Aloha, Kauai!

Kauai 2023 – Part 4

I feel weird, like I’ve left us marooned in Kauai. I have to get us back home. Spring in Idaho is nigh upon us! (Yeah, right.) Somehow I can’t move on from Kauai until I wrap up our January 2023 trip and get us safely home again.

Our last hike was on the Club Med Ruins path in Princeville on the north shore where we enjoyed gorgeous views of Hanalei Bay from the east and checked out the surfers. Well now we are in Hanalei Bay walking the beach. Here you see a view of the ‘dock of the Bay’ looking north – that greenery in the background is where we were walking yesterday – where the failed Club Med and other resorts were never built.

Okay so you’re walking the beach with us now. Here’s a video. Feel the ocean breeze on your face and the sounds of the roiling surf:

Let’s walk the whole expanse of the beach and back again. Oh, wait a minute. Too late. While we were busy taking photos and videos the rest of the group made it to the end of the bay and are already on their way back toward the dock.

That’s Eric, David and Victor on the far left side of the photo. Steph is on the far right – she likes to walk along the shore and soak her feet in the salt water.

And look who washed up the beach!

A mermaid named Megan!

We pull up in the parking lot behind the Hanalei Market. I’m always dragging behind. But when I climb out of the car I can’t help but take a photo. Check out the view!

We shop for a bunch of organic food. Yum! Eric’s got the goods.

I hope Sasquatch doesn’t carry Eric off on his bicycle

Oh but there’s a high surf today so of course we have to drive just a few miles further north on the northern tip of Kauai to Lumaha’i Beach! You pull off the side of the road above the beach and park. Then walk down a short, steep, windy path to the beach. Whoa. No swimmers today. Better stay back a ways from the crashing surf! Here, I took a photo. And a video …

I leaped up onto a ledge when a rogue wave came crashing in – almost lost my sandals. Ran into a couple on the ledge. They allowed that it wasn’t a smart move to be standing on the beach today taking videos. (Smart for tourists, though, who may never make it back here?) Yeah, do you know what the locals call this beach? they said. LumaDIE’ i beach. Oh!

To give you a little perspective on what a Lumadie’i surf might look like, here’s a You tube video – ‘Big surf at Lumaha’i January 28, 2016.’ (This might be the same You tube video I shared in a previous blog – but it’s worth sharing again.) Let me just say, a lot of girls in string bikinis risked their young lives to bring you this video, which, I assume is not being taken by their parents:

We’re headed back up to the car now, on a path through a mini-jungle.

You’re welcome, fellas! Hey, this is Kauai.

But before we leave the island, I must share the most charming experience of all, that of witnessing the nesting Layson albatross. Which, by the way, are an endangered species. Here’s a link for you:

Layson albatross spend most of their lives flying over the open ocean and can spend up to six years at sea. They only return to land to breed and raise their chicks on nesting sites on the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, mostly Midway and Layson Island but also on the north shore of Kauai. Albatross have a 20-40 year life span. They return to the very place they were born (called imprinting) and engage in elaborate mating dances until they find a mate at about 8 years old.

We always encounter albatross when we visit Steph and Vic in Princeville because there are usually a few nesting albatross on their street. Sure enough, this year there are two nesting albatross right in the yards of a neighbor 3 doors down. I took this photo from the street just walking past it.

We always encounter albatross when we hike Larsen’s beach. They have a nesting site on top of the bluff at the end of the point. Larsen’s beach is probably our favorite hike on Kauai’s north shore, as we also frequently encounter endangered sea turtles and Monk seals sunning themselves on the beach. I’ve blogged about our hikes there several times, but we just can’t leave Kauai (sigh) without me sharing photos and videos from this year. Are you coming along?

They are magnificent in flight

There’s one flying overhead!

Walking back now, we encounter one all by himself, engaging in mating calls, perhaps? Certainly he’ll catch the attention of another albatross!

We encountered a monk seal too. Do you see it in this photo? Look in the sand.

I’m always lagging behind. Do you see Eric and David in this photo? We’ve almost made it to the point at Larsen’s beach.

Find Eric in this photo:

Here’s a photo of Megan as we head back toward the trail head at Larsen’s beach.

Enough already. Get your butts home to Idaho! Okay…

Aloha, Kauai.

Thursday evening January 26, 2023, and we’re headed to the airport in Lihue to catch the red eye to Los Angeles. I’m a little sad and my phone is stowed away in my purse. Enough photos! We land in LA without a hitch (thank goodness) about 7am Friday and catch our second flight to Salt Lake City. We land in Salt Lake before noon. Of course I just don’t sleep well on the red eye so I’m glad I’m not the one driving us the 200+ miles home to Idaho Falls. Accompanied by ‘old man winter.’ I pull my phone back out and capture a few photos of our drive home from the back seat. Here we are nearing Malad, Idaho. David is driving.

Make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened. It gets messier.

Eric takes over the wheel. David didn’t sleep well on the red eye either.

Near McCammon, Idaho now. Snowplows are a welcomed sight! Well, if you have enough visibility to see them…

Near Inkom, Idaho now. Uh-oh.

Dropping into Pocatello

Oh goody! How many miles to Idaho Falls??

We’re just a few miles from home now. Oh no!

There were five cars off the road in the last ten miles. Oh goody. A tow truck! Somebody will be vey happy to see him!

Just pulled onto our street.

I’m not sure why the photo is so blurry. The scene did seem a bit surreal, arriving home jet lagged and stressed out from travel after spending 15 days in Kauai.

We hunkered in for the long haul alongside old man winter. After we were home, Victor and Stephanie sent us updates from Kauai. On February 1st, just 5 days after we left, the baby albatross on their street (where I had taken the photo) hatched out. Victor sent a photo:

A few days later the second baby in their neighborhood hatched. It seems like a miracle that these babies can survive – sitting in nests on the ground. It’s possible because everyone in the neighborhood is on guard for their safety, keeping their dogs leashed, (what about cats? Yikes!) and there are no mongoose (hopefully) on Kauai.

On February 27 we received this video from Steph and Vic. The baby is now almost a month old. A time for celebration! Watch the video carefully and you will see the baby in the nest to the right of the sign in the video:

Here in southeast Idaho we’ve experienced one of the coldest, snowiest winters in 20 years. We still have mountains of snow in our front yard, accumulating since November with not much melting in between. We have been hopeful for signs of spring and by golly I saw one the other day when a magpie flew past our front window with a large sprig in its beak. Sure enough a pair of magpies are working feverishly on a 2-story magpie bungalow in our front may tree.

In case you don’t know what a magpie looks like, I just captured this picture of one of the pair. Boy have they been busy.

Oh, and did I mention that I also captured a photo of a robin in our back yard? Tough bird, that one. A sign of spring? Hey, I’ll take it!

And what’s the current weather forecast for Idaho Falls? “A return of snow on the first day of spring.”

And now you know why I’ve had such a hard time leaving Kauai.

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