Kauai’s North Shore: Princeville, ‘Puff’, Starfruit, Giant Surf, and a … Mermaid?

When we visit Kauai, we stay in Princeville on the north shore. It is the rainier part of the island, but on most rainy days showers give way to mists and rainbows, and sun again. Below is a (admittedly rather crappy) visual of the Island. Locate Princeville on the northern edge and you can see that to get to sites on the western side of the island you have to drive around the perimeter of the island.

Island of Kauai

Kauai is small enough, though, that you can reach any area of the island by car in an hour or so. Just for fun, here you see a topographical map of Kauai. It is very mountainous, which explains why you can’t drive across the island.

Our favorite places around Princeville include Hanalei Bay, Lumaha’i Beach, and the Queen’s Bath, all of which we visited this last trip. Hanalei Bay is about a 10-minute drive west of Princeville on the North shore, home of “Puff the Magic Dragon” made famous in a song in 1963 by Peter, Paul and Mary. (OMG! 55 years ago?)

We walk to the end of the dock and then down the beach along Hanalei Bay

Steph and Vic walking the beach at Hanalei Bay

Here’s a picture of David on the beach. Do you see the girls in bikinis?

Nothing wrong with David’s vision


No?

David does. Wading in the water by the dock …

By now, being so very hungry and thirsty after our walk on the beach, we head to the Kalypso in Hanalei for lunch and libations. When my drink arrives I find myself staring at … Yoda?

You’re going to eat me?

I shouldn’t eat him, right? Well, he is a slice of starfruit. It’s quite tasty. The pulp is crisp and not too sweet.

Steph and Vic have a starfruit tree in their front yard, with ripe fruit.

Starfruit tree

Here you see one being sliced:

Okay, to make this blog extra special I’ll include the video I took of Eric with his assignment from Victor to harvest the ripe starfruit on their tree:

Despite the rigorous requirements of the job, Eric seems up to the task.

By the way, after you visit Hanalei you absolutely must drive 8 minutes further west on Route 56, pull off to the side of the road and park, and walk the path down to Lumaha’i Beach! We visit this beach every year. It is magnificent with high surf, albeit it is unsafe for swimming and surfing most of the year. This beach was made famous for a scene in the movie ‘South Pacific.’ The surf was low when we visited this year and I didn’t take a video. But it is worth sharing the video I took last year…

Although I do catch a rooster crowing three times (??) in the background, my video doesn’t hold a candle to a video I found on You tube of the same spot: click on this link – taken on January 20, 2016, during record high surf with an added bonus of lots of girls diving into the crashing waves in bikinis. (You’re welcome, honey)

I took a photo of the short climb back up…

Onward now, to the Queen’s Bath, again, only a few minutes drive from Princeville. Here, a visual of the area:

So high tech – screenshot of a Google link

You can practically walk to the Queen’s Bath if you’re in Princeville, however, the path down to it is treacherous after a rain. David, Eric and I hiked down to it on a sunny day, after a few rainy days. Boy was it slick! We didn’t follow too closely behind the people in front of us.

The trail takes you down onto a ledge of rocks

Follow the rock surface along the shore to the point – where you have marvelous views of the distant coastline.

We have been to the Queen’s Bath several times but have never seen the bath because it was covered by high tide. But today – we hit it at low tide. The ocean has retreated enough to expose the bath, and the waves crash over the edges of the bath replenishing the water. As the bath comes into view – we notice a swimmer in it.

It’s a mermaid

A mermaid? She must have washed up into the bath from the ocean with the other fish? Hey if fruits can make eye contact with you while perched on the edge of your drink in Kauai, then why would a Mermaid encounter surprise you?

Pretty certain she’s a mermaid

Suddenly the mermaid disappears from sight and humans of all sizes scramble to the edge of the bath like clusters of crabs.

They jump in, swim around, climb out, and another group lines up along a descending ledge, climb in, and swim.

We watch the swimmers a while, then decide to hike back out. (Maybe next time we’ll wear our suits, or flippers or something.)

Hiking back out now.

The muddy path weaves through what looks like a Giant’s petrified potato patch.

Hiking back up from Queens Bath

Toward the top of the trail I pass a very large spider. Do you see him/her? She’s right in the center of the photo – a yellow blotch.

Spider is dead center

Here, I’ll zoom in on her so you can get a closer look:

See her striped legs? I think she’s a common Kauai garden spider. Pretty exciting. When was the last time you saw a large garden spider?

Okay, well, we blast our muddy shoes, legs and feet with the hose nozzle before we announce our arrival to Steph and Vic back at their house in Princeville.

So … why do I keep writing these endless Kauai blogs??? Just think! I could have been outside instead, picking up dog turds strewn across our back yard that dropped like pine cones out of the winter snow melt.

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