K’s family arrived last week. We planned some activities in Oahu and a trip to Kauai.
Our first big adventure was a sunset sail on Island Dream Catamaran in Oahu. We were the only ones on the boat. We saw a double rainbow and a slow burning sunset. I’ve never watched a sunset like that before. Maybe the last time I saw something comparable was on the dock of West Peak Inn in Honduras. I think sunsets are best enjoyed quietly.
Two days later we set off for Kauai. Checking in at the airport I stood behind a woman with beautiful flowers in her hair. Her name was Martha and she was on her way to the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo to watch her daughter dance. I told her the flowers were pretty and asked if I could take her picture. She said yes then reached into her bag and gave me one of my own (along with two bobby pins). I will always remember Martha for giving me flowers when I needed them.
We arrived in Kauai and my first thought was that I loved it, that I could live there for part of the year. Maybe even longer. A lush warm island, it smells like wood and nuts.
We stayed in Hanapepe in a doctor’s house. He rented us half of his home, which was three floors and and five rooms with a living room. After we settled in we mistakenly headed for Hanalei/Princeville thinking it was close enough to drive for dinner. It took three hours. We raced down the one dark highway hoping to reach the North Shore before all the restaurants closed (as we hadn’t eaten since breakfast). Thankfully we found Postcards in Princeville. We made it 15 minutes before their last seating. The environment was leisurely. The service warm. The food delicious. I was pretty sleepy at the time so I don’t really remember my meal except that it was Ahi and it had macadamia nuts. And I liked it.
This first trip to Kauai was characterized, for me, by the awesome people we met doing all the activities we did.
We booked the Waterfall Tour with Safari Helicopters. At Safari Helicopter our orientation guide on the ground, Sherell had us laughing the whole time and made the periods of waiting zip by.
The tour was spectacular of course. Sometimes I would slip into feeling like I was watching TV because the ride was so smooth and the view so overwhelmingly beautiful. But at the end of the tour as we flew over the Napali Coast, the helicopter glided down into a valley surrounded by towering cliffs. At one point all around us were waterfalls. It was so beautiful I wanted to cry. It was so beautiful that I decided not to take a picture. But here’s one of the Napali Coast instead.
Our lodging was on the south end of Kauai in Hanapepe as I said before. If I could do it again, I would probably stay closer to the North Shore. Hanapepe is charming and small--billed as the biggest little town in Kauai. On Friday nights they have an art night for the little galleries along one charming road. They open their doors late and apparently serve wine etc. We didn’t really get to explore Art Night. It seemed very nice and community based. But it didn’t feel entirely welcoming. We walked into a couple of galleries and then headed home.
The doctor who rented us the house told me to make sure to have dinner at Hanapepe Cafe for the only night they serve dinner (the same night as Art Night). I’m really glad that I experienced it because I don’t know that I’ll go back there when we return to Kauai. The restaurant itself was very comfortable and the food was delicious. I had Ono in a lemon butter sauce with purple yams and grilled pineapple.
Later that night we went to The Point at Sheraton in Poipu to visit Sarah who was there coordinating their dance party. We didn’t stay long. Just enough for one drink and some talk. Albeit short, seeing Sarah gave me a big boost.
The next day was breakfast at Kalaheo Cafe then the Wiki Wiki Zip line tour with Just Live. It was a fantastic day. Not only because I was able to face some serious fear of heights issues, but it was cathartic. After the zip lines, we all attempted their rock climbing wall. I made it to the top. It was exhilarating. What made it extra rewarding was the passionate support that the instructors provided. Particularly Nikki who’s like a zip line angel–awesome energy. Just Live’s focus is team building for youth. You can tell by the way they handle everything that they’re probably very good with kids. They’re reassuring, informative, kind, and most of all fun.
After the high of that experience we didn’t want to just go home. We headed to Poipu Beach which we had only seen in the dark. It wasn’t dark this time. I think watching the sunset at Poipu was the most relaxing thing I experienced over those five days.
The next morning K and I had alone time at Gaylord’s for breakfast. Awesome buffet. Loved it. Very rejuvenating.
It’s pretty incredible the things that we did in such a short period of time. The very next day we went for a three hour ATV tour with Kipu Ranch.
I loved driving the ATV. At first it was really scary but that quickly dissipated. Our guide Cody was very fun. We saw peacocks and pigs on the trail. And at one point a cow ran right in front of my ATV. Our trip to Kauai consisted mostly of pre-packaged tours. I normally steer away from packages. I assumed the ATV tour would be a bunch of tourists riding around on a carefully tousled field with some rock obstacles created for us to drive over–and maybe that was the case. If it was, I was definitely fooled. We rode 13 miles down into a spectacular valley and up to an elevation of 11,000 feet. Cody stopped along the way and shared the mythology of some of the awesome natural sights. For me, the most powerful part of the whole day was reaching the end of the trail. Cody had us walk up onto a little plateau and look out over the most beautiful beach cove, Kipu Kai. No one was on it. The only way to get to it was by taking the ATV tour or by boat. From where we stood you could see the waves rhythmically reaching the shore but because we were so far away we couldn’t hear them. It was like watching a living breathing giant. I’d like to go back there again.