Archive for November, 2009

Secluded Beach Adventure, Polihale Beach State Park

November 27, 2009
The remoteness of this beach is part of the charm.  The only access is a 5 mile long, poorly marked dirt and sand rutted road miles from the nearest town Kekaha.  A sign at the entrance says 4 wheel drive only, but slow and careful navigation brought the Acura through this adding  just another layer of red dirt dust.

The cliffs at Polihale

Polihale, the word means “house of the after world” or in other words, heaven.  Heavenly is an accurate description of this long stretch of remote wild beach.  Wild because the shore is unprotected from the open ocean, entering the water is not safe here, the beach drops off rapidly into extremely deep water, the waves are relentless and strong rip currents are present especially during the winter months.  One must be careful even just walking along the beach.  I saw one unsuspecting walker, strolling along the edge of the surf,swamped waist-high holding his camera above his head, barely keeping his footing as he headed for high ground. I could see
a red stain in the water that clearly defined the rip currents, the waves were  10 to 12 feet high, and presented in rapid succession.  These waves were small in comparisons to the surf on Oahu this day which were said to be up to 30 feet.

sunlight washes cliffs at polihale

We found the most gorgeous secluded spot under a twisted tree that offered much appreciated shade.  The back drop was the cliffs of Na Pali, so close we could almost touch them, the surf and a tidal pool were center stage. The tidal pool was our private bath, refreshed on a regular basis with fresh surf. We stayed for hours.  Peaceful and beautiful. In Hawaiian mythology it is believed that spirits travel the coastal plain next to this beach, stay in a temple near here and then jump from the northern cliffs into the sea, to gain their passage to heaven.  The place definitely has a spiritual feel.

driftwood and patterns in the sand

The people of Kauai are frugal and resourceful. In December of 2008 flooding damaged facilities and closed the access road.  The park was closed. The government estimated it would cost 4 million dollars for repairs and take up to 2 years to complete. Locals fearing the economic impact,voluntarily repaired the road on their own rather than wait for the government to take action. They finished fixing the road in 8 days. I love these people.

relentless surf at polihale


Poipu Bay Golf Course, Where Champions Play

November 25, 2009

first glimpse of Poipu Bay Golf Course

I feel so privileged to have had the great opportunity to play golf at one of the nations premier golf destinations, home of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf 1994-2006.  Thanks to a wonderful birthday gift,  I had this pleasure, one extravagance I would never afford myself.  This was dream golf.  When compared to my usual choices for frugal golf.

lush fairways and beautiful scenery

The warm up area was the best I had ever seen.  All the range balls you wanted were included and they were good balls too.  We practiced up plenty because I really wanted to play well here.   The driving range even included sand traps, so you could practice your strategy of avoidance.   Some practice putting on fast smooth greens was all of the preparation I needed, and then off to our round.  We were able to play as a twosome.  I love that.

golf in the shadow of giants

The fairways were plump.  Drives had a really long run with the help of the wind and could roll even further on the carpet-like fairway grass.  The fairway held the ball perched up, like on a tee.  I had my best second shots ever with my 5 wood on this turf.

golf course serenity

This course was gorgeous and serene.  The pace was just right, we never felt pushed or hurried.  The drink cart attendant was ever present.  I was pleased with my performance as with numerous traps and hazards I only found myself in the sand once, and had a great out with a little bounce near the pin.

four palms tell wind direction

We loved the wind.  We loved the views.

Poipu Bay, most beautiful golf course I have ever seen

My score did not reflect the generally good game I played,  hitting the ball straight, staying in the fairway and out of the traps,  good chips onto the green and putting true to the read.   That could be because I dropped 3 balls into the water on just one hole.  So be it.  This was a wonderfully satisfying golf outing .  Thank you, Chris.

breathtaking views

view of the pacific from the golf course

On the Road Again….North Shore Delights

November 25, 2009

Kalena Fish Market, Lihue

We made plans for this northbound adventure the day before and decided to get take out from Kalena Fish Market as recommended by a local.   We ordered just what was recommended as well.  This place  sells Korean style plate lunch.  The woman behind the service counter was so friendly she showed us the different foods and patiently explained how each one would taste.  Kalena’s looks like a fishing supply store from outside, closes at 3 pm and is open only for lunch.  We ordered Bi Bim Bap,(teriyaki chicken, multiple vegetables, sprouts, seaweed salad, tofu, an egg(scrambled), kim chee, all on a bed of rice with a tiny tub of spicy barbecue sauce and the Kalena Special, which had multiple kinds of meat, chicken katsu (breaded and fried), beef jun (a thin bit of beef with an egg batter covering), and some tender and tasty ribs, and a choice of 4 types of vegetables and rice. We also carried a cooler with ice and two bottles of Grolsch beer.

Gorgeous view at lookout travelling north toward Kapaa

We loved our lunch, and had enough food to feed us for the whole day again for under $20.00 for us two.

Anini Beach

Anini beach is one of the safest and most protected along the North Shore of the island. Over 2 miles of reef runs the  length of  this beach and protects people entering the water from dangerous surf.  This is Hawaii’s longest reef. It is popular for both snorkeling and windsurfing. We planned to snorkel today but visability was poor,  due to the after rain run off  flowing into the sea.  Snorkel day is postponed.  This beach was once called Wanini.  It is told that the , “W, fell off the sign, rather than fixing the sign, the name was just permanently changed.  This is so Hawaiian.

falls on the north shore road

misty shores

Interesting Kauai fact……BEER IS ALLOWED AT ALL PARKS AND ON THE BEACH.   Sad to say, there is broken glass on Kauai’s beaches, this is a great disappointment that really mars the overall beauty.  Please don’t litter.

Kilauea Lighthouse

Kilauea Lighthouse,built in 1913,is the northernmost point of the main Hawaiian Islands.
The lighthouse is on a narrow peninsula and remains one of Kauai’s most popular attractions. Native vegetation and an informative visitor center attract tourists to this site to bird watch, view the sweeping cliff and ocean vistas, and revel in Kauai’s past. Well worth the stop.  We did not pay the fee to enter the lighthouse instead choosing to take in the vistas at the free overlook  just outside the lighthouse gate.

The Orchid Story

November 24, 2009

backyard orchid purple

A short walk out my back door yields a multitude of orchid varieties.

unusual yellow orchids on tree

Orchids are one of the largest and most varied plants in the world, with over 25,000 species known. Most are  found in the tropics.  Many are epiphytes or plants growing on trees or other plants using them as a host.

orchid fucshia and orange

Orchids come in all shapes, sizes textures and colors. So many types of orchids are growing right here in Kalaheo.  They are tucked into cevices and little hiding places all over the yard. I’m collecting photos for painting reference.

beautiful orchid

They are exotic and beautiful.  Part of living and travelling frugally is finding enjoyment in all of the free things to behold.  Both our world and Kauai are filled with abundant everyday treasures, all we need do is open our eyes.

white orchid trio

Everyday’s a Beach in Kaua’i

November 23, 2009

north shore beach

It’s now November 22nd,  I’ve been here for one month.  I’ve learned that every day is a beach day in Kauai,  there hasn’t been a day since we arrived that we haven’t gone to the beach.  Even when there are storms there seem to always be a few breaks to offer up some sunshine and rainbows.  The place is magical.

Here you experience a real connection with nature, everything feels alive.

living coast

You sit on the beach watching the surf, then you turn your head and see rainbows over mountains.  Looking out on the ocean you watch a storm track across the water, then disappear to reveal an island.  This place enlivens all of the senses, the winds caress and cool, the sun warms and relaxes, the sound of crashing waves soothe.   Fresh scents of citrus and tropical fruit entice and the visual is always spectacular.  It really is hard to take a bad photograph here.

beautiful red hibiscus

I’m so glad that I came here.  Everything is going as planned.  This month has been but a blur, thankfully I have this blog ,hundreds of photographs and a killer tan to help me remember it all.

tropical yellow fish swim at the reef exposed, so incredibly close

Who are the Menehune?

November 21, 2009

the sun creeps low in the sky

They are magical little people like elves, pixies and leprechauns.  Many large and ancient structures all over Kauai, fishponds, temples and immense  water carrying systems are attributed to their skills and labor.  The magical feat is these things were all built overnight.  I keep looking for Menehune.  It’s told that the 1820 census listed 65  self identified Menehune living in the Wainiha Valley. We enjoyed our joy ride through the mountains and valleys, taking in lovely vistas and many beautiful home sites and worked up an appetite for our next stop.

Is this where the Menehune buy their food?

Mexican food for lunch.  This place was recommended by our golf partners from just the day before.  La Bamba, was also rated best Mexican food on the island for the last 8 years by the Garden Island News.  Near Sears at the Kukui Grove Shopping Center in Lihue. The decor is very casual, but clean. The staff  had a watchful eye for water refills.  The menu was pretty standard for simple Mexican, our lunch was under $20.00 with a on the rocks margarita, no salt please.  Sorry to say I probably would have been just as happy at Taco Bell, sans margarita.

half sun

sunset over west Kauai, as usual we ended our day at the beach, ahhhh

the last bit of sun, ice cold beer, great company, crashing surf, at peace in beautiful Kauai, great end to another perfect day.......

‘Opaeka’a Falls

November 21, 2009


Look above the falls for the breathtaking, Makaleha Mountains

Up and out early, we decided to take ourselves a little road trip.  We viewed this from a lookout off the road way.


'opaeka'a falls "rolling shrimp"

“Opaeka’a means rolling shrimp.   The name dates back from days when shrimp swarmed the river and were seen rolling in the turbulent waters at the base of the falls.  Near by were some ancient Hawaiian ruins to disturb them is kapu, or forbidden so we enjoyed them without touching.  Heiau means sacred site.  It’s unknown exactly how the ancient Hawaiians used Poli’ahu Heiau, the largest pre-Christian temple on the island.  Legend says it was built by the Menehune because of the unusual stonework found in its walled enclosures.  Some Hawaiians feel these sacred stones shouldn’t be viewed as tourist attractions. Treat them with respect: never stand or sit on the rocks, or leave any offerings.named for the snow goddess of the Island of Hawaii (legend has it she lived on Mauna Kea). The heiau contains several terraces, idol sites, and a “god stone” five feet high.

poli'ahu heiau

the waiula river descends from the mountains to the sea

Let’s Speak Hawaiian

November 20, 2009

udoes anyone know what kind of fish this is?

does anyone know what kind of fish this is?

Fish ID……….from my friend via email………”Just wanted to tell you that the fish on your blog is called a “papio.” My fish expert friend Bernal  who grew up on Kauai tells me that you salt and pepper it and fry it. Very tasty. It is a baby actually. I think when the papio grows big, it is called an “ulua.”  Jerry says he thinks it is a jackfish in English.  Years ago, Bernal and Jerry went out at night to fish. Jerry caught a fish and Bernal filleted it right on the beach for the freshest sashimi ever.”   mahalo to Connie


Aloha……………………Hello or Good-bye…”aloha” is a greeting or it could mean “goodbye.”  It can also mean “love.”


More Hawaiian lessons from my island friend…… “Makai” means on the ocean side and “mauka” is toward the mountain side. When people give directions, they use those terms to indicate if something like a store is on the ocean or mountain side of the highway. Oh, another important one is “kapu” which means to keep out or forbidden. You might see signs on Kauai that say “kapu” so don’t enter that property.

Birthday Week Extravagance Continues

November 20, 2009

Great hikes and refreshing swims make for ravenous appetites.  Next on the agenda, birthday dinner at the restaurant of my choice,  it had to be Thai.  I love Thai food.  Chris is unsure, he doesn’t like spicy food.  I assure him he will love the delicate and subtle flavors found in Thai food that doesn’t have to be overly spicy.  This restaurant was recommended by my new fast friend, Connie, who sold us the Acura.  She has been invaluable, by giving me much local information and protecting us from making dangerous mistakes.  Like,” don’t swim at Lydgate or nearby after heavy rains. The Wailua River empties into the ocean and will bring all kinds of animal yuck (leptospirosis) and debris from the mountains.”  In our ignorance we thought from our research that Lydgate Beach was the safest beach.  Mahalo, Connie, for keeping us safe and well informed.

beautiful orange flowers

We arrived Toi’s Thai Kitchen located in the Eleele Shopping Center at about 7pm, bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon in hand purchased at the Big Save almost next door.  Toi’s doesn’t serve alcohol but encourages bringing in your own bottle and although a corkage fee was on the menu, we were not charged for this service.  This is a strip mall restaurant but the atmosphere was pleasing, the seating comfortable, and the wait staff skilled and friendly.  All of the food was wonderful, we sampled an appetizer of deep fried noodles with shrimp, fragrant greens and sweet and sour sauce,  green papaya salad, pad thai, and Toi’s temptation, and the price of around $15 or less per entree included salad and dessert.  We were very pleased with Toi’s and we can’t wait to return and try some other delicious fare.  Chris said, this food is great, now he is a fan of  Thai cuisine.

aloha, wonderful day

In Search of Secluded Beaches

November 19, 2009

The storms have blown over, the tradewinds are back,  the humidity gone and it’s warm and wonderful once again. Perfect for a little hike suggested by a local to a secluded beach.  It starts at the Japanese Cemetery just above Glass Beach and follows the trail along the coast.  Only about a 20 minute hike.  At first the trail is narrow, red and studded with lava rocks, well above the crashing surf.

trail to secluded beach

trail to secluded beach

It provided excellent views of natural bridges, blow holes and arches carved by the relentless sea.  We didn’t linger at these sights for long, anxious to find the secluded beach.

natural bridge

natural bridge

Ahead the trail carved its way through high grass leading us toward a quarry and coffee fields. Soon the beach came into full view, but not easily accessible, we needed to remove our hiking shoes and walk knee deep though the muddy currents of fresh water spilling into the ocean.

the stream crossed to get to the secluded beach

the stream crossed to get to the secluded beach

Then sinking into soft gray sand.  We found our beach. The sand was firm by the water and fine in texture. We placed our beach sheet on the far end, pulled out our reads and made ourselves comfortable.  The Giant yucca were amazing their lances were approximately 8 ft tall but their spires reached  thirty feet into the sky.

giant yucca

giant yucca

My more familiar yucca is never more than 4 feet tall.  The crabs were dancing along the surf, searching for meal while we rested before following the trail just a little further.  We climbed to an elevated area above the beach on another of Kauai’s red dirt roads.  We took in breath taking vistas and a view back at our beach blanket in solitude, while the aroma of coffee from Kauai Coffee Company enticed us.  This entire adventure was a pleasant 3 hours, then off to our favorite Salt Pond for a cool off swim.

view from above the secluded beach

view from above the secluded beach

worth the hike, our secluded beach...see our beach blanket off in the corner

view on the hike

view on the way to the secluded beach

twisted roots hold fast in muddy currents

twisted roots hold fast in muddy currents, one final wade through, aloha secluded beach