We have been back to the daily grind for two weeks now. Is the honeymoon over for us and Kauai yet? Heck no. Kauai reminds me of seeing my wife for the first time. You know you need to find her again, really get to know her, fantasize of spending intimate time with her, and take the plunge of making her a major part of your life. Being away from her only brings longing and sadness and tears, but also hope for some kind of future together.
Day eight, we head from Poipu to Lihue for what? Breakfast. Not anything touristy but breakfast recommended by our townhome owners. Where? At the Tip Top Cafe. The Tip Top kind of surprised us. I am not a big fan of pancakes while my wife is. We both ordered banana-macadamia nut pancakes and Portuguese sausage. I now like pancakes, especially these. Loved seeing a full restaurant, speeding waiters, and people being happy. This place is a must do if you DON'T like pancakes. Made a believer out of me. Then it was off to Costco for week two provisions. Bought Ono fish, fresh shrimp, deli meat, bread, more coffee. Costco took away a lot of the sting from food prices in Kauai. Got back to our townhome, lunched and were off to Port Allen for a sunset cruise. We bought tickets for Kauai Sea Tours catamaran named Lucky Lady. We bought the tickets from a guy with a computer under a tent at the Kapaa tented artisan market area. We weren't going to do many, if any, paid activities while visiting Kauai because there are so many free things to do. We decided between luau or a Napali boat trip if we were going to do anything. Well, I asked the guy at the computer about boat deals. He said Saturdays don't always fill the boats because of tourists arriving and departing and Kauai Sea Tours had the best deal going. So instead of over $100 for a ticket, we bought at $85. We were so happy with this company. Everything surpassed our expectations. The scenery, history, music, Captn Brian, and his crew were so knowledgeable and simply a riot. Brian took the boat under a waterfall, up to turtles for a closer look see, and spotted dolphins so everyone could see and experience what he gets to do every day. Lucky Lady was very nice, and only half full. The juices, drinks and pop refreshing, and the terriaki chicken and stir fried vegetables and rolls and rice was excellent for being on a boat. Sunset was perfect and 200 pictures later we docked and were at peace with the Napali coast. It allowed us to circumnavigate kauai by boat, car and foot. How could I have argued with spending $85 for over four hours of the best beauty on earth, and a great crew? If only one activity on the is;land, this is the one to do folks.
Day nine, and the North Shore is calling us again for a second visit. We visit the lighthouse, the bird sanctuary(same thing, right?). This place was so peaceful and we just were in awe. Then we headed to Anini Beach for rest, beaching it, and snorkeling. The snorkeling was good, but not great. I was a little nervous after talking to a local who cautioned us to be careful of the channel. We watched some fishermen catch fish, but also saw the destructive behavior of three men, easily over 400 pounds each, stand and crush the reef, over and over again. They thought the reef was there for them, not giving one thought to the fragile ecosystem it is. Kind of made me hate tourists, but I am one too. But I "get" not leaving footprints......
Onward to Hanalei, the coolest of island vibes. We just hung here for several hours, caught the sunset, had coffee and headed back to Poipu but not without hitting the New Shrimp Station in Kapaa. We also ate at the Shrimp Station in Waimea. This time we both had the coconut shrimp. If you read my first trip report, yes, I am getting the Pavlov drueling response again over those tasty shrimp!
Day ten, Drive to the North Shore again, the third time from Poipu! We love the lushness, which jebett had been "warning" us about. I am a horticulturist, so the North Shore is like being in a terrarium. But this day had a purpose. We wanted to catch a little bit of the Kalaua Trail. and maybe hike to the beach. Oh my God! We've seen Heaven!
We hiked the most beautiful scenery we've ever enjoyed. Every turn had a new wow, and "it" factor. We hiked to the beach, rested for an hour, had lunch, and fell in love with Hanakapai Beach. It surprises us to see a guy body surfing there, after seeing that 83 people had died here. He reminded of what "being crazy" really means. He was tanned and fit and had two dogs with him, so maybe he knew where it was safe. We then decided to hike to Hanakapai Falls, because it seemed possible for this mid 50's couple. The aromas of guava followed us up the mountain. The stream crossings were comical, and passerby's encouraged us that there would be no regrets. Everyone said "you'll be so glad you went". Well, this "little" 8 hour hike didn't disappoint. This was the very best thing we did in Kauai for sure. The falls were dreamy like, very Eden. We swam in the pool, under the falls, and made out behind the falls, hugging and laughing and crossing off bucket list stuff. The hike back did become grueling, but we did laugh all the way back, at how all we could do was put one foot in front of the other. For the next two days, walking was hurtful. Not one iota of regret though. I will do it again. We swam at Ke'e beach upon our return and now realize we swam with a family who just posted her trip report and the details made me realize we met them. This is too circumstantial and funny. We saw our first monk seals there too.
Day eleven, stayed at condo till after lunch, just chilling and recuperating from the hike yesterday. Poipu Kapili Resort is just so beautiful, so nice, and just the right size. We really felt spoiled there. Headed into Koloa for catching the little shops there. Met artist Christian Rizo and bought three of his prints. Nice guy with a great story. Went to the ukelele shop and met the shops owner and I bought a fish hook necklace so I could feel like a surfer dude. Then found the best T-shirt shop, Pohaku T's. The owner was pretty cool and really cared about the area and came across like the kind of activist I would want to be in this place called Kauai. Then, on to "Da Crack" for take home dinner on the lanai.
This meal was so great! It was really hot still, and the flavors his the spot like no other meal yet. We would have loved to have eaten here more, but that didn't happen. Darn! Next time. Another great sunset.
Day twelve, snorkeled at Poipu Beach. Snorkeling dissappointed us some till we went to the left side of the peninsula, where no one was. Saw the best fish and loved it. Then we drove to Whalers Cove, where the boat landing is. Swam in a wavy area and saw huge turtles which were one to two feet away. Pretty neat when you get eye to eye with such an awesome creature. No kidding, three feet across. Lunch at Koloa fish market for our second time on our trip. We love the flavor of the food and the price can't be beat. Back to condo to clean up and off to Hanapepe. Fun town with great shop owners and beautiful art for the home, or just ones dreams. Wife loves baskets, and me wood bowls, so we now had carry-ons for the trip back! The Cafe and Bakery supplied us with goodies, thier mango pie was mouth watering. Stopped at Koaoa big save for a carton of ice cream which was desert after a shrimp dinner in the condo.
Day thirteen, fourth trip to Hanalei. Got our 11:30 fix of Ono Shave Ice along the way. Stopped at Paco's Taco"s(Turn off before road to lighthouse), which is just a trailer but their ceviche was recommended and delicious. Walked around the shops in Hanalei, bought a print from Moses Hamilton, who due to an unfortunate accident, paints with his mouth. He is so likable, friendly, and very, very talented. Spent lots of time on Lumahai Beach, saw rainbows there like we did a week earlier, got rained on like we did a week earlier, and fell in live with this beach again too. Got sad knowing this trip to the North Shore was our last for this trip. Dinner was BBQ ono on the grill with veggies. North Shore will be missed and it is os lush and beautiful and will be what we think of first when we think of Kauai.
Day fourteen, hit the road for early lunch in Lihue. Humara Saimin was again strongly suggested by our condo owners who have been to Kauai for 23 years. Also, read so much about it on this forum. I didn't get the noodle soup thing till we walked through those doors. This place is popular. Packed. The food and servers are a flying. We sat at the bar and elbowed up to the locals. The saimin was unbelievable. It was so good, as were the chicken strips the chiffon pie. The mustard sauce was to die for if you like a little kick( amped heat) in your soup. Best noodles in the world and they make them there. This place really is an institution and cheaply priced. We checked out the Lihue Marriott. The grounds were beautiful, Dukes had a great vibe going, and the beach looked fun. The high rise and many, many buildings turned us off a bit, but would stay there if there was a good deal. We then went back to Poipu and spent time on the Sheraton Beach, a five minute walk from the Poipu Kapili. Really good snorkeling here. Was surprised at the snorkeling and felt safe. The construction at the Sheraton was going on but was NOT an issue or a disturbance. Dinner was BBQ hamburgers, stir fried veggies with fish Kauai-an ginger.
Day fifteen, the beginning of a slow death, what I imagine water-boarding is like. OUR LAST DAY......Woke up to our first rain and thunder in two weeks. We had been to spouting horn earlier in our trip, but minus the camera, so we headed back with camera. High tide meant great splashes. Saw lots of turtles in the bay there, and saw a school of dolphins swimming for ten minutes. Got pictures and splashes and got rain too. Visited Allerton Gardens, and got great pictures, stunningly beautiful flower shots. Thunder was closing in, so we decided not to do the guided tour. Back to Poipu Beach. We didn't have our camera with when we had seen monk seals ealier, so thought we might see some at this beach. No seals, but a huge turtle was basking there. My wife got the picture. Huge!
We hadn't eaten "fancy" yet on our two week visit. Well, we head to Keoki's because of all the places we'd seen, this looked the most fun. We heard so many good things about it from others. We had our "last meal" here and it was so good. Service, atmosphere, and quality of the food was great. The mahi mahi was excellent. And Hula Pie. Orgasmic!
We had gotten the permission to use the condo till our 9:30 pm flight back. This was so nice. We packed, wound down from our two week high, and set off to the airport later than we should have. We were told you didn't need to get there early because of the size of the airport. Well, it rained most of the day and they had flooding in the tree tunnel road and the cops had a roadblock. We had to detour, which took more time. I missed a turn to the airport (it was dark with the rain making it really dark) and we arrived and had to return the car. When we got to the gate the plane was almost completely boarded. Well, you can say we spent our time in Kauai fully.
We miss Kauai, but feel connected through all the TA's on this forum. We have the best memories of the people, the scenery, and the Poipu Kapili. Everything was perfect!