Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Iniki’

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?

Kilauea Farmers Market

February 5, 2015

At the local Farmers Markets you can find the most lucious locally grown fresh food. We visited the Farmers Markets both in Hanalei and Kilauea. Here we are, pulling into the Kilauea Farmers Market.

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At 9 am sharp. Right when it opens.

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Along with a throng of other eager shoppers.

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I’m suddenly starving for fresh organic vegetables

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and fresh tumeric, maybe…

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You stand there looking at it, vibing it, and just know intuitively, it’s an extremely healthy and therapeutic plant, er, root. A heavy-duty anti-carcinogenic, for sure. You should seriously buy a heap of it. Except, what do you do with it? Here, I googled it: “what to do with fresh tumeric’ Looks like you prepare and use it as a strong flavoring, much like you would fresh ginger. You might find the link helpful (or maybe Google it yourself) if you want to know more about how to use fresh tumeric root and especially if you think you’d like a recipe for Beef Rendang.

Ah, what have we here? ULU?

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Ditto healthwise on the ULU? So I Googled ULU too (say that five times really fast as a brain exercise – an added health bonus for reading my blog). ULU or ‘breadfruit’ is apparently grown in about 90 countries throughout South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, Central America and Africa. It gets its name from the texture of the cooked fruit, which has a potato-like flavor, similar to freshly baked bread. It is a staple food in many tropical regions. ULU, like potatoes, are roasted, baked, fried or boiled. But, actually, since we hail from Idaho I think I’ll stick with potatoes. At least for now. I believe that’s the first time I’ve seen ULU’s in my entire life.

Eric is carrying our spoils

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What uncanny fashion sense he has. In this case, dressed as though he belongs in the basket.

Victor has home-cooked menus planned, lists made, before we hit the Farmers Market. Then he surprises us at mealtime. Like, with his won ton soup for lunch.

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Wontons stuffed with fresh pork and herbs, in a seasoned broth, garnished with fresh chinese bok choy, green onions and cilantro. (I think. I actually tried to make it myself after our last visit and it was a total disaster.)

But aren’t you getting healthier by the minute just reading this blog? The images alone should increase your vitamin, mineral and antitoxicant, I mean, antioxidant levels. And a brain exercise embedded in the blog to boot!

Yes, so we all need balance in our lives, so of course, we also eat lunch out – at the Kalypso in the center of Hanalei.

David's shadow entering Kalypso

David’s shadow entering Kalypso

The Kalypso is a great place for lunch, especially after dragging your body through a long strenous hike, and you need to shower before you can enter your own kitchen. The Kalypso offers a very special drink, you know, to quench your thirst after a long hike, or short hike, or walk on the beach, sunbathing on the beach, buying post cards, etc. It’s called an Inikki.(I may have spelled this wrong – it’s hard to recollect exactly.) Okay so I did spell it wrong – one of my dear readers sent me a FYI with this link as a hint as to how (and why) the drink is spelled: ‘Iniki’- as in ‘Hurricane Iniki’– a category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds that hit Kauai September 5, 1992. Iniki was the most powerful hurricane to strike Hawaii in recorded history. Damage on Kauai was the greatest, where more than 1400 houses were destroyed, more than 5,000 damaged, and likely just as many chickens freed that still roam the island today. ‘Iniki’ – meaning, “strong and piercing wind.” We ordered four (plus an organic beer for Steph). Since the presentation was so beautiful I just had to take a picture:

Eric having an ecstacy experience

Eric having an ecstacy experience

Uh, news flash, Eric. Those drinks are for four people. Eric does appear to be deriving indescribable pleasure from his drink – I feel a tinge of guilt depriving him of mine. What? No way! Of course I’m drinking mine!

Usually at breakfast we devoured a fresh fruit plate (compliments of the Farmers Markets and Victor) – fresh pineapple, chinese grapefruit, papaya (picked from Steph and Vic’s tree), rambutan (those red spiny balls). Oh, here’s an example

Still-life of breakfast plates with the burned out LED sidewalk lamps Eric was supposed to fix

Still-life of breakfast plates with the burned out LED sidewalk lamps Eric was supposed to fix

We devour every last morsel.

'Victor depositing the last used napkin"

Victor depositing the last used napkin

We’ve got to beef ourselves up, you know, nourish and strengthen our bodies for the Jungle Hike ahead that Eric has planned for us. Does that sound like a potential death march to you?