Posts Tagged With: Kauai

Julie’s Tours are the Best!

Hello everyone, this is Jane, I’m your guest blogger for today.  I offered to do this task today because I’ve had such an amazing day that it felt like I needed to share it with you all.

So, I woke up really early like before 6 o’clock and was wondering when we could get going. I knew I only had less than 20 minutes until sunrise and then all the parakeets  would be leaving our palm trees and making the most horrendous noise that not even Julie could sleep through.

Yes, that worked so we were both awake very early then we decided that the best thing to do when you’re both awake at that time in the morning, is go snorkelling!

We packed up all our snorkelling gear in anticipation of being able to put our heads in the water. However, the waves were going to thwart us. Too big.  We decided it may be too dangerous to go snorkelling with such big waves so alternatively, Julie had researched that there was a possibility that we might see turtles on one of the beaches near Poipu.  Obviously, I was all in favour of that option.

When we arrived at red knickers beach, oops that should be “Brennickes beach” but Siri did not recognise my Brummie accent. It was  very wild, this is because there is another hurricane skirting the island and the waves were really big and crashing.   Great for photography but not for snorkelling and little chance of seeing turtles. So my attention turned to chickens. Yes, chickens there are lots of them here in Kauai, they are feral chickens and they are everywhere.

So, I’m taking a picture of chicken and baby chickens minding my own business when Julie taps me on the shoulder and says “Jane look over there”.  Julie said she had spotted quite a little group of people all taking photographs of something on the beach, early in the morning, which didn’t seem right until she realised what they were taking photographs of. Green sea turtles. Oh yes, two of them on the beach-happy days. We spent the next 10 minutes watching them, because that was all it took, for both of the turtles to push themselves from the sandy-shore into the water. I took photo’s and Julie videod the event and we were both near to tears. This was for the first time today. You will see that this is a common theme, throughout this blog.

After breakfast, the next part of our day was heading off to the Waimea Canyon via the Spouting Horn.  The Spouting horn is a blowhole in between rocks where the waves crash in and then all the pressure pushes the water up like a geyser.  Had my camera set to sports for this event.

The canyon was a  40 mile round trip. You go up 20 miles and then back down the same track 20 miles. You are treated to some of the most fantastic scenery and views that can be seen on the whole island, if not in the whole of the Pacific.  It’s always a sign of whether or not something has caught my imagination as to how many photographs I actually take of the event. Let’s say that when you get to see the chosen photos today, we have had to be very very selective!!

On the way up we passed several lookout points which were all amazing. What was more surprising to us both, was that near the top, we got a view of the Napali coast. And at the final stop 5700 m above sea level, we arrived at the scenic view point that had an edge. This was an edge that  Julie decided she didn’t need to look over.  However, there were a couple who were having their pre-wedding photographs taken on the edge by a professional photographer.

“Okay, hold hands, look into each others eyes, take a step back, NO, not that far”!!

The breathtaking scenery was the second time today that Julie and I might of turned on the water works.

Now we arrive at the last part of the day, this included food and drink, my favourite.   We went back to the Garden Island Grille to see our new friend Sofia. Sofia is only 19 still at college, but a bundle of fun and a really nice girl who waited on us the first time we came into the bar. We turned up this time in time for the live music and it was Hawaiian night hurrah.   The singer was really quite good, he played lots of songs that got us both either singing along, or over-emotional.  Yes, you might of picked up on the theme but that was the third time we’ve been in tears today. This is called being overtired.  Both had a lovely meal and cold white wine which was a perfect end to it absolutely perfect day.





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Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the sea..

After our lovely sunset at Baby Beach we went back into Koloa Old Town to find something to eat. We strolled into the Garden Island Grille which was promising live music. However, by the time we got there (8-15) the music had finished and everyone else had left. However, lovely Sophie greeted us warmly and assured us it was fine. She was absolutely lovely and so was the owner lady giving us lots of hints for our stay. We also had a little pet Madagascan Gecko for company at our table who was very much enjoying licking his glacé cherry. And our burger was good too! So all in all it was a good night.

I was phaffing about with our itinerary for the next few days trying to see how we could fit everything in but in the end we stuck to plan so the next day we were off upto the North Shore to visit Hanalei…or the land where Puff the Magic dragon lived!  It is also the place where more recently George Clooney and his pretend family stayed in the film The Descendants. Watching this film had in fact re-inforced my desire to come to Hawaii because the scenery was so lovely, particularly at this spot.

We drove all the way up their without stopping to see other scenic spots along the way, because I knew that we’d be visiting some of these on our Movie Tour on Friday. However, the Movie tour doesn’t go as far as Hanalei anymore and we’d soon find out why. When we arrived the road beyond Hanalei was indeed closed as the lady in the Garden Island Grille had told us. This was becaus back in April they had devastating floods here as a result of exceptionally heavy rain. It has swept away some of the single lane bridges so my idea of going to see ‘Bali Hai’ from Kee Beach was a no go.

Instead, we parked up in Hanalei and bought some coffee and banana bread and sat and ate it with the wild chickens. We then had a little wander around the shops which were a mixture of tourist tat and very nice galleries. Then we found another parking space and wandered over to the beach. It’s interesting, this place is the stuff of dreams with its lush mountainous backdrop and gentle surf but in comparison to some of the beaches in Oahu it seemed a little scruffy.

We decided to walk along the beach towards the famous pier only to find that this was all cordoned off as was this end of the beach. As we got nearer we could see why. At least two of the beachfront houses which must be worth multiple millions , had collapsed- again as a result of the April rains. There were also diggers doing repair work to the pier. Crikey, thank goodness this poor island didn’t get badly affected by the more recent hurricane.

I tried looking for George Cloonies house but couldn’t find it, but it is a very very long beach! We then both decided that we wanted to go back to our lovely place at Koloa. It is so lovely in comparison so that’s exactly what we did.

We stopped on the way to eat late lunch at the Olympic Bar in Kapaa which looked quite interesting but was not v good at all. Mainly because they actually forgot to serve my meal. No tip there then…well apart from the obvious.

When we got back to our place we just sat on our balcony enjoying a bit of a rest and deciding what we would do the next day. Odd really, this was a day I’d really been looking forward to and for the first time this holiday, it didn’t quite match up to expectations. Ah well tomorrow is another day!



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Kauai- The Garden Island

It was time to move on. I’d loved Oahu and its contrasting coasts but now we needed to move on to a new island- Kauai, otherwise known as the Garden Island. This promised to be the most low key island with stunning scenery and probably the one I was most looking forward to seeing.

We were catching our Speedishuttle back to Honolulu Airport at 9-11am precisely. But by 9-46 precisely they had not turned up. This lead to a considerable amount of stress as Jane tried to get through on the phone to find out what was happening. But at 9-47 he eventually turned up and Jane let rip. He tried to blame his tardiness on traffic but when we got going it was clear that it wasn’t that busy. We made several further stops and more stressed out customers got on board all talking about the possibility of missing their flights. As a result Mr Speedishuttle lived upto his name by driving along Highway 1 like a crazy maniac and we all breathed in as he squeezed between trucks in other lanes. Eek.

Anyway , after this lovely thrill ride we arrived at Hawaiian Airlines checkin. Oh joy it was self serve and there were huge families trying to do this clogging up the system. First the system failed, couldn’t find me and then said my case was over-weight. As if! But after some quick repacking we were able to move onto stage 2 of the checkin game. This was security which involved joining a queue which started outside the airport building.

Well it was all quite stressful so how lovely it was to finally get through all of this and to find ourselves sitting by Gate B13 which was lovely and peaceful, with just a guy strumming a guitar and quietly singing and another playing with his Ukulele. It was a good sign of things to come.

The flight was equally relaxing and only 30 mins long. Once we landed we picked up our rental car. A plain old compact this time, we declined the offer of a Mustang Convertible. They wanted to charge!

We also didn’t opt for a shouty Sat Nav here as there is basically only one road around the whole island. As a result we were immediately lost as we left the airport! However, soon we were back on track and heading towards Koloa. The drive really was quite different to Oahu. Just one or two lane roads, max 55mph speed limit (mostly actually 40 or 25 in built up areas and 15 around schools). We drove through some really lush tropical greenery including the Koloa Eucalyptus Tree Tunnel.

After about 30 mins drive we arrived in Koloa. This is a really lovely place stuck in the 1950s/60s. There are huge Monkeypod trees covering the road and the buildings are again like something out of a cowboy movie. We stopped at the local grocery store which is called Sueoka’s which is about 100 years old and looked like it. Oh it was lovely. I especially liked the fact that they sell Boogie boards just above the fruit and veg display. So we stocked up on a few emergency supplies …Big Wave Beer, Pumpkin Crunch Cream pie – that sort of thing.

Then we made our way along to our AirBnB where the instructions were basically, when you see the ocean on your left, turn sharp left! So , eventually we did and drive along Hoona Road until we found our place. It’s a first floor room with a balcony. It’s got everything we need although it’s so hot we could really do with AirCon , not just a fan. From the balcony I can see right through the neighbours house to the Pacific Ocean waves crashing on the shore.

As soon as we got in we decided to go down to Baby Beach. This is literally 2 mins walk away and picture perfect. We stayed here, I snorkelled and enjoyed the variety of smaller fish right off the beach and then did a little sketch of the scene. Jane meanwhile relaxed enjoying her book.

We stayed to watch the Sunset and it was beautiful. People were still surfing and swimming. Then all of a sudden there was a cacophony of noise as large numbers of Parakeets started to flock and then roost. It was really surprising and we sat on the beach wrapped in towels laughing our heads off . I think we are going to like Kauai.

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