Posts Tagged ‘Kauai’

Kauai 2016 – Part 2

January 24, 2016

Blizzard of 2016 slamming the U.S., burying most of the east coast in at least a foot of snow?

Let’s go back to Pila’a Beach! This next photo was among the photos I had taken at Pila’a Beach and blogged about in my last post. I had left this photo out! – The ancient banyan tree near our picnic spot …

Find the Buddha

Find the Buddha

A perfect place to meditate. I showed the photo to David. This picture got left out of my last blog! I said. “All that’s missing is the Buddha,” is what he said.

Sit with the photo for a bit …. ‘Ommmmmmmmm…’ Can you find the Buddha? ….. um …..ommmmm …..uh, …. mmm …

Yes? No? Yeah, well, this is the image that greeted us at breakfast, bright and early the next morning:

Why don't you drive us insane, Eric, with your shirt?

Why don’t you drive us insane, Eric, with your shirt?

It’s brother Eric, wearing his crazed kitty shirt, or fluorescent whirlies kitty vortex migraine headache shirt, or something. Geez, Eric. Isn’t the Kauai sun bright enough for you?

One of our favorite hikes is to Sea Lodge Beach, which we walk to from Steph and Vic’s house just by crossing a couple of holes on the golf course. Eric, David and I visited Sea Lodge Beach several times. Steph came with us once. Here we are, on the golf course.

IMG_2661

(You can also drive to SeaLodge Resort and park near the trail to the beach, but that’s just too … sensible?)

IMG_2388

David is watching like a hawk for golfers tee-ing off and flying golf balls. He leads the way along the edges of the course, and we follow. Notice the signs posted at the trailhead to the beach

IMG_2310

Caution – this trail is extremely dangerous. It is steep, slippery and hazardous…Use at your own risk….

Eric has already started down…

We crossed a little creek and then entered a banyan tree mini-jungle.

IMG_2313

An elevated rocky narrow path takes you along rock cliffs to Sea Lodge Beach. We only made it to the beach once. A couple of families with young children made it too.

IMG_2317

They scrambled across that narrow ledge along the rocks, hopped down onto the beach and were immediately in the water, snorkeling. The beach is quite secluded.

Sea Lodge Beach

Sea Lodge Beach

Walking back now – here’s David navigating the narrow path along the cliff.

Wouldn't do this after a rain!

Wouldn’t do this after a rain!

There’s a beautiful spot on the rocks along the way where you can sit and enjoy the crashing waves, which is where we usually hiked to.

IMG_2683

On our way back up now:

IMG_2385

We met several roosters and hens with half-grown clutches, cock-a-doodle-do-ing, clucking and pecking.

IMG_2321

And a lizard. There is one in the picture below. Can you see it?

Find the lizard

Find the lizard

… Near the center of the photo. Pretty well-camouflaged. The top of its head is orange. Still can’t see it? Look where the branches form a ‘Y. Yea!

Back up on top now near the trailhead taking in the view:

IMG_2387

We hit our favorite place in Hanalei for lunch – the Kalypso- and ordered a round of their killer Mai Tai’s, called Iniki’s – named after the 1992 killer Hurricane Iniki, the worst hurricane to ever hit Kauai, that freed the chickens (and pigs, and goats, and…) on Kauai.

I captured brother Eric’s state-of-ecstasy expression once again (see last year’s blog)

IMG_2344

after our round of Iniki’s was delivered. (Just kidding Eric, I was in a state of ecstasy too – those drinks are fantastic!)

After lunch we drove to Lumaha’i Beach, on the north side of the island just above Hanalei. It’s just off the road. It has the finest sand and a very impressive surf. Here we are, walking the beach:

Lumaha'i Beach

Lumaha’i Beach

Well, David, Eric, and Victor are walking the beach. That’s Stephanie walking along the shore where the waves are crashing.

We stop to rest and take in the action and sounds of the waves

IMG_2350

And of female voices and laughter

IMG_2354

More Mermaids? But of course, certain male members of our group insist we stick around on Lumaha’i Beach a bit longer to investigate…

Kauai!! January, 2016

January 23, 2016

What? Again?

Yes, this is our fifth trip to Kauai – five years running! – to visit Steph and Vic at their second home in Princeville, Kauai (and yes, I’ve blogged about all of them – you can read my previous 28 Kauai blogs under category – Kauai). My sister and her husband escape to Kauai for most of the Boston winter. Paradise!

But what’s an experience in Paradise without company? Enter, my brother Eric (a.k.a. ‘Cuddles Cutes’ or ‘Mountain Goat’) and David and I! (Pinch myself)

It’s a bit of an ordeal getting there. First, I arrange companions to stay with Megan (and Rudy) for 11 days. We hit the road from Idaho Falls late afternoon Wednesday (Jan 6), then drive to Salt Lake, stopping for dinner at Red Lobster in Layton, Utah…

Red Lobster - Wed. Jan 6, 2016 - Kauai here we come!

Red Lobster – Wed. Jan 6, 2016 – Kauai here we come!

We stay in a motel, and rise at 3:45am for 6am flight to Los Angeles. Of course, we hardly sleep before the flight. And I can’t sleep on the flight. So I take pictures. Here we are above LA – descending for a landing!:

Los Angeles - Beautiful photo!

Los Angeles – Beautiful photo!

‘Hey, anyone can take an ugly photo like that!’ You say. Yeah, but do they?

Our flight from LA to Lihue was about 6 hours. Over the Pacific Ocean. I actually paid attention for once, when the stewardess gave her spiel about a crash and how and when to put on oxygen, how to find flotation device, where the nearest exit was and not to inflate my rubber vest until sailing down the slide toward the water. (Okay, so we’re goners at this point.) I allowed myself about 5 seconds to think about that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with 239 people aboard, that disappeared from radar, went missing, and presumably now lies somewhere on the bottom of the Indian Ocean. (Stop it Jody, you’re on vacation! Try going to sleep!)

45 minutes before scheduled arrival to Lihue, and islands come into view!

IMG_2290

Then more islands!

IMG_2289

Hawaii!!!

We arrive in Lihue about 2pm, Thursday, January 7, rent a car and head over to Princeville, on the north side of the island. Settle in at Steph and Vic’s.

Our first hike is on Friday – Pila’a Beach in Kilauea.

There was a bit of a hike down to it. Hike would have been slick after a rain but was dry and safe today.

Overlooking Pila'a Beach

Overlooking Pila’a Beach

Then we cross a stream….

Eric leads the way

Eric leads the way

Picnic under a giant coconut palm tree

IMG_2297

A fallen coconut has sprouted a baby tree

IMG_2296

already putting down roots!

Visiting any beach in Kauai usually involves climbing over rocks

Pila'a Beach

Pila’a Beach

Oh look! (Eric noticed it first…)

IMG_2291

A mermaid!

A stop at Paco’s Tacos to pick up (local wild caught) fish tacos

IMG_2307

Then off to the organic grocer’s to pick up ingredients for Victor’s dinner at home.

IMG_2306

Here one day, and we’re already 500 per cent healthier!

Aloha, Mahalo … Spring!

March 14, 2015

I should be done blogging about our January trip to Kauai, I know. Except, FYI, when I left off we were still in Kauai – at the airport bar in Lihue – sucking down Mai-Tai’s. You might be worried about us. (Huh?) You know, that we might drink too much, fall off our chairs, and miss our flight. (Could we be so lucky?) As you might recall, we were self-medicating in the Lihue Airport Bar so as to induce sleep on the pending 5-hour Red-eye flight to LA…

Alas, we’ve boarded the plane now.

You're posting this ugly photo?

You’re posting this ugly photo?

I’m still taking photos since I can’t sleep – sandwiched between Eric and David. David has drifted off to sleep. Eric is awake, and he and I start scrolling through the photos on my I-phone… We pause on the photo of Eric at the Kalypso Restaurant in Hanalei, you know … (I’ve already posted this photo once, but I can’t resist…)

Eric having an ecstacy experience

Eric having an ecstacy experience

We’re laughing uproariously over the photo. And our laughter is cackling through the dark silence of the plane like a bolt of thunder in the night sky over sleeping campers. It’s the first moment I realize the plane has gone completely dark and silent, because everyone is trying to sleep. Sleep? I try every method possible to coax myself into sleep, counting my breaths, counting backwards from 100, counting sheep leaping over fluffy clouds … I do apparently drift off to sleep, as suddenly the pilot announces we are descending for a landing….

We land in LA at 5 AM. Although feeling pretty brain dead, Eric and I decide to try and find breakfast. David says he isn’t hungry. I don’t know where we ended up. We didn’t have much time and the pickins’ were slim, if that helps explain it. All I know is, we end up in this fast food court and I order what Eric orders. Ranchos Heuvros – or something. I don’t speak Spanish. I don’t typically eat Mexican food either. This is what we get:

How do you spell delicious in Spanish?

How do you spell delicious in Spanish?

Black beans on one end of a black plastic sectioned plate, rice on the other. I like to mix them. Tortilla in the middle with fried eggs on top. Not sure what that is on top of the eggs. The egg white is tough as lizard skin, I discover, as I woefully attempt to cut it with my fork. I taste a bean. David moans in disgust watching us trying to eat. I dunno. Could any food look edible at 5:27 AM, jet-lagged and sleep-deprived?

Fast forward seven hours – we’ve landed in Salt Lake and are driving the last 140 miles home to Idaho Falls.

IMG_0239

Eric’s fur lined leather bomber hat magically appears on his head. Was it in his coat pocket? I’ve changed from flip-flops into the frozen soles of my winter shoes that had sat in the truck our whole trip.

Good news awaits us, weather-wise, over the next six weeks. All we weather is a couple of bouts of hoarfrost

January 21, 2015

January 21, 2015

IMG_0243

And a skiff or dusting or two of newly fallen snow.

IMG_0318

IMG_0317

The winter snow had melted off by mid-February, a full month before it normally does. David and I took this selfie in our front yard on February 15.

Does it look like spring to you?

Does it look like spring to you?

We were going to send it to Victor’s I-phone as a joke. But then, that just seemed too cruel. Victor and Steph left Kauai at the end of January to spend the rest of their winter in …. Boston. Ouch. (Need I repeat how miserable their winter has been, likely the most miserable winter in Boston history…) I kindly have not kept Steph and Vic abreast of the goings-on for us here in southeast Idaho weather-wise. Suffice it to say, we had the warmest February on record, from records kept since 1850. That’s the warmest winter in at least 165 years, with an average daily temp of 47.1 degrees.

So, yeah, time to put a wrap on the Kauai blogs. Heck we’ve had crocus blooming here for several weeks. And we noticed yesterday, the robins have returned. Or maybe they never left this year.

But wait! I do have one more photo of Kauai – taken on our hike in Wiamea Canyon.

This one’s for the ladies:

This picture's for you, Steph

This picture’s for you, Steph

Now you have a new ‘happy place’ to escape to. You know, like if you’re on a plane or something, trying to lure yourself to sleep… Or if you live in, say… Boston.

Flipflops, Diphthongs, and Darkness

March 7, 2015

IMG_9895

Saturday, January 17 – still in Kauai! Yea! Well, tonight we catch the Red-eye from Lihue back to L.A. and then head onward to Idaho. Sigh. I can’t keep tonight from coming. I can, however, freeze time in my blogs. Thus, I’ve managed to extend our January trip to Paradise through February and well into March. (Why not just stay in Paradise till spring has officially sprung?)

On David, Eric’s and my last morning of our trip we all attempt to walk down to Waiakalua Beach. (Say it with me: “Wah-ee-ah-kah-loo-ah”). Now, pronounce it again – swaying your hips as if they’re cloaked in a grass hula skirt. Why do Hawaiian words and names contain so many vowels? (You might ask.) Well the reason is, there are only 14 letters in the Hawaiian Alphabet. Easy! Uh, except they use a lot of diphthongs. They use what? You know, diphthongs. Two vowels together – gliding vowel – a complex vowel sound in which the first vowel gradually moves toward a second vowel so that both vowels form one syllable. Whatever. Now say ‘Waiakalua’ pronouncing it correctly with the diphthongs. For that matter, pronounce ‘diphthong.’

Anyway, here is the view of Waiakalua (pronounce it one more time – will make a hula dancer out of you yet!) Beach from the trailhead:

IMG_0175

Except, the trail is steep, windy, rooty, and slick. Anger us conditions! We turn around, head back up and just linger to savor the view. I capture a picture of Steph and Victor – well, a picture of Steph, and a picture of Victor:

Steph

Steph

Victor

Victor

Okay, so the end of our trip is nigh upon us. Only a few hours left! I must pack. And must capture more images of Kauai to bring home with us!

Thus:

Steph and Vic’s garden,

IMG_0218

Another photo of their birdfeeder:

IMG_0129

And another view of the golfcourse and mountains from their patio

IMG_0219

Their patio ocean view:

IMG_0220

Our last dinner, compliments of our personal chef, Victor:

IMG_0224

Several delectable Chinese dishes prepared with only the freshest organic ingredients.

Savored with fine wine…

Uh…it’s over now. Time to hit the road for our 10 PM fight to L.A.

Darkness descends on our drive to the aiport in Lihue –

IMG_0228

Ah- wait a minute! One last taste of Paradise!… in the airport bar. Mai-Tais all around. Eric goes green. I mean, parts with his green…

Eric buys the last round

Eric buys the last round

Self-medicating ourselves to sleep through the 5 hour Red-eye to LA… that’s the plan, anyway.

Yeah, except that plan never works for me…

Is it spring yet?

Queen’s Bath, Lumaha’i Beach

February 21, 2015
Paradise

Paradise

“Come on! You left Kauai a month ago!” I know, I know. Actually a month and three days ago. But I just can’t resist sharing these last few photos and videos of our trip – sites along the north shore of Kauai, near Princeville. The picture above is a closer view of the photo below, the stream flowing along the path down to the Queen’s Bath –

Definitely Paradise

Definitely Paradise

Through a banyan tree forest

IMG_0037

The path toward the bottom is very steep – the quintessential Kauai ‘anger us conditions’ kind of path after a rain. Luckily we’d had several dry days in a row, so we ventured down.

IMG_0018

Okay, so we should probably take the signs seriously. Waves are unequivocally breaking on the ledge.

IMG_0015

The surf was high, so we stayed on the rocks one tier above the ledge and were only able to overlook the spot where the Queens (Stephanie and I, myself – Josephine) could bathe. Oh well. We really didn’t want to get crushed on the rocks or washed out to sea during our beauty baths. Better to enjoy the waves from a safe distance. I shot this video.

Nice touch with the rainbows. The Queens (Steph and Jody) are duly scintillated and enraptured.

Climbing back up now

IMG_0020

Watch your step!

From here we head for a stroll on Lumaha’i Beach. Steph likes to get her feet wet.

Lumaha'i Beach

Lumaha’i Beach

Uh, not that wet!

IMG_0031

I captured a video

Surf’s up!

There. An injection of Paradise. Isn’t that just what the doctor ordered to spiff up your February day?

Especially if you’re in Boston. Or anywhere east of the Rockies for that matter… Whewsh! Uh, I’ve no comment there. Other than that’s the winter I’m glad I didn’t come back to.

Waimea Canyon

February 12, 2015

So of course, weather permitting, you can’t visit Kauai without checking out Waimea Canyon. Princeville is on the north center shore of Kauai and as the crow flies, is probably only 20 miles from Wiamea Canyon. Except, to get there by car you have to circle about 3/4 the way around the island to the town of Wiamea and then drive north about 10 miles. The drive takes about 2 1/2 hours. Here is a link to pictures of the island so you can locate Princeville and Wiamea Canyon.

We eat a hearty breakfast and hit the road from Princeville about 9am. Two hours later we are traveling north on Wiamea Canyon Drive – soon the canyon comes into view! And Wai ‘alae Falls:

IMG_0042

We pull into the parking area at the Canyon trailhead. First order of things: pit stop! I head into the ladies room – this sign is posted over the toilet:

IMG_0043

Huh. Tourists! Are we that stupid? Anyone educated enough to read the sign needs that much instruction in what not to flush down the toilet? What would etc. include? Tinkertoys?

We’re at the trailhead now – trying to figure out the sign.

IMG_0048

Okay, so the trail one way is 1.8 miles. You reach the trail intersection in .5 miles. Except any trail you add on to .5 miles doesn’t add up to 1.8. (???)
Steph, Eric, David, and Victor, all whizzes at math, are involved in this discussion.

IMG_0049

Oh well. Let’s just go! Uh, warning ahead:

IMG_0050

With a visual provided in case you can’t read English. “The ground may break off without warning and you could be seriously injured or killed, or really spoil your picnic.

And more warnings:

IMG_0051

No diving or jumping? Into Wiamea canyon?

We have hiked the first .5 miles now. Tourists have added valuable information to the sign. Turn left to get to the Falls:

IMG_0052

Turn right to jump.

We checked out the Cliff View Point.
IMG_0054

Pretty magnificent!

Back on the Canyon trail we meet this sign:

IMG_0055

Well the Black pipe trail might be all right, but we really want to see the Falls. (Who put up these signs? Is this some kind of joke on tourists?)

Hiking along the canyon now.

IMG_0057

I guess if you seriously intend to jump, this would be the place.

David took a video right here. Check it out:

You can see there’s a bit of a drop-off from where we are standing.

We’re at the Falls now. The Waipo’o Falls:

IMG_0058

We all pose for pictures:

Steph and Vic

Steph and Vic

David and Jody

David and Jody

Eric

Eric

Hiking back now

IMG_0067

IMG_0068

Palm trees will grow anywhere

The lone palm tree

The lone palm tree

Time for a beer break. I took a picture of the great tasting organic beer we were drinking – you know, to see if we can find it back in Idaho:

Beer still-life with limbs

Beer still-life with limbs

Anyway, good thing we took a break, because we had a steep climb ahead of us.

Elbow close-up

Elbow close-up

We’re back out now. None of the tourists that enjoyed the hike during the same time we did jumped, dove, or broke off the edge of the trail into the canyon.

We stopped for lunch at the only place in this area you can buy lunch: The Koke’e Lodge. Here is a photo of the Lodge from my archives, that I posted in a previous blog:

Near the entrance we were met by the Rooster Brigade:

IMG_0072

No matter. We made it in safely, ordered chili with rice and cornbread all around. Although the food here isn’t all that great, I’m starving. You know, on account of back there at that pit stop at the beginning of the Canyon hike, I flushed yesterday’s boxed leftovers down the toilet. Hehe.

Jungle Hike!

February 8, 2015

One very warm and sunny morning David, Eric and I decided to check out the Jungle Hike in the the center of Kauai where you have great views of Mount Wai’ale’ale and surrounding mountains. We drove south from Princeville down the east side of the island through Kapa’a. Soon we were driving alongside Sleeping Giant:

IMG_9955

Somewhere after Sleeping Giant we took a right turn (I’m such a great tour guide). Eric had gotten us all excited about finding the ‘Gate’ that was in the movie Jurassic Park. To get there you drive on Kuamo’o Road past Opaeka’a Falls then over this spillway (where literally, the river runs right over the road.) And then another spillway … The problem is, it’s a rutty dirt road, full of pot holes.

I was being tossed around like a rag doll in the back seat and not taking photos. But no worry. I just happened to find this you-tube movie that actually takes you over the whole route in a Jeep, over the spillways, through puddles, ruts and potholes (at a very fast speed), through the Gate (!) to the end of the road – with relaxing Hawaiian music playing all the while.

I invite you to click on the link and go for the drive, at least to the 2:15 – minute place (where I took the next photo). Also, for full effect, while you are watching the movie, toss your torso rigorously to the right and then to the left in sycopated beat to the music (the road has deteriorated a bit in the years since this video was taken).

Did you go for the ride? – through the Gate? At the 2:15 point the Jeep slowed almost to a stop and then barrelled around a large puddle. Well, I took a picture at that spot. Because we had stopped – at a pond. I figured there was no way we’d get through it. “Turn around!” I pleaded with Eric and David. They pondered it for a minute. We were not in a 4-wheel drive vehicle, but a rear-wheel drive SUV.

Then David jumped out and waded in to see how deep it was.

IMG_9958

IMG_9960

He set the mud line on his legs up to the SUV to see how high it went: Just beneath the passenger door. We can do it! We all hopped back in, he gunned it and we made it through. Whew!

We parked just below the Gate. There it is ahead!

Jurassic Park Gate

Jurassic Park Gate

Okay, so only the poles are still standing. But at least the gate is open!

Entering Jurassic Park

Entering Jurassic Park

Click on his link for a nice map of the whole route you see in the video leading to the Gate and the Jungle Hike beyond. (Eric, you will love this map!)

Wai ale’ ale’ Map

The Jungle Hike trailhead is a short distance beyond the gate. We are just starting the hike … “Hey, David and Eric! Turn around and pose for a photo!”

So well-trained to pose on command. (No they aren't)

So well-trained to pose on command. (No they aren’t)

Now some photos from the hike:

IMG_9970

IMG_9971

IMG_9973

IMG_9972

IMG_9978

IMG_9979

IMG_9981

IMG_9983

The path is a bit tangled in places

IMG_9985

We’re driving back out now. On the route we meet a spirit guide

IMG_9987

An egret. We met it on the road going in and then coming back, exactly the same way – poised right square in the middle of the road. We would slow way down and practically run him over, when he’d fly off – just to land in the middle of the road ahead of us again.

We made it back just fine. Although I wouldn’t want to be in the rental car business in Kauai.

Annini Beach, Princeville (Kauai-3)

February 1, 2015

We spent a lot of time in and around Princeville where Steph and Vic own their home. Every morning David, Eric and I walked down to Annini beach, you know, to whip our bodies into shape. The path down to the beach is right next to the Westin Resort, just a short cut across the golf course from Steph and Vic’s house. Here is the entrance to the path:

David starts down

David starts down

It’s hard to capture how steep this walk is – but it’s basically like climbing five stories in about 400 paces. It’s extremely treacherous after a rain. Slip and land on your butt just once to experience in full measure the ‘anger us conditions.’

We’re down now, at the beach.

IMG_0146

There’s a huge sand bar so the waves crash very far out. The first time we came here we waded in and caught some sea cucumbers, which, basically look and act like … cucumbers.

I always trailed behind making it back up. I snapped photos of Eric and David ascending the path above me.

Eric is half way up

Eric is half way up

climbing the other half - back to the top

climbing the other half – back to the top

Whew! Check that one off!

You can hardly navigate Princeville without circling this fountain in the roundabout.

IMG_0214

And spotting Layson albatross either circling overhead, doing their courting dance, or nesting. They tend to return to the same place to nest every year. There are two albatross pairs nesting on Stephanie and Victor’s street. One pair is nesting right in a neighbor’s front garden.

IMG_0217

Albatross bond with a mate for life. Their courtship entails especially elaborate dances that have up to 25 ritualized movements.

IMG_0081

They can’t breed until they are five years old. Both birds incubate the egg – the male does so first. There is a 65-day incubation period and the chick takes about 160 days to fledge. To mate and raise a chick requires a big commitment! Maybe that’s why you see a lot of single Albatross hanging around.

IMG_0209

Looking studly and regal.

Albatross live a long time. The oldest known live bird, a female named Wisdom, is at least 63 years old. She recently hatched a healthy chick, believed to be her 36th (to summarize some of the information in the linked article above).

We always try to earn our keep at Steph and Vic’s house to the best of our ability, you know, stay in their good graces so they might invite us back! Although by our second day here, Eric was already getting us in trouble.

“What’s the deal with those chairs you sent, Eric?”

Eric had sent Victor and Steph two antique dining chairs from his store back in Idaho and promised Victor they would arrive the same day (or before) we did – He had shipped them in a single box. Well, they didn’t arrive; not yesterday and … not today either. “You have spider duty, Eric, if they don’t arrive soon.” Victor tells him.

Oh wait! A package has arrived!

IMG_9889

“Is this the chairs, Eric? You just add water to expand them to normal size?”

Two more packages arrive. No chairs.

Victor is also unhappy about a certain detail concerning the antique round oak table Eric had sent two years back. It pulled apart to add leaves but one edge of the seam down the middle stuck up about 1/16th of an inch – it was annoying, and Eric had worked on it last year and declared it fixed.

“The edge is still sticking up Eric.”

Eric fiddled with it. Unscrewing screws underneath, screwing them back in. Adjusting this and that. Finally David, being a physicist, volunteered his expertise.

two hunky dudes

two hunky dudes

Voila! Table fixed.

The chairs did finally arrive. They worked out great.

Eric got out of spider duty. But he had to install the new birdfeeder. Fill it with organic birdfeed.

IMG_9893

Then work on it again to straighten it.

IMG_0202

The birds caught on really fast – “Hey, new hot spot open for lunch!”

Happy birds

Happy birds

Happy birds make happy Steph and Victor. Happy Steph and Victor makes happy world. Jody, David and Eric’s world: Incredibly happy.

I sneak in to capture a picture of the masses of happy birds, including those gathered on the ground around the feeder.

IMG_0193

Oops. No worry. Within 60 seconds they’re all back and everything is happy again.

So ends another day in Paradise.

IMG_0211

Life is good.

Okolehao Trail (Kauai-Part 2)

January 29, 2015

“De Plane, De Plane!”

IMG_9901

As Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island would say in his suave Mexican accent, “I believe that is the mountain plateau the plane flies alongside to land in Fantasy Island.”

“Smiles everyone. Smiles!”

IMG_9896

You call that a smile Eric?

Okay so we’re gasping. It’s our first hike – on the morning of our first full day in Kauai – and we’re ascending the Okolehao trail. (Why hadn’t I whipped myself into better physical shape for this trip?)

Stephanie settles against a banyan tree

IMG_9900

We got there though. Here we are on a high plateau.

IMG_9905

My brain has implanted itself on my t-shirt.

Another view:

IMG_9903

You are looking at Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kauai. To get to the trailhead from Princeville you make an immediate left after crossing the Hanalei bridge. Then you drive about a mile and it’s right there. You know, in case you’re in the area of Princeville. Here is a nice link with more photos and information about the Okolehao trail.

David is leading the way down now

IMG_9908

The rest of us are attempting to follow

IMG_9909

On the way back we meet a fiddlehead.

IMG_9911

A furled frond of a young fawn, I mean fern.

We also come upon a very shy plant – a miniature dark seafoam green cousin of the fern maybe?

IMG_0133

Nestled amongst the grasses. It likes to disguise itself as other ferns and vice versa. We don’t really understand this plant; it becomes very closed up and withdrawn when you touch it. Here – in this video you see David touching the leaves:


Does the plant suffer from some sort of reactive detachment anxiety? Is it a carnivore? Maybe a form of Venus fly trap too gentle to capture anything? I Googled “plant in Kauai that folds up when you touch it” and it came right up. It’s called mimosa pudica. Scientists think the plant uses its ability to shrink as a defense from herbivores. Animals may be afraid of a fast moving plant and would rather eat a less active one. (For sure.) Another possible explanation is that the sudden movement dislodges harmful insects (and most certainly scares the crap out of them).

In Kauai the plant is known as the hila-hila plant. Other common names include tickle-me-plant, humble plant, touch-me-not, shameful plant, sensitive plant, ant plant… It is native to South America and Central America but has been introduced to many other regions and is regarded as an invasive species in Tanzania, South Asia and South East Asia and many Pacific Islands. In the USA, it grows in Florida, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the Virgin Islands.

In other words, you’re probably already familiar with it.

Mimosa pudica protects itself from humans eating it too. I’m not inclined to eat a fast moving salad. I’d rather eat a less active one. Especially after drinking one of Victor’s killer Margaritas.

We’re Baaaack!

January 25, 2015

IMG_9885

What the heck is this, Jody? You fancy yourself some high falutin’ crappy aerial photographer now?

Why yes!, I mean no. I just thought you’d like to come along with us (David, me and my brother Eric) on another trip to Paradise. Pinch yourself! You are now flying over south San Francisco. Why that must be the Golden Gate Bridge ahead!

IMG_9886

Okay so it isn’t the Golden Gate bridge. It’s just some other crappy bridge. Well, snap on your neck pillows, don your eye patches, shove in your ear plugs (or not – but they sure help insulate you from the high-pitched engine noise) – settle yourself in for the five-hour flight to Lihue, Kauai!

Thursday, January 8, 2015, 1PM- we have just landed in Lihue, and are headed up to Princeville – on the northern shore of the Garden Isle – for our 10-day visit with Steph and Victor.

ALOHA, KAUAI!

Not again, you say? NO!! PEOPLE ARE SICK of hearing about our wonderful stupid trips to Paradise. Plus, once I get started I just blog on endlessly. I know. I was telling myself this. I AM NOT BLOGGING. Until … we were back on Larsen’s Beach, had prodded Eric and David past the nude bathers, and came upon a Monk seal napping on the shore

IMG_9928

Then Eric cozied up to a new scaly, thick skinned companion.

IMG_9934

who could likely whip around and bite his head off (don’t piss her off, Eric). Was she laying eggs or something? Why else would the sea turtle be resting up on the sand?

The beach was beautiful

IMG_9930

not a cloud in the sky that day.

We walked to the end of Pakala point – and picnicked by the arch

IMG_9938

Coming back we saw Nene Geese – the Kauai state bird:

IMG_9939

An endangered species. We spotted many more Nene geese in the wilds this year than last, very encouraging.

We climbed over that hill and came across an Albatross Nesting area – I caught this photo of a nesting albatross

IMG_9936

Pretty soon Victor’s shoe started acting up.

The talking shoe

The talking shoe

Like, really complaining.

Eric and David were on it.

Manly men

Manly men

We stumbled right into a pile of fishing rigging that had washed ashore.

IMG_9942

Eric started operating

IMG_9943

We all stepped in to help

Still life with feet

Still life with feet

Fine result!

IMG_9947

Victor’s new look:

Highly paid consultant

Highly paid consultant

Of course the shoe was complaining again before we made it back.

For those with an artist’s bent, here is a still life for you, you know, maybe you can paint it:

Beer with sweaty balls

Beer with sweaty balls

Eric says the rigging is likely Japanese, although I can’t say that that mangled up pile looks particularly Japanese – I guess you’ll have to ask Eric.

Well, to conclude, that evening we’re on the patio at St. Regis.

Eric and Victor

Eric and Victor

Watching the sunset.

IMG_9953

IMG_9954

I dunno. Should I continue with these blogs?

“How many more amateur I-phone photos do you have of this 10-day trip, Jody?”

Boy I’m glad you asked!