Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Beach at Tunnels Reef -- Kauai

Although Kauai isn't the biggest of the Hawaiian Islands, it has by far, the most sand beaches. What makes it very nice is that there aren't very many people on those beaches.  We didn't have time to see them all, but the beach at Tunnels Reef was one of the nicest. There was no where to park except on the side of the road.
feel free to embiggen, the photos are large
The beach at Tunnels Reef is the last area you can get to before the road ends. This portion of the road (on the way there) is called the "Tree Tunnel." No relation to Tunnels Reef, but just as beautiful.

This is an indication of how few people there are on this island. This one lane bridge is part of the main road of the island.  We only had to wait about a minute.

It doesn't matter if you are at the edge of a town in the desert or on the most remote island in the world, your vehicle breaks down, you just leave it in the yard.

We drove past some Taro fields. Taro is a very valuable plant. Most people only associate it with "poi" and think it's pretty nasty. If you've ever had it, you know why.  I didn't think it was bad at all, but I've been known to eat just about anything.

The view to the left

The view to the right. One of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen. Just amazing!

There's a house under those palm trees. I'm thinking I could live there. Only one issue, for the last twenty years all the houses have to be built on 18 foot high stilts. Yep, tsunamis...

A few more posts from Kauai and I'll be done. Thanks for hanging in there!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Kilauea Point -- Kauai

Not only is Kilauea Point a beautiful place for a lighthouse, it's also a National Wildlife Refuge. The point is the northernmost piece of land in the Hawaiian Islands.

These are all large photos, so enlarge for optimum viewing
When I saw this, it was another one of those catch your breath moments.

The lighthouse was closed for repairs, but it was well worth the two bucks just to take in the views.

Red Tailed Tropic Bird (to see the tail, enlarge)

Great Frigate Birds (you gotta enlarge this one)

Hawaiian Goose

Wedge Tailed Shearwater nestlings

The view to the right.


The view to the left (Princeville). Awesome coastline.

A little islet is just off the point.

I don't know why. I just had to. This place is so green that you can almost hear everything growing.

We ate at his fish market in the little town of Kilauea. I had Ono tacos. Oh man, they were so good. That's my wife in the white (with hat on). She's sitting with her sister and BIL.

Just me, thinking that a few wisps of grass are as awesome as the scenery.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mahaulepu Beach -- Kauai

A zip line guide (yeah, we did) told us about a beach that was located on private property. We had to drive about five miles on a dirt road to get there, but we were so happy that we did. Not only was the isolated beach amazing, we also found a trail there that led us to a huge and wildly barren landscape.

Don't take the time to enlarge all of these things, but a few of them are worth it
After driving a few miles down this road,

we arrived at the this gate. It was very nice that the owners of this giant farm let people have access to the coast, but they were very clear about the rules. From here we had to drive a few more miles on a VERY rough red dirt road (hey, we were in a rental car, no problem!).  The road ended at a tree line. We parked and walked through the trees.

To the right we saw this.

To the left we saw this. We started hiking over these rocks following the coast line. Around that far point we found another beach.

Part of it was very calm and shaded by pine trees.

I'm going to shut up now and just post a few of the photos I took as we hiked.

 what the heck? I can't get this to orient properly

The trail ended on a point that jutted out into this huge natural bay. As far as we could see in any direction there was not a single sign of civilization. Not a building, a boat, a car, a power line, or even another human. We saw many great sights during our time on the island. To me, this was the best thing I saw. It was like we just discovered something that nobody else had ever seen. Of course, that isn't true, but it was that desolate.
More Kauai posts to come...


Monday, June 20, 2011

Waimea Canyon -- Kauai

Waimea Canyon is also known as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific." It's about 10 miles long and over 3000 feet deep. The center of Kauai, is one of the wettest spots on the planet. The Waimea River ("reddish water" in Hawaiian), drains that area and cuts the canyon.  Because of all the rain there, the island of Kauai is the fastest eroding land mass on earth.
feel free to enlarge the photos
Even the drive to Waimea Canyon was scenic

Driving up into the mountains

I posted this only because I liked the tree

The entrance to the state owned, main observation area was closed for repairs. We had to pull off the road wherever possible to take photos. There were no guard rails and it was a little scary. To quote my wife... "Pat, don't get too close to the edge!" "Pat, watch where your stepping!" "Pat, back up!"  

The Waimea River is in the upper middle of the photo. If you've been to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, it is easy to see the similarities between the two places.

"Shrimp Station"
The BEST shrimp tacos (or maybe any tacos) that I've ever eaten. On the side of the road in the small town of Waimea.

There always has to be a totally strange occurrence on our trips. After we left the canyon we stopped at the Kauai Coffee Plantation. You might have seen their coffee in stores. The guy standing next to this coffee roaster is my brother-in-law. He did the gold colored pin striping on this roaster several years ago for the company that made it in Southern California. The odds of him running into this machine, several years later and many thousands of miles from home, are pretty darn slim.