Archive for March, 2022

Kauai 2022 – P.S. – Did I mention how dangerous rip currents are?

March 13, 2022

I was done with the 2022 Kauai blogs, right? Took you on the whole 10-day ride through seven blogs from our doorstep in Idaho Falls on January 19 to home again January 30, safe and sound, and hunkered in till spring (which always seems to be just around the ‘next’ corner).

Except over this past week I received some terrible news from Kauai. Two swimmers were reported missing and assumed drowned at two of the very same beaches we visited in January (and I blogged about). I made such a big deal about the surfers on Hanalei Bay (including the ‘Surfin’ USA’ YouTube video) in Part-3, even teasing that I was shopping for a suitable bathing suit and surf board because surfing was just too much fun! Then in Part-4, sunbathing on Kahili beach with Megan, watching the surfers, capturing photos and video, while David and Eric hiked to Hissing Dragon. Then my last blog, Part-7, the photos and videos of the teenagers at Lumaha’i beach, jumping into the waves in the high surf, their heads bobbing on the surface. Although I did also mention that Lumaha’i was one of the most dangerous beaches on Kauai.

Well, last weekend, a swimmer disappeared at Lumaha’i beach. There is no lifeguard there and if you read up about Lumaha’i you will be advised only to walk the beach, sunbathe, maybe dip your toe in the surf, especially a high surf, and most especially during winter months. I don’t want you to read my blog, and then decide to race to Lumaha’i and hop in the surf! Oh no!

The danger lies in the rip currents, channeled currents of water flowing away from the shore. They generally begin from the shoreline (yikes!) and head through the surf zone – past the line of breaking waves. Here’s an informative link giving you answers to such questions as, What is a rip current? How do they form? How to spot a rip current? And most importantly, what to do if you find yourself in a rip current? http://www.kauaiexplorer.com/guides/beach/rip_currents.php

Here is a diagram of a rip current

From this link: https://www.kauai.com/images/2013/09/rip-current-diagram-1.png

As far as how to spot a rip current, here’s an interesting YouTube link:

(Planning to visit Australia?)

This YouTube presentation comes to you from Australia, but I don’t think rip currents discriminate! According to this surfer, 70 % of people can’t spot a rip current, good luck with that! If you find yourself caught in a rip current what do you do? (You probably want to know this BEFORE this happens).

Per the kauaiexplorer.com link above:

The best thing to do is learn to spot rip currents and avoid them. (Yeah, right) However, if you do find yourself in a rip current, remember the following. It could save your life!

  • Don’t Fight The Rip Current – Conserve energy, keep calm, float, breathe, don’t panic, and wave for help
  • Go With The Flow – You can easily float in the current, there is no undertow. Allow the current to take you away from the beach. In weaker rips, swim parallel to the shore until the current has completely relaxed. Otherwise, the current will eventually release you offshore. Once this happens swim perpendicular and towards the beach 
  • Wait For Help – If there is large surf or shoreline hazards, wave your hands for help and wait for assistance

I’m making such a big deal about this now in contrast to how casual I was about the surfers with not a worry in the world. I posted a video of surfers on Kahili beach (also known as Rock Quarry Beach). But a few days ago we received even more terrible news from Victor and Stephanie, who live in Princeville (we stayed with them on our visit). Another surfer went missing on Kahili Beach just this past Monday.

https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2022/03/09/multiple-agencies-search-surfer-who-went-missing-waters-off-kauai/

This hit Stephanie and Victor really hard, as they know this man and his family. They purchase their coconut water from them. Huy Nguyen and his wife have a big farm and three children. He had been surfing before handing his board off to his son, saying he was going to swim to shore. Multiple agencies searched for him until they finally suspended the search this past Friday (two days ago).

So, yeah. Just want to get the word out there about the danger of rip currents on the beaches of Kauai. Here’s an interesting link:

https://www.civilbeat.org/2017/09/brittany-lyte-the-deadliest-beach-on-kauai-might-surprise-you/

A researcher, Chuck Blay, analyzed drownings in Kauai from 1970-2012. All told, 316 people drowned in the island’s waters during this 42-year period.

75 per cent of the Garden Isle’s drowning victims were tourists. Drowning is the leading cause of death among visitors to Hawaii.

One more interesting tidbit in the “deadliest-beach’ link above … In May 1964, Frank Sinatra nearly drowned in Wailua Bay while filming the WWII flick, “None But the Brave.” He was staying at the iconic Coco Palms Resort (boy that’s another story) and unknowingly swam himself straight into a riptide. By the time firefighters reached him, the Hollywood icon had been carried 200 yards out to sea. “Sinatra’s face had reportedly turned the same color of his famed set of eyes.”

Yeah, so, the most dangerous thing you can do when you go to Hawaii on vacation is go to the beach and jump in the water.

Although you can still drive past the old iconic Coco Palms Resort on Wailua Bay near Kapa’a, built in 1953, where Elvis Presley filmed “Blue Hawaii” and where Frank Sinatra stayed often (and swam in the bay). Here’s a wiki-link to the resort: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coco_Palms_Resort

“Coco Palms Resort was a resort hotel in Wailua, Kauai that was noted for its Hollywood connections, Hawaiian-themed weddings, torch lightings, destruction by a hurricane, and long-standing land disputes…”

Destruction by a hurricane? Yep. Hurricane Iniki, a devastating category 4 hurricane, with 145 mph winds, struck the Island on September 11, 1992 – 30 years ago. The immense damage done by Iniki closed the Coco Palms for good. Up until 2015 there were several attempts to redevelop the resort, but it’s way too far gone. Here’s an update on the resort from July 28, 2021: https://beatofhawaii.com/coco-palms-kauai-update/ The Plan was for Coco Palms to reopen in 2020 with 273 rooms, 77 suites, 3 restaurants, a cultural center, 12k feet of retail, and more. The last round of attempts disintegrated with multiple developers unable to make it work. I also blogged about it after our Kauai trip in 2019. Here’s the link: https://decompressionofaboomer.com/tag/coco-palms-resort/

And photos of what it looks like today.

Boy, nature can be cruel!

Aloha, Kauai (Was it just a dream?)

March 6, 2022

It feels pretty weird posting about a vacation in Kauai in the face of the brutal Russian attack on Ukraine, now in its 10th day. How is this war going to play out? How will it change the course of history? Can NATO and other European nations collectively support Ukraine quickly, strongly and strategically enough for her to stand and persevere against Putin’s evil destruction? What will happen to the Ukrainian people? How far will Putin go?

Kauai – Part-7, Saturday, January 29, 2022 – Because of the current devastating Ukraine situation I wasn’t going to write my last Kauai blog. Forget it. Let’s just stay in Kauai. But then it feels like a loose end. I haven’t brought us home to Idaho. Hey, control the things you can, right? So I’m going to lead you through our last day in Kauai, then to the airport in Lihue in the evening to catch the red-eye to San Francisco, flight to Salt Lake and drive home to Idaho Falls. You know, so we’re not stranded in Paradise. (Yes, Jody, we’re all for it; this makes total sense.)

One more Kauai sunrise?

January 29, 7:23 am

Our last day in Princeville is clear and sunny. We decide to head to one of our favorite beaches on the North Shore – Lumaha’i, just beyond Hanalei Bay.

Just about every time we get in the car we circle around the Princeville fountain. A sculpture of Neptune, God of the sea, is surrounded by water, fountains and lighting.

Princeville Fountain

Built in 1989, the fountain was commissioned by Australian business tycoon Christopher Skase who purchased 7,000 acres in Princeville. Inspired by the “Fountain of Love” at Cliveden House in England, 12 artisans in Italy worked one year on a 900-ton piece of marble, resulting in the final 200-ton fountain which was shipped to Kauai in 11 containers. Check out this link for the full story: https://princevillefountain.com

To get to Lumaha’i beach you drive on the North Shore just past Hanalei Bay. Pull over and park at the side of the road and walk down a short steep path through a small banyan tree forest.

Eric, Victor and David negotiating the path down to Lumaha’i Beach

Suddenly the long, broad beach opens up before you. The ‘Kauai Revealed’ app describes Lumaha’i beach aptly (so to speak), “If you’re looking for a huge, picture-perfect stretch of sand on the north shore, Lumaha’i shouldn’t be missed. If you’re looking for safe swimming Lumaha’i shouldn’t be touched. Exposed to open ocean, it’s one of the most dangerous beaches on Kauai. The waves here, even small ones, are frighteningly powerful.”

Here we are on the beach. I take a video

Eric and Megan

We’re not here for a swim!

Of course, massive crashing waves offer a perfect adventure for teens:


But you want to experience Lumaha’i beach during a super high surf, don’t you? Check out this YouTube video!:

Heading back up the path now through the banyan trees to the car

David. Catch your breath half way up!

Now enjoying our last lunch in Kauai at the Kalypso in Hanalei with Victor and Stephanie, who qualify hands down as the most generous hosts on the planet. We can’t thank you enough for your hospitality, Steph and Vic!

Mahalo, Victor and Stephanie!

Okay, looking back over the past ten days and savoring our favorite moments. I’ll share a few more photos.

Megan:

Megan being caressed by hibiscus blossoms

A view from the golf course:

An albatross sailing right past us as we sit on Steph and Vic’s patio

Video of three albatrosses sailing overhead.

A rooster, of course!

And Nene Geese – the Hawaii State Bird:


Hunting and predators like mongooses, pigs and cats, reduced the nene population to just 30 birds by 1952. It has since been bred back from the brink of extinction and reintroduced into the wild. Today, with 2,500 birds in the wild, it is still the sixth-most endangered water-fowl species in the world.

A photo of my hunka hunka hubby David

Sitting on the rocks near Kapa’a

And two separate views of exotic scenery captured on my phone from the back seat of the car


Okay. The sun is setting in Paradise. To wrap up our 10-day trip I’ll post two photos of the same sunset:

Princeville, Kauai, Jan 25, 2022 – 6:25 PM
4 minutes later – Alpenglow is glorious!

It’s 8 pm, Saturday, January 29 – time to head to the airport in Lihue. We arrive there without incident. Except I run into this gigantic cockroach at the airport as I enter the ladies room, about 1 1/2 inches long

They have cockroaches in Paradise? Yes, Indeed.

https://cockroachfacts.com/cockroaches-in-hawaii/?amp

According to this article there are 19 cockroach species in Hawaii, but only 4 are considered significant pests. I’m guessing this one might fall into the category of “baby American cockroach” since I simply stepped over it going into and then coming back out of the ladies room. One could assess that it basically doesn’t fly, or even move much, for that matter. Although it could scare the crap out of us if it suddenly decides to take flight. Everyone entering or exiting the restroom just made sure not to step on it, which, causing a squishy mess when stepped on might be its greatest survival tactic. Who wants a fat splatted cockroach stuck to the bottom of your shoe?

You’re still talking about cockroaches? Leave Kauai, already!

Okay, okay. We board the red-eye to San Francisco, about a 5 1/2 hour flight on which you are supposed to catch some shut-eye, good luck with that. But here, in my relentless alertness I captured yet another emerging sunrise on our trip – from the window of our plane nearing our descent into San Francisco, one at 4:39 am and the next one 2 minutes later at 4:41 am Kauai time. (You’re welcome.)

Nearing San Francisco, Sunday, January 30, 4:39 am
Sunday, January 30, 4:41 am

We land in San Francisco on time, it’s a bit of a blur, oh yeah, we wolf down ham and egg breakfast sandwiches from Burger King to fill our gullets before boarding our 8:30 am flight to Salt Lake. We’re on that flight now. I’ll share some photos.

Over Grantsville (the i-Phone is always spot-on with locations) at 11:03 am

Grantsville, Utah, Sunday Jan 30, 2022

Huh. See that blanket of smog tucked in behind the mountains?

Three minutes later I capture this photo…

Yep. Now you see what a temperature inversion looks like. Warmer air rises and traps the colder air and smog closer to the ground. The steep walls of the mountains surrounding the Salt Lake Valley area also contribute to the inversions, which occur often in winter months.

We don’t care! You say? We just want to get our friggin’ butts home to Idaho. Agreed.

The four of us, David, Eric, Megan and I, have landed in Salt Lake, piled into David’s truck and have hit the road north toward home – Idaho Falls is about a 3 1/2- hour drive from the SLC airport.

Sailing through Salt Lake City at 12:05 pm – the top of the capitol building is in the center of the photo

It’s smoggy, all right.

Off in the distance to our left now is Plymouth, Utah, near the Idaho border. The population was 414 at the 2010 census. Every time we pass by Plymouth I wonder who the heck would live there and what they do.

Plymouth, Utah, with Gunsight Peak in the background (left)

I Googled it, in case you are interested in learning more about Plymouth: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth,_Utah

Why would I be interested? I don’t know.

At 1:45 pm we pull off the freeway at Malad and hit the Burger King. They are running a ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ special on whoppers. Four whoppers for 12 bucks! Eric buys.

Read the sign – CROWN STANDARD burgers!

Hey, their burgers are 100 % beef, flame grilled on real fire, no fillers or preservatives, freshly cut tomatoes and onions, every whopper sandwich is made to order and blah blah blah ‘love of all deliciousness’ (??) i.e. gut bomb. But hey, we’ve filled our gullets once again.

We pass Downey, Idaho at 2:07 pm. It’s out there near those mountains somewhere..

Is that Downey in the distance?

We roll into Idaho Falls on Sunday, January 30, about 3:30pm. 15 hours of travel all told. Not bad, really, except for being sleep deprived. What really struck us was how everything looked exactly the same as when we left 10 days ago. I was too tired to take a picture when we got home on the 30th. But here, I took one on the 31st.

Idaho Falls, Monday, January 31, 2022

Our street is still solid ice and the snow hasn’t melted one bit.

Are you sure we went to Kauai? One day later and it almost seems like a dream.