Posts Tagged ‘Hanalei’

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

February 4, 2018

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


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 my brother 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.

Kauai – Part V

February 11, 2012

Hanalei Bay Beach

Puff the Magic Dragon
Lived by the sea
and frolicked in the Autumn mist
In a land called Honalee

This 1963 song by Peter, Paul, and Mary tells a story of the ageless dragon Puff and his playmate Jackie Paper, a little boy who grows up and then loses interest in Puff, leaving the dragon alone and depressed. The story takes place “by the sea” in the land of Honalee.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave,
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave…

“What’s with Puff and your blog?” you might ask?

I think we saw Puff! In his alone and depressed state oh so many years ago he may have slipped into the crevice at Rock Point (where we were yesterday- see Kauai-IV blog) and when he sees a human out there on the rocks he explodes out of that crevice as the angry, abandoned ‘Hissing Dragon.’


Puff could still be here at Hanalei Bay, and happy! – frolicking with the strapping young surfers. (If you look at this next picture carefully you will see them out on the water catching the waves.):

I could be happy, frolicking with the strapping younger surfers.

Just a thought…

Anyway, getting on with our trip …. We hiked the Kuilau Ridge Trail –

And I half-expected to run into Harrison Ford and crew filming another sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark. I just now Googled it and, sure enough, the opening scenes of that movie were filmed in Kauai.

It’s a tropical forest. Without the bugs. On all of our hikes in Kauai combined, the only insects I saw were tiny ants, one small bumblebee, and one wasp. Well, and spiders. That’s the beauty of hiking in Paradise. If you see a flying winged thing, it’s probably a bird.

On Friday morning we hike the Kalalau trail, an 11-mile ridge trail along the Napali Coast. (Impressive, huh?) We start at Ke-e Beach and head for our destination: Hanakapi-ai Beach. Okay, so it’s only two miles to Hanakapi-ai Beach- but the trail climbs 600-ft to the ridge and then drops 600-ft to the beach.

Eric leads the way. Right away we experience a close encounter

of the worst kind for Eric…spiders. You can’t really see them all in the picture but there are five webs there in a cluster, and, well, we learn not to look too intently above our heads. I feel sorry for the first person on the trail in the morning busting through spider webs (yeah, in my dreams, while I’m sleeping in).

It’s a steep climb that first half mile and we arrive at the ridge. We take in the view of Ke-e Beach behind us

and the Napali Coast in front of us.

It’s a 2-hour hike to Hanakapi-ai Beach. We are getting close now…

What’s that sign say? Unseen currents have killed how many people? (Okay, so we won’t swim at the beach)

We cross the Hanakapi-ai Stream

and encounter wild life on the rocks near the beach

Seriously, this “Kauai kitty’ looks affectionate and cute, but there is no way you’re going to catch it, or even touch it. There’s a litter of three hungry feral cats here about 3 months old. Did someone carry them in and abandon them here? Did their pregnant mother fall out of a helicopter and land on this beach?

David and Eric on the beach.

They’re a tough breed.

I didn’t take a picture of the water (Duh)

We’re headed back now

up, up, up,

There’s our trail traversing that hill ahead

It’s nice to have hills you just look at and don’t have to climb…

We’re atop the ridge again

The ocean is fifty shades of blue.

The view of Ke-e Beach is just as awesome on the way back.

Almost down now…

I mean, up! AAaaaa! Don’t slip! We did pass a hiker half-covered in mud.

We’re down now. Time to rest and enjoy some ice cold coconuts.

The milk’s the best!

A native visitor meets us by the car.

It’s Alpha rooster. He wants his share of that coconut meat.

Afterall, It’s HIS island.

Okay, so I gotta put a wrap on these seemingly endless Kauai blogs.