Monday, March 23, 2015

A lovely Kauai sojourn

Frank captured the iconic Hanalei pier gilded by the early-morning sun.
Frank and I just returned from a much-needed holiday on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Our vacation spanned the first 18 days of March, and was marked by stormy weather, outdoor adventures and rich cultural experiences.
My new best friend is Petie, an Eclectus parrot.
Luckily for us, our trip dates coordinated with the vacation of Frank's old friend, Ted Hackie, who lives in the community of Princeville, Kauai, with his wife, Josephine. Ted and Josephine were due for a rare trip to the mainland, and were happy to have us stay in their house in exchange for pet care while they were gone.

We were in charge of Petie, a bossy but entertaining Eclectus parrot; Kola, a sweet and smart cream-colored golden retriever; and Kitty Boy, a low-maintenance ragdoll cat. I don't have any images of Kitty Boy, but you can watch a short video clip of the dog-and-bird game.
Petie gives me a kiss.

So, we had use of a comfortable and conveniently located house, a "local's" car (better, in our opinion, than a rental), a variety of recreational toys, and 2 ½ weeks of unscheduled time. What better?!! Adventure ho!

Paddling the Wailua River
One day we paddled Ted's sit-on-top kayak up the Wailua River, stopping for a hike through the jungle to Secret Falls (a bit of a misnomer, but nice), a visit to Fern Grotto (meh), to the upper reaches of the Wailua's paddle-able waters.

Another day we drove three-quarters of the way around the island to Kekaha, where Frank surfed a swell that traveled to us from the South Pacific. Brilliant sunshine and strong offshore winds produced some stunning ocean images.
Kekaha Beach with the island of Niihau barely visible on the left.
Kekaha Beach
Hula students in Hanapepe
On the way home from Kekaha we stopped in the historic town of Hanapepe for its Friday evening art walk, where we nibbled our way through the excellent food vendors, and watched some young hula dancers practicing on the lawn. Hanapepe has retained the Old-West look of a sugar plantation town, while the local economic alliance has encouraged artists, craftspeople and value-added producers like Anahola Granola and Lappert's Ice Cream, to set up shop there.

The famous and photogenic Queen's Bath is just a five-minute walk from Ted's house. Signs are everywhere warning visitors about dangerous surf conditions and rogue waves that will wash people out to sea, yet every year several numbskulls are killed there.
Queen's Bath
Laurelle at Queen's Bath
Frank at Queen's Bath

We hiked the first section of the Kalalau Trail on the roadless Na Pali Coast, stopping at wind-swept Hanakapi'ai Beach and turning up the Hanakapi'ai Valley to the stunning 100-foot falls, where fairy-like white-tailed tropic birds circled before the vertical basalt cliff faces.
Frank and Laurelle on the Kalalau Trail
Hanakapi'ai Falls
On the beach at Hanakapi'ai
Other birds we were pleased to view (but didn't photograph), most of which are not "loggable" in our Sibley app, include the Laysan albatross, red-tailed tropicbird, red-footed booby, and great frigatebird - all at the Kilauea Lighthouse National Wildlife Refuge, a breathtaking spot and the northernmost point of the main Hawaiian Islands. In the wet taro fields around Hanalei we saw the endemic nene goose, the Hawaiian moorhen, also endemic, and the endemic Hawaiian stilt. We encountered the friendly little 'elepaio, a wren-like forest bird, on more than one hike, as well as two kinds of introduced cardinals, several species of doves, cattle egrets and of course, the ubiquitous red junglefowl (aka chickens).
I say goodbye at the airport with a Blue Hawaiian.

Cacao pods (red) growing along with the vanilla orchid
Poi making in Waipa
Two of the major highlights of our Kauai visit were cultural experiences: poi making with a community group dedicated to furthering Hawaiian culture, and a "tour de chocolate," which covered the basics of growing cacao and turning it into chocolate. I have so much to say about those two activities that I'm going to address them in a second blog post: Stay tuned, more to come.


  1. Yes, more, Laurelle! Standing by.... :-D Love the photos - you look in your element!

  2. Beautiful photos. I went to Kauai 22 years ago and I would love to go back with Tony.

  3. Gorgeous. You are making me envious.