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Kauai Trip Report Part 2

NJ
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Kauai Trip Report Part 2

Up early to go to out to breakfast with the girls prior to me taking a guided photo tour I had booked that promised to take you to some spots a little off the beaten path.

We went to Eggberts and had veggie omelet, tomato cheese omelet, GREAT banana pancakes (Jack Johnson knows what he’s singing about). The photo tour was pretty cool – the guide was a young semi-pro photographer surfer/hiker dude who seemed to know everybody on the island. Kauai Photo Tours deserves their stellar ratings here on TA.

The van tour had a mix of people, all the way from someone who had to rent a camera for the tour and get a quick tutorial on its use, to semi-serious amateurs such as guy who had a big a*s Canon SLR and used a tripod for everything.

It was a really good way to get a feel for the east and north sides of the island, and it was fun to talk “shop” about photography and pick the guide’s brain about all manner of other island related stuff. I also brought my GPS with me to save location information in case I wanted to return with the girls. We stopped at lotsa different locations.

I pitched doing this tour and to the girls (wife and daughter) doing a spa after we couldn’t come to agreement on pre-booking some other tour. The Napali daysails had just resumed from their extended winter hiatus (seas are too rough), and it appears from stories here and elsewhere that it is not uncommon for folks to get sick on those multi-hour trips.

Even though WE are not prone to that, it could be pretty unpleasant to be around others that are or who don’t take adequate precautions, so we cooled on the idea, saying maybe we can book it while on island if the seas are flat. My wife was also cool to the aerial tours by helicopter or fixed wing for various reasons. I know better at this point to push back too hard.

So I did locate some spas near the condo that they could do, and my daughter was all for it (massage etc), but my wife balked at the cost and said if she is going to drop that kind of cash, maybe shoe would rather have some nice piece of jewelry or something to remind her of the island (she does wear a St. John petroglyph necklace a lot, so go argue with that). Therefore, they were on their own to do some shopping, return to the condo beach and pool, etc. as I went off on the photo tour.

Here are some results from that – first wave of edits that mostly include the first few days of the trip. Hit slideshow in upper left corner to view.

https://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/KauaiEdit

It would be a little time consuming to cross reference the locations with a map and accurately label every photo there. If anybody wants to know where anything pictured might specifically be, one of the cameras does imbed GPS data into the photo so that info may be available if you log onto Google as you look at the photos.

Upon my return, I was shocked to learn that my wife had come around to the idea of doing a helicopter tour after she spent some time researching them on line and seeing them fly around the island. Apparently that made her more comfortable with the whole idea.

During their shopping, they noted some vendors and booths selling various tours and luaus for significantly reduced prices posted on whiteboards, but it turns out that involves sitting through a time share spiel. That wasn’t going to happen, so we called her first choice about availability for the 3 of us the next day, and got an afternoon flight at the reduced internet pre-book price.

Conventional wisdom seems to be that morning is better before fog and clouds build up on Napali, but we seemed to be having the opposite weather patterns so we were comfortable with that. I think that I would’ve preferred the fixed wing tour as they don’t fly as close to the cliffs and everybody gets a window seat = much better for photography. My photo tour guide had confirmed this when I asked about it. But I wasn’t going to push it. So we planned out the next day to do Waimea Canyon early and the heli-tour in the afternoon, and that will be the next part of this trip report.

After my photo tour, I was stoked to show them the north shore so we drove up to charming Hanalei for dinner at the pretty cool tapas bar called Bar Acuda. The style of bar area in this joint would be right at home in any big city.

It was lovely to sit on the side porch and watch the sunset colors play while we enjoyed various small plates such as shrimp Romesco, and inventive versions of bruchetta, mahi, and roasted potatoes, small thin pizza with local goat cheese, all with their own tasty sangria. http://www.restaurantbaracuda.com/

Considering it was “only” tapas, it wasn’t cheap, but it was very good and quite enjoyable.

Next up: Waimea by land and air.

Edited: 24 May 2012, 05:35
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Hanalei
Hanalei
Kauai, HI
Manhattan Beach...
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for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
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1. Re: Kauai Trip Report Part 2

Enjoying your trip reports and the photos so far.

Keep them coming!

Chisago City...
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2. Re: Kauai Trip Report Part 2

Great photos! Thanks for the report!

middletown,ohio
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3. Re: Kauai Trip Report Part 2

I am loving the trip review and the pics are wonderful a great way to start my day.

Can't wait till the next installment :)

California
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4. Re: Kauai Trip Report Part 2

Beautiful pictures!! Look forward to more.

Ontario's Near...
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5. Re: Kauai Trip Report Part 2

Your trip reports are excellent and I will use them as a guide in organizing our Kauai trip for the fall of 2013.

A question - I am trying to decide what area to stay in and I'm curious to know why you choose the east side to rent your condo?

btw- the pictures are most enjoyable!

Milwaukie, Oregon
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6. Re: Kauai Trip Report Part 2

I don't think you mentioned which condo complex you stayed at. Is it Kaha Lani? Looks nice in the photos. I like the eastside and am researching places for my next visit.

Enjoying your reports and pictures.

Volente, Texas
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7. Re: Kauai Trip Report Part 2

Really enjoying your reports! Loved your beautiful photos too. Just curious if about what camera you are using? I am considering getting a new camera before our trip in June. I know great pics are mostly the person behind the camera.....bu, I need all the help I can get!!

Look forward to more trip reports. Really getting excited about our trip by reading about yours! Mahalo.

NJ
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8. Re: Kauai Trip Report Part 2

Yup - its Kaha Lani.

Whatever condo complex you choose, make sure you properly RESEARCH the particular unit you are renting very well in terms of location within the complex (which building? what floor? map of complex? what kind of views will you have?), and upgrades and ammenities within the unit.

Insist on seeing recent photos and are comfortable with the kinds of initial communications you are getting from the owners and/or rental agency.

There is probably a bell curve of the quality of units in any one complex, and you dont want one of the few down at the lower end that havent been well maintained or upgraded, esp in an older complex like Kaha Lani.

As mentioned in Part 1, yeah maybe you give up being a short walk or shorter drive to the some of the more awsome beaches on island, but as first timers who knew they wanted to experience the south side, the canyon, and the north side, staying on the east side made sense re access/travel time. Yes that "Coconut Coast" area is more built up, but that also meant easy access to take out, coffee, ATMs, Safeway, etc.

And, that bike path on that side of the island is an absolute DELIGHT to take. Also, the beautiful Donkey and Moloaa Beaches are pretty close if you want an awesome beach but dont feel like driving all the way up to say Tunnels or Anini.

On a 2nd time trip, I might choose something on the north side as we would be doing more beach and snorkel time vs touring. Very cool vibe up there.

NJ
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9. Re: Kauai Trip Report Part 2

LK - used a Sony a55 SLR and an older but still pretty awesome Canon PowerShot (S series with 12x zoom). I shot some pretty cool HD video with the Sony too that I have to get around to editing.

No matter what camera you use, a HUGE difference maker (especially with tropical photos involving water) is use of a circular polarizing filter. You rotate the filter until you see the “polarizing” effect (glare and reflections knocked down, water color changes, edges of clouds better defined, etc.) Think sunglasses for your camera. It will really make your midday photos POP.

In point and shoot cameras, I think the PowerShots are one of the few types that can even accommodate a lens filter (requires an adaptor “kit”).

Also, when shooting darker mountains and even seascapes with bright clouds in the sky, you sometimes need to limit the sky to a third or less in the top of the frame or else your camera will overcompensate for that brightness and the earthly portions of the image will be too dark. Or lock in the exposure on the land and then re-compose with more sky before you trip the shutter.

Volente, Texas
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10. Re: Kauai Trip Report Part 2

Thanks for the tips.....maybe why my early morning and sunset pics are always better! I am a point & shoot person. I love taking pictures but just can't deal with the size & weight of a SLR. I have an old PS SD800 IS Elph which still takes good pics but doesn't have the bigger zoom I would like. I'm looking at the Canon Power shot SX260HS which has a 20x zoom. I will check whether it can accomodate a filter.