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TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

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TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

Day Five

Another early morning, another stunning sunrise. Today we went on the kayak and hike to the Secret Falls with Ali’i Kayaks. DH was hesitant since neither of us had ever been in a kayak before. I should have listened to him. Our guide was Kimo – he was great. The problems began soon after we left the channel and entered the river – DH was struggling to figure out the paddling and I was struggling to keep us moving in the right direction. Before we knew it, we were headed right into the heavily wooded shore bank. DH tried to reach out to grab a branch of an overhanging bush or tree and he flipped the kayak. Kimo got our kayak uprighted, our ‘dry’ bag back on board and managed to get us both seated. (Someone on here had recommended some waterproof pouches for snorkeling – we had ordered one and had our camera and smart phone in it. I highly recommend getting one of these! I was so afraid our camera and phone would be ruined, but they both came out perfectly dry.)

I should have insisted we turn around right then, but didn’t. DH and I figured out a method to keep us moving a little better (although a lot slower than all the other kayakers) and we made it to the trail head. We had packed too much food and beverages and besides the fact that we were still soaked from our dunking, now DH had to lug our heavy pack on the trail.

We are not hikers, but I stupidly assumed that if we were hiking to the falls, we would be hiking along the river – not up and down hillsides. Fortunately the trail was pretty dry, otherwise I don’t think we would have made it.

DH was still shaken from our dunking and the hiking and I had to goad him into swimming out to the falls once we reached them. It was pretty cool (literally and figuratively). I was surprised by all the rocks – not sure what I expected, but tripping and stumbling over rocks and boulders to get to the falls was not what I had imagined! We made the return hike and kayaked back to the dock without any major incidents, but neither of us could say we enjoyed this adventure at all. I’m glad we tried it though, because now we know what NOT to do on our future travels!

Dinner that night was at Puka Dogs and after wandering around Whaler’s General Store we called it a night.

Day Six

Another day, another spectacular sunrise – I could get used to this! We lazed around the condo, finally leaving around 1:00 p.m. to check out the Spouting Horn. Pretty cool! Wandered around the vendor booths, but didn’t buy anything. Drove to Big Save in Koloa and bought dinner stuff and after unloading at the condo, walked to Prince Kuhio Park and took some photos.

Back at the condo DH was doing his daily check on his honu buddies and spotted something different. There were 1 large and 3 small rays swimming in the bay, skillfully avoiding a teenaged snorkeler who was focused on the honu – he never saw the rays at all. This was pretty entertaining viewing for a couple of landlocked Midwesterners!

Day Seven

After breakfast, which included yet another slice of pie, we headed up north. Took a detour to Kmart where we found the malasada lady’s shack. Hung out until 10:45 a.m. when she started serving and enjoyed some hot, fresh malasadas. Drove up to Ke’e – very crowded so we turned around and stopped at Tunnels. Took a stroll down the left side of the beach where it wasn’t as crowded and took a dip in the ocean. Stopped for some photos at the caves and then back to Bubba’s Burgers for lunch. Yes, they are overhyped for what you get, but we had to try them once.

Stopped at Kilauea Lighthouse – DH had never seen a lighthouse ‘in person’ before and it was too bad they are renovating it. Did enjoy the beautiful views and I’m glad we went all the way to the lighthouse itself instead of just taking photos from the upper parking lot like a lot of folks were doing.

On our way back to Poipu, we stopped at the Kauai Arts and Crafts shop and bought red dirt t-shirts for the family back home.

The north shore was definitely greener and more tropical-looking than the south. We didn’t think it would be THAT much different as we considered Poipu to be pretty green – but there is a very distinct and noticeable difference between the two areas. The one-lane bridges were interesting and getting stuck in ‘traffic’ on Kauai was nothing like getting stuck in traffic back home!

Day Eight

Yes, I enjoyed another dramatic sunrise while finishing off the lilikoi pie. Tomorrow is departure day and I did not want to think about that at all. So off we went to Polihale State Park. After the lushness of the north shore the day before, this west side is another environment entirely. I had to convince DH to drive the Chevy Aveo on the unpaved road – it was completely dry and so very bumpy and when we hit the sandy stretch, DH was about ready to call it quits. But with my encouragement (he might refer to it as ‘nagging’), we made it to the end and oh, what a view! Totally worth the trip and I’m so glad we did it. We stayed about an hour or so and then headed back to Hanapepe for bento lunches from Ishihara Market (DH had ‘surf & turf’ and I had sausages & spam) followed by more shave ice from Jo Jo Anuenue.

Back at the condo, reality set in and it was time to unload the car, clean out the coolers, etc. and start packing. So sad to think of leaving this beautiful island!

Day Nine

Final dazzling sunrise from the lanai before heading home {sigh}. Stopped at Hilo Hatties for last-minute souvenirs then drove to Wailua Falls for one last round of scenic photos – the tour buses were unbelievable, parking just anywhere and pretty much blocking people in. Glad we saved this stop for last. Visited the malasada lady one last time and filled up at Costco before returning the rental car.

The check-in through Hawaiian Airlines for our mostly Delta flights was a little confusing, but we got through it all. There were no upgrades of any sort available on our flights home. The flight to Honolulu was uneventful. The flight to Atlanta, however, was horrid. The plane looked decrepit when it pulled up to the gate. The seats were extremely uncomfortable and we had the entire gamut of unpleasant flight experiences – screaming kids, annoying drunks, inconsiderate youngsters in the row ahead of us, unpleasant aromas emitted from the latrines, very limited food options – we got virtually no sleep on our overnight flight and arrived in Atlanta completely exhausted. After that experience, the flight to St. Louis was a breeze although it was also on an older, smaller plane and not very comfortable. I will think long and hard before booking us on Delta flights in the future.

Overall, DH and I agreed that this was our best vacation ever! DH would like to go back to Kauai every other year from now on and I’m inclined to agree with him on that. Thank you so much to all who contribute on the Kauai forum – your advice was extremely helpful and definitely made our trip much more interesting and enjoyable.


denville, nj
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1. Re: TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

Thanks for the trip report. Sorry your kayak trip wasn't great but it sounds like you made the best of it and have become a Kauai lover

I'm most impressed by the fact that you were able to make a lillikoi pie last for 8 days. That's will power :-)

North Myrtle Beach...
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2. Re: TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

Enjoyed your trip report! Yep, I would say you have contracted that disease called Kauai-itis!!!

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3. Re: TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

Thanks so much for sharing your trip reports. Kauai is so amazing and all the sides are different aren't they? We also stayed at Kuhio Shores and kayaked to Secret Falls. I loved the kayak trip though, but we did not tip over so I am sure that made a difference.

new hampshire
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4. Re: TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

Sorry your canoe flipped! We were in Kauai around the same time and we miss it so.

We have an upcoming trip to Oahu in December on Delta - through Atlanta, hope it goes better than your flight.

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5. Re: TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

Thank you for the report, really enjoyed reading it!

Kaua'i, HI
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6. Re: TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

Aloha from Kaua'i!

Glad you had a (mostly) good trip here to Kaua'i - not everyone is a kayaker, don't worry about it!

"The north shore was definitely greener and more tropical-looking than the south. We didn’t think it would be THAT much different as we considered Poipu to be pretty green – but there is a very distinct and noticeable difference between the two areas."

Just to comment on this - while the North Shore is definitely normally the "green and lush" side of the island - the South Shore in particular is experiencing drought conditions right now - we haven't had a really good rainfall in months now - so things are about as dry as they get here unfortunately. The trade-off being of course that it is drier and sunnier here year-round than the lovely (but sometimes rainy) North Shore.

Polihale is fabulous and I'm glad you risked it and went out there cautiously. Such a wonderful payoff with the Na Pali cliffs right there so dramatically framing the end of the beach to the west. Ishihara Market has, in many folks opinion, the best deli and bentos on island - so glad you got to try that as well. I just was there yesterday and had a breakfast bento of rice and kamaboko omelette - so ono!

Mahalo for your Trip Report - I hope you'll be back here soon!

Malama Pono,


Kauai, Hawaii
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7. Re: TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

Hmmmm. Likikoi pie, 2 trips to Jojo's and 2 trips to the malasada shack. You clearly have your priorities in the right order. :)

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8. Re: TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

Oh that lilikoi pie - at one point we were sure it was replicating itself in the refrigerator during the day while we were out enjoying the island! It was very hard not to empty that pie pan after the first bite and I sure wish I had access to one right now ... yep, the Kauai bug has bitten us both and we are already making plans to return.

Chisago City...
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9. Re: TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

Thanks for your report. We could relate to the kayak story. We went on the same adventure. Did not tip over but were in the rear most of the time and my husband stumbled & fell on the hiking path removing a large chunk of skin on the top of his foot that took a long time to heal. After beaching our kayak to begin the hike, we crossed the waist high river and had to climb up ladder-like roots to get to the path. We agreed that we were glad we did it but would never go again.

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10. Re: TR - Sept. 11-19, 2012 - Part 2

Trixi: I'm glad we weren't the only ones who had a less-than-ideal kayaking experience. It was pretty humbling to see kids and much older folks than us just chugging along when we felt we were struggling just to keep up. I am glad that we did it as well - the falls were pretty awesome once we finally got there. But we've learned our lesson and will stick to more mundane adventures in the future :-).

Edited: 09 October 2012, 22:25