Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kauai 2013 - Day 20, 21 & 22 (Final Days)

Day 20 I really wanted to return to Tunnels Beach for the day, but since we had been there already, we thought we would give Ke'e Beach a try.  When we parked here yesterday at 8:30 a.m. for the Kalalau Trail hike, we managed to get parking fairly close. Today it was nearly 10:00 a.m. and I knew parking would be sparse.  I dropped the guys off at the beach the circled back around to search for a spot to park.

I noticed someone getting ready to leave the second lot so I began to turn into the lot. Let me just say, I would never take my rental car into this lot again unless I was prepared to be potentially charged for undercarriage damage.  You seriously should be in an off-road vehicle if you want to park here.  There is a substantial rocky dip as you enter the lot. Fortunately, our car made it in fine and luckily my open spot was right near the entrance/exit.  When we left for the day, we watched several cars, including ours struggling to get out without scrapping the under carriage.

I took some pictures, but it's even worse than what I was able to capture.  Especially the entrance/exit.
(Just something to be aware of.)

It doesn't show well on this picture, but not only were there rocks, there were large dips in this lot you have to navigate.

This picture and the one below are the entrance/exit of the lot.  Again, it doesn't show well, but this is a substantial drop from the road.

So, I got the parking issue out of the way to enjoy our day at the beach!  We really didn't do much so this entry is going to be very brief.  We walked up the beach a couple of times to take in the beauty of the area. We snorkeled a couple of times, but didn't see too much and we sat in our chairs relaxing. I love to read, and I bring a book EVERY time we go to the beach, but once we are there,  I never read.  I just love to sit there and visually take in the surrounding areas.  So beautiful.. Sometimes, I close my eyes and listen to all the different sounds around us. Try it sometime, you'll be surprised how many you hear.

I think we were here about 5 hours.  Time flies when you're doing nothing!

"Hey, didn't I see you a couple of days ago?"

Everyone knows when you see people sprinting to the water, it's not for the exercise.  It's because the sand is, HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

Had to do a quick stop at the cave.

On our return drive to Princeville, we stopped at Big Hot Mama's for a late lunch.  Her window was open, but she wasn't there.  A lady from the store told us she went home across the street and would be back soon.  We waited about about 10 minutes before she appeared carrying 3 fresh avocados.  We each ordered the The Mama and waited until we got home to eat.  They were delicious, packed with flavor from the fresh ingredients, and the perfect amount of heat from the peppers!  Hit the spot. At least for me anyway. The guys probably could have eaten at least one more.

Since we were going to a luau tomorrow night, tonight was our last chance to attempt a family picture at sunset.  Do you know how hard this can be with teenage boys?  Plus, Bear Grylls' show, "Get Out Alive" is about to start! Two strikes against me right there. But we managed, not exactly the best, but it will do. : )

We handed Nathan the camera and said, "have some fun and take some pics."  It's always interesting to see what comes back on the camera!
Well, I'm suppose to "add caption", but I'm at a loss for words... However, the girl on the far left was sweet enough to take our family picture.

Michael's either mocking me or he is going to miss this place too!!

Boys will be boys.  About now, I'm really missing my daughter or any female companion.

I love these guys, they're each so sweet to me. But, when I said "o.k. we're done", they were gone in a flash!

Day 21 ~ Our last full day

We thought we would finish our trip to the North Shore where we began it, Hideaway Beach.  Couldn't ask for a better day.  Blue skies, a few clouds, gentle breeze and perfect snorkeling conditions.

I thought I would post some pictures of the parking and trail conditions since I didn't the last time.

Parking: 10-12 cars

This is the path. Directly to the right is Pu'u Poa. To the left, small parking lot then the St. Regis.

Lucky us, we got down to the bottom just in time to welcome the kayakers! : ) This time they didn't come ashore right next to us. They came to shore on the left side. I know this is a public beach, but I couldn't help but feel bad for the families that had their chairs set up in a perfect spot only to have 10-12 kayaks squeeze in to an open spot right in front of them.  Being diplomatic now, it's really not that big a deal.  They are only there about 1 1/2 hours to snorkel and have lunch and then they're off again.

Right away Mike and I set off to snorkel.  I know snorkeling isn't the greatest on Kauai, but I had higher hopes for Hideaways.  Conditions were great, but we just didn't see much at all.  We even went out further then we usually do.  Still, I do enjoy exploring this underwater world and occasionally, you do see something interesting.  For me this is very relaxing.

This guy was very shy. I saw him trying to hide from me and when I circled around to have another look, he quickly hid under a rock ledge.

So, now I have a question.  While we were out snorkeling, we noticed that the guides from the kayak company also go out and do some snorkeling/diving themselves.  However, it looks like they are specifically looking for something. They have their red floatie, dive down with a stick, grab the coral and dig at sometime.  We watched for a bit and couldn't figure out what they were after.  Does anyone know??  Just curious.   I took a few pictures of them as we were heading back to shore.

We only had time to stay at the beach for 2 hours before we had to leave this little piece of paradise to go home and pack.  Spent the rest of our time enjoying the sun, sand and water.

Look who brought his floatie again! This is his way of telling me to leave him alone.

So thankful this was they only shark we saw in the water!

I can take a hint.  Enjoy your peaceful moment!

One last look before we leave. : (
We sadly start our walk back to the condo and start packing for our departure the next day.  This took quite a bit of time, but we managed to get most of it done before we needed to leave for a luau at The Mediterranean Gourmet.

This was our first time ever going to a luau.  I have never been able to justify spending the money, but this time there were only 4 of us instead of 5 and the price for the luau at MG didn't seem as steep as other places.  I also liked the positive remarks I read on TripAdvisor regarding the food, entertainment and setting.

Well, we all thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening.  All the positive comments/reviews I read were true.  The show itself was beautiful. The singers were wonderful and funny at times and the food was delicious.  We had only made reservations a couple days prior to the luau. Making reservations way in advance guarantees you a table but not the best table location.  Go early! We arrived really early, but didn't go in until 5:30 and got a table up front and center.

I tried to take some pictures of the hula dancing, but the lighting was dim and I didn't want to use a flash. However, I did take one video.  I decided not to do more because I wanted to enjoy the show out from behind my camera lens. (Just realized Mike also took a video shot so I will try to post this one too.)

This is looking from the back toward the front.  You can see we got a great table.

When the luau was over the boys both told me, "good call mother."  Which means they had a good time.

Our drive home this evening was entertaining as well.  It was only our second time driving at night while we've been here.  It was a clear night and the heavenly skies were glistening with stars galore! Nathan was so amazed that he hung his head out the window for most of the drive home.  We each even saw a shooting star!

Well, this pretty much wraps up our three week vacation.  If you took the time to follow us on our travels, thank you.  While it was fun doing a semi-live blog, it was also more work than I had expected.   I did not want it to interfere with our vacation so I only worked on it at night or early in the morning.  I also know myself well enough to know that if I waited until we got home to do a trip report, I never would have done it.  Life gets too busy.

The morning of our departure, we took one more drive in to Hanalei for breakfast at Wake Up Cafe and to take in the views one last time.  Have I mentioned how beautiful it is here?!  Perfect morning, not a cloud in the sky!

Driving out of Princeville, not a cloud in the sky!
We had a good flight home to Portland via Seattle.  We stepped off the plane and were greeted by a rain shower!  Welcome home us! LOL  The following morning, more rain.

I remind myself, this is some much needed rain and the forecast looks sunny! : )

I am so thankful we made Kauai our vacation destination for this year.  Three weeks just flew by.  There is not one thing we did that I regretted.  I would do them over again. There were a few places we ate, I wouldn't go back to, but for the most part we were happy with our meals.

I won't forget the beauty of the island and the kindness of the people that live here.  I liked the simple things like being out for a walk and intending to pass the person in front of us, but instead, end up having a conversation with complete stranger and walking together.

The weather was absolutely perfect while we were here!  I was really surprised we didn't have more rain, but no complaints whats so ever!

I hope we made some wonderful memories for our sons.  Michael leaves this fall for college and I have cherished these last few weeks spending time together as a family. I'm especially happy for Nathan to spend this time with his brother.  They are very close and this coming year, he is going to miss his presence in our home.

I don't know "when" we'll be back.  I pray it won't be too long!  I still have a long list of things to do and see that we didn't have time for!

Mahalo & Aloha!



  1. Thanks so much for the photos of the trail down to Hideaways. Would love to go there sometime, but hubby probably wouldn't make it back up! Your boys looked like that had a great time. When our kids were that age, we always spent our 2 week+ summer vacations in your fair state at my folks place. Not a bad place to vacation! Now I know where Oregonians go to vacation!

    1. I wish you guys could get there. I would be really curious what you thought of the snorkeling at Hideaways. I was truly surprised how few fish were there. Maybe you all would have different perspective since you are comfortable going out further than we are. I was thinking that another option for you would be Pali Ke Kua beach. There is a trail going down just after the 1st building. It's steep, but at least its paved. However, there isn't any public parking. : (

      Where in Oregon do your folks live?

  2. Hi! Summers here on San Juan Island are gorgeous, cool and dry. This year was no exception although we did have a few rain showers here and there. Kauai reminds me in many ways of this island. It's small, quiet and laid back. There's a number of people who go to Kauai from here for those same reasons. I fell in love with Kauai the first time I went. This winter we are spending 4 months in Princeville! I can hardly wait. It will be a dream come true for me. If my husband likes it and wants to move there, we'll come back here, sell our house, liquidate and head for Kauai permanently. Sound like a plan? I just love your blog and want to keep up with some more of your travels! Take care.
    Bluepacifica (Joy)

  3. Hi Joy!
    We have family that have a vacation home in Roche Harbor. I would love return for a visit. It's been too long! You just reminded me, we need to try to do this! Wow, 4 months! Good for you! Do mind if I ask where you are staying? House? Condo? I can't wait to hear what your husband thinks of Kauai. I hope you do a trip report of some sort. I would love to read about your experiences on the island!

    It does sound like you have a plan! Hope you do a lot of research while you are there to help determine if this is best for you.

    Wish you safe and happy travels!

  4. I have just enjoyed reading your blog posts about Kauai. I will be going there next Wednesday. I have wondered about the different things to do there, especially the hikes, and now I know what to expect. I really liked the pictures you posted too. I will be taking my nice DSLR and can't wait to photograph all the beauty that is there.

    1. Hi Sally! First of all, I apologize for not responding earlier. I just now logged on to my blog and saw your comment! I wished I would have received a notification that someone had left a comment. The email associated with my blog is not my daily email so maybe that's why.

      I see that you must have already enjoyed your trip to Kauai. I hope you found the answers you were looking for and had a great time! I'm sure you got some fantastic pictures! Thanks for the comment. : )