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Kauai Not?

Thu, April 10

Hopped on our Delta flight from Calgary to Kauai that we had booked for $160 (thanks Delta glitch!). No seatback entertainment. Felt a bit longer than expected. Kid threw up.

Picked up our 'wild card' car rental from Thrifty. Chris was correct in guessing that it would be a mini-van. Was told I could 'upgrade' to a compact for $10 more per day. No thanks, I'll take your mini-van then. Can see more out the windows anyways.

Went to Walmart and picked up some supplies for the vacation. And by supplies I mean rum and wine.

Made our way to the Strawberry Guava. Pretty tired after a day of traveling, so went straight to bed.

Fri, April 11 Tried to go for breakfast at Little Fish Coffee Company but they had no food. Settled for a Chunky Monkey smoothie. Picked up a walnut roll at Grinds.

Drove to Kauai Sea Tours to take a whale watching tour. Loaded up on to our zodiac boat with a family of 5 from Washington State. Found a turtle almost immediately before even hitting the open water. Not long after that we ran into a set of 3 whales, a baby with her mom, and another large whale (relationship unknown).

We followed these 3 for the entire tour. A pod of bottlenose dolphins were harassing the whales. At one point the dolphins did some flips out of the water. The baby whale slapped his tail on the water repeatedly later on.

After the whale watching tour we went to the Kauai Coffee Company plantation. The biggest coffee plantation in the U.S. Walked around and had some samples of coffee. Learned that medium roast coffee has the most caffeine. Also learned that the Birds Of Paradise owner/operator died in a crash.

Went for lunch at Puka Dog, a gourmet hot dog stand. I had active volcano (spicy sauce) with mango relish on my Polish sausage. Chris had pineapple, and regretted not going for the active volcano (she just had volcano).

After lunch we went on a quest to find a cave we had heard about, along with some tortoises that live near by. Nearly destroyed the mini-van on the way there (terrible roads) and weren't able to find it in the end. But we did come across a beautiful beach area (Makai'lepu ?). Relaxed on the beach. Had a nap. Jetlagged!

Back to the mini-van. Back on to the bumpy road. Back to the hotel, and freshened up for dinner. Drove to Hanapepe to check out the 'art walk'. Checked out the swinging bridge. Bought some salt at Aloha Spice Company.

Went out for dinner at MCS Grill. It was decent. Gordon Ramsey was on in the background. CB had lentil meatloaf. I had chicken and 'saimin' (noodle specialty).

Sat. April 12

Had breakfast at the Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co. I had an egg scramble, CB had an egg sandwich.

Went golfing at a local 9 hole course. About as good as we could expect for $9 green fees. Club rentals were a little suspect. Cart had graffiti on it. CB had some nice putts. I finished strong with a genuine birdie (but it did not make up for the other 8 holes).

Drove to Spouting Horn, a blowhole on the beach. Kind of like a geyser, only more frequent.

Near there we had lunch at the The Beach House. Can't beat the ambiance, overlooking the beach and ocean, watching surfers, etc, while chowing down on a tasty hamburger (or tofu wrap).

After lunch we went on a hike, or at least tried to. Walked through the Hyatt, around the really nice pool areas, and towards the beach. Followed the path from the beach to the lithified cliffs. We think we found them. It was getting pretty windy anyways, so we headed back towards the Hyatt. Sat on a swing overlooking the salt water lagoon.

Drove down to Poipu Beach. Most crowded beach so far. Hard to find some shade. Had another nap. Still jetlagged.

Back to the hotel, freshened up, had some rum & coke (strong). Back to the beach to try and catch the sunset. Went for a drink at Rum Fire in the Sheraton. Had some tasty pina coladas. Walked outside to catch the sunset, but the weather had turned nasty on us. Did catch a double rainbow afterwards though.

Walked around old town Koloa. Souvenir shop was closed. Bought some soap at the Island Soap factory. Went to the grocery store but didn't buy anything (too busy).

Bought some expensive pizza at Brick Oven Pizza, and ate it in the room. I had Hawaiian pizza. Or as it's known here, just "pizza"..

Sun, April 13

Woke up and drove to the Ishihara supermarket. Bought some supplies for our camping trip in Kokee State Park. Drove up the windy road to the Waimea Canyon.

Took in the Waimea Canyon viewpoint. Hiked the Canyon Trail. Made it to the other side of the canyon. Found a small waterfall, and the top of the big waterfall (Waipo'po falls?).

Checked out the Kokee State Park museum. Bunch of taxidermied birds. Arrived at the campground, and chose our campsite (#8). Set up our tent and then drove up to some more viewpoints at the very top. Too much fog to really see much, but it did clear for about 10 seconds to give us a peek.

Drove down to the other viewpoint that was slightly lower. Fog was a little less dense, and could see a bit more. Some dude was selling wooly-wooly. Whatever that is. Need to look it up.

Came back to the campsite, and had a nap. Had a few snacks, and played some cards. Chris had sushi for dinner. I had peanut butter. At least one of us is roughing it. Although Chris said her sushi was a little dry and could have used some soy sauce. So maybe we were both roughing it after all.

At one point a disabled rooster came strolling by. It found one of our apple cores, and wanted to stick around after that. Chris tried to lure it away, and threw some more apples for it to eat. The rooster moved very quickly for a disabled fowl, and scared Chris.

Then we went to the mini-van to watch movies. Still really roughing it!

Mon, April 14

Woke up, had a protein shake. CB ate yogurt and granola in the van. We were driving, so it's not as bad as it sounds.

Drove to the lookout point (Pihea Vista) and started our hike (Pihea Trail to Alakai swamp). Descended down some slippery rocks and mud. Reached a boardwalk with some sketchy boards, that seemed to go on forever, through the swampy area. Long hike, with not a whole lot to see on the way.

Reached the viewpoint. It was a little cloudy but we could see Hanalei Bay. Made the long trek back on the sketchy boardwalk, and up the slippery rocks and mud. Overall, didn't really feel this hike was worth the effort.

Drove back down out of the Waimea Canyon area and stopped at Island Taco. Big messy tacos, but tasty. CB had mahi-mahi, while I had chicken (of course).

Went a short distance down the road to Aunty Lilikoi, who specializes in passion fruit products. Wanted to buy concentrate, but it needs to be kept frozen. Settled for juice.

Kept on truckin' to Princeville, through the heavy traffic of Lihue, and checked in with Jen (baby in arms) at our AirBNB stay in a nice residential neighborhood. Really nice suite, complete with a Vitamix blender. King size bed. Netflix. Much comfier than our previous night's stay in the tiny tent outdoors with the roosters.

Went to the grocery store, bought some fresh local fruit for our Vitamixed smoothie the next day. Then headed to dinner at Bar Acuda. Had some delicious tapas. Herbed goat cheese with apple and honeycomb was probably the highlight. Came home and watched Netflix in our comfy gigantic bed.

Tue, April 15 Got up and had our fresh fruit shake in the Vitamix. It was a little thick. Will try more ice tomorrow.

Drove to the Hanalei Viewpoint. Then to Limahuli Garden. Didn't feel like it was worth the price of admission. Headed to the beach instead.

First we tried Ke'e Beach, but it was too busy. Figured we'd see it tomorrow anyways. Next we tried Haena Beach. Saw a Hawaiian Monk seal that had come up on to shore to sleep. I thought maybe it had died and washed up on shore, but apparently they just show up on shores by themselves, to rest, and then head back out. Cones placed in a perimeter around the seal kept onlookers at bay.

Walked down to Tunnels Beach, which we heard had the best snorkeling, but around the bend it was extremely windy. There would be no snorkeling here today.

Then we went for lunch at Mediterannean Gourmet, a restaurant on the beach. I had a chicken wrap, while CB had a falafel wrap. Pretty good, but the falafel was maybe a little dry.

After lunch we went beach hopping. Started at Lumahai. Windy. Didn't stay for long.

Up next was Hanalei Bay. Big open bay. Plenty of people trying to learn how to surf.

Then we tried to find Hideaway Beach, but couldn't find anywhere to park.

Continued on to Queen's Bath. 18 people have drowned here, according to the marker. Thought we might witness #19, as a young boy was encouraged by his mother to jump in. Looked a little sketchy to us, but he survived.

Made our way to Kilauea Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse. Got there 20 minutes before it was set to close. Quickly checked out the various birds that live in the area, such as the albatross and the boobie.

Our final beach stop of the day was Anini. Here we ventured into the water, but not for long, as it wasn't really all that warm. A little too windy. Had the snorkel mask on but didn't see much of anything.

Came back to the room to freshen up before heading out to mini-golf. Pretty cool course. Chris got a hole in one on hole #2 (not the hole of the day unfortunately). It was a close game, when we tallied up the final scores, it was 58 to 57 for me.

Picked up some pizza at Kilauea Pizza & Bakery. It was delicious! Definitely a lot better than the Brick Oven Pizza we had earlier.

Back to the room again to attempt to pack our bags for the Kalalau Trail. Proved to be difficult. Not as much room in our backpacks as we'd hoped! I ended up attaching the tent to the outside of my backpack. Later on, Chris would worry that this would be the death of me on the trail, as when I moved from side to side, the tent had the potential to pull me over the edge of the cliffs. Or at the very least, knock someone else over it.

Wed, April 16

Stopped at Foodland to pick up some jalapeno cheese buns, sandiwches, and sushi rolls for our hike.

Then we went to Hanalei Coffee Roasters for breakfast. We both had the Kauai Waffle (waffle with papaya, macadamia nuts and coconut). Ran into Jen from our AirBNB rental who happened to be meeting a friend there for breakfast.

Drove to the Kalalau trailhead (Kee'e beach). Finding parking proved to be as difficult as we though it might be. Ended up parking a ways back on the road, and walking a bit of a distance, after first dropping off Chris and our bags.

Began our long trek up the Napali coast. The first two miles were littered with tourists, as you don't need a permit to hike the first two miles. The first rest stop we encountered was Hanakapiai Beach, around the 2 mile mark.

Continued on, making our way to Hanakoa, approximately half way into the 11 mile trek. All along, we had been taking in the gorgeous views, and the numerous ascents and descents along the edges of this green coastline, with the spectacularly blue ocean below. At Hanakoa we stopped to have lunch and rest up a bit for the next half of the journey.

After this point, the Kalalau trail starts getting a little scary. The ridges become narrower, some with loose rocks, all with certain death if you should slip.

At one point, exhausted, we encountered a guy who claimed we were just 30 minutes from the end of the trail. This was welcome news to our weary bodies. Unfortunately, around 90 minutes later, we learned that his estimate was highly optimistic, and I felt like running back to throttle him (if I would have had any energy left to do so).

But finally, after 7 hours of grueling hiking, we arrived at Kalalau Beach, a very welcome sight. Found a camping spot and set up our little tent. Met some people from Alaska.

Went down to the beach. Watched some guy from the local hippy contingent surf in front of the setting sun. Naked.

Watched the sun go down and ate our dinner. I turned to Chris and said, "This truly is a paradise on earth." To which she replied, "Paradise would be better with flush toilets."

After sunset, we walked to get some water from the waterfall. Using our water filtration system, a 'local' (aka hippy) told us that she had been there for 7 weeks, and drank the water without filtering. Decided to filter it anyways.

Went back, added chlorine tablets to our water, and shook it for 10 minutes. We realized there were quite a few cockroaches at our campsite ('we were surrounded' said Chris), so we walked down to the beach, and took in the complete lack of light pollution, and gazed up at the stars in the pitch black sky.

Went to bed on the hard ground inside our less than ample tent. Ocean was soothing, if not a little too loud. Chris lie awake wondering if we would plunge to our deaths on the hike home. Ah, paradise.

Thu, April 17 For breakfast, we ate our cheese buns inside our tent and then packed up said tent. Started our death-defying hike back to civilization. It turned out to be not as scary on the way back, as the cliff side portions were uphill vs downhill. I scared a few already nervous looking couples that we passed on the trail, warning them about the dangers that lay ahead.

On the way back, we also made an additional detour to Hanakoa Falls. It was only .5 of a mile each way, but it felt like a long half mile, as we were getting weary of hiking by this point. Still, Hanakoa Falls falls were very nice and we had them all to ourselves.

After the falls, we continued on the last remaining 6 miles of our trek. Each mile was beginning to feel longer and longer. But with sore feet, we eventually reached the point where we had begun our journey. I began my additional mile walk back to where I had parked the van. And then it begain to pour rain. It turned out we were pretty lucky, as encountering this rain on the trail would not have been enjoyable.

Drove back to our AirBNB rental, and picked up our luggage. I was looking pretty wretched as I walked, exhausted and sore from the hike. Chris commented that I looked like I was 90 years old.

Headed to our next accommodation, Makalena Bed and Coffee. Nice property with a view. A hot shower never felt so good.

Went to a place called Verde for dinner. Great waitress. Even better food. I had a chicken burrito. Chris had fish tacos. Both were huge and delicious. Margaritas were so-so.

Super tired after our hike, so we didn't last much longer after dinner!

Fri, April 18

Went to Art Cafe Hemingway for breakfast. Deliciously organic. Chris had the quiche. I had an omelettte (quelle surprise!)

Rented bikes from Kapaa Beach Shop, and biked up and down the Kauai path system. Very nice! Views of the ocean the whole way. Wished it would have went further (currently about 5 miles, plans to expand it further).

Went for ice cream at Lappert's, inside some derelict outdoor mall (Coconot MarketPlace) with a bi-weekly hula show. White chocolate macadamia nut and banana fudge. Delicious. Accidentally ordered a quart at first, before realizing we only wanted a pint.

Drove to Opaeka’a Falls. An easy one to view, as you can drive right up to the overlook.

On to Lydgate Beach Park. Found a nice spot on the beach in the shade, with a log to lean up against. Had some of our blueberry beers with high alcohol content (> 8%).

Went for a swim in a man made bay, with giant rocks encircling it, so the large waves would crash up against them, instead of pulling you out in the ocean and drowning you, a sadly common occurrence on Kauai.

Back to our B&C to freshen up, and then on to Tiki Tacos for dinner. Chris ordered 1 fish taco (cash register dude advised against 2 for a lady of her size). I on the other hand, was free to order 2 chicken tacos, one hot, one super hot.

We sat and waited for our tacos to arrive, drinking our BYOB wine. And then we waited. And then we waited some more. Finally, we thought we heard the kitchen staff cleaning up for the night, and saw the garbage being taken out. It was time to ask the cashier dude where our tacos were. 'Oh man," he said, "you haven't got your tacos yet?" He apologized, and got the taco crew to put in a few extra minutes for us.

When the tacos came out, they were worth the wait indeed. Delicious. Hard to decide whether to go to Tiki Tacos or Verde for our final meal on the island.

Went to Foodland. Bought a giant bottle of rum (1.75L) for $19. Alcohol is so over-priced in Canada. And bought some snacks for our upcoming kayak trip the next day.

Sat, April 19 Had breakfast at Passion Cafe, in another outdoor mall. It was ok. I liked my Portuguese sausage with over easy eggs. Chris didn't think her feta egg-wich was anything to write home about.

Rented a kayak at Wailua Kayak Adventures. Nice lady walked us through the map. Propped the kayak up on to the styrofoam pads on our minivan and tied them down with the straps. Drove to the river entry point.

Kayaked down to Secret Falls. Parked our kayak with the hordes. Walked about a mile, towards the not-so-Secret Falls. Missed the turn. Backtracked a bit. Arrived. Great falls! Swam in the refreshing pool in front of the falls. Chickens watched. Had our lunch and then hiked back.

Skipped the bird sanctuary and swimming hole on the way back, as we were determined to get to the Koloa Rum company before it closed at 3:30. Arrived just in time, and went into the sampling room. Learned a lot about the history, especially of the Hawaiian language and how it relates to Piegon.

Tried 3 or 4 types of rum, light, dark, coconut, and spiced. Bought a bamboo surfboard cutting board.

Up next was the Kauai Island Brewery. Had samples of 4 beer and a pretzel. Chris liked the one that was 22.8 IBUs for future reference. Liked the pretzel.

Went to Annata's Authentic Thai Food truck in the parking lot of Ace Home Hardware. Local lady there was raving about the food. And the fact that a 2011 earthquake had affected global weather patterns.

Planned to take our take out Thai food to Wailua Falls. Quick stop at Walmart to pick up some wine. Arrived at Wailua Falls to find that there was no parking with a view, so we ate inside the mini-van instead. Thai food turned out to be quite delicious.

Took in the view of Wailua Falls, which was a great looking waterfall. Went back to the room and drank some rum & cokes while watching the start of the NHL Playoffs.

Sun, April 20

Met Anya for some 'Yoga On The Beach'. It started to rain near the beginning of the class start time, so it became 'Yoga Near The Beach Inside A Weird Room Part Of The Hotel'. We did go out to greet the ocean at one point.

Worked on stretching out the muscles we worked to exhaustion during our hike. Anya also taught us some things about the more spiritual side of yoga. Balls of energy, breathing, and all that good stuff.

After yoga we went for breakfast. We were pretty hungry as the yoga class was longer than we had expected (2 hours). Went to Art Cafe Hemingway again. Chris had the same as last time, while I had 'Venice'. I had a really tasty slice of cheese on my plate. 'Try this', I told Chris, 'it's a really creamy and delicious cheese.' Chris took a bite and corrected me, 'This is butter'. Whoops.

Drove to the Hindu monastery. I put on a sarong. Walked around the temple garden. We were invited into the temple to check out the service. Lots of bells ringing and smoke.

Then we went to grab some shave ice at Ono Ono. Had the Kauai Sunrise (passion fruit, mango, coconut, and pineapple). Pretty tasty!

After shave ice we drove out towards Anaholo, and found what was alleged to be the best Huli Huli chicken in Kauai. Located just off the highway, in a derelict market area (field?). Ran across the properietors, a husband and wife. The husband was tending to the chickens roasting on the charcoal grill, occasionally spraying them with the huli huli spray. Both of them were really friendly and the chicken was awesome, very moist and flavorful. And it was a lot of meat!

Then we went to Kealia Beach, which we had heard was a great beach for boogie boarding. Seemed to be more locals at this beach than other beaches. Our first attempt at boogie boarding was not that successful, and we both ended up with large amounts of ocean water in our nostrils. But we persevered, and actually got pretty decent at it after a while, even if we were on the 'baby side' of the beach with the smaller waves.

Left the beach just as the rain started to really come down. Went back to the room, had a quick shower, and packed up our stuff. Went for dinner at Verde again. This time I had the chicken tostada, and Chris had the fish burrito. Once again, both were delicious (and large portions).

Headed to the airport, for our short first-class flight to Honolulu. Barely enough time to finish our complimentary drink before descending.

From Honolulu we flew to Salt Lake City (economy for this leg) but we were able to use the Delta Sky Lounge for the first time ever, and it beat sitting out in the normal waiting area. Had some muffins and bagels.

Then it was off to Calgary, on another short first class segment. Had the Blue Moon (Belgian white beer), which we later learned is actually the beer we Canadians know as Rickards White.