Saturday, August 22, 2015

2015 Kauai - North Shore (8/1 -8/6) Part 3

Day 12 (Sat. 8/1) ~ Limahuli Garden/Anini Beach/Sunset at Hanalei and my birthday.

Today is my birthday so I get to choose what we get to do. (birthday traditions) To start with, I ordered up this gorgeous morning in Princeville. 
Next, I told them I would like to go to Limahuli Botanical Garden & Preserve. We packed our lunches, water, cameras and off we went.

We arrived at 9:30 a.m. and decided to do the self-guided tour.  Cost was $20 for adults. $10 for college students (we had two) and Nathan (16) was free.  The lovely lady that was running the store/office was kind enough to only charge me $10 since it was my birthday! 

We were given a well put together 52 page booklet to help us along the way with maps, descriptions, etc. and off we went.  If you forget your water, no worries, there are several water stations along the way.

We all enjoyed the tour.  It was really nice to do something else besides beaches and hikes. I am so happy to do things that we didn't do on the last trip..

I will just post some pictures now.  They will probably be out of order.  We took so many!  There may be some duplicates/similar pics.  I also tried not too post too many!

Out of the gate, Nathan eyeballs a tiny frog and I mean TINY.  Only young eyes would spot this little beauty. 

We strolled and enjoyed everything the gardens had to offer.  No complaints by anyone. : )  (These photos are not in order of tour.)

Random flower growing out of a rock?? Yes!

Trying to figure out the "Cable Take Pole" Silly kids.. fun times!

The gift store

After our time at the Garden, we head back towards Kilauea and Anini Beach.

First, a quick stop at this well known scenic lookout...

Anini Beach has quickly become my favorite beach.  There is plenty of room to spread out and there is shade.  This beach is gorgeous!  I almost guarantee you will see turtles, and the snorkeling has really improved since we were here in 2013.  Most people tend to focus on the turtles here, but if you walk down the coastline and float down towards the boat ramp, you can see other marine life.  I didn't take a lot of pics on this visit, but we returned here a few more times during our stay.
Mr. Crab claiming his space! 

After staying for awhile, the wind was starting to pick up so we returned to the condo to get cleaned up and get ready for dinner.    Dinner was a dilemma for me.  Where to go for my birthday??  I wanted to go some place special. Plus, it was Michael & Aleisha's last night on the island.  Long story short... We ordered takeout pizza, and reserved a table with a view at Hanalei Bay. Can't beat the price, can't beat the views and not a bad seat in the house! Sounds perfect to me. : )

I forgot to take a picture of our dinner.  I guess it was good!

After admiring the stunning sunset which included the green flash, we stopped by Pinks for some dessert ice cream. 

Then back to the condo for some packing for tomorrow's flight.

Day 13 (Sun 8/2 ) ~ Birds, falls & trails

I love the quietness of a sunset with the hush that blankets the night, but I also love to watch and listen as the morning comes to life.  I wish we could have spent more morning time on our lanai just watching and listening.  The birds... I wish I knew how many different ones we were listening to.  From the canyon below, you can hear the ever vocal rooster.  Honestly, it didn't bother me.  Some mornings, they were even quiet.  The doves... I find their coos very soothing. (I know not everyone does.) And on our last morning, we listened to a beautiful songbird singing a lovely song. 

Each morning we had 3 faithful feathered visitors. A handsome, yet timid Northern Cardinal. A curious, adventurous Brazilian Cardinal and tag-a-long Spotted Dove. 

I know we shouldn't feed the birds and we never fed the chickens at  all, but my son decided he was going to be a good hostess and offer them a snack.  This was Michael's last morning on the lanai and I think the BC began to trust him.  Here are a few pics that we captured of the exchange. 

Time for us to now take Michael and Aleisha to the airport.  Back to reality for these two.  Work and school will be waiting for them back on the mainland.

On our last trip here, there were a couple of falls we didn't get to see.  This time I wanted to check them out. After the airport drop, we drove up to Wailua Falls.  I didn't expect to have to wait for parking.  A small cramped parking lot is near the falls.  There is only one way in and out. I only had to wait about 5 minutes for a few cars to wiggle their way out before I could find a spot to park. 

I was glad to see the falls were flowing fairly well.  While we were standing at the wall and taking pictures, I gave Nathan a quick summary of the 70's show, Fantasy Island.  Explaining to him how this location was in the opening credits.  I'm sure he appreciated this interesting fact.

There are some scenic countryside views on the road to Wailua Falls.  We had to stop to capture some pictures.  Loved the horses too! 

I love how this bird is just chilling' on this horse's back.  See below picture for a closer view.

We also stopped by Opaekaa Falls and a few overlook spots to view the Wailua River.

These falls are far away from the overlook.   


Stopped by Monico's for lunch. I had the Ahi fish tacos and Mike had the Ahi Burrito. I tried to like this, but didn't care for it.  I think if I would have had the Ahi cooked more, and if it didn't have a mayo based sauce, I would have liked it. Prices were a bit high also.

We continued back our drive back up to Princeville.  Made a quick stop in Kilauea for a few more gifts. 

We returned to the condo to chill for awhile before we would leave again to explore a new 5 mile running path for Nathan.

In Kilauea, is the Anaina hou community park.

Here you will find a Mini Golf & Botanical Gardens (great fun), playground & skatepark, bike rentals, farmer's market (on certain days), Wai Koa Loop Trail and more.  

The Wai Koa Loop Trail is what we are exploring on this day.  This is a 5 mile loop on a private plantation that was opened up to the public. (I think this is what I read.) 

After checking in at the office we begin our walk and Nathan's run. This is the ideal location for a cross-country runner! (We will return to this location on two more evenings for Nathan to put in his miles.)  This isn't what I would call a "hike", but rather a beautiful walking path.  They label it "intermediate." Maybe because the loop is 5 miles?  I would call it easy/beginner.  

Mike and I begin our walk around 5:30 p.m. Stopping along the way for pictures.  I think we finished before 7:00. (Nathan, finished  long before us.) Once we reached the dam, it was fairly shaded so I didn't take many pics here.  I also missed the rope swing that you can use to cool off in the pond.  

The trail is well labeled and I would suggest if you are doing this mid-day, you take water.  The evening was a perfect time for a run because you are mainly in the shade.  However, one night, Nathan said the "little" bugs were pretty bad. 

Here are a several pictures we took along our stroll...

Walking past this dog park really made me miss my dogs at home. 

I believe after this, we returned to the condo and spent a hour or so at the wonderful pool at our complex.  The stars are galore tonight. We only wished we could dim a few lights to really enjoy them.

Day 14 (Mon. 8/3) ~ Anini Beach, Secret Beach & ice cream

As I mentioned before, Anini Beach has become a favorite beach of ours so we returned here again today.  

The weather was beautiful.  As the morning went by, the wind picked up a little which caused visibility in the water be a little grainy.  However, the kite surfers probably liked it.  

There seemed to be a lot of broken coral pieces washed up on the beach.  Some where rather large.  Is this common and natural?  Or, is it the result of people standing on the coral?  I have to say, on this trip there seemed to be fewer people standing on the coral.  However, we stilled witnessed several.  At Hideaway's Beach, a couple were snorkeling in their tennis shoes and would stop periodically and stand up on the coral. It was driving me crazy.  Finally, when they were closer to shore, I said something to them.  I have no idea if she understood me. She just looked at me and nodded. 

We also got to experience the tsunami test siren as well.  I had read over on the Maui Forum on the first Monday of the month at 11:00a.m., the island does a tsunami siren test.  I had mentioned this to my husband on the way over to the beach, but wasn't sure it would also occur on Kauai.  Sure enough, at 11:00a.m. the siren sounded.  I happened to be in the restroom, and when I walked over to our beach spot, I saw my husband talking to a couple of families.  He reassured them it was a only a test.  A few were very relieved because they didn't know what they were suppose to do anyway. 

Mike patiently waiting for me to stop taking pictures and start snorkeling... 

I would love for someone to tell me what these little black & white fish are called.  I don't recall seeing them on previous trips, but this time I have seen them at several different locations. 
Below in the coral on the right, we spot a eel poking his head out and showing off his pretty colors and teeth.

It's easy to find turtles here without even trying.

This was the biggest Trumpetfish we have ever seen.  I wished I had a better camera to capture a better shot of him. 

This little guys looked up as if to say, "hi".

It was time for us to take a break from snorkeling and we were just about to shore when this honu comes swimming right at us.  I actually had to stop and let him pass.  It was clear he was on a mission and was not going to stop!  He was so smooth and graceful gliding through the water.  It was a beautiful sight.  My only regret was not hitting the video record button. 

That's about all from Anini today. : )

Much of the late afternoon is quite boring and lazy, but very relaxing. 

Later in the evening, we return to Anaina hou community park for Nathan to do his run.  Mike and I don't join him this time, but instead, drop him off and decide what we would do for the next hour. 

Thinking of all the beaches in the area, I recalled that Secret (Kauapea) Beach was in the area.  Unfortunately, I had forgot my maps/guidebook back at the condo.  Fortunately, I had our best friend, Google with us.  Turns out, Secret Beach isn't so secret. And, it was just down the street from us.  We told Nathan we would be back in an hour and off we went.

I had researched this beach in the past and had even watched a youtube video on how to get here, but the directions on Google seemed slightly different.  We decided to go with these directions and located a small parking lot.  A small group of people were arriving at the same time and seemed confident about where they were going so we sort of tagged along.

We walked down a fairly steep path towards the beach.  Here are some pics both to and from the beach...

This is a beautiful stretch of beach.  We were here around 5:30 p.m. and things were fairly calm.  However, I don't think I would feel comfortable swimming here.  The people in the distance in the picture below, were getting in the water and it was making me a bit nervous.  Even though waves were breaking at the shoreline, there was a sneaker wave that surged way up on the beach and got all their beach bags and backpacks wet. 

We would have liked to have stayed for the sunset, but Nathan was waiting to be picked up at the park.  After picking him up, we decided we needed some post-run recovery protein so we hit up Lappert's ice cream in Princeville. As far as I'm concerned, the Kauai Pie is heaven on earth!!  Delicious way to end the day.

Day 15 (Tues 8/4) ~ SUP & and a sunset

Since I am so stinkin' slow at writing my blog, I rely heavily on my pictures to remind me what we did on each day.  For some reason, on this day I had only taken pictures of dinner and the sunset.  This seemed weird because I usually take at least a few pics of whatever we are doing.  I thought for a while about what on earth we did, and I finally remembered... We went Stand Up Paddling (SUP)!

I had ask Nathan if there was anything he would like to do before we went home and he wanted to give SUP a try.

I made reservations at Hawaiian Surfing Adventures and we arrived  around 8:30am. to begin our lesson.  This is why I didn't have any pictures.  I didn't dare take a camera with me even my waterproof camera.  I wanted to have my full attention on staying on top of my board!  We were shuttle down to the Hanalei Pier area and we boarded our boards in the Hanalei River.  The three of us along with our instructor, paddled up the river until we were comfortable enough to make the transition in to the ocean.  

I have been following tripadvisors Kauai forum long enough to know that the Hanalei River is not the cleanest river around so I was bound and determined NOT to fall off my board!  I am happy to report that we all did well.  Not one of us fell until we went out into the bay.  Mike forgot the rule to look forward and paddle. Instead, he kept looking down and soon ended up in the water.  In his defense, we were starting to hit some small waves.  After some time in the bay, our instructor gave us some surfing lessons.  All three of us caught a few waves (albeit small) towards the shore.  Fun, fun, fun.  I think I'm more a surfer girl than a SUP girl. 

So... no pictures of our morning outing.  However, the rain showers have been starting to occur more and more at night. This means in the morning, if we are blessed to get a clear view of the mountains, we see more waterfalls cascading down the mountainsides. 
I love it!!

The rest of the day consisted of trying to eat left over food in our condo, gift shopping (again), napping, and driving one last time over to the community park for Nathan to do a quick 5 miles.  This time we waited for him.  

After his run, we had dinner again at Kilauea Fish Market.  Nathan and I enjoyed our Ahi Fish tacos, but Mike did not care for his plate lunch.  

After dinner, we drove over to a spot in Kilauea that we discovered a few nights prior, to watch the sunset.  Turns out we weren't the only ones that know about this location.  We were the second vehicle to join a truck full of fun young locals to watch the sunset.  A short while later, a handful of other vehicles joined us at this small overlook.  

It's clear by looking at other people's big expensive cameras, tripods and special lenses, that our pictures may not turn out the best.  Still, we got a few nice pictures and witnessed another beautiful sunset from a new location for us, but pictures can not always capture the full beauty of the island. 

Good night, sun...

Day 16 (Wed 8/5) ~ Our last full day on the island.

The North Shore was being peppered with unstable weather systems on this day.  It was really hit or miss where to go. I was trying to follow my "MyRadar" app which is usually pretty accurate, but the showers we were witnessing were not showing up on the radar for some reason.  I think it was 'Shantybob' on the Tripadvisor Kauai forum post that mentioned that the weather radars don't show the North Shore.  Well, that would explain it and so our day begins.

Our day begins with a beautiful rainbow.  We have seen more rainbows this trip than any of the others.  I was really hoping to get a glimpse of the mountains and waterfalls, but the clouds were socked in tight.  The beautiful promise of a rainbow would have to do on this morning.

O.k., I got a little carried away with the rainbow pics.

We packed up our beach gear and headed towards Hanalei. It's raining again, the mountains look fluffy and the waterfalls are plentiful.  We keep driving.  We get to Lumahai Beach, it's still raining.  Should we take a chance?  No, because the surf would probably be unstable as well.  We turn around and go to our safe, happy place, Anini Beach.

We had been setting up our beach chairs under a huge tree near the boat ramp, but we went a tad further up the coast this time. We found a nice spot of shade between a nice couple and a multi-generational group.  We sat for awhile just watching the weather, surf and snorkelers.  I would have to say we were being thoroughly entertained by the family that was near us.  It was like witnessing a live production of Modern Family! 

As we continued to wait, a rain shower rolls through so we cover our stuff and bunch up under a tree. The shower passes and the skies clear. (briefly).  Mike and I decide if we are going to snorkel, we had better go now. 

We leave Nathan to guard our stuff and set off for our last snorkel of our trip.  It was my intention to spend more time just floating and lingering over the coral to try and spy some new and interesting marine life, but almost immediately we come upon this handsome turtle just enjoying his wonderful turtle life. : )  Taking turtle pictures are like sunsets and rainbows, you just can't get enough.

As we continue on our way, I notice some movement over and in some coral/rocks.  I paused to notice one big eel! This was the biggest eel I had ever seen and I could only see part of it.  I circled around a couple of times hoping he might come out at some point, but he didn't.  It occurred me at this point, that I am glad he stayed put because I don't know how I would have reacted if he swam out right in front of me!

It's really difficult to see in these pics, but the eel is in there.  Dark brown/black with white spots.  

The current continues to push us down the shoreline, and Mike and I happen to both look up at the same time to see another heavy rain cloud coming our way just over the lighthouse.  We decide we have time to make it to the boat ramp and then get out of the water.  

Well, we are from the Pacific NW and can usually follow a weather pattern, but within a minute or two we were engulfed by heavy cloud cover and being pelted with large rain drops. We quickly hightailed it over to shore and made a run for our stuff.  Obviously, I wasn't worried about get wet and it wasn't cold.  My main concern was our cameras and phones.  Nathan did a good job of thoroughly covering everything and waiting for us.  We decided this weather front was too big to wait out so we went ahead and made a run for our car.  

I did take a few pics of our fun in the rain with my waterproof camera.  I later noticed there were people still in the water determined to snorkel.  At least they had their life vest on! : )

This sweet couple still trying their best to snorkel. 
Mike hurrying back to our chairs.
Nathan running our chairs to the car.  I wonder if he realizes he doesn't have the keys.

The lovely rain that was pelting us.
We returned to the condo and I decide to begin packing.  Depression is now setting in, but I focus on doing laundry and packing efficiently.  Sigh...

Our time on Kauai is coming to an end.  I am hoping tonight's sunset will be brilliant.  So after our low-budget dinner, we head over to a look-out just before Puu Poa Condos in Princeville.

Sometimes the best part of viewing a sunset is actually looking all around you.  I find it fun and enduring to see friends, families, couples and singles all coming together to witness the same thing.  It comes with laughter, love and stillness.  Every sunset on Kauai is different, but each one reminds me to, "Be still and know that I am God." And for me, I will do just that.

24 hours later we are viewing yet another sunset.  This time from above, preparing to land at our final destination.

We had a wonderful trip.  It was a little different than our normal activity filled trip.  We did things we didn't get to do last time and yet, there were places we still didn't have time for.  It's hard to board the plane to come home, but we were looking forward to seeing our granddaughter and dogs. 

Some people say the best way to combat the sadness of leaving is to plan another trip.  I have done just that.  We will be returning in September, but this time to Maui to celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary.  This time it will be just Mike and I.  Only the second time in 24 years that it only be the two of us.  

We are looking forward to snorkeling again on Maui, but I will have to say that my heart will be longing for Kauai.

Thank you for joining us on our journey. 




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