Thanks to all of you who made our first trip to Paradise like, well, Paradise!
Got on plane in Indianapolis at 7:30 am. Quick flight to Cincinnati. Hour wait, then 9 ½ hours to Honolulu. Delta basically left us hanging there. Was lucky to find friendly American Airlines lady who directed us to Go Airlines, where we caught our flight to Paradise. Had my wife Holly wait with the luggage while I snagged the rental car at Budget. Fastbreak worked great. I was the only one in that line and they quickly had me in our 2007 Chevy Cobalt with only 641 miles! It was about 5:30 or so, so we had just enough time to find our B&B in N. Kapa’a, (on 3 acres of a working tropical flower farm) before dark. Since I am a bit psychotic, I had us immediately exploring Paradise until Holly calmed me down a bit, and we went back and ate the homemade bread and fresh fruit in the B&B and then to bed. Great start to celebrating our 25th anniversary!
Of course I was up at 3:30 am. Not even there a day, and I had driven my wife crazy already. I couldn’t help it. I had waited so long to get Kaua’i, and I couldn’t wait until it was light to get out and explore! I had made a 9:05 appointment to go on Inter-islands two hour helicopter/waterfall trip. It was INCREDIBLE!! The only thing that wasn’t perfect was the weather. Real rainy and cloudy, but our pilot, who was perfect, (Luca, the Italian Stallion--sorry Rocky) gave us the greatest doors off helicopter ride! We saw every inch of the island and got to swim in the private waterfall to boot. They operate out of Port Allen, and I had read in UKG and from many of your posts, that if it’s a bit rainy, just head Southwest. So we did. Went to the very end of Polihale Beach. Yes, it’s a heck of a bumpy ride to get there, but it’s worth it!
I guess it was our time to display the Aloha spirit. I had found a wallet on the rental car van and turned it in. Hope the owner had it back quickly. On Polihale, we spent a couple hours digging out a poor family that had their 4wd jeep stuck so deep they would STILL be there if we hadn’t dug them out. I was so proud of my wife. She was laying prone on the sand with me the whole time digging them out! Finally got them out and on their way. Boy, were they happy! Stayed at the end of the beach until dark. Unfortunately, too cloudy to get the famous sunset there. Headed into Lihu’e to Costco where we stocked up on stuff. Holly said she was a bit tired from jet lag (and me) and just wanted to go home to eat. Had nice dinner at the B&B and she did her best to calm me down the rest of the night.
Still rainy, so decided to do timeshare at the Marriott in am. Said the usual “no” and got our 15,000 points. Started to clear up right after timeshare pres. was over! Ended up snorkeling Po’ipu Beach and spent time on the beach there. Holly is totally happy laying on the beach reading a book for a few hours. I can do that for, oh, 30 – 40 seconds, and then I have to be up DOING SOMETHING! I talked her into snorkeling Lawa’i Bay next to the Beach House. Pretty good snorkeling. Stayed there until dark and witnessed the beautiful sunset! Toured around the area. Headed back up North and had dinner at Bubba’s Burgers in Kapa’a and then headed home. Oh yeah, learned that it’s never a good idea to swim with the rental car remote control!
Took off North at our usual departure time of dawn….good thing my wife is so laid back and easy going. Gorgeous, sunny day! Went to Kilauea Lighthouse. Beautiful! A bit disappointed we didn’t see whales there, but it was still beautiful. Heard how great Tunnels and Ke’e were, so got to Tunnels around 10:30. Lifeguard absolutely would let no one in due to high surge. Was killing me! He said he rescued 8 people in the last 2 days (with help from helicopter), including an Olympic swimmer. Was a really cool guy…especially with a name like Jeff! We ended up walking from the start of Tunnels until we almost got to Ke’e! So incredibly beautiful! Finally ended up walking back and driving to Ke’e where we snorkeled. We were about the only ones in due to the surge. Had to be careful, but not too bad. Stopped at Coalminer’s favorite shave ice, Wishing Well in Hanalei. Great place! Had the Berry Berry with Mac ice cream. Yum! Holly had wonderful Pina Colada with ice cream and coconut flakes on top. It was awesome! Toured Princeville Resort. Wow!! $100k grand piano. What a place! Incredible views of the mountains there. Decided to just have dinner at home.
Left at dawn and got to Budget for new car remote. They were very nice and said I wasn’t the only one dumb enough to swim with a remote. Pretty cloudy. Hoping it will clear up. Decided to go to Walmart since we were close and it wasn’t nice out yet. Got a million gifts for the kids and friends. I struggled with this decision the most of the whole vacation: do I take the time to watch the Colts humble Baltimore in the playoffs?? I thought about it for a week and decided to do it. Was on at 11 am. Holly really liked watching it also. Way to go Colts!! Immediately after the game we headed up to Hanalei. Spent time there in that gorgeous area, then headed down to Hideaways Beach. Were the only ones there! What a beautiful beach! I can’t believe it, but I left the snorkeling gear back at the B&B. Nuts!! Stayed there until dark. We loved the beach. Grilled hamburgers, porn loin and potatoes out at the B&B. Day turned out beautiful and sunny!
Left at dawn and got to Ke’e at 8am. Brought our breakfast with us, and just sat and enjoyed the area while we ate. Then did the Na Pali hike. Started at 8:30. Was beautiful weather, but the trail was very muddy most of the way. Spectacular beauty and views!! Got to the stream/beach at 10:20. The waves at the beach were incredibly powerful and giant. I’ll bet this is a surfer’s nirvana. Beautiful area!
I got a bit upset with myself. Somewhere in all the posts I had read from all of you, I guess I missed that there was a waterfall up the stream a bit. We will make sure to go to it next time! Got back to Ke’e at 12:15. I’m not tired at all and neither was Holly, so we decided to go back to Hideaways WITH the snorkel gear this time. INCREDIBLE!!! We were the only ones there again! Glass like water, and the snorkeling was magnificent! Swam with 3 turtles!
Holly was on the beach, and I came in after about 15 min. and told her how great it was and she got her gear on and loved it also. After a couple hours, I came in and there was the nicest couple talking with Holly. We offered them our snorkel gear and Dan took me up on it. He loved it also. Karen wasn’t too sure about snorkeling yet. I was gonna do more snorkeling, but they were such nice people that we ended up talking on the beach until dark. Decided to have dinner together the next evening as we had to get back home to shower and have dinner at Scotty’s BBQ with the world famous Captain Denny and Dr. Erica themselves (Kalapakidooley). What a charming couple! Had a wonderful time!
Another gorgeous day! Left about 8 am for Waimea Canyon. It truly is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific! More beauty everywhere you looked! We discussed how we really didn’t think it would be possible for us to ever get tired of the beauty in Kaua’i, even if we lived there. We left about 2:30 and took the advice in “Snorkeling Kauai” to go to Salt Pond Beach and do some snorkeling. We were very disappointed. I don’t know if it was because Hideaways and Ke'e was so good, that we didn’t hit the right spot, or what. Anyway, we headed back toward Lihu’e and got gas at Costco. They were easily the least expensive place on the island ($2.86). Headed home for dinner with Dan and Karen. I can’t remember the place we ate at in Princeville. It was immediately across the walkway from the post office. Food was very good and service was extremely good. We had another great time. Had Holo Holo appointment at 6am, so we headed home about 9pm to get some sleep before the snorkeling trip.
Left at 5am. Had to be at Port Allen to be at Holo Holo by 6am. Got there a few minutes early. Still pitch black out. Left dock about 6:30. Superb Captain in Chris! Wonderful sense of humor and a living encyclopedia of Kauai and the area. Absolutely outstanding crew and ship. Food all day was excellent as well. Cruised up to where Na Pali starts, and then drifted back along the cliffs for photos. INCREDIBLE BEAUTY!! They start out so early because the sun rises behind the cliffs, and blocks out all photo opportunities if they would leave any later. They also are the only boat out that early, so there is never a problem with jockeying around anyone else. We saw many whales spouting and a couple tails, but it was from a lengthy distance. Chris stated that there was only a 50% chance we would get over to Ni’ ihau due to the churning waves. I understood, but would have been extremely disappointed if we hadn’t been able to make it. But we did! Second time in 3 weeks that they had been able to do it. Saw a ton of Spinner Dolphins do their acrobatic jumping. When we got to Lehua Rock, we saw 6 HUGE Manta Rays feeding right on the surface of the water. They just continued to feed right on the surface of the water. They moored the ship near Lehua Rock and Holly and I were the first ones in the water to snorkel since we had our own gear. After a few minutes of snorkeling, I felt something grab my fin! Got my attention real quick!! It was Holly. She had spotted a Manta Ray feeding toward the bottom. I immediately swam over and shadowed this magnificent, graceful animal. It was incredible! Very good snorkeling. 100% visibility. Depth was from 10-15 ‘ to 85’. What a variety of fish! I was the last one out of the water.
Started to have their excellent deli lunch and head back, when two whales headed directly for boat!! Chris shut it down quickly and it was UNBELIEVAB LE!! They came right up to the boat and then dove under it!! After reaching the other side, they came back under again!! We were all in heaven!! We saw every inch of the top of the whales as they surfaced right next to the boat and gently dived down. One then swam adjacent to the boat and stayed submerged alongside the boat. It was too good to be true!! He/she stayed submerged just under the water. It looked just like a submarine without the conning tower. After another five minutes or so, Chris stated that we had to head back because they had a sunset cruise crowd waiting for them. While I could have stayed there all day with the whales, I knew we had to head back. Note: I have no relatives, nor know any of their employees, or own any portion of Holo Holo, but we will do the 7 hour snorkel trip again! We got back about 2:15. Even though it had been a kinda long day, we went back to Hideaways to snorkel. Water was beautiful as glass again. We took gorgeous pictures from half way down the trail viewpoint of the water/reefs. What a place! We stayed there until dark again. I could get real used to doing this!! Even I was getting a bit tired, so we headed home and ate some sandwiches at the B&B. Marvelous day!
Very cloudy and rainy am. I feel very selfish, because it is our last full day and the weather isn’t cooperating. I figured we’d just go to the sun then! Headed toward Po’ipu. Stopped at the Sheraton to take pictures of the gorgeous plants and flowers all over that area. The Hibiscus plants are just magnificent. First time I have ever seen one (yes, I live a sheltered life!), and I immediately fell in love with them. Ended up heading toward the Marriott again. Weather was PERFECT down there!! Just as we were crossing the road to Po’ipu Beach, we saw people running and screaming on the beach. We thought someone was drowning or injured, so I ran up ahead to see if I could help. Two Monk Seals had just come up on the beach! They immediately roped off the area around both seals. I took some pictures and then we snorkeled for a couple hours. Water was very, very powerful there. I made my first (and only) snorkeling mistake. The rip and current was so strong that I almost got into serious trouble. Got back in toward the beach quickly and continued snorkeling until about 3:30 and had to leave because were scheduled to have dinner with Dan and Karen at Kaua’i Pasta in Kapa’a at 5:30. Dan had found this place earlier. I don’t think it is listed anywhere. It looks like a little hole in the wall, and I guess it is. But the food was excellent and the service was the best we had on the island! Had another wonderful time. We ended up giving our snorkel gear to Dan and Karen because they had forty-five more days on the island. Also gave them all of our water and Gatorade that we didn’t use. Headed home around 9:30 to start the painful process of packing and leaving this Heaven on earth. Maybe I am childish, but I actually went through a mild state of depression. It is so incredible on Kaua’i! Not only the beauty of the place, but the wonderful people. We had so much fun meeting new friends! It was the most fun we have had since our honeymoon.
Finished packing and left the B&B for the last time. Had brunch with Denny and Erica at Dani’s in Lihu’e. Mostly locals eat there. Very good food, although the service wasn’t that great. Had fantastic time with the Kalapakidooley’s, then accompanied Denny over to their beautiful condo. What great people! Sadly said goodbye and headed over to airport. Can’t wait to get back to this Heaven on earth. Didn’t mean to go on sooooo long. I will try and add some photos if I can learn how to get them from the camera to the pc.
Thanks to all of you for your superb, excellent suggestions on how to see the true Kaua’i!