A Travellerspoint blog

Day 8 – South Kauai

sunny 28 °C

Just before getting into bed, Helen announced that she would be spending the day at the resort trying to get her client sorted out – by some miraculous intervention she thought she was going to be able to work on the catamaran yesterday while we were sailing out – the bumpy ride with the water crashing into the cabin didn’t help her realise her ambitions.

So it was just me heading out to South Kauai today in the trusty Nissan – all black – it’s quite a dumb colour for a tropical island but at least it wasn’t a pick up truck – I’d never be able to have parked it. My first destination was Koloa a quaint village in South Kauai – the problem was that I missed the turn off – at no point were there any signs to turn despite the town continually being listed – e.g Koloa 9 miles. So I ended up at the Kauai Coffee Plantation which wasn’t a bad thing since I was in dire need of a real coffee. The plantation is mainly just coffee trees (duh) and a gift shop for you to buy lots of coffee related products and to taste their coffee – so I picked up a few bags of coffee which wasn’t flavoured by hazelnut, vanilla or banana……….

Then made my way back to Koloa – found an excellent park and browsed the shops – the village used to be a sugar distribution point and now the old homes and warehouses have been converted to shops – lots of unique little shops to browse at except for the candle shop – you could smell the candle shop half a block away but when you got into the shop and smelt the candles (e.g. coconut, pineapple etc) you couldn’t smell anything – I suspected that they put oil burners out so I didn’t buy anything there and wanted to call it the fraud shop.

While I was here I bought a coconut turnover (much like an apple turnover) and a latte and headed out to the park to eat it – I was sitting under a large tree when a lone chicken came up and started squawking – I kind of felt sorry for the lone chicken and gave it some of my turnover – bloody hell, the chickens have learnt from the seagulls – suddenly from out of the bushes 30 chickens came running (and I mean running) out to me and I was surrounded by chickens of all shapes and sizes. People who came into the park took one look at me and headed off in the other direction – that’s the crazy chicken lady over there (you have to mentally add me scratching constantly as well)……anyway my coconut turnover was proving more filling that I ever thought so I pulled off a rather large chunk and threw it into the chicken mob hoping that would keep them going for awhile – one chicken picked up the whole large piece and ran off into the bushes with his prize. All the other chickens not wanting to miss out, started running after him and thankfully I was left with just the lone chicken at my feet (I suspect the lone chicken rotates with the other chickens)……….

Chicken free, I headed back to the car and drove off south to find this blowhole that was mentioned in the guide books. The guide books says the blowhole is a bit of a hit and miss affair depending on the tides. But I wasn’t deterred. Found it no problems and surprisingly it was putting on a show – I’m sure it could go much higher if it was really rough but the height was just fine for me. After I was ambling back to the car, this crazy looking surfer dude on a bike pulled up next to me and said there’s a seal down there – now I wasn’t sure if he was kidding or not so I said something polite – oh that’s nice – but then he said, no there really is a seal down there – and sure enough there was this huge seal flat out on his back fast asleep – he looked absolutely pooped and the surfer dude said there were lots of sharks hanging about so that’s why he was up on the rocks………..

After witnessing the blowhole in all its glory I headed off to Poipu Beach – this is the most sheltered beach on Kauai and its where all the high end resorts are – Hyatt, Marriott and some names I had never head of – lots of Ferraris and other convertibles were being driven around here – I took a walk to the beach which is unique for having two coves next to each separated only by some sand – it was here that I laughed when I saw a lone chicken cross the road and then there was this crazy moped driver who wore a pink helmet and his Chihuahua who was sitting the back had exactly the same shade and style but small enough for his head ride past. The beach was pretty much full on here and not much space so on a whim I decided to head up to the north coast which I didn’t think we’d have time for.

It was a long drive up to the north coast – I decided that I would literally drive until the road ran out – its only 43 miles but because it’s a single lane and very windy it takes forever. Up north the island is very wet and lush and the rain clouds hang low over the mountains – I kept driving and driving thinking the road would finally end but it never seemed to – so I kept going over mountains, down valleys, through double single lane bridges, creeks and past many beaches and finally came to the end which ended in a roundabout at a national park – this national park is famous as the place they filmed South Pacific – and when I finally made it there was a traffic jam on the round-about – why? – because a rooster refused to move out of the middle of the road and all the greenies refused to run him over so we were at a stand off (Hawaiian style). Finally a few people jumped out of their cars and shooed him away – it took awhile – he wasn’t moving…………

Posted by natty176 22:41 Archived in USA Tagged hawaii kauai Comments (0)

Day 7 – Napali Coast

sunny 27 °C

Today was our big snorkelling trip with Captain Andy Na Pali Snorkel Adventure – another bright and early start through a big traffic jam – who thought they’d have such traffic problems on an island resort but there we were at a complete standstill – thank god, nobody travels at the speed limit otherwise we never would have made it to the other side of the island in time – as it was we were quite late.

Our adventure was onboard a large catamaran that didn’t have a lot of shade so I had visions of turning into a bright beetroot – admittedly one with a dodgy skin condition – the only good thing about the skin condition is that you can’t tell between the skin condition and sunburn – the only giveaway is my constant scratching……..I was so over it by now – nothing was alleviating it – it was just getting worse and worse day by day – now my legs, arms and hands were bright red covered in little tiny blisters – the creams and sprays only worked for about 30 minutes before I need another dose – my bag was starting to look like a mini pharmacy as I tried different lotions – and I was starting be bit grumpy as well……

Nevertheless, we were on our way to the Napali Coast – this is famous for having the second highest sea cliffs in the world (the highest being on Molokai) and was the number one attraction of Kauai. It’s a long boat ride out to the cliffs – you literally start at the southern most point and head due west until you come to the cliffs – once you’re on the western side the island is exposed to all the wind as there is nothing between it and Southern China – so it’s a bumpy ride out – but once you’re there you just marvel at the sheer size of the cliffs and canyons and wonder how the ancient Polynesians survived on the cliffs and valleys – they used to build long ropes and hoist themselves up over the ridges and down the other side.

During the ride we saw turtles and dolphins – these dolphins are very fast little buggers and it’s almost impossible to get a photo since they’re so fast – they also have the reputation of being the most promiscuous animals on the planet – apparently they have mate with anybody at least 6 or 7 times a day and there were quite a few of them having fun while we were there………

On the way back we stopped off for a snorkel – there were heaps of fishes and I managed to swim with a giant green turtle – you’re not allowed to touch a turtle in Hawaiian unless you want $2500 fine. The coral isn’t as bright as the Great Barrier Reef but you’re not swimming at the base of 1500 ft cliffs at the GBR either…..

After the snorkel it was lunch and then a very bumpy ride home – a word of warning – don’t ever bring anything that can be damaged to the Napali Coast – everything gets soaking wet and thrown around………

We finally made it back to shore about an hour late which was a pain because our Luau was on tonight and we had to get to from one side of the island to the other, get changed and then head back out again – so it was the fastest change ever before we arrived at our Kilohana Plantation Dinner 40 minutes late – but in true Hawaiian spirit nobody really cared that we were late and we seated at a beautiful table overlooking a courtyard decorated with oil lamps and the lone rooster running to everybody’s table picking up the scraps. What would dinner be without a chicken…….?

As soon as we sat down we were presented with a purple orchid lei and a glass of champagne and because we were late we told to get started on our entrees – I had a leek tart, followed by island salad with lots of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and this was followed by huge pork ribs – Helen and I were wondering how we were ever going to fit in dessert when the waiter said we could have dessert after the show – what a relief.

After our main course we were led over to the main stage area (where the plebs were having their buffet dinner) by Hawaiians dressed in local Polynesian costume holding these huge flame torches. Once in the stage area we were given front row seats to the show. Helen and I thought the show was going to be a bit cheesy but to just go with the flow and enjoy it – afterall it couldn’t be any worse than the singing we heard the previous day. The show was about how the Tahitians left Tahiti to journey to Kauai and it was a stage extravaganza – it had everything - dancing, hulas, singing, boats on stage, torch dances and this one particular guy who was the most amazing torch dancer you’ve ever seen – he had the whole crowd on their feet clapping at the end of the show. During the show they selected people and had them up dancing as well – being in the front row we couldn’t escape this and suddenly I’m between two very scantily dressed males writhing about - but luckily it only lasted a few minutes.

After the show it was back to the Plantation Owner’s house for Banana Cream Pie and then a look at the shops – the shops were weird – they were either extravagantly expensive – like you’re casually going to spend $14,000 on a new diamond and pearl necklace or quite cheap – and by cheap I’m talking about dashboard hula girls here…….. – but after all the sun and excitement of the day we were happy just to flop into bed………..

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Day 6 – Wailua Falls & Fern Grotto, Kauai

sunny 30 °C

It was a rather late start today and a bit of a debacle at breakfast didn’t help – we had breakfast included in our stay but nobody could find that bit of the reservation – after much stuffing around we had about 5 minutes to select what we wanted from the buffet before it was packed up for the day……..but the breakfast was good – lots of fresh fruit, fantastic fresh guava juice, pancakes etc

Our first stop was up to Wailua Falls which is one of the most accessible falls on the island – it was another winding road up the mountain and lots of chickens beside the road – yes, chickens – the island is full of chickens – they breed everywhere and just run wild on the island – there were a few in Molokai but nowhere near the proportions on Kauai – apparently there were only 2 animals on the island of Kauai when the Polynesians settled – a type of owl and seals – the rest of the animals have all been introduced.

So here were are driving along and suddenly the road ends and there are the falls on your right hand side – no warning – it’s just there – so we park the car, take a few photos and are blessed by the local basket weaver – he says the same thing to everyone who stops – “may god bless you” - if you engage him in any way – he starts asking you if you’ve read the bible lately at which point you hurry back to your car to avoid any further entanglements…….its an excellent form of traffic control.

After the falls we headed north up to the Fern Grotto which is supposed to be one of Kauai’s signature attractions – it’s accessible only by a short boat trip up the Wailua River – we were in luck – only had to wait 15 minutes before the next boat ride – on the boat ride you are entertained by the worst ever Hawaiian singers on the planet – it was terrible – we didn’t realise how fortunate we were to hear the golden oldie group on Molokai until we heard this bunch – it was all falsetto and it was like cats having a fight on your boat – after 20 minutes of grimacing, we arrived at the destination – it was a short hike up through lush rainforest mainly consisting of ginger plants to a natural lava-rock grotto with hanging ferns and tropical foliage – in the middle of the grotto is a waterfall as well – unfortunately September is not the best time to visit the grotto – its boiling hot on the platform, you had to listen to more singing (apparently a Hawaiian marriage song – who could tell when all you wished for was ear plugs) and the foliage was not as lush as you were led to believe due to a drought – but nevertheless it was rather dramatic………on the way back we were relieved of the Hawaiian singers (thank god) and were instead given a history of the grove and the surroundings. At the end of the trip they tried to entice you to a luau – at that point Helen and I promptly ran away with deranged thoughts in our heads of more bad singing……

By now we were pretty hungry so we headed up to Kapaa (Kap-a-a) – a local town that is famous for its eclectic shops – they certainly were eclectic – ranging from downright trashy to some unfortunate “art” shops – just what I always wanted – a giant glass squid – it would look fantastic sitting on my coffee table back at home……..not to mention the freight to get that thing home………but there were some nice shops as well - Helen picked up a great hemp travel bag and there was another shop that sold organic bamboo wares which had some interesting things in it – we were waylaid at the organic cream place by the owner that wouldn’t stop talking about his products and wouldn’t let us smell anything unless he had opened the tester bottle himself – I ended up leaving Helen to talk to him while I surreptitiously opened all the bottles myself…………..In Kapaa I had one of the best wraps ever – a fresh local Hawaiian fish (seemed like tuna to me), marinated and seared with a spicy sauce and brown rice wrapped in an organic (you are getting the theme to this place?) spinach tortilla……..

On the way back we headed to the supermarket where I was nearly thrown out for antagonising the local shoppers – we were all standing in line for the self service check out when a lady pushed in front of us – I called out to her advising her of the end of the line – she decided that she wanted to have words with me – I just let her rave on until the checkout became free and moved in while she was distracted. But she kept going on at me all through the checkout procedure so I went really slowly to annoy her further – finally she ran out of steam and left disgusted………………..

Back at the hotel we went for a swim in one of the many pools and Helen worked till late sorting out a client………

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Day 5 – Molokai to Kauai

semi-overcast 26 °C

We were up bright and early to make our 7.45am flight to Honolulu – no dramas on the flight except we were surprised to see that there was absolutely no security checks for the light planes – we did see a few drug baron look-a-likes alight from the flight over from Honolulu – lots of gold chains, expensive sports cars and no luggage – no doubt a successful trip over…………

At least we were pros with the light aircraft by now and we had another fantastic view over the Eastern end of Oahu – we could see Hanauma Bay from the air. Another layover at Honolulu Aiport – about 3 ½ hours – and then our plane to Kauai was over 40 mins late – I managed to score the only seat without a window which was a bummer……….

On arrival at Kauai we picked up the car and headed to Kauai Beach Resort – and it was a resort in the true sense – lots of swimming pools, manicured gardens, lush foliage and a very expensive restaurant. Our room was quite large. By now my skin allergy was looking pretty bad – thinking it was the still the washing powder in the sheets, we headed over to Walmart to buy some long sleeved pj’s and for Helen to marvel at the sights in Walmart – I kept telling her she was going to be disappointed – afterall it was Hawaii and not West Virginia or Alabama – I did find some pj’s – unfortunately winter is not a Hawaiian season and am now the proud owner of very bright red Mickey Mouse pyjamas………

After the spectacle of Walmart – not sure how we managed to do it but we spent over 2 hours in the place, we headed off to Lihue (Li hooey) – the main town of Kauai – it’s a bit of a weird town – there’s no real centre and because its so hilly you feel like you’re driving round in circles – nobody bothers with the speed limit and it seems that you add 15 on to the speed limit displayed – so if it says 25 mph it means you drive at 40 mph – and if you don’t you have one very annoyed Kauaian driver in your boot……..

We tried looking for a fishpond that was meant to be quite spectacular – in ancient times, the Hawaiians would divert the sea or river into a lake to trap the fish – after the fish had grown to a reasonable size they would catch and eat the fish and let the remaining go to breed again before starting the cycle all over again – in Molokai they were all built out into the sea and you could see very faintly these rock walls – the one in Kauai was meant to be very old………..but we couldn’t find it so we headed back to the hotel for a fantastic massage – an hour long overall body massage – how relaxing – then onto the restaurant for rather nice but expensive dinner – at least it wasn’t a burger………….

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Day 4 - Western Molokai

sunny 27 °C

When we were in TAFE we were told that if a client didn’t like rain on an island retreat, we should book them on the western side of the island – this was met with some harrumphs by Helen and I – however if you ever go to Molokai (and indeed Kauai) the evidence has never been so clear – on the other side of the Molokai it is dry and barren and here they have all the cattle ranches – some houses look suspiciously like drug baron retreats but maybe Helen and I have been studying criminal law too long.

Today was also the beginning of my skin allergy – yes, another one – very similar to Perth – though it must be the washing powder again so headed off the chemist to buy lots of cream……

After the chemist, we set off through the dry grasslands to the Western side of the island. On our trip over to this side of the island we saw about 4 pick ups/cars on the entire 40 mile journey – Yep, its pretty quiet here – we stopped off at the only town – Maunaloa – billed as a “charming plantation village” but in reality a collection of buildings and it was pretty much dead here. However the Big Kite factory which was our destination was open and Helen spent a lot of time browsing here being stalked by the crazy owner of the place – unbelievably the kites aren’t even made on Molokai but rather Indonesia which the crazy owner visits once a year to see the kite festival. Since the only other store open was the convenience store (not even a burger place was open) we stocked up on chips and salsa and headed to the beach.

On the furthermost Western side there are a series of beaches that the local visit to swim – the most famous one being Papohaku Beach (3 mile beach) – most Australians would probably go “ho-hum” – the sand is quite coarse, the seas rough and where you swim there are lots of dangerous rocks underneath – but in the distance you could see Oahu and Diamond Head and it was quite peaceful just sitting and eating salsa and chips – at this end of the island there is a huge time share resort that Helen and I billed as the “nearly dead” retirement village since everyone was either in a wheelchair or on crutches and nobody was under 70 years of age. It had a time warp feel as though you had entered another dimension with beautifully manicured gardens and scooters transporting the elderly around. At one beach, a group of men were practising for the big Oahu to Molokai outrigger race next month – not sure how seriously they were taking it though – in one handed they had the canoe and in the other they were swigging big cans of beer…………

After our tour of the beaches we tried to find the Molokai Coffee Plantation – despite lots of signage, the place never materialised and we were left driving on deserted roads seeing lots of old school buses left in people’s yards – after 20 minutes of driving round in circles, we finally found it but it was closed so that was that.

So we headed back to the resort because the old people’s society (they did call it that) was having a hula sing-a-long night at the resort. We thought it was going to be very cheesy despite nearly every local we met telling us that we should go along because the best singers on the island belonged to that group. We arrived a bit late and the resort was full – after pushing through the crowd we found a seat, ordered a pina colada, watched the sun set and proceeded to listen – the group was excellent and it was obvious they were all having a great time. It was like a jazz jamming session except the theme was ukulele Hawaiian songs……..

After the session had ended 2 hours later, we rushed back to take photos of the Royal Coconut Grove at sunset – the sunsets here aren’t that spectacular – maybe it’s the wrong time of year – after that we headed back to the hotel to pack – sigh – our stay at Molokai was about to end……….

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