Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fun in Hawaii

We recently spent a week on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. But this time we met up with Pat and Ellen Warren, our good friends that used to live in San Jose; now in Albuquerque. They had never been to Hawaii before... but their luggage had made a round trip without them (but that's another story).

You can click on most of the pictures to get a larger view

Here is where were stayed in Princeville. This island is known as the Garden Island. It gets an average of over 400 inches of rain a year! We think that's more than Seattle gets.

A very picturesque view of Hanalei Valley just down the road from where we stayed. That's the Hanalei River at the left. Taro plant grows well here. The roots of the Taro plant are used to make the famous Hawaiian "poi" that everyone just loves to eat.

A view of Hanalei Bay in the foreground. The (short) pointy peak at the right end of the mountains in the background is at the end of the road near Ke'e Ke'e Beach (a picture of that beach later.) There is no "freeway" on Kauai. The main road only goes around 3/4 of the island leaving the northwest part of the island free of vehicles. The road is mostly two lanes wide; some sections have an additional passing lane for uphill traffic. The TOP speed limit on the main road in very few places is 50 mph. You'll see some pictures later of the extremely rugged and spectacularly beautiful Na Pali Coast on the northwest.

We ate at Bubba's Burgers in Hanalei the first night. Much better than McDonald's and not as good as In 'n Out Burgers (or Kirk's Steakburgers) in our opinion. Bubba's motto is "We relish your buns."

We travelled along the picturesque north road to the very end. This picture is at the far west end of "Nurses' Beach" (actually Lumahai Beach) where Mitzi Gaynor sang "I'm Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta My Hair" in the movie South Pacific.
This is a dry cave with Pat at the very far end, Ellen in the middle and Julie in the foreground. It was formed by a lava tube .

Now for a wet cave... also a lava tube but there is no way for the water to escape. It's an interesting shade of blue.

Ke'e Ke'e beach at the end of the road on the northwest. A nice lagoon sheltered from the waves of the Pacific Ocean by some reefs several hundred feet out from the shoreline. Very popular for snorkeling.

Some very interesting root systems on these trees at Ke'e Ke'e Beach.

On the way back on the north highway, we turned onto a residential (dirt) road to see how the locals live. A sign said "local residents only." At very frequent intervals along this road there were signs admonishing us to "slow down", etc. By the time we got about a mile down the road we were going so slow that we almost had to shift into reverse. When we finally decided to turn around we saw this sign and laughed our heads off.

Before going to dinner this night we thought we would go to the end of the road where our apartment was to see the extremely expensive and posh Ritz Hotel. Here is the entrance...

... and the lobby...

... and a view west from the outside balcony at sunset. Wow! Loved it.

So then we drove down to Hanalei and ate at the Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant.

Had some great seafood, although Pat an Ellen didn't look too happy for some reason. Maybe it was the price of the meal.

This was the day we reserved for the so-called dinner cruise. Well, we wouldn't call it a cruise or a real dinner but it was fun nevertheless on a catamaran with a capacity of maybe 40 people. We took off from the south-central part of the island (Port Allen) and headed west around the island to the Na Pali Coast Line. Somewhat choppy water. Breath taking views.

There were actually two boats for Captain Andy's large group. This is the duplicate of our boat from Captain Andy's Sailing Adventures.

The entire Na Pali Coast is very rugged like this dotted with out of the ordinary rock formations, caves, occasional sandy beaches...

... beautifully blue and clear water.

The little spit of flat land at the left in this picture is Ke'e Ke'e Beach as viewed from the south. We were there the day before by road at the north. It was right about here that I dropped my cell phone overboard. Oops! So at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean there is some fish answering our phone. Gurgle, gurgle!

Don't you just love this picture. So many jagged ridges on this coast line; like no other in the world.

After turning around to go back to Port Allen, they served chicken, beef, salad, rice, and bread buffet style. Our laps were our tables. But the food was good and we are not complaining. The captain was trying to make good time back. This was a four-hour round trip. We went through the edge of a fierce rain squall. Several people on board lost their meals at the back end of the boat along the "too much fun" rail.

Day 5
We drove to a waterfall called Opaekaa Falls. It is inland a little ways from Kapa'a along the east central part of the island.
In that same area is a restored Hawaiian Village (kinda like a museum). The setting reminded us somewhat of the tropical rain forests we saw in Nigeria. Here is a thatched hut with palm leaves for a roof and banana trees.

There was a guy in one of the huts weaving baskets and hats. Those are coconuts in the lower right.

Ellen bought a basket.
They told us we could pick any fruit we found there and take it with us. Pat has a coconut.

These bananas were not ripe so we didn't take any.

This is the famous Noni fruit that cures all aches and pains. At least it did until the Acai Berry came along. We took a Noni fruit with us but when we tried to cut into it later it was not ripe. So we don't know how it tastes.

This is a Breadfruit. It was about the size of a cantaloupe. We cut it open and cooked it. It has the consistency of a potato but it needs some kind of flavoring to make it better. We found some recipes for Breadfruit but we had none of the ingredients.

A gecko on one of the thatched roofs

We don't know what this tree is called with the strange looking roots, but we saw several of them around the island.

A lovely Plumeria flower for Julie

This is a petroglyph carved in the rock from some old Hawaiian history. So you don't think you can make out what it represents? Well, this rock had rolled down the hill years ago and landed on its side. Rotate it 90 degrees counter clockwise and you can make out a "running man."

This is called the "Love Rock." It's not what you first think from the name. Observe the shape and notice the crack. It's a "broken heart."

We saw these strange natives and thought we should get a picture of them.

After the Hawaiian village, we went to the famous "spouting horn." It's kinda acts like a geyser except it is a lava tube fed by waves. It's a very touristy spot so there are all these little gift shops with jewelry that you have to pass by to get to the horn. Julie got a nice braclet for only $2.00. Not bad.

The wave forces water through the lava tube and spits it out the opening at the top. (video below)

We also went to the "Grand Canyon" of Hawaii on this day. It's called Waimea Canyon. The first "view point" is at about 4,000 feet elevation. Unfortunately, it was raining up on the mountain that day and all we saw was clouds and we got soaked checking it out. But if we could have seen it clearly, it would have looked like this panoramic picture of the canyon we took in 2008 when we were there.

The Kilauea Point Wildlife Sanctuary and Lighthouse. This is the northern-most point in Hawaii. It is home to Leysan Albatrosses, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, Great Frigate birds, and (my favorite) Red-footed Boobies. It is also home to home to Hawaiian Monk Seals, Green Turtles, and, in winter, Humpback Whales.

We saw this baby bird preening itself along the trail. Not sure what kind it is.

After such a busy week, Julie and I went swimming in the Pacific at Anini Beach (the Kilouea Lighthouse in the background on the right (you can almost see it). The water was warm and very Salty. I am a real "sinker" when it comes to water. I was able to float here as if I were in the Great Salt Lake. The little island in the center used to be attached to the main part of the land years ago. The Warren's went swimming in the resort pool and spent time in the outdoor spa.

A good time was had by all.
Now for a video of the Spouting Horn and one of an Albatross at the wildlife sanctuary.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A movie from the Christensen Reunion

At the Christensen reunion in July one of the activities was wake-boarding at Lake Lowell in Uncle Mike's boat. Here is a video of Kristen and her attempts to get up. She finally makes it. HOORAY!! I tried getting this movie out on some downloadable site so you can see it with better qaulity than in this blog but this looks like an easy way to get it out there. Quality later.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Weekend in Monterey

We have had this "vacation" on our calendar for a few months and looked forward to going to Monterey for a fun weekend. It's only 70 miles south of us. We have been there on countless day-trip over the years... but we never really stayed there overnight. We decided to make a 4-day, 3-night stay at the plush Monterey Plaza Hotel on Cannery Row.

Well, perhaps it wasn't that plush... we had an "inland view" rather than a "bay view" but we loved it just the same. This is our room.

And this is a view from the plaza behind the hotel. A dolphin fountain on the right.

You get an interesting perspective from the side and can see how the hotel is actually built out into Monterey Bay.

Old Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey is a touristy place ...

... but there weren't a lot of people there until the weekend

It's next to the marina. Here you can see some old fisherman displaying his catch.

We checked out a number of restaurants on the wharf. This one right out on the end had an observation deck looking out over the bay. This old guy was holding up his lantern to light the way. The old Monterey Fish Company is located on the pier to the right in the background.

Well, after checking out a lot of the restaurants and trying all their clam chowder samples, we picked Old Fisherman's Grotto (you like the guy out front welcoming us in?) ...

... and ordered a bowl of their famous clam chowder ...

... and a delicious carmel apple pie with strawberries and ice cream. How is that for a presentation? We were sorry to have to destroy its appearance but the taste was out of this world.

Cannery Row is a must-visit place in Monterey. In its hey-day (1917-1950) it produced a major part of the world's supply of canned sardines. The canneries failed after the collapse of the fishing industry in Monterey Bay in the mid-1950s. Before that, the fishery was one of the most productive in the world due to the rising of cold, nutrient-rich water from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean that is funneled to the surface via the vast underwater Monterey Canyon. In 1945, John Steinbeck wrote his famous book "Cannery Row" whose characters were based on the lives of many of his acquaintances and conditions in the fishing industry. Here is a view of modern Cannery Row with the street overcrossings for the canneries now preserved but with modern markings.

Julie had to walk through a lot of the overcrossinhs just for fun.

But even though this is a touristy spot, there is a lot of history preserved in places such as this "Wax Museum" where a history is told of this part of California in a very well done presentation.

In Steinbeck's book, one of the characters was Lee Chong, a shrewed Chinese owner and operator of the neighborhood grocery store. Lee Chong and his store were modeled after the Wing Chong market. The building still exists today and is still owned by the Chong family.
Immigrants from several nations (Portugal, China, the Phillipines, and others) lived in little shacks such as these that are still preserved here. ["Future house!!!"; ... an inside joke]

Another of Steinbeck's characters was Doc. He was a marine biologist who studied and collected sea creatures from all along the California coast. Doc was based on Steinbeck's friend Ed Ricketts. Ricketts was a noted marine biologist. This is Rickett's real Pacific Biological Laboratories, which stood at 800 Cannery Row in which he lived and worked from 1928 to 1948.

Here is Ricketts' building as it appeared in the early 1940's. It looks pretty much the same.

What vacation to an old historical place is complete without a visit to an antique mall? It was fun to wander around in here for an hour or so. No... we didn't buy anything.

There is so much fun sea life to see in Monterey Bay. Here is a sea lion balancing on a rock. It stayed there for a long time without moving except to look around occasionally.

A star fish in a tide pool.

At the end of this blog is a video of some sea otters playing in the kelp beds. Good stuff.

One of our unique and fun things was to take a Hollywood Movie Tour bus around Monterey where we saw the places, heard the stories behind, and watched movie clips from movies made in the Monterey area over the years. Part of this movie tour took us on the famous 17-Mile Drive.

Of course there were the normal scenic things to stop at beside learning about the movies. This is the Lone Cypress growing out on the rocks. This tree has been around for along time. They estimate it will last for another 40 years at least and then they'll have to come up with another tree to plant in its place (maybe plastic the next time :)

By the way, this is picture of what it looked like 76 years ago. My dad, J.T. Lindsey, took this picutre in 1923 when he made a tour of California from Utah. Not much has changed.

While we were at Cypress Point we found these to crows getting rather cozy in an old dead tree. Love is blind. [I've got an 18x lens on my digital camera that makes these shots possible. Just incredible!]

This is the back of the Pebble Beach Lodge. We wanted to do this picutre especially because we had just watched scene (on the Movie Tour bus) from a 1956 movie named "Julie" (with Doris Day playing Julie). In the movie, Doris ran up these stairs and into the lodge. Here here is a modern-day Julie going up the same stairs and into the Lodge.

Just for your information, The Pebble Beach Company owns all the land within the 17 Mile Drive, in the last few years was sold by a Japanese company [who were very good stewards of the property, by the way] to three well known people (Clint Eastwood, Arnold Palmer and Peter Uberroth) and about a hundred other lesser known, but wealthy individuals.

Whike at the Lodge we ate lunch at The Tap Room. Great sandwiches!

From the back of the Lodge we have this famous view of the 18th hole at the Pebble Beach golf course. Green fees on this course are $495... but that's not all. In order to play golf here, they also require that you stay at least TWO NIGHTS at the lodge!

Don't you just love the crutch on this oak tree?

We just had to show you one more restaurant scene. This is Domenico's at Fisherman's Wharf. We loved the food there, too. Julie had a shrimp pasta and I had tilapia.

On Sunday, we decided to go to church at the Monterey Ward (real close to the 17 Mile Drive). When we got there the parking lot was just jam-packed and out onto the street. Turns out they were creating a new ward that day. Now there are the Monterey 1st and 2nd Wards. The bishop of the Monterey Ward (now 1st Ward) was retained. His name is Bishop Fazal Hussein from the Middle East. It would be interesting to hear how he joined the church and how he came to be in Monterey. A very good meeting and some very spiritual thoughts from the stake president and the two bishops. We even saw three people there we knew in San Jose.

We had a wonderful weekend.