A little R&R Hawaiian style

When I got laid off a little over a month ago I decided to book a trip to Kauai. I was going to go the end of June but airfare was too high and we ended up having my mother’s memorial service that week. So I wouldn’t say that this trip to Kauai last week was spur of the moment.

I was lucky enough on short notice to be able to use miles on Alaska Airlines. I got to the gate in Seattle and shortly after an agent announced that they had one 1st class paid upgrade available. I leaped to the counter and grabbed the upgrade for $150. It was so worth the money to have a comfy seat and good service for the 5 1/2 flight.

I arrived at the Kauai Marriott about 8:30PM and had excellent service checking in. The woman found a room and told me that she wanted to make sure it was ready. She called housekeeping to double check and told me that it was a really good room and she didn’t want to lose it. It was dark so I couldn’t see anything other than the pool and hotel lights from my lanai. I woke during the night and opened the door and could hear the waves close by. In the morning I could see that I had a fantastic view of the pool and the beach.

The hotel grounds were lush, green with plumeria and palm trees. There is a Koi pond just outside of the lobby.

There were tons of Koi in this pond and Hawaiian Ducks around and in the pond too.

In the large open air lobby there is this outrigger canoe displayed. It was made with a beautiful local hardwood.

My room was very comfortable. It had a love-seat, desk, mini fridge and that fabulous view.

The Kauai Marriott was a great vacation spot. I would stay there again. The bad side of flying Seattle – Lihue direct is that the return flight leaves at 8:00AM. That would be pretty painful if the Lihue airport  was a major city’s airport but it’s not. The airport is small and Alaska Airlines is off to one end of the check in counter all by itself. Unfortunately there  was not a 1st class upgrade for the flight back to Seattle. Trust me, I asked.

I did not take very many photos but this trip. You can see some of my favorite Kauai photos from previous trips over to the left on Flikr or go to the Photos tab to get to my Webshots photo albums. Here’s one album from last summer’s trip to Kauai.

Chickens every where. What’s up with that?

Kauai, HA

9/11/92 Hurricane Iniki a cat 4 hit Kauai bang on and destroyed several chicken farms that were not totally prepared for the hurricane which had not been predicted to hit Kauai directly. The path of Iniki shifted unpredictably overnight and caused major damage. To this day you will see feral chickens literally everywhere. At the beach, at resorts, in parking lots, in the streets of Lihue, at the airport, etc.

Still thinking about Kauai

We had such a good trip to Kauai that I can’t stop thinking about going back again next summer. Meanwhile to keep the Hawaiian spirit on the top of my mind I have been listening to a couple of my favorite Hawaiian musicians.

Uncle Willie K‘s home town is Lahaina, Maui. Here’s another video with some clips of the islands.

One of my other favorite Hawaiian musicians is Bill Keale. Bill grew up in Hawaii but now lives in Bend, OR. Bill’s cousin was the famous Hawaiian musician Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole. A couple of years ago I was in the Portland Airport heading somewhere for work and I thought that I heard Hawaiian music. Sure enough Bill was set up playing and had his newly released CD With Aloha for sale. I might not have ever heard of Bill Keale if it were not for the coincidence that I was was flying out of PDX on the day he was there playing his music.

Listen to  Aloha Is by Bill Keale. (I followed the directions to display the audio player but it won’t work for me.)

Not only is Bill Keale a talented musician but he gives back to his community in the true meaning of Aloha.

“The Bill Keale Foundation has just been awarded The High Desert Education Service District Award for 10 years of service in supporting the special needs children of Central Oregon.”

A few more Kauai photos

This sunset photo was taken from the driveway of the condo complex we stayed at. It looked like a fire behind the trees. I wanted to go up to the rooftop of the parking garage, 4th floor to take a sunset photo but never did for some reason.

Hanapepe seems to be having pretty hard times. The small town is so much more run down looking than when I was last there two years ago. There are still art galleries but I think this sign is out dated as I don’t believe there are 16 of them anymore.

A nice welcome sign to Poipu where we stayed. We were just a bit down the road from this sign. Directly across the street is a huge new development with shops and restaurants. According to the concierge at the condos we stayed at the work came to an abrupt halt when the banks started to have problems. So now the buildings are sitting there unfinished with boarded up windows.

My ice tea in a coozie I bought the last time I was on the island.

A beautiful home  behind this fence across the street from Kalihiwai Bay. Look closely and you will see one of the infamous Kauai roosters

Sunset over the ridge of Waimea Canyon.

This is Lydgate Beach Park. There is a sea wall making a nice safe pool for swimming and snorkeling. It was a bit rough this day so the snorkeling was not good. But we had fun just floating in the pool. To the north is an even smaller shallow pool for the little ones. As with most state or county parks in Hawaii there is a lifeguard, outdoor showers, nice restroom facilities and picnic tables. When Tara was little we spent many days at this park on our annual Kauai vacations.

Tara’s fried ice cream at the Thai restaurant in Nawiliwili Harbor shopping plaza. It looks almost identical to the dish that my friend Ralph had at Om on Isla. The ice cream tasted like a fresh donut only better.

Tara complained about the spot I picked to sit on the beach at Salt Pond Beach Park because it was a shallow area surrounded by rocks. Another sea wall like pool like the one at Lydgate but this one is natural not man made. However once Tara got the snorkel and mask on she floated around for a really long time collecting the tiniest little perfect sea shells.

I just love the look of palms against a blue sky.

Old town Koloa from a moving jeep.

The tree tunnel on the road toward Koloa and Poipu.

Maluhia Road, South Kauai
Walter Duncan McBryde, a Scotchman who began cattle ranching in South Kauai, planted these Eucalyptus Trees over 150 years ago. The trees once formed a beautiful canopy over the highway before two hurricanes damaged the tops of the trees.

The tree tunnel was starting to nicely recover from the damage of Hurricane Iwa (1982) when Hurricane Iniki (9/11/92) hit as a cat 5  and caused major damage again.

Mt. Wai’ale the rainiest spot on the planet. Of course it can’t be seen in this photo because it was covered in clouds.

“A common question is why Mount Waiʻaleʻale is the wettest spot on earth averaging more than 460 inches of rain each year at the summit. The answer is three-fold. Its northern position relative to the main Hawaiian Islands provides more exposure to frontal systems that bring rain during the winter. It has a relatively round and regular conical shape, exposing all sides of its peak to winds and the moisture that they carry. Finally, its peak lies just below the so-called trade wind inversion layer of 6,000 feet (1,800 m), above which trade-wide-produced clouds cannot rise.”

The last photo was taken on the drive to the airport to go home. So it truly is the last photo I took this trip. I am already planning on going back to Kauai next summer.

Kauai July 2009 – Na Pali boat tour

This was a fabulous boat tour of the Na Pali coast. We saw a huge pod of Hawaiian Spinner dolphins, many sea turtles, Tara and Kelly snorkeled, the trip included a good deli lunch and the views were awesome. We only went in two sea caves since it was a larger boat than I planned on going on. I booked a smaller boat tour with Kahana Charters but it turns out that they also book under the name of Liko Kauai Cruises . Since they had too many people for the small boat and not enough others for the big boat we all went on the big boat which only takes 34 passengers max. I think there were about 20 people on the boat. Well worth the $140 per person for over 5 hours of fun. This was the 2nd most awesome thing that I have ever done in Hawaii. The first being the Na Pali tour I took two years ago in a much smaller boat.

I had a hard time selecting which photos to post since after editing I ended up with 89 photos from this day.

Tara, Kelly and I sat in the front row seats. As we got quite aways out on the tour we encountered some pretty big waves that were jarring to the back and butt. As Tara said “it was fun until it wasn’t fun anymore”. On the way back into port Mindy told me she saw whitecaps up ahead and said they were going to stop the boat and get the people off the bow and we should move to the back if we didn’t want a really rough ride. No thanks, been there, done that!!! Even in the last row of seats it was rough. But it was more fun than banging up and down and killing my back and butt.

 

This boat was custom built on Kauai for the Na Pali tours
This boat was custom built on Kauai for the Na Pali tours
Fishing boats at the Port Allen marina

Fishing boats at the Port Allen marina

Navy ships loading up

Navy ships loading up

Kauai is home of the Pacific Missile Range which encompasses 42,000 sq. miles of sea and air space and has minimal encroachments. The underwater tracking range extends over a 1000 sq. miles areas. PMRF features a state of the art instrumentation suite & communication network.  About 17 miles of prime beach front property is owned here by the US Military. On our boat trip there was a Navy weapons recovery ship stationed out a ways to block traffic for missile launches. We didn’t see any missiles being launched but the boat crew said unless a missile crashed and burned in the water it really was a non spectator event. Also on Kauai high above the beach in the moutains is the NASA tracking station which can be seen from the ocean.
Here is a view of the bases beach

Here is a view of the base's beach

I love the contrast of the funky old fishing boat and the nice cat

I love the contrast of the funky old fishing boat and the nice cat

Heading out to sea

Heading out to sea

  

The sea was a beautiful blue this day

The sea was a beautiful blue this day

 

 

Off in the distance is the island of Niihau

Off in the distance is the island of Niihau

 

Niihau is the smallest inhabited island in the Hawaiian island chain and it has no roads, no hotels, and no restaurants. It is located about 20 miles west of the island of Kauai. For the most part, access to Niihau is limited to the approximately 300 residents who live there, but a there are a few limited tours available from Kauai.

 

Polihale Beach, the end of the road

Polihale Beach, the end of the road

 

 

Spinner dolphins

Spinner dolphins

This is when I learned that my Flip Video camera has no low battery warning after I was about 2 minutes into filming the dolphins and my battery died. I hadn’t saved the video so I lost it. This was when I got the “practice what you preach” comment from Kelly because I said to Tara the night before to make sure her camera battery was fully charged.

 

I could just post a ton of photos of the beauty of the Na Pali coast but I won’t.

 

 

 

 

More waterfalls would be seen in the winter months

More waterfalls would be seen in the winter months

 

 

Inside one of the sea caves

Inside one of the sea caves

 

 

Snorkel and lunch stop

Snorkel and lunch stop

 

Look at the color of that water

Look at the color of that water

 

 

I did not need to snorkel to see the fish

I did not need to snorkel to see the fish