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

DAY 1
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."

DAY 2
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.

DAY 3
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.

DAY 6
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.


video video