Friday, November 26, 2010

Kauai, Hawaii

Aloha! Last week I took a trip with my best friend Carly to Kauai, the northernmost island of the Hawaiian islands. It's the most protected of the islands, with an over 11-mile stretch of the west coast hiking path only. If you've ever heard of or seen the movie A Perfect Getaway, it takes place there, called the Na Pali Coast.

This photo is from the Kalalau Trail which is on that coast. Carly and I walked 2 miles up and down hill to reach the beach and had lunch, then walked back. It took us over an hour per mile. Beautiful, beautiful place. Just being in Hawaii is relaxing--the Hawaiian music goes with the sound of the wind through the trees and the birds. It's no surprise that on the radio stations in our rental car you can find reggae, traditional Hawaiian music and reggae, 80s music and reggae, today's hit music and reggae, etc. I like reggae but it can be a bit much.

The second day we visited Larry and Anne, my dad and mom's old college roommate and lifelong friends who have a house that they rent out on the island. Larry taught Carly and I the proper way to boogie board. I'll have to try it in Michigan next summer--the waves in Hawaii were bigger but I think I could still catch some good ones.

If you catch them just right the waves send you right back to shore. I had more than my share of badly timed waves that crashed onto my head of course but Larry didn't let me say it was too hard. Once I said it was easy, I got the rhythm down.

We had dinner at their place for two nights. They made a delicious spaghetti meal and a Polynesian-style Mahi Mahi fish, and Larry still makes great margaritas. Before dinner Carly and I sat on their patio by the pool and took in the view that has to be one of the best views I have ever seen period, let alone from someone's yard. Larry took some time to clean out their pool, grumbling a little bit about how the orchids hanging over it tend to fall in. Not to sound too full of myself...ah nevermind what do I care--I teased him "You know life is good when the worst thing you have to do is scoop orchids out of your pool." We all had a good laugh at that.

Later on in the week Carly and I went to a wildlife refuge where in the winter you can often see dolphins, humpback whales and monk seals, which we did not get to see unfortunately, but we did see:

Albatross! Which is plenty awesome if you ask me. I did get a chance to see some humpback whales breaching on our last day while laying on Poipu beach in the south. They were too far away and it happened too fast to photograph.

The other wildlife on Kauai is, amusingly enough--feral chickens. They hang around on beaches, near our hotel, in the mountains, everywhere. They don't do anything but make noise all the time and eat whatever you throw at them, so they're annoying but not enough for the state to try to take care of the problem I guess.

I've been told I'm kind of silly, but they were fun to chase. Especially the ones who have it easy up in Waimea Canyon. Oh, there was a Waimea Bay--same as from the Beach Boy's song?

I'll get you chickens yet!

The sunsets were harder to see than the sunrises--here's one from our hotel.

They had a ceremony one morning during the sunrise--I could hear someone blowing a conch shell. I think. It was moving to watch. It struck me also that I see a lot more places in Hawaii that have signs telling people to be respectful because it's a sacred place to Hawaiians, which I would like to see more of in Minnesota.

On our last day we visited Waimea Canyon, and then we sought out the Glass Beach. It's very small but for some reason glass has been washing up on its shore, and getting broken down and smoothed out by the waves. Who knew our trash could sometimes be beautiful?

I was pretty obsessed with learning the plants there, and my Facebook has more pictures of those, but I'll just say here that like all places in the world now, there are many non-native plants that are taking over the native forests in Hawaii, and there are people preserving the natives but most forests there are not native. It will never be like it was again but we can at least work on keeping the biological diversity as high as we can.

That's about it--it's amazing to me how much we crammed into the week but still took a leisurely pace. Mahalo (thank you) for reading this far!

Oh, and I wanted to say Thanksgiving was wonderful yesterday. I'm really thankful to have such a wonderful, entertaining bunch of weirdos for my family. I love you all!

Leftover turkey sandwich, here I come!

1 comment:

  1. It looks like a beautiful spot for a vacation. It had to be hard to come back to the snow packed tundra.

    Loved the necklace and earrings you wore on Thanksgiving, too. Paua shell.