Monday, June 8, 2015

Kauai - Day 7

Today begins the "chill" portion of our trip. In reality I think we are travelers and not vacationers. Being still.... that is the goal today! Let the chill begin.... it's Saturday morning and I thought I'd be headed into Hanalei to the farmers market... but once on the road we headed West... back to Ke'e!

We arrived so early... we had the place to ourselves... for some time! Well us and the chickens.

We had packed our lunch with us... so this was our day... all day and it was fantastic.
Towards late afternoon we headed back to the house and showered up. I headed into town to meet up with the artists from our first Ke'e day.
No one loves to see an artist studio.... like an artist. I was given a lovely tour of his art collection and then got to see his studio and there is was.... all finished. The painting from the first day on the beach. Such wonderful people! Next trip I have got to take a class with Jenifer! How amazing would that be!


Rainbow eucalyptus tree spotting.... on the Makai Golf Course... right next to the road. Awful drive by photography...

Quick stop to catch that pretty view of Hanalei Bay.


I'm picking up dinner on the way home.... so .... Bubba Burgers. They were tasty and hit the spot after a full day in the water.

We ate under the grass hut.... watched the waves and sunset and had a rum inspired toddy or two...
Goodnight, great day, goodnight



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Kauai - Day 6

After our morning beach session we headed into Hanalei to meet up with our friends for breakfast. They had not experienced the Wake Up Cafe and those macadamia nut cinnamon rolls...we couldn't let that happen!

From here the girls headed south and the boys headed out on what would be an epic hike... the tunnel hike.

To give an outsiders report of their day... they did not make it to our meet up spot for the art walk. Their comments.... "The most difficult hike I've ever done".... "we should have started two hours earlier ".... "mud"... and so on. No photographers in this group... if you google "kauai tunnel hike"... yep wild.

The girls had an art day planned - watercolor class at 1 and then taking in the Friday Art Night in Hanapepe. After grabbing a coffee and a great mug at Hanalei Coffee Roasters we made our way towards Waimea.

On our way we passed Scotty's Music House and both Donna and I commented on how we would love to get a ukulele on the trip... so no time like the present... we rounded the block and headed in for what was a delightful experience. Kauilani met us with what can only be described as the Aloha Spirit. Graciously walked us throught the different levels of instrument and played beautiful notes so we could hear the difference. And then we heard it... the soprano... sweet notes that spoke to both of us. The Hawaiian sound we love. She shared with us her story of her good friend "Brother Iz" and played with a smile that went far beyond a smile... if that makes sense. She said we should play it while on the island and name our ukulele's before we left for home. I'm pretty sure both Donna and I have ukulele's with names that incorporate the sweet soul the introduced them to us. Thank you Kauilani, your service went far beyond the sale... you shared your beautiful soul.

This little beauty is in Montana now. Youtube is a great resource for learning how to play a ukulele. I came across Justin's Guitar. Great lessons and the first song I've been learning is "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. On the site it has a video for the lesson and then a link to the actual songs music video.... well hello!!! The music video was filmed on Kauai! Love it!

We made our way over to Waimea and grabbed a quick lunch and headed into our class at Painting in Paradise. I'm pretty sure my research on tripadvisor is how I had found out about Julie Marionette Tavoniar and her studio. She offers several different classes that cover various techniques.
We signed up for the three hour watercolor class, she guided us through a great process that was not overwhelming and we all came away with a nice outcome. Fun easy and relazing day.... not like the boys.
Mine is a little "paint by number" ish... need a lot more practice!
Donna and Annie - used to be our next door neighbors. Donna and her husband come to Kauai every couple years.... lucky!

Hanapepe Art Walk - every Friday night. The shops stay open late and the streets fill with vendors selling art and food! We arrived a little early and folks were still setting up on the street so we walked around the shops and then decided on food choices. The Right Slice... chicken pot pie... get there early and get yourself one... so good!

I was taught as a daughter of a Southern Woman, that if you can't say something nice... don't say anything at all. But I want to be honest about my experience - and my experience was not ... nice. I had a list of galleries I really wanted to see while I was on island and this one was at the top of the list. As we made our first swing around the shops we found it... and were greeted by a sign on the door that said "only serious collectors - knock on door". Bad idea. FIrst... who knows if they are a "serious collector", I would think you would know by now how travelers can on a whim let loose. Buy on impulse. And art will do that like no other. But no, not here. Maybe it's my years as a small business owner... maybe my feeling as an artist that it should be accessiable to all. Perhaps is was a slip up. Suggestion... if you do not want to deal with the "art walk crowd" - close up for the night. I had only one experience that fell below my expectation on this trip... and the winner is Amy Lauren's Gallery. And no one was more dissapointed than me.

Back to the art walk... fun atmosphere. I think we arrived a little early... the hours are 5 to 9. I'm thinking 6.30ish might be a better time to arrive... although if you wait til then The Right Slice might be sold out... so come early and stay late.

We finally meet up with the boys back in Hanalei, and they are finishing up a late dinner at Chicken in a Barrel... and we sat aound the table and listened to their stories of their day... wild.

One bump in the road but that in no way derailed a really great day!

Trip Tip

While in Kauai take in the beaches and the trails... but also leave space for the music and the art of Kauai.




Monday, May 25, 2015

Kauai - Day 5

Nice lazy morning.... coffee and a little walk on the beach. Our plans today included the drive up Waimea Canyon and taking in the outlooks and then meeting up with our friends from home, (both our trips were planned before we knew each other was going... wild) we have a 2:15 check in for our Sunset Dinner Cruise with Capt. Andy.

First stop Hanalei Coffee Roasters. Waffles anyone! I ordered the kid size which is one half of a regular one and just perfect. Fresh fruit and the coffee is awesome. A look up into the mountains and I'm not sure if we are going to see anything when we get up there... but are going to give it a shot.

Driving around the island is just beautiful and the traffic was never an issue. Throughout our canyon visit we had sun, rain, mist and fog. We found you could just wait a bit and the conditions would improve. I would say take notice if there are folks at the side of the road - there are some outstanding view points outside of the major ones.

It is a beautiful drive and each outlook is worth a stop.


We made our way back down and as we were passing through the town of Waimea there was a little roadside market set up - we were both ready for a little something to eat. There was a food booth with pineapple sausages that they put pulled pork on top of..... yum. While Mr. H was waiting on the food order I looked around at the booths. My favorite - the sweet ladies from the local senior citizens center. They had beautiful shell jewelry and I could not resist getting a bracelet. They are only at the market on Thursdays. They are adorable! The lady on the left in the picture helped me and she was so sweet to right down the names of the different shells in the piece I picked and what those names meant. Full of the Aloha Spirit!

We meet up with our friends and head out on the cruise. This is a four hour tour so you get lots of time on the sea. You get to see Poihale Beach and Barking Sands.... which were barking as we approached.... like they were setting off stuff... which was interesting even to the captain! We saw some critters while we were out... A turtle and a monk seal... sticking his tounge out at us! Excuse the awful picture... wrong lens on.... but you go with what you've got in a moment like this.

I had a great conversation with Jon, a crew member. He came up and commented on the bracelet I had purchased earlier this day. He told me about his Grandmother who had lived on the "forbidden island" - Ni'ihau and she had done the shell work during her lifetime. He had wonderful stories and was so passionate about her story. A special addition to the trip. Here is Jon... Full of Aloha Spirit!
Onward we went and they warned us to prepare for the turn North as the waves would get bigger..... hello! The waves gave us a pretty good ride - we stayed up top and got a little wet and it was fantasic! The view.... my goodness..... Looking up into the valleys that we had looked down on earlier that day. Fantastic!

Once they raise the sail and turn around for the trip back south, it gets very smooth and is a nice calm ride. We ate dinner up top and the sweet thing... if you stay up top at the front... they serve you. So there's a tip. The food is cooked on the boat and I can say all 6 of us were amazed at the quality of the food... this is a really good meal. Beautiful boat, very sweet and interactive crew that we all had great conversations with, outstanding views and close proximity to the coast, great dinner and a beautiful sunset.

Everyone had a great time! A beautiful Day!



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Kauai - Day 4

Today we were signed up for the 5 hour hiking photo tour with Kauai Photo Tours. Their office is located in Kapaa and we... well in truth "I" wanted to arrive early so I could get input on what I should purchase for filters and such.

We head out and once we have located the photo tour shop we circle back and grab amazing coffee and food at Java Kai. Great atmosphere, nice service and goodness the food is outstanding! We had plenty of time to sit and enjoy our breakfast and it still left time to arrive at the tour a little early. We packed up a couple extra items to have during our hike and back at the house.

On to Kauai Photo Tour. I had learned about them via tripadvisor and am so glad I did. The staff is amazing and so very helpful. Way back when I first reserved my spot they only had a walking tour booked and the hike tour was what I had hoped to do. Kahea was kind enough to keep an eye out for me and ultimately got us a spot on a hiking tour. We were greeted by sweet Michelle, I think we would be friends if we lived in the same place... and I have a feeling a lot of folks come away with that impression. Good person... just so kind. The shop is well fitted with lots of wonderful items that help in getting great pictures on island. I'm sure they are open for business whether you are taking a tour or not. I picked up a ND filter, a rain cover, and a new stap. They have a great assortment of polarizing filters and even though I had purchased one before the trip, Michelle took the time to show me how to best use it - yep nice person.

The Tour - Matt was our guide and he was fantastic! Answered any question we had - reguardless of topic - photo setting questions - island history - dinner recommendations. He had great energy and made for a really fun day. We had been warned that it could be a muddy mess and everyone was prepared for that. Waterfalls and rainbows.... come from rain... as does mud... it's Kauai... there you go. I wish I had made a better list of where we went. That is my tip to myself for next time! And I would do this tour again... there was a gentleman on our tour and it was his third. I think that speaks very highly of the experience... it's awesome. I will also add that there were folks with big fancy cameras, supporting spouses that carried camera bogs, folks with iphones or similar and point and shoots. You do not have to aspire to be a national geographic contributor to enjoy this tour. One couple had walking sticks, for anyone who wanted one Matt graciously cut ones out of jungle. 7 people on the tour, nice van with beverages and treats. I felt we had plenty of time at each location and never felt rushed and never felt like we were standing around waiting on the group. Nice flow to the day. You hop out of the van and follow Matt down paths that I would have looked at on my own and questioned whether or not you were supposed to "be" there. Then you can always go back... provided you take better notes than I did!

Here's some of what I got....

Back at the shop, decided to pick up a new strap and Michelle fit it to me and my camera... not make a quick sale and the end of the day and send you on your way.... nope...she helped me set it up perfectly. I took a bucket load of pictures and my husband took a few and we both enjoyed the short hikes.

That was the extent of our "plan" for the day... so peek at the list and realize this would be an awesome time to take in the two waterfalls in the area. We first head up to Opakea Falls and then up to Wailua Falls.


From here we went back over to Costco to pick up a couple things. Mr. H wanted the shrimp for a snack and it simply ended up being dinner on our ride back to the house.

Great Island... Great Day!



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Kauai - Day 3

Kauai - Day 3

Morning ritual here is get up early, make some coffee and walk out onto the beach. Check out the weather conditions, enjoy the sunrise and comb for shells. We first head out to Tunnels/Makua to see how the conditions look. There is no one in the parking lot so we decide to try and find the road closer to the snorkel area . Just before we pull out we walked across the road to check out the dry cave... cool place to grab a photo. Now on to see if we can find the road to park on. We passed it once and had to turn around. A group is just leaving and let us know the visibilty was bad due to rough surf. We decide to pack up our stuff and as they say "chase the sun"!

Looking into the cave and then looking back out - across the road is the parking lot at Ha'ena State Park - access to Tunnels.
We stop at the Wake Up Cafe in Hanalei Bay. Mac Nut Cinnamon rolls... just go and have one. We shared one and then each had Hang Ten Breakfast - eggs, sausage and hashbrowns. Great food, awesome service - NOTE - they only take cash or travelers checks - so have cash and you are good to go.
We head down the road and my thoughts are we will snorkel at Lyngate, but the great app from Kauai Explorer tells me the swells on that side of the island are big and the visiability is fair. So with this information we decide to head further South to Poipu. There is a great parking lot right across the street from the park/beach access. There are two sides to Poipu as there is a Tombolo in the middle, very cool spot to walk all the way out and shoot a picture back towards the beach. When we arrive there is a turtle resting right on the beach next to the water. We head into the right side first and right off the bat there are huge fish, not as much variety, but huge fish. After a little break we head into the left side. Smaller fish and a great variety! Including two eels... It is on this side that rocks have been placed in the sand to spell out Poipu and there are fish everywhere. We had packed a lunch, so we enjoyed that on the beach. It was a cloudy day, and we still had waves crashing on the reef - but it was our best choice for the day. I think that is something to keep in mind when planning. If your itenary is so locked down that you cannot flex for the weather... you may set yourself up for some frustration. Leave your "mainland" ways back home and be open to letting the day unfold.
We head up to Kukui'ula Village Shopping and the Halelea Gallery. They had posted some of the artist's work they represent on Instagram. Beautiful shop and outstanding service. We also visited Poipu Surf and discovered Surfers Salve.... An amazing product that calms sunburn, bug bites, on and on. I have already gone back and picked up 4 more tubes!
From here we head up the road to the sweet little town of Koloa for one stop.
We refer to our list and realize we are close to the Allerton Garden. I call to see if they have room on the next tour which starts in about 15 min and they do. So we get on our way and make it there with a little time to spare. By this point my phone is dead.... no pictures and to be honest... I really enjoyed just soaking it in. Beautiful place and learned so much about the plants that make Kauai so beautiful. It is a beautiful walk through the gardens... we had an active group so our sweet guide tossed in a walk down to the house and beach - amazing. I think if you take the dinner tour, the dinner is served down at the house and you will have access to the beach. Our tour was right at 3 hours and well worth the fee.... a place well worth the support!

Sprouting Horn is just across the street from Allerton, with a bit of a South swell it was putting on quite a show. There was a guy there with a drone camera thing... His pictures had to be crazy amazing!

Realizing it is Cinco De Mayo, the Tortilla Republic is a great choice and bonus... it's taco tuesday... so half price tacos! The food was awesome, we had the nachos and three kinds of tacos.

We make the drive back North and crash.

Great day... another really great day!

** Trip Tip **

The List - My husband had requested I not over plan this trip so we went with plans for days 4-5-6, and "the list". What's the list? My way to go with the flow and it worked great. I made a list organized by area of "options". I included hours of operation, links to web sites or driving directions. I included places to eat, hike, snorkel, shop and places of interest. I emailed it to myself and it worked great. When we found ourselves in an area and a bit of time... I just pulled up the trip options list.