the winter months
when the waves are much bigger on the north shore of Kauai'. Also, this is the
beach where the girl was attacked by a shark while she was surfing. She was quite
a bit further out than the place where we were swimming.
performance that we enjoyed the last time we were here was the traditional hula
show done at the Princeville Hotel overlooking Hanalei Bay. I checked with the
hotel and found that they were doing the show tonight.
Princeville Hotel raises mixed emotions with me. I find it a rather garish mole
stuck on the side of cliff overlooking Hanalei Bay. I don't find anything Hawaiian
about it. But it is a nice place to hang out at because of the views of the bay
and the traditional hula show that is done here once or twice a week.
show is free and is done in the large lounge area adjacent to the check in desk.
We found ourselves a comfortable couch to sit on, ordered a Mai Tai and sat back
and enjoyed the show.Maybe I shouldn't call it a show because it's nothing like
the flashy lu'aus. It's a lady with a drummer who tells us about the hula performed
by the ancient Hawaiians, not the later day Harry Owens type. She explains a dance
to us. Then the slow resonating drum beat begins as she chats and begins the dance.
Don't miss it.
time has really slowed down for us now. With a car we no longer have to think
about schedule. First thing in the morning is a bike ride out the Powerline Trail.
Next is breakfast and then to the beach. That's it for the day.
evening we're at the Radisson on the East Shore. I can't imagine why anyone would
stay at this hotel. The beach is almost unswimmable, certainly not fun swimming,
and the place is ugly. For some reason it's packed. Maybe they have cheap rates
for groups because most of the people we see here look like they're part of a
group. We're here for the torchlighting ceremony, not the beach or the facility.
ceremony is free and must last for 30 minutes or more. It's Tahitian, not Hawaiian
but the people performing are very good. I recommend this. You don't even get
hustled to by a drink.
last beach day. Yesterday we shipped the bicycle back to California via UPS. We're
back at Ke'e and this is where we'll be all day. Swim with the turtles and soak
up the sun. Tonight we fly home. The thing we always say about Hawaii is that
it takes awhile to slip into the mood and let all of the mainland become a distant
past. It's a shame that so many people only come here for a week. We've been here
almost three weeks and could easily see ourselves here another three.