Archive for February, 2015

Hissing Dragon, Surfers and …

February 27, 2015

Okay so it’s time to put a wrap on these Kauai blogs. Dang. This is the final, I promise. (Uh, unless I realize at the end that it isn’t.)

I’d like to share a few more photos and videos of sites on the northern end of Kauai – near Princeville. David, Eric and I had visited the Hissing Dragon a couple of years ago – and I blogged about it. And posted this picture:

That’s the hole from whilst the dragon explodes. Two years ago we were sitting on a rock maybe 15 feet away. I was even skeptical there was such a dragon – until we heard this sucking noise and sure enough, a huge blast of water exploded from the hole.

Well, this year we returned to the Hissing Dragon with Steph and Vic. To get there you park at Rock Quarry Beach, cross the beach, then Kilauea Stream, and then traverse a ledge of rocks to the point. There you meet Hissing Dragon. It was high tide and we had to hike along the rocks one level above where we were last time. Now we’re standing above the Hissing Dragon and it is exploding out of the hole with every wave.

I shoot a video:

The ‘Old Faithful’ of Kauai – greeting you in a burst.

We were sitting on that wet lower ledge of rocks last time.

In the distance we can see the Kilauea Lighthouse

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Hiking back toward the car now.

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The Rock Quarry Beach is one of the few beaches in Kauai where you can actually park right next to the beach. The surf is high and the surfers are on it!

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This makes two surfers out there catching waves. I shot this video:

You can’t visit the north shore of Kauai without walking the beach at Hanalei. Warning signs are posted:

"No swimming. This does not include surfing"

“No swimming. This does not include surfing”

No Swimming. One assumes it’s because of rip tides. But surfing is fine. (Huh?) There were probably 8 surfers out there in the surf. “If in doubt don’t go out.” You mean, if you’re a tourist and think you’re going to get bonked over the head by a surf board than don’t swim? Who makes these signs?

Well, we didn’t come here to swim anyway. David wore the perfect shirt for our stroll on the beach at Hanalei.

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A brilliant color configuration of Hawaiian sunrises, sunsets and happy hours.

Uh, well there’s the mud too. Here’s a picture of my feet from the powerline hike:

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David’s shoes were trashed too

shoe still-life

shoe still-life

They weren’t going back into his suitcase. He threw them away.

One last photo of Victor’s marvelous Margaritas!

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Eric’s goofy socks
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And, once again, the sign Eric had given Steph and Vic as a housewarming gift:

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Awwww. No more Kauai blogs? Are you serious?

Queen’s Bath, Lumaha’i Beach

February 21, 2015
Paradise

Paradise

“Come on! You left Kauai a month ago!” I know, I know. Actually a month and three days ago. But I just can’t resist sharing these last few photos and videos of our trip – sites along the north shore of Kauai, near Princeville. The picture above is a closer view of the photo below, the stream flowing along the path down to the Queen’s Bath –

Definitely Paradise

Definitely Paradise

Through a banyan tree forest

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The path toward the bottom is very steep – the quintessential Kauai ‘anger us conditions’ kind of path after a rain. Luckily we’d had several dry days in a row, so we ventured down.

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Okay, so we should probably take the signs seriously. Waves are unequivocally breaking on the ledge.

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The surf was high, so we stayed on the rocks one tier above the ledge and were only able to overlook the spot where the Queens (Stephanie and I, myself – Josephine) could bathe. Oh well. We really didn’t want to get crushed on the rocks or washed out to sea during our beauty baths. Better to enjoy the waves from a safe distance. I shot this video.

Nice touch with the rainbows. The Queens (Steph and Jody) are duly scintillated and enraptured.

Climbing back up now

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Watch your step!

From here we head for a stroll on Lumaha’i Beach. Steph likes to get her feet wet.

Lumaha'i Beach

Lumaha’i Beach

Uh, not that wet!

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I captured a video

Surf’s up!

There. An injection of Paradise. Isn’t that just what the doctor ordered to spiff up your February day?

Especially if you’re in Boston. Or anywhere east of the Rockies for that matter… Whewsh! Uh, I’ve no comment there. Other than that’s the winter I’m glad I didn’t come back to.

Waimea Canyon

February 12, 2015

So of course, weather permitting, you can’t visit Kauai without checking out Waimea Canyon. Princeville is on the north center shore of Kauai and as the crow flies, is probably only 20 miles from Wiamea Canyon. Except, to get there by car you have to circle about 3/4 the way around the island to the town of Wiamea and then drive north about 10 miles. The drive takes about 2 1/2 hours. Here is a link to pictures of the island so you can locate Princeville and Wiamea Canyon.

We eat a hearty breakfast and hit the road from Princeville about 9am. Two hours later we are traveling north on Wiamea Canyon Drive – soon the canyon comes into view! And Wai ‘alae Falls:

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We pull into the parking area at the Canyon trailhead. First order of things: pit stop! I head into the ladies room – this sign is posted over the toilet:

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Huh. Tourists! Are we that stupid? Anyone educated enough to read the sign needs that much instruction in what not to flush down the toilet? What would etc. include? Tinkertoys?

We’re at the trailhead now – trying to figure out the sign.

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Okay, so the trail one way is 1.8 miles. You reach the trail intersection in .5 miles. Except any trail you add on to .5 miles doesn’t add up to 1.8. (???)
Steph, Eric, David, and Victor, all whizzes at math, are involved in this discussion.

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Oh well. Let’s just go! Uh, warning ahead:

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With a visual provided in case you can’t read English. “The ground may break off without warning and you could be seriously injured or killed, or really spoil your picnic.

And more warnings:

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No diving or jumping? Into Wiamea canyon?

We have hiked the first .5 miles now. Tourists have added valuable information to the sign. Turn left to get to the Falls:

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Turn right to jump.

We checked out the Cliff View Point.
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Pretty magnificent!

Back on the Canyon trail we meet this sign:

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Well the Black pipe trail might be all right, but we really want to see the Falls. (Who put up these signs? Is this some kind of joke on tourists?)

Hiking along the canyon now.

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I guess if you seriously intend to jump, this would be the place.

David took a video right here. Check it out:

You can see there’s a bit of a drop-off from where we are standing.

We’re at the Falls now. The Waipo’o Falls:

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We all pose for pictures:

Steph and Vic

Steph and Vic

David and Jody

David and Jody

Eric

Eric

Hiking back now

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Palm trees will grow anywhere

The lone palm tree

The lone palm tree

Time for a beer break. I took a picture of the great tasting organic beer we were drinking – you know, to see if we can find it back in Idaho:

Beer still-life with limbs

Beer still-life with limbs

Anyway, good thing we took a break, because we had a steep climb ahead of us.

Elbow close-up

Elbow close-up

We’re back out now. None of the tourists that enjoyed the hike during the same time we did jumped, dove, or broke off the edge of the trail into the canyon.

We stopped for lunch at the only place in this area you can buy lunch: The Koke’e Lodge. Here is a photo of the Lodge from my archives, that I posted in a previous blog:

Near the entrance we were met by the Rooster Brigade:

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No matter. We made it in safely, ordered chili with rice and cornbread all around. Although the food here isn’t all that great, I’m starving. You know, on account of back there at that pit stop at the beginning of the Canyon hike, I flushed yesterday’s boxed leftovers down the toilet. Hehe.

Jungle Hike!

February 8, 2015

One very warm and sunny morning David, Eric and I decided to check out the Jungle Hike in the the center of Kauai where you have great views of Mount Wai’ale’ale and surrounding mountains. We drove south from Princeville down the east side of the island through Kapa’a. Soon we were driving alongside Sleeping Giant:

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Somewhere after Sleeping Giant we took a right turn (I’m such a great tour guide). Eric had gotten us all excited about finding the ‘Gate’ that was in the movie Jurassic Park. To get there you drive on Kuamo’o Road past Opaeka’a Falls then over this spillway (where literally, the river runs right over the road.) And then another spillway … The problem is, it’s a rutty dirt road, full of pot holes.

I was being tossed around like a rag doll in the back seat and not taking photos. But no worry. I just happened to find this you-tube movie that actually takes you over the whole route in a Jeep, over the spillways, through puddles, ruts and potholes (at a very fast speed), through the Gate (!) to the end of the road – with relaxing Hawaiian music playing all the while.

I invite you to click on the link and go for the drive, at least to the 2:15 – minute place (where I took the next photo). Also, for full effect, while you are watching the movie, toss your torso rigorously to the right and then to the left in sycopated beat to the music (the road has deteriorated a bit in the years since this video was taken).

Did you go for the ride? – through the Gate? At the 2:15 point the Jeep slowed almost to a stop and then barrelled around a large puddle. Well, I took a picture at that spot. Because we had stopped – at a pond. I figured there was no way we’d get through it. “Turn around!” I pleaded with Eric and David. They pondered it for a minute. We were not in a 4-wheel drive vehicle, but a rear-wheel drive SUV.

Then David jumped out and waded in to see how deep it was.

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He set the mud line on his legs up to the SUV to see how high it went: Just beneath the passenger door. We can do it! We all hopped back in, he gunned it and we made it through. Whew!

We parked just below the Gate. There it is ahead!

Jurassic Park Gate

Jurassic Park Gate

Okay, so only the poles are still standing. But at least the gate is open!

Entering Jurassic Park

Entering Jurassic Park

Click on his link for a nice map of the whole route you see in the video leading to the Gate and the Jungle Hike beyond. (Eric, you will love this map!)

Wai ale’ ale’ Map

The Jungle Hike trailhead is a short distance beyond the gate. We are just starting the hike … “Hey, David and Eric! Turn around and pose for a photo!”

So well-trained to pose on command. (No they aren't)

So well-trained to pose on command. (No they aren’t)

Now some photos from the hike:

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The path is a bit tangled in places

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We’re driving back out now. On the route we meet a spirit guide

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An egret. We met it on the road going in and then coming back, exactly the same way – poised right square in the middle of the road. We would slow way down and practically run him over, when he’d fly off – just to land in the middle of the road ahead of us again.

We made it back just fine. Although I wouldn’t want to be in the rental car business in Kauai.

Kilauea Farmers Market

February 5, 2015

At the local Farmers Markets you can find the most lucious locally grown fresh food. We visited the Farmers Markets both in Hanalei and Kilauea. Here we are, pulling into the Kilauea Farmers Market.

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At 9 am sharp. Right when it opens.

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Along with a throng of other eager shoppers.

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I’m suddenly starving for fresh organic vegetables

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and fresh tumeric, maybe…

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You stand there looking at it, vibing it, and just know intuitively, it’s an extremely healthy and therapeutic plant, er, root. A heavy-duty anti-carcinogenic, for sure. You should seriously buy a heap of it. Except, what do you do with it? Here, I googled it: “what to do with fresh tumeric’ Looks like you prepare and use it as a strong flavoring, much like you would fresh ginger. You might find the link helpful (or maybe Google it yourself) if you want to know more about how to use fresh tumeric root and especially if you think you’d like a recipe for Beef Rendang.

Ah, what have we here? ULU?

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Ditto healthwise on the ULU? So I Googled ULU too (say that five times really fast as a brain exercise – an added health bonus for reading my blog). ULU or ‘breadfruit’ is apparently grown in about 90 countries throughout South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, Central America and Africa. It gets its name from the texture of the cooked fruit, which has a potato-like flavor, similar to freshly baked bread. It is a staple food in many tropical regions. ULU, like potatoes, are roasted, baked, fried or boiled. But, actually, since we hail from Idaho I think I’ll stick with potatoes. At least for now. I believe that’s the first time I’ve seen ULU’s in my entire life.

Eric is carrying our spoils

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What uncanny fashion sense he has. In this case, dressed as though he belongs in the basket.

Victor has home-cooked menus planned, lists made, before we hit the Farmers Market. Then he surprises us at mealtime. Like, with his won ton soup for lunch.

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Wontons stuffed with fresh pork and herbs, in a seasoned broth, garnished with fresh chinese bok choy, green onions and cilantro. (I think. I actually tried to make it myself after our last visit and it was a total disaster.)

But aren’t you getting healthier by the minute just reading this blog? The images alone should increase your vitamin, mineral and antitoxicant, I mean, antioxidant levels. And a brain exercise embedded in the blog to boot!

Yes, so we all need balance in our lives, so of course, we also eat lunch out – at the Kalypso in the center of Hanalei.

David's shadow entering Kalypso

David’s shadow entering Kalypso

The Kalypso is a great place for lunch, especially after dragging your body through a long strenous hike, and you need to shower before you can enter your own kitchen. The Kalypso offers a very special drink, you know, to quench your thirst after a long hike, or short hike, or walk on the beach, sunbathing on the beach, buying post cards, etc. It’s called an Inikki.(I may have spelled this wrong – it’s hard to recollect exactly.) Okay so I did spell it wrong – one of my dear readers sent me a FYI with this link as a hint as to how (and why) the drink is spelled: ‘Iniki’- as in ‘Hurricane Iniki’– a category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds that hit Kauai September 5, 1992. Iniki was the most powerful hurricane to strike Hawaii in recorded history. Damage on Kauai was the greatest, where more than 1400 houses were destroyed, more than 5,000 damaged, and likely just as many chickens freed that still roam the island today. ‘Iniki’ – meaning, “strong and piercing wind.” We ordered four (plus an organic beer for Steph). Since the presentation was so beautiful I just had to take a picture:

Eric having an ecstacy experience

Eric having an ecstacy experience

Uh, news flash, Eric. Those drinks are for four people. Eric does appear to be deriving indescribable pleasure from his drink – I feel a tinge of guilt depriving him of mine. What? No way! Of course I’m drinking mine!

Usually at breakfast we devoured a fresh fruit plate (compliments of the Farmers Markets and Victor) – fresh pineapple, chinese grapefruit, papaya (picked from Steph and Vic’s tree), rambutan (those red spiny balls). Oh, here’s an example

Still-life of breakfast plates with the burned out LED sidewalk lamps Eric was supposed to fix

Still-life of breakfast plates with the burned out LED sidewalk lamps Eric was supposed to fix

We devour every last morsel.

'Victor depositing the last used napkin"

Victor depositing the last used napkin

We’ve got to beef ourselves up, you know, nourish and strengthen our bodies for the Jungle Hike ahead that Eric has planned for us. Does that sound like a potential death march to you?

Annini Beach, Princeville (Kauai-3)

February 1, 2015

We spent a lot of time in and around Princeville where Steph and Vic own their home. Every morning David, Eric and I walked down to Annini beach, you know, to whip our bodies into shape. The path down to the beach is right next to the Westin Resort, just a short cut across the golf course from Steph and Vic’s house. Here is the entrance to the path:

David starts down

David starts down

It’s hard to capture how steep this walk is – but it’s basically like climbing five stories in about 400 paces. It’s extremely treacherous after a rain. Slip and land on your butt just once to experience in full measure the ‘anger us conditions.’

We’re down now, at the beach.

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There’s a huge sand bar so the waves crash very far out. The first time we came here we waded in and caught some sea cucumbers, which, basically look and act like … cucumbers.

I always trailed behind making it back up. I snapped photos of Eric and David ascending the path above me.

Eric is half way up

Eric is half way up

climbing the other half - back to the top

climbing the other half – back to the top

Whew! Check that one off!

You can hardly navigate Princeville without circling this fountain in the roundabout.

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And spotting Layson albatross either circling overhead, doing their courting dance, or nesting. They tend to return to the same place to nest every year. There are two albatross pairs nesting on Stephanie and Victor’s street. One pair is nesting right in a neighbor’s front garden.

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Albatross bond with a mate for life. Their courtship entails especially elaborate dances that have up to 25 ritualized movements.

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They can’t breed until they are five years old. Both birds incubate the egg – the male does so first. There is a 65-day incubation period and the chick takes about 160 days to fledge. To mate and raise a chick requires a big commitment! Maybe that’s why you see a lot of single Albatross hanging around.

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Looking studly and regal.

Albatross live a long time. The oldest known live bird, a female named Wisdom, is at least 63 years old. She recently hatched a healthy chick, believed to be her 36th (to summarize some of the information in the linked article above).

We always try to earn our keep at Steph and Vic’s house to the best of our ability, you know, stay in their good graces so they might invite us back! Although by our second day here, Eric was already getting us in trouble.

“What’s the deal with those chairs you sent, Eric?”

Eric had sent Victor and Steph two antique dining chairs from his store back in Idaho and promised Victor they would arrive the same day (or before) we did – He had shipped them in a single box. Well, they didn’t arrive; not yesterday and … not today either. “You have spider duty, Eric, if they don’t arrive soon.” Victor tells him.

Oh wait! A package has arrived!

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“Is this the chairs, Eric? You just add water to expand them to normal size?”

Two more packages arrive. No chairs.

Victor is also unhappy about a certain detail concerning the antique round oak table Eric had sent two years back. It pulled apart to add leaves but one edge of the seam down the middle stuck up about 1/16th of an inch – it was annoying, and Eric had worked on it last year and declared it fixed.

“The edge is still sticking up Eric.”

Eric fiddled with it. Unscrewing screws underneath, screwing them back in. Adjusting this and that. Finally David, being a physicist, volunteered his expertise.

two hunky dudes

two hunky dudes

Voila! Table fixed.

The chairs did finally arrive. They worked out great.

Eric got out of spider duty. But he had to install the new birdfeeder. Fill it with organic birdfeed.

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Then work on it again to straighten it.

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The birds caught on really fast – “Hey, new hot spot open for lunch!”

Happy birds

Happy birds

Happy birds make happy Steph and Victor. Happy Steph and Victor makes happy world. Jody, David and Eric’s world: Incredibly happy.

I sneak in to capture a picture of the masses of happy birds, including those gathered on the ground around the feeder.

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Oops. No worry. Within 60 seconds they’re all back and everything is happy again.

So ends another day in Paradise.

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Life is good.