Archive for October, 2009

October 31, 2009

Getting to Pakala Beach was an adventure in itself. Our directions how to get there were,  “Go to mile marker 21.” That’s it! We arrived and parked at the marker along the highway, with no other parked cars in sight. Pakala is a popular with surfers, so we expected to find a bit more evidence of a beach.  We crossed the road, looking for a path and found one along a wire fence. Just when I thought we’d have to climb it, we found an old turnstile in a partially opened position, with a trail beyond. It was a short and inviting, shady walk to the beach. We found a mostly desolate stretch with only a few feet of beach between trees and surf. Wherever the beach widened, large amounts of the sea treasures I love exploring: driftwood, coral, palm fronds, coconuts, oranges, guavas, candlenuts, and body parts of various sea creatures. Chris relaxed with his book, taking an occasional dip, as I walked the beach and explored every inch of this place. The surf churned up the sand here and created murky water right in the surf. I didn’t ruin Chris’s fun by telling him that to avoid shark attacks in Hawaii, you avoid murky water.

My feet sank into the sand halfway up to my knees at times, quite a workout.  A mountain-cold freshwater stream entered the ocean here, and on the edge of the beach there were tangles of thorny gray vines without leaves, which assaulted my bare feet. Exploring Kauai, I find many things both spiritual and forbidden. There was a place where a large bone was hanging in the tangle of thorns, where someone piled sticks like a fence all around it. It felt like a no trespass sign.

hide and seek-1

hiding spot

fruit of the palm

fruit of the palm

bone in thorny wall

bone in thorny wall

Glass Beach

October 29, 2009

Glass Beach isn’t mentioned in most guidebooks, and many tourists probably wouldn’t consider it a prime destination. The beach is in the middle of an industrial area that used to be a dump.  Over the years all the broken glass was transformed into smooth glistening jewels of sea glass by the crashing waves. And this is a black sand beach, so the colorful pieces of sea glass really stand out. You wouldn’t want to swim here, it’s very rough and rocky, with waves pounding the coast, cutting away at what was the landfill. It is also eerily backed up by an old Asian cemetery with timeworn, tipping and crumbling grave stones. I found myself a thick glass treasure and had many photo ops at this unusual destination.

near glass beach

near Glass Beach

a mysteriously stable cairn found at glass beach

mysteriously stable cairn found at Glass Beach

rough surf near glass beach

rough surf near Glass Beach

view from glass beach

view from Glass Beach

our chariot awaits

free parking

Mahaulepu Heritage Trail

October 29, 2009

Hiking the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail today, along the coast east of Poipu. (We gained access on a dirt and rock cane field road, with the kind of bumps and ruts you think will swallow your car.

Driving the old Acura we don’t look so much like tourists anymore, though we could see remnants of broken car windows where we parked, when something left inside was just too tempting. Don’t leave anything of value in the car, drive an old car and don’t lock your car doors so thieves don’t have to break a window. We even left the windows down, to say “nothing worth stealing here.” The risks were small compared to the rewards.

With its beaches and landmarks, this trail was awe inspiring. It’s so hard to believe that this is the US: there’s no entrance fee, no signs with rules, and no garbage strewn around. The whole area was immaculate. It’s actually private property where the owners allow access to the public at their own risk.

We had the best day ever. We came upon a cold, fresh water stream lazily flowing into the warm ocean, like our own private beach, protected from the crashing waves by large lava outcrops that created a shallow pool. When you lie down, it looks like one of those infinity pools with the waves crashing beyond it. Under the sand here you can feel hard, smooth rock, and it’s reported that when the waves and tide are right, ancient petroglyphs are revealed near the mouth of the Waiopili Stream. Sixty-seven carvings and markings, with glyphs ranging in size from twelve inches to six-and-a-half feet in length. The carvings are normally covered by beach sand, as they were today.

churning above our private pool

above our private pool

chisled round with private pool

round rock

great place

great place

pools within the cliffs

pools within cliffs

red dirt

red dirt

rocky path to paradise

rocky path to paradise

waves carving the cliffs

waves carve the cliffs

more pictures

October 27, 2009
na pali coast

Na Pali coast

sliver of light at sunset kauai

sliver of light at sunset

waking up in Kalaheo

October 27, 2009

I love waking up each morning in Kalaheo.  I get up before sunrise and quietly creep out of bed while Chris is still sleeping.  I love the early morning, the sounds of cooing doves, the wild Kaua’i roosters crowing in the distance, the babbling of the Koi pond outside our window… time to go on my next adventure… aloha!

kalaheo vista

Kalaheo vista

sunrise in kalaheo2

sunrise in Kalaheo

 

Snorkeling with Honu and Spouting Horn

October 27, 2009

Such a busy day! Starting out in Poipu doing the snorkel thing we saw an incredible number and variety of fish. It’s amazing to just hover over the masses of colorful fish, bathed in the warm Pacific, sun streaming through the translucent green blue waves.

Today the ocean was filled with Hawaii’s green sea turtles, Honu (pronounced hoe-new), named for the color of their body fat, which is green from the algae they eat. Primarily herbivorous, they feed on the rich algae beds along the rocks in the surf, making easy viewing for the snorkeler. If budget allows, I’d love to have an underwater camera. When travelling on a shoestring one must make sacrifices. For now I’ll have to be satisfied with memories of their magnificence.

After our adventure in Poipu, we headed west to the Spouting Horn. Here, the ocean waves crash onto a volcanic shelf and spouting occurs as water rushes into a lava tube and bursts through a small opening at the surface.

There’s such an abundance to do here on Kaua’i for free. No charge for parking, beaches, or day use at county and state parks. All you need do is show up to take advantage of the wonder that is Kaua’i.

canyon

canyon

after chris' bath

Chris at sunset

$3 flowers from roadside honor market

$3 flowers from roadside honor market

crater remnants wiamea canyon

crater remnants at Waimea Canyon

kauai southern shore

Kaua'i's south shore

kauai surf nestled in the pines, south shore

nestled in the pines

snorkeling at Poipu Park Beach

October 25, 2009

Post garage sales, I collected Chris and we went snorkeling at Poipu Park Beach.  This place was great! A very safe rock-and coral-bottomed pool, with waves crashing violently just 100 yards away.  The waves’ leftovers alone were strong to fill your snorkel or knock you down.  This place was fabulous, safe and not too crowded, considering this is a public beach sandwiched between major resort hotels. I encountered my first monk seal, a lazy fellow barely moving when the waves lapped up against him.

Snorkeling was great here, I highly recommend it.  A great variety of fish, red, green, blue, purple, big, small, all playfully picking at the coral and seaweed for a meal.  The water’s crystal clear, so you can make out every detail.  I was mesmerized by a spotted box fish and a black, yellow and white striped goat fish for a long time.  Then I had my greatest wildlife encounter since arrival here.  I got to swim with a giant sea turtle!  At first I was startled; he was in just 2 feet of water, only 10 feet from the beach.  I snorkeled around him and kept up with his every move, then one of those wave leftovers got the best of me and tossed me right over top of the turtle.  Probably an experience neither one of us will forget.

80 degrees and turquiose blue

80 degrees and turquiose blue

end of the North Road, Poipu

end of the North Road, Poipu

he's just lazy

he's just lazy

aloha, day 2

October 25, 2009

Still jet lagged, I awoke at 2 am, tossed around and bothered Chris for a few hours, then got up at 5 to see my own sunrise. The skies were misty and dramatic. I drove out the the closest beach, the Salt Pool in Hanapepe. There,  a large group of feral cats cruised the parking lot to glean a meal and crowing seaside roosters punctuated the soothing sound of the surf. Driving along the edge of the ocean past the very small Allen Airport, the sun was up and my cup of coffee was history, so it was off to garage sales found on Craigslist and by following signs. TIP: Hunting garage sales really allows you to learn the lay of the land. In just one day I can find my way around both Kalaheo and Hanapepe. I bought a smaller, lighter handbag, 2 saimin (noodle) bowls, and 2 cotton spaghetti-strap tops with wooden beads. Total cost: $3.00. The garage sale foray was a success!

Kalaheo home base

Kalaheo home base

Kalaheo texture

Kalaheo texture

Kaua'i rooster

Kaua'i rooster

beauty everywhere

beauty everywhere

our first full day in Kaua’i was wonderful

October 24, 2009

We bought our car for $1250.00 (that we arranged before arrival on Craigslist). It’s an Acura Legend, clean and wonderful, we are so happy! The day was in the 80’s, no rain; the night temp cool, in the 60’s. Went to all kinds of local stores and found that food isn’t too expensive as long as you look around. Chris’s jug wine is $2 cheaper and beer is cheaper than NY too. I ate the best pineapple in my life, a Maui Gold, and we went for a dip in the Queen’s Pond on the dirt road to Polihale. Then we walked the Barking Sands all the way to Polihale, as far west as we could go on the beach from the south. The water was rough due to a tropical storm, but it’s so warm and clear… clear like I’ve never seen before.

Polihale drama

Polihale drama

Chris's first day in Kaua'i
Chris’s first day in Kaua’i
Polihale, the end of the rainbow

Polihale, the end of the rainbow

red dirt and rough rock

red dirt and rough rock

like the pyramids

like the pyramids

surfer dude

surfer dude