Archive for the ‘Kauai’ Category

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.

The Kuilau Ridge Trail, Sleeping Giant and Wailua Falls

February 27, 2022

Kauai Trip, January 2022 – Part 6 – I can’t just leave us in Kauai now, can I? Have to finish out the trip and get us home to Idaho again. We have about 2 days left of our 10-day vacation.

Enjoy the sunrise!

Princeville, Kauai, January 29, 2022 – 7:24 am

Hmm. What to do today? Let’s start by tossing some seed out for the birds.

January 29, 7:29 am



What? Do I really have to watch a video? Well, they’re pretty hungry. Okay here’s a photo, as well:

So Steph and Vic have chickens! Uh, yeah. Feral chickens that magically appear as soon as the feed hits the ground. They peck like maniacs till the feed is gone and then disappear. They’re likely nesting in the bushes on the north side of the house because you will hear a chicken fracas out there, good luck finding them. Do you know how to prepare a feral chicken? Boil it in a pan with a large rock. As soon as the rock is tender, the chicken is done.

What’s for breakfast? Starfruit! Harvested from the tree in Steph and Vic’s front yard.

Starfruit. Yum!

So what to do on our last two days? Hike! We love the Kuilau Ridge Trail: A pretty easy hike through lush hillsides leads you to a summit with a picnic table and stunning views of Mount Wai’ ale’ ale. There are two trails to the picnic table – the Kuilau Ridge Trail and the Moalepe Trail. We hiked both trails on this trip.

Of course, to get to the trailhead you drive through Kapa’a right past Sleeping Giant. Local legend tells of a Giant who feasted so much at a party in his honor that he laid down for a nap and never awoke. Here he is, lying on his back, stretched out across this photo which I took from the car. Painful for Eric to be so close to the Giant and pass up the hike!

Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant)

“Hey,” Eric pipes up. “I know we have hiked the east trail a couple of times, but we have never hiked the west trail to to the top of Sleeping Giant. We could still do that on this trip!”

“No, Eric. Not gonna do it.”

I tell you what, Eric. How about we go with this guy a.k.a. ‘Grizzle Gear’ who hiked the west trail to the top, filmed it and posted it on Youtube. You’ll be on top of Sleeping Giant in less than 8 minutes!

The Kuilau Ridge trail is perfect. About 3.5 miles roundtrip, you hike a gentle constant incline through lush forest and rolling hills, finally arriving at the picnic table. Here, let’s do it!

After Sleeping Giant we drive right past Wailua Falls. We pull over and take photos (with a mob of other tourists). Now this is what Paradise looks like!

Wailua Falls

And the view across the street:

On the Kuilau Ridge hike now! Luckily the trail is dry.

Megan is loving it

Lush rain forest, indeed!

Arrived at the picnic table

From L-R, David, Megan, Jody, Victor, Steph, Eric

Hiking back out

We’re starving and thirsty. And it’s a good hour’s drive back to Princeville. So of course we have to stop for lunch in Kapa’a at another one of our favorite hang-outs, the Olympic Cafe, which might possibly offer up the best Mai-tai’s on the Island (we have to keep sampling them to decide).

What? You were going to wrap up this trip and get us back to Idaho and now we’re sitting in a bar and grill drinking Mai-tai’s?

Yep.

Here, you can be here with us! Click on this link with photos of the open air restaurant. It’s on a second story with a huge balcony that overlooks the main drag in Kapa’a.

https://www.google.com/maps/uv?pb=!1s0x7c06e0ed2365411b%3A0x8a828e4936f54e81!3m1!7e115!4shttps%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipMEq-KN9Ywb41roUURPImJba1lWZ0MvKZTfFY9y%3Dw160-h160-k-no!5sOlympic%20Cafe%20-%20Google%20Search!15sCgIgAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipMEq-KN9Ywb41roUURPImJba1lWZ0MvKZTfFY9y&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjLov3_qaD2AhVRLTQIHeFnB8gQoip6BAghEAM

After the hour+ drive from Princeville to the Kuilau trailhead, hiking to the picnic table, and also stopping along the way to hike the west trail to the top of Sleeping Giant (just go with it Eric and check it off your bucket list), checking out Wailua Falls, sating ourselves with food and drink at the Olympic Cafe, maybe we should call it a day. I can go for another night of sweet slumber in our beds at Steph and Vic’s home in Princeville. Even if the chickens are making a racket in the bushes outside our windows.

So, no. We’re not flying back home to Idaho just yet. But to give you a clue as to what greets us when we get home let me just say it’s been a cold, dry winter, albeit, the large snow that pelted us before Christmas is still there. And accumulating. I took these photos out our front window two days ago.

Friday, February 24, 2022

Check out this video!

Glad to push that “Easy” button. Easy Peasy!

We finally got smart and hired someone to shovel us out.

Things are looking up a bit today, though. The sun has come out and David has cleared the snow off the deck.

Sunday, February 26, 11 am

Current temperature – 15 degrees – Fahrenheit that is. Cover ourselves with down, and we might be able to enjoy our Idaho happy hour out on the deck?

Yeah, I gotta get us home from Kauai. But, hey, what’s the rush?

The Magnificent Laysan Albatross

February 21, 2022

January 2022 Kauai trip Part 5. No, no! Can’t leave Kauai yet! It’s so hard to say goodbye to the incredible sea birds that return to the north shore of Kauai every year to mate and breed and raise their young. The Laysan albatross arrive in November from as far north as Alaska and the Arctic to begin their 9-month mating and breeding season. Whereas, the majority of the world’s Laysan albatrosses live on Midway and other small islands around no humans at all, during the past 50 years several hundred nesting pairs have established their breeding grounds in Kauai. Many of them return to the National Wildlife Refuge at Kilauea Point. A few pairs have built nests in already-established residential neighborhoods in Princeville, scratched out their 3-foot wide, shallow nests on the ground, in grassy front yards, under people’s shrubbery. It’s a hoot to be walking in a neighborhood and see an Albatross sitting on a nest near someone’s front porch. Do they have a dog?? A cat? How does that nest survive?

I’ve fallen in love with the albatross, learning more about them each year we visit Kauai. I couldn’t wait to see them this year, witness their crazy elaborate mating displays, their awkward wobble on land; watch them take off in a little run to launch into flight, then soar overhead. We stay with my sister Stephanie and husband Victor on our 10-day visits every year, and they have a perfect location for albatross watching – on a golf course built on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Except the golf course is closed for extensive repairs after a huge storm several years back. There are three albatrosses sitting on nests just on their street. A close friend and neighbor has a nesting albatross at the end of her front porch. Well, it is a front porch, and so, well, just walk to the end of the porch, point your camera down, and capture a photo. I did it quickly and told her (him?) thank you for sharing your life experience with me!

That white corner is the porch railing!

Our second afternoon in Kauai I took a walk on a golf cart path behind the private residences and heard this big racket. Three albatrosses having a patio party, near a bedroom window of someone’s home, hey, we’re taking a nap here, please stop disturbing the neighborhood! I took a video:

Don’t wake up the person in the next room playing this video!

All of the birds without mates will participate in elaborate mating displays that include a piercing whistle, a loud rapid clacking of beaks, bobbing, pointing their neck straight up and placing their head under their wing. Hey, they are picking a mate for life! Laysan albatross don’t mate until they are 8-9 years old. But then, the oldest known bird on earth is a 70 (71?)-yr-old albatross named Wisdom, on Midway Island. Here is a link to Wisdom. She gave birth to her 40th chick in 2021 (at 70 years of age!):

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/05/wisdom-the-albatross-the-worlds-oldest-known-wild-bird-has-another-chick-at-age-70

That article is 11 months old – written last March, maybe we will hear an update this year – At age 72 did she birth yet another chick?

The couples are extremely committed to each other.

They build a nest about a yard wide and 2″ deep and by the end of November, have likely laid one egg. That egg has a 50 per cent of being viable, but both parents take turns sitting on it for the 60-65-day incubation period. One parent will roost while the other goes on foraging trips lasting up to 17 days, flying as far as 1600 miles over the ocean, landing on the ocean’s surface and plunging with its beak to capture squid, fish eggs and crustaceans, and of course, sometimes plastics, which are lethal to the birds. The foraging parent returns to the nest and takes over the roosting and frees the other to forage.

Meanwhile the single birds are busy, busy! One afternoon I heard them out on the golf course. I shot out the back door of the house. A group of them had gathered about 3 houses down right in the middle of the course. A meet up? Speed dating? The group started with four, then five, then, well, I was taking a video, zooming in from a distance, when number eight arrived.

Oh boy, now Charlie has arrived, further complicating this social situation

One by one they each take flight. They run into the wind to launch their bulky bodies

Until finally there’s one left. She (He?) wobbles toward the edge of the course and takes flight.

Just seems like it’s a ‘she’

There are several albatrosses nesting in a neighborhood near Sea Lodge Beach and if you visit there you might see nine or ten.

Mr. Big Stuff checking out the scene

I have several fantastic links about albatrosses to share with you. First of all, a fascinating YouTube video by Robert Waid will take you through the whole breeding season in Princeville from the moment the albatross return in November to when the chicks fledge in July.

That YouTube video is embedded in this web site: http://www.albatrosskauai.com

– Written by Bob Waid who lived with his wife on the North Shore of Kauai From 1998 to June, 2016. Their home was located in a neighborhood which has been chosen by the albatross as home.

Another Princeville local, Cathy Granholm, kept a running blog containing news about the Laysan albatrosses in Princeville. Really fun! Here’s the link: https://albatrossdiary.com

Meanwhile, back to our trip, the last day of our visit, Saturday, January 29, big news came from the neighbor’s house three doors down. The chick had hatched! She took photos off her front porch.

The parents will stay with the chick for two weeks, and then both of them will leave the chick alone in the nest while they forage for food. One parent will return every 4-7 days to feed the chick. The chick will remain in the nest for about 165 days, while it develops into adult size. It will wander a bit off the nest to exercise its wings as it prepares to fledge. In late June or July, the time to fledge has arrived. The adult sized chick finds a path to a 15-story bluff overlooking the ocean. Then runs and jumps off and takes flight for the first time. It heads out to sea where it will remain for 3-4 years, never even touching land.

After three or four years at sea, the same albatross will return to its place of birth (imprinted on its brain) and begin to socialize with its peers and engage in the elaborate mating dances over the next 5 years. The albatross return every November and eventually choose a mate by the age of 8 or 9.

Albatross are able to fly over 2000 miles in a single stretch through a process called dynamic soaring and can stay at sea for up to 5 years without touching land. They sleep on the water. No wonder they look so awkward on land.

Such incredible birds!

Meanwhile back here in southeast Idaho we’ve just shoveled ourselves out. Here’s the view outside our front door this morning.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Yeah, well the salmon don’t start returning till May.

Do you really think I’m ready to leave Kauai?

I’ll take the beach over … Sleeping Giants and Dragons

February 14, 2022

Part 4 – Saturday, January 22, 2022. Good morning, Princeville!

Day 2 of our vacation. It’s sunny! And the pressure is on to plan something great, fun, fulfilling, inspiring …

“Let’s hike Sleeping Giant!” Eric jumps in. His inner mountain goat must have been whispering in his ears last night in his sweet slumber. Okay Eric. Yes, so Sleeping Giant is a great hike. We haven’t done it in four years. But, no. I tell you what. In an effort to appease your inner goat I’ll post some photos from 2018 of the east trail hike up Sleeping Giant.

Eric and David. Sleeping Giant hike, January 2018.
Hiking up to his ‘chinny-chin-chin’
Channel your inner goat – uh, if you have one
Almost there. Thank goodness, not afraid of heights. Oh, afraid of heights…

Steph, Vic, David, Eric and I also hiked the same east trail to the top of Sleeping Giant 8 years ago. I blogged about it. Here’s the link:

And as a teaser, here’s a photo of Victor…

Channel your inner crab?

How about this, Eric. Larsen’s Beach! It’s a hike to the beach and then you could hike further while we bask in the sun. Well, to be honest, Eric will never turn down an opportunity to hike Larsen’s Beach. Off we go!

The walk to Larsen’s beach is easy. Along the first quarter mile the path weaves through a jungle of shoulder-high brush. Watch what plant you brush up against, it might move and curl up and freak you out. I mean it kinda freaks me out. Plants don’t have muscles, do they? Well, somehow the ‘mimosa pudica’ or the ‘sensitive plant’ moves and curls up when you touch it. It’s a very strange sight. I blogged about it on our trip in 2015. Had discovered it on a different trail. Here, I take a photo and video of it on today’s walk to Larsen’s beach:

Mimosa pudica – growing near another plant that looks similar but isn’t the least bit ‘sensitive’

You can order a mimosa pudica grow kit online and grow your own ‘sensitive’ house plant .

https://www.etsy.com/listing/997747768/small-mimosa-pudica-starter-grow

A potted sensitive plant might be a great addition to our emotional support station in our kitchen. Push the ‘that was easy’ button to gloat, grab the kitty squishies to decompress, and touch the mimosa pudica plant for sympathy when we feel hurt or slighted.

We should definitely add a mimosa pudica!
Mimosa Pudica (yeah, just try growing one from seed)

Well maybe add a lava lamp to the mix, as well.

Mais oui! I digress! We’re going to be stuck in Kauai forever the way these blogs are going. Huh… I’ve blogged about Larsen’s Beach numerous times. Except this time we have Megan with us!

On Larsen’s beach there’s a good chance you will run into at least one monk seal and maybe a sea turtle or two sunning themselves on the narrow beach. We run into both of these endangered species today.

Soaking up the sun. Boy do monk seals know how to relax. Look at that face!

There are two sea turtles sunning themselves on a narrow area of the beach.

Larsen’s beach. Saturday, Jan 22, 2022

One of them decides to head for the water, at a slightly faster pace than a snail:

Eric decides to hike further to the arch at the end of the cove. Here, hang with the rest of us on Larsen’s beach for a minute and enjoy the surf…

Yes! We wander back toward the car. Eric jets back from his hike and meets us at the trailhead.

The following day we come up with a plan that works for everyone. Steph and Vic have business to take care of at home. Eric, David, Megan and I drive to Kahili beach. Megan and I will sunbathe on the beach while Eric and David cross a stream and hike up along the cliffs to one of Eric’s favorite places at the end of yet another cove, Hissing Dragon. We have hiked here at least three times before. It’s in my 2017 Kauai blogs. Hissing Dragon can really be fierce if you hit it in high surf. It actually roars through a crack in the rocks and almost ate Eric when he was standing with his phone trying to catch a video next to where the dragon explodes. So imagine that you now go with Eric and David across that stream and hike along the rocks at high tide to the end of the cove. You hear the dragon’s roar through a crack!

January 20, 2017

Now you’re standing where Hissing Dragon explodes. My video camera is ready…

Hissing Dragon!

Of course, Eric is not satisfied with his video. He steps closer for a better shot. He gets it alright. Maybe that angry dragon is tired of curious tourists gawking at his resting place. In any case the dragon explodes and darned near sucks Eric back into his crack with him. Alas, Eric survives this 2017 adventure, captures the video and posts it here:

https://m.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Feric.seneff.98%2Fvideos%2F234042560339373%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Okay, so that’s how your adventure could go today should you choose to go with Eric and David and hike along the rocky shore to Hissing Dragon. There they go! They are crossing the stream that separates Kahili Beach from the hike to the cove.

Put your shoes back on!

And so begins the hike to Hissing Dragon

They disappear and Megan and I pick out a perfect spot on the beach to set our blanket down.

Kahili Beach – a great place to people watch, except there’s hardly any people

We just sit and relax (channeling that monk seal) for the next hour. The beach is practically deserted. Megan plays music on her phone and we watch the waves. And the surfers. And the happy young couple near us. She is sunbathing while he attempts to break open a coconut that has just fallen off a tree (forget it!). I take a video of the surfers while Megan sings along with her music:

Another sunbather walks by

and some surfers

The couple next to us goes in for a swim.

Ah, but before we know it, here come David and Eric. Crossing the stream back to the beach after their hike to Hissing Giant.

Dig that hiking shit!

Wow! How did the hike go? Did you make it to Hissing Dragon?

Yes, we did.

So how was it?

We didn’t see anything. Nada. Tide’s too low, I guess.

Oh, so Hissing Dragon was more like, uh, ‘Sleeping Dragon?’

Yep.

I think I can guess what was inside David’s head about agreeing to the hike to Hissing Dragon with Eric after I shared my beach photos and videos with him.

What was I thinking???

Then again, that Hissing Dragon can be extraordinarily fierce when awakened by a high surf.

Hanalei Bay on Kauai’s North Shore

February 10, 2022

Part 3 – Friday, January 21, 2022. Good morning Kauai!

Okay, so our Kauai vacation is totally redeemed with this sunrise after yesterday’s travel day from hell. I want to show you a map of Kauai and specifically the location of Princeville and the north shore, and the route to Princeville from the airport in Lihue (the red line). The drive to Princeville from the airport takes about an hour.

The drive from the airpot in Lihue to Princeville

That was the last leg of our trip yesterday, the drive to Princeville from 11pm to midnight after we (luckily?) snagged our rental car. You will see from the map that the roads in Kauai largely lay along it’s perimeter. There’s no cutting across the island to get to the other side! I suspect on this trip we’ll experience most of our adventures near Kauai’s north shore.

So what to do today, our first full day in Kauai?

For someone reading this who might be planning a trip to Kauai, let me just say that our main guidebook over our nine visits has been this one, by Andrew Doughty:

It’s a fantastic guide book. You can also download the “Hawaii Revealed” app by Andrew Doughty that offers a wealth of information about each island, history, sites, beaches (including current surf conditions), activities, restaurants, with recommendations and reviews. He also offers narrated driving tours.

We have driven as far as we can go around the island on previous visits. Hey, we were younger! Our last trip here was three years ago. Our first trip was 10 years ago. David and Victor are both 75 years old now, Stephanie a few years behind, I’m pushing 70, and Eric, well, there’s still a young mountain goat trapped inside his 64-yr-old body. Megan is 33 with some physical limitations so she fits right in!

It’s a beautiful sunny day! Let’s head to Hanalei Bay, on the north shore of Kauai just a few miles west of Princeville. – Home of ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ … (FYI, for all you youngins’ under the age of 65). We always walk the beach at Hanalei, cloudy, rainy, windy, or whatever, but I believe the weather today is the sunniest I’ve ever seen it. We walk to the end of the dock and back. Perfect day for surfing!

Catching a wave by the dock at Hanalei Bay

That Beach Boys ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ tune is dancing in our heads (okay, my head…)

The original, man!

Hey, come on! Post something a little more recognizable to the under-60 crowd!

How about this ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ remastered version featuring Blake Lively on the surf board (yea, that’ll help you get your surf on! …)

Surfin’ U.S.A.!

I took a video while standing on the dock:

Surf to shore, paddle back out again! 

If everybody had an ocean across the U.S.A.
Then everybody'd be surfing like in Hanalei

After hanging out on the Dock of the Bay we walked the full length of the beach. Megan paused for a photo. Perfect day with just one fluffy cloud in the sky.

Megan with the dock and surfers in the background

Walking back from the far end of the beach

Victor, Steph and Eric

A last view of Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay

Time to hit our favorite lunch spot in Hanalei, the Kalypso. Good news, the Kalypso survived through the COVID-19 shutdown over the past two years. Bad news, they open at 3 PM now on weekdays because of a shortage of employees. Yep, that sounds about right. Typical new normal for restaurants. However on Saturdays they open at 11. We make it to the Kalypso for lunch at least twice, to burn up the $300.00 gift card Eric had bought for Steph and Vic. (While we gave them a measly wooden sign with a cow on it?)

Lunch at the Kalypso is on Eric

In that case, let’s order Inikis!

… A wicked Mai Tai named after Hurricane Iniki, which hit Kauai on Saturday, September 5, 1992, which also explains all the feral chickens

The restaurant is practically outdoors as one whole wall is open with outdoor seating. To comply with the indoor mask mandate put on your mask before you enter any restaurant and wear it till you get to your table. Take it off once you are seated. Put it back on at your table after you finish eating and wear it as you leave the restaurant. Take it off when you get outside. It gets quite complicated. Like, you may not realize when you leave an outdoor restaurant that you are indeed outdoors and can now take your mask off. But if you find yourself crossing the street then you are likely outside and others in your party might cue you that it is now safe to take your mask off. Unless, of course, you wish to keep it on.

David – Secret Agent Man

There’s a nice shopping plaza in the area behind the Kalypso with lots of small shops. We stopped to look at bathing suits hanging on a rack outside. Huh, based on the styles I saw on the beach today, I could use an upgrade. What do you think?

Yes, Jody, just right for a 68-yr-old woman

Now all I need is a surf board!

So what do you suppose we’ll be doing tomorrow?

Kauai 2022 – ‘Do you know the way to Monterey?’

February 6, 2022

Part 2 – Wednesday, Jan 19, 11pm. Are you asleep yet? We’ve completed the first leg of our trip to Kauai. We have driven from Idaho Falls to our motel in Bountiful, Utah and are now within reasonable proximity of the Salt Lake airport to catch tomorrow’s 6am flight to San Francisco. Get to bed, David, Jody and Eric, and cop some shut-eye! Megan’s the smart one of the bunch, tucking herself into bed as soon as we check into the room.

Thursday, January 20 – The alarm blasts me out of bed at 3:30 am. David has already showered. The four of us, David, Eric, Megan and I, have 30 minutes to get ready for the airport sharing one bathroom (could have planned that better…). Hot washcloth to the face will do! No need to pack much in the way of food. Did I mention we have booked tickets all the way in first class? Sweet! It’s going to be a great day!

At 4 am we drive to the Salt Lake City airport in David’s truck without incident; David pulls into the parking garage right across from the terminal. We got it covered, man! No need to check bags, we all have carry-on. Easy-peasy! Check-in is a breeze. Except we have to get from terminal A to terminal B, in the newly remodeled/vastly expanded SLC airport, now more like the Atlanta airport except without the trains. What if you have a bad hip or knee? No mobile carts in sight to assist … anyone? We seriously clock about a mile of steps on our fit bits to get to our gate. No problem. Plenty of time! Oh, except United had already informed us that we will be riding coach on this first flight – the original plane we booked in first class had been downsized to a smaller plane with no first class section. Oh well, it’s only a 2-hour flight.

We board the plane to San Francisco on time. It’s smaller all right. At least we’re seated at the front of the plane. A narrow aisle runs down the middle of the plane for about 30 rows with 2 seats on both sides. The aisle is narrow enough to create an obstacle course for anyone over 100 pounds navigating to the bathroom at the back of the plane. “Watch your arm!” “Excuse me!” “Oh, sorry!”

We’re circling San Francisco now, and … circling. Uh-oh. Our flight is still in the air … we are not landing on time. Okay – we’ll just run to our gate when we land. The pilot interrupts the silence with an announcement, “This is your captain speaking. Uh, a situation of dense fog has prevented us from landing in San Francisco, the plane is running low on gas, and we are being diverted to Monterey to refuel. Good news is that Monterey is only about a half-an-hour away.” Okay, somehow that good news in his sexy voice about how we’re ‘only 30 minutes away from Monterey’ is a comfort. I wonder if all prospective pilots have to pass a “Sexy Joe Cool’ voice test that casts a hypnotic effect on passengers for when they announce the exact opposite of what the passengers hope to hear: “This is your captain speaking. Secure the plane for landing in San Francisco…” Yes. That’s what we want to hear! Half an hour later we land in Monterey. We sit on the tarmac for 3 hours, along with 8 other United flights diverted from San Francisco. The pilot gets on the intercom periodically to update us; the fog might be lifting and we can return to San Francisco, will update you in 40 minutes. Oh … we are waiting on another update …

On the ground in Monterey. ‘This is your captain speaking…’

After sitting in our seats for 2 hours they finally let us off the plane. We enter the Monterey terminal and half the passengers make a mad dash for the restrooms. David buys a snack size bag of potato chips from a vending machine mostly to share with Megan. Delicious! ‘We’re on vacation, Megan!” 30 minutes later an airport announcement exhorts all of us to return to the plane. Which we do. Uh, all but one passenger (there’s always one) who apparently missed the memo. The jet engines are blasting, the stewardess is ready to close the hatch, but where’s the missing passenger? The stewardess even polls the passengers, should we leave him? We sit there speechless. Sure enough he finally blows on, thank goodness, she shuts the hatch and off we go – back to San Francisco.

Will we land this time? The pilot announces our descent into San Francisco. Sure enough a low blanket of thick fog looms below. I snap a photo

“De Fog! De Fog!” (Is our plane encircled by a rainbow?)

But miraculously, the blanket of fog has shifted, exposing the view of the runway. We land in San Francisco! It’s now 3:30pm.

It just so happens that 5G cell towers were rolled out yesterday (for real, wish we had known about that plan when we booked these flights last July) and there had been warnings from the airlines that flights in certain cities could be affected. We found out later that because of the fog numerous United flights into San Francisco were diverted to Monterey, San Jose and Sacramento. Certain plane models were not approved for landing in extreme fog because 5G could interfere with radio altimeters, which provide data on how high a plane is flying, vital information for landing in poor visibility. So I guess in the interest of safety it was a yet another comfort that we were diverted to Monterey (???) -(I’m reaching my limit here on ‘comfort’ potential …) If you are curious to learn more about the 5G situation, here’s a link to an article published in the Washington Post on January 20, possibly simultaneously to our sitting on the tarmac in Monterey: https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2022/01/20/5g-flight-diversions-airplanes/

So its 3:30 in the afternoon, we are finally in San Francisco, and we have been rebooked on the United 6:30 pm flight to Lihue. Oh goody! At least we got on the flight! Okay, so flying first class was a pipe dream. We’ll take our seats in coach! And we have time for a meal. We pretty much flop into a booth at the first restaurant we come across in the San Francisco terminal. No idea what it was called. We’re starving. We order drinks and hot wings and hamburgers and fries.

David and Eric at the airport restaurant. “No, we’re not hungry”

We practically inhale the meal. That’s my margarita. I don’t think it needs an explanation.

Yeah, well who’s picking up the lunch tab?

Yikes

Let’s just start spending that hefty refund we should get for getting completely bumped off first class.

So are you getting exhausted yet? Do you want to hang in there with us through the rest of this travel ordeal? Next stop, Arm Bands! You will not gain entry to Kauai without one. The Covid passport. Of course ahead of your trip you’ve completed all the requirements to obtain a QR code and printed it out for each member of your traveling party, filled the paperwork out online, followed the testing protocol, or made copies of your vaccine passports (bring them with you!). Remember to get your armbands before you board your flight at the Covid armband area set up in the terminal near the gate where you will board your flight to Lihue. Of course, that’s assuming you have a long enough layover to stand in line and handle that detail along with everyone else on your flight. Because, you can’t get into Kauai without it, so you stand in line in San Francisco, or stand in line after you get off the plane in Lihue. Which, it does occur to us that there was no way we had time to stand in line in San Francisco to get our armbands with our original itinerary. We would have flown first class only to stand in line in Lihue getting arm bands. I’ve heard horror stories about those long lines on the other end. Whew. So glad we missed that flight in first class (yeah right).

Okay, can we land in Lihue now? I won’t overload you with details of our 5 1/2 – hour flight from San Francisco to Lihue. Megan and I ordered a cheese plate with our complementary bag of pretzels and cokes. There were no TV’s on the plane. We were instructed by a prerecorded robot-voice message to access United’s movie and TV selections by downloading the United App on our smart devices with head phones. WHA? No friggin TV’s??? Even the message about their dumb app in a sexy pilot’s voice would offer no comfort on that one.

“This is the captain. Prepare for landing.” Yippee!!! We land in Lihue about 10:30pm Kauai time. Catch a bus to Avis rental car. At least half the people on the bus had also been diverted from San Francisco on a United Flight. That’s how we heard about San Jose and Sacramento. Our big honking GMC SUV, that David reserved, was still waiting for us. A seven seater. Except it’s so dark inside and outside the vehicle David can’t figure out how to work the mirrors. Or the wipers. David just leaves the wipers flapping through the whole hour it took us to make it to Stephanie and Victor’s house in Princeville. We arrive near mid-night, all told, 23-hours of travel after we hit the road at 4am from our motel in Bountiful.

Stephanie and Victor greet us with broad smiles, open arms, and pantry and fridge stocked with our requested food items and abundant farm-to-table goodies.

Stephanie and Victor waited up to welcome us!

Aloha! Welcome to Kauai! Let the adventures in Paradise begin!

Kauai 2022! Let’s Do It!

February 4, 2022

We pulled it off! A trip to Kauai in the midst of the seemingly endless Covid pandemic. Our last trip there was in 2019. We visited Kauai every January from 2012 to 2019 and every year when we returned home I blogged about our adventures, 50 blogs, covering seven visits. (Find them all in my Kauai category.) We booked this trip about six months ago, July 2021, you know, about the time the world was declaring the peak of the pandemic behind us. Yay! Then Omicron hit, which, has it peaked yet? … Even in January 2022 pulling off a trip to Kauai without incident feels like no small miracle.

We got blasted with snow here in Idaho Falls in early January but of course, who cares, we’re headed to Kauai for 10 days. And when we return January will be behind us! Well, we’ve been back from Kauai for five days, the snow hasn’t melted one bit, and February feels just like January. I know! Let’s go back to Kauai! Do you want to come along? My sister Stephanie and husband Victor have invited us to stay with them at their house in Princeville! Although I have to warn you, it’s a bit of a trek getting to Lihue, Kauai from Idaho Falls. Are you ready? … We’ll experience it vicariously thorough our January trip.

So here’s the travel plan: Wednesday evening, January 19, we drive to Salt Lake and get a motel. Then Thursday morning we catch a 6am flight from Salt Lake to San Francisco. One hour layover in San Francisco gives us plenty of time to catch our 8:30am flight to Lihue, landing in Lihue about 1 pm. Perfect!! Gives us a full afternoon and evening to enjoy on our very first day in Paradise! Here we go…

Wednesday, January 19, 4pm – We’ve hit the road to Salt Lake from Idaho Falls. David is driving, my brother Eric is riding shotgun and Megan and I are in the back seat. (Yes! Our daughter Megan is coming with us this time.)

Megan couldn’t be more excited!

An hour into our trip we’re approaching McCammon, Idaho

Near McCammon, Idaho

Gorgeous winter landscape! I wonder what it will look like in 10 days?

Sailing down I-15 south at 80mph near Downey, Idaho, we nearly own the freeway

The sunset bursts into bright yellows and oranges

Who says there isn’t a God?

By 7pm we pull over in Layton and stuff ourselves with dinner at Red Lobster, as is our tradition.  Pull over at Red Lobster, feast on lobster, scallops and crab, and then pull into Country Inn and Suites just off the freeway in Bountiful, Utah, where we’ve reserved a king suite. Now try to sleep!  We’ll be up at 3:30am to catch our 6am flight from Salt Lake to San Francisco.

Wonderful! Well, let me just say, Megan is in bed by 9pm, but David, Eric and Jody (myself) are naughty; stay awake way past 11pm, feeling chatty, and not sleepy at all.  But had they known about the travel debacle that lay ahead, starting in just a few hours, they might have behaved differently.

So, we’ll call it a night. Sleep, I say!  3:30am is nigh upon us.  In a few hours a new day dawns. We’re headed to Paradise!

Hurricane Iniki, Coco Palms Resort, and Feral Chickens

February 17, 2019

Kauai trip, Jan. 2019 – Part 3 …

Woke up this morning to find that, sure enough, it’s still winter.

Idaho Falls, 10 am Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 –

Whereas in Kauai I would be listening to the sounds of ocean surf and Albatross mating calls, here in Idaho it’s the whirr-whirr-whirring of snowblowers:

Next door neighbor at 10 am this morning.

Not that Kauai doesn’t have its fair share of storms. On February 10, 2019 – just a week ago, a potent storm slammed Hawaii with 191-mph winds and 60-foot waves, and even dropped snow on Maui. Here check out this Washington post link on the storm!

The most famous storm to hit Kauai was hurricane Iniki. It struck the Island on September 11, 1992 at peak intensity with 145mph winds and gusts up to 225mph. There is still evidence of the hurricane today, with feral chickens running everywhere

Which begs the question: “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

You’d think in Kauai, free-range chicken would be offered ‘cheep-ly’ and abundantly in the grocery stores.

But just try to catch a feral chicken! Then if you do, try to cook it for proper tenderness, which reminds me of a joke Victor likes to tell:

“How long do you boil a Kauai feral chicken?”

“Boil a rock, and when you get it tender enough to eat – that’s how long you boil a Kauai feral chicken.”

Kauai had been home to underground cock-fighting and thus, when hurricane Iniki hit 26 years ago, many chicken coops were blown apart, freeing the chickens and roosters on the island. Except there are no mongooses or other natural predators to hunt them or eat their eggs and so their population has exploded since the hurricane.

Feral pigs and goats proliferate as well, and provide great incentive for hunting. Here we passed some hunters with their kill – a wild pig. Laying on top of the caged hunting dogs – good job, dogs! (At least four dogs? – with proud expressions.)

Jan 27, 2019

We ran into a guy on one hike who was off hunting with his rifle for feral goats.

In my previous blog I talked about the 48-inch rain that hit the north shore of Kauai last April, and how a section of Kuhio Road is still closed today, nine months later, from the damage. Well, you might have heard of the Coco Palms resort in Kauai. It was built in 1953, on 32 acres, including a 17-acre coconut grove of over 2000 trees that had been planted in 1896 by a German named William Lindeman.

The Coco Palms Resort became a popular hotspot among royalty and stars. Scenes from the 1958 movie South Pacific were shot at Coco Palms. Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby were regular visitors, as were the Von Trapp Family Singers. It was a favorite hang-out for Elvis Presley. They filmed the wedding scene in Elvis’s movie Blue Hawaii at this resort. By the early 1970’s the hotel had grown to over 400 rooms, and hosted over 500 weddings a year. It had been a Hawaii landmark for 40 years … until Iniki hit…

A blog (link here) written by Daniel Thorne – contains some very interesting information – he toured the resort in 2008 and provided photos and this map of the original resort in his blogpost (thank you Daniel):

On January 27, 2019, David, Eric and I drove right past the Coco Palms resort. I had seen this blocks-long abandoned concrete structure on previous trips and didn’t know what it was. Well, my friend, it’s the Coco Palms Resort – what’s left of it – still standing untouched today, 26 years after it was destroyed by hurricane Iniki.

Coco Palms resort – Wailua, Kauai

The Coco Palms resort sits on the mouth of the Wailua River on the eastern side of Kauai, about seven miles north of Lihue, which also happens to be an ancient site of Hawaiian royal property that has been in dispute since 1866. Roadblock after roadblock has deterred progress on repairing or re-developing the property. Ownership groups battled insurance companies (already bankrupted by Iniki) and struggled to get the money to rebuild. Local cultural activists continued to lobby against redevelopment to protect the sacred Hawaiian ground. Anyway, there have been several attempts at redevelopment. Here is a fascinating article about Coco Palms entitled “Abandoned Kaua’i Jewel – the Coco Palms” and a book has been written about it, ‘The Story of Coco Palms Hotel,’ by David Penhallow, who was a good friend of Grace Guslander, the creative force and engine behind the hotel’s original growth and success.

Hurricane Iniki caused an estimated $1.8 billion damage (in 1982 money value) and left residents without power for up to 3 months. Over 1400 homes were completely destroyed and another 7200 were severely damaged. Iniki hit Kauai shortly after Hurricane Andrew leveled south Florida, so Americans were a little hurricane-weary at this point where sympathy and aid were concerned …

Another interesting tid-bit from the article above, “Abandoned Kauai Jewel: The Coco Palms” – Stephen Spielberg and 130 members of his cast and crew were in Kauai filming Jurassic Park when Hurricane Iniki struck. Luckily they were able to find safe refuge in a hotel.

Oh, and by the way, you can still tour the Coco Palms today through Coco Palms Tours and Tees (link here) run by Bob Jasper. And you can also get married (or renew your vows) at the Coco Palms through Blue Hawaii Weddings. (Send resident caretaker Larry Riviera an email: LarryRiviera@hawaiian.net ) The massive coconut grove must still be there.

According to the same article above, by the late 2000’s the resort rapidly disintegrated, despite efforts of various interested investors to try and save it. Meanwhile, copper thieves, ornament hunters and vandals have nearly completely stripped the buildings. In February 2013, thieves broke down hotel walls and made off with four of the resort’s original 8-foot-tall doors, weighing 200-300 pounds each, hand carved from solid Koa wood, valued at $50,000 each, but to the collectors and fans of the Coco Palms they are priceless.

As late as August 2013 a group of Hawaiian investors developed plans to purchase the property. Reconstruction was announced to take between 12-18 months, beginning in 2014, restoring the resort to look very similar to what it was pre-Iniki. But now in 2019, it is clear no progress has been made.

So I dunno – there may be a 32-acre Real estate property available on the Kuhio Highway that sits on the mouth of the Wailua River on the eastern side of Kauai, about seven miles north of Lihue. A 17-acre coconut grove with over 2000 trees is included.

Of course, did I mention that it also sits below the flood plain?

Kauai’s Epic Rainfall, April 14-15, 2018

February 10, 2019

(January 2019 Kauai Trip – Part 2)

Imagine you are visiting or living on the north shore of Kauai near Hanalei in the middle of April, 2018. You wake up on Friday, April 14, 2018 to a hard rain. Forecast calls for a major storm, so you hunker down inside your residence. The storm hits about 5 am but it’s ever more fierce than you imagined. It’s raining HARD, and continuously, throughout the day and into the night. You just can’t believe the persistent pounding on the roof and surfaces outside. Finally in the middle of the night, Friday night, you go out and capture a video: (take a little time here to listen – the sound of rain (albeit in small doses) can be a bit relaxing …)

Video taken Saturday April 16,3:30 AM by Theriault Brigette

Finally by 5 am Saturday the rain begins to subside. This storm turns out to be epic – dumping an average of 2″ an hour in Hanalei – 48 inches in 24 hours! Residents emerge to discover widespread damage and devastation – washed out roads, upturned vehicles, homes on the verge of collapsing or washed away, people stranded. Landslides.

You venture out, manage to get down along Hanalei Bay and witness the aftermath, maybe capture some respectable photos and video of the devastation. Here’s a video from (what must be) a drone, where one can see that Weke road – which runs between multimillion-dollar houses along Hanalei beach, near the dock, is clearly destroyed. So are several houses…

April 2018 Flood-posted by Aaron Feinberg

Rescue teams disperse in helicopters, rafts and jet skis. 152 people are evacuated by helicopter. Flooding sweeps a herd of buffalo away at a nearby ranch and buffalo are stranded in peoples’ yards and in Hanalei Bay. Buffalo stranded in Hanalei Bay? Yes. Someone captured a video of Hawaii cowboys, “Paniolo” on jet skis catching stray buffalo in Hanalei Bay:

Hawaii Paniolo catching buffalo

30 campers are stranded on the Kalalau Trail along the now-isolated Napali Coast. Bad timing for a backpacking trip! Turns out the Kalalau trail and Napali Coast are cut off because the only road going there, ‘Kuhio Highway’ has sections that are completely washed away.

To give you an idea of where this epic rain occurred, here are a couple of maps of Kauai. This first one is of the whole island –

Island of Kauai

This second map is a closeup of the North Shore where the April flood hit the hardest: Hanalei, and Napali Coast…

North Shore

The section of road in red is the Kuhio Highway that connects you to the Napali Coast – Ke’e Beach, Kalalau trail, Lumaha’i Beach… The road is closed because of extensive April 14-15, 2018 flood damage.

So when David, Eric and I visited a couple of weeks ago (Jan 17-31, 2019) we hung out on Hanalei Beach and then decided to take the Kuhio highway over to our favorite beach of all time, why of course, – Lumaha’i Beach! We weren’t even through Hanalei when … What ??

Kuhio Highway

Wow! Nine months after the flood and the highway is still closed? Is there no way to get to Lumaha’i Beach?

Nope. Not unless you have a permit to go past the barrier – and only as part of a convoy that enters and exits the area every 1 1/2 hours. If you live past the barrier, then you get a pass, but you still have to enter and exit the area with the convoy. Say you are a contractor, building a new house or or something past the barrier. You have to get a new permit every Monday (in Lihue) to enter the area for that week, and exit, with the convoy.

We learned much of this from talking to the locals. The Kuhio Highway had literally been washed away in places off the edges of the slopes of the Napali Coast. After removing debris they have to ‘slope scale, stabilize and reinforce’ the road – it’s a massive construction project. Here’s a link with lots of information about the ‘Project Status’ of the road repair – (for you engineering types who would likely find this fascinating):

Project Status as of 12/28/18

The town of Hanalei is fully alive, however, with businesses open and doing fine. Eric even successfully persuaded David and I to walk with him to the end of Hanalei Beach and then further along the rocky coastline to see if we could get to Lumahai Beach on foot. Sure Eric, why not?

We didn’t get too far till we had to turn back!

The end of the beach at Hanalei Bay

Directly parallel to us, off to our left is where the convoy begins. David counted 60 cars that lined up to go through at about 12:45 in the afternoon, January 26, 2019.

Here’s a couple more photos I took of Hanalei Bay as it looks now:

Hanalei Bay

The dock

And a couple of the houses on Weke Road along the beach near the dock that were severely damaged on April 15 and still standing, as if they haven’t even been touched since the flood (insurance settlement issues?? Too unsafe???):

Now dear reader, if you have any time, energy or inclination to look at another April 15, 2018 Kauai flood you-tube video – this last one is really quite interesting. It was posted by a local woman – obviously someone who lives or has lived on or close to the beach here where the flood took out these houses. Anyway, she provides close-up coverage of the flooding around the houses on the beach and interesting commentary about the building of these (multi-million dollar?) houses in this unfortunate location:

Weke Road Flood update Hanalei 5-2-18- Felicia Alongi Cowden

And lastly, wouldn’t you still like to get to the fabulous Lumaha’i Beach? Dang! Well, you’re in luck because I can take you there. Here is a video of the beach I took on a previous trip to Kauai, way before the flood – posted in one of my previous Kauai blogs – link here.

Although my video doesn’t hold a candle to a video I found on You tube of the same spot: click on this video by Cyndi Totti – taken on January 20, 2016, during record high surf with an added bonus of lots of girls in bikinis diving into the crashing waves (You’re welcome).

Aloha! Now you understand why my brother Eric was coaxing David and I to walk with him along the treacherous rocky coastline beyond the barrier to get to Lumaha’i Beach!

Meanwhile, back at home in Idaho at the moment …

Sunday, Feb 10, 2019

Yeah. Nature pretty much gets her way.

No worries. We’ve hired a crew to shovel us out. They’ve just pulled up in front of our house

Sweet!

Young strapping males

Feb 10- 5 PM – Yes!!

Oh, BTW- After every hike on the beach at Hanalei we do have the option of refreshing ourselves with a round of Iniki Mai Tais at the Kalypso Restaurant in Hanalei.

Kalypso, Jan 21, 2019 3:15 pm

And feed off of my brother Eric’s infectious energy.

Although look at those eyes. What new mischief is he up to? Devising another lawless scheme to get us past that barrier over to Lumaha’i Beach? Hmmm. Seems likely. What do you think?

Oh, and by the way, click on this link if you’d like to give to the Kauai Relief and Recovery Fund through the Hawai’i Community Foundation.