Kauai—The Garden Isle

It was so lovely to arrive back on Kauai (Hawaii) after not having been for five years. And it was even better that we were here with eight other dive buddies, enjoying a few days in Princeville before heading to our dive adventure in Palau (next post).

The adventures began right away when our flight was diverted to Honolulu because of engine trouble. They preferred to land the plane on the longer runways found at the Honolulu Airport, so we got to enjoy a pretty sight of Diamondhead, Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor as we landed.

Near the Disney resort on Oahu

Eventually we got to Kauai, loaded up two vehicles with 10 passengers, all our luggage and dive gear, and lots of breakfast and happy hour items from Costco, then headed up to the north shore where we had two condos to share.

Tom and Mary Ann graciously offered their condo as our home base and we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with a beautiful view of the ocean.

After lunch at Bubba’s Burgers (yes, family, there is another Bubba’s Burgers!), an afternoon bike ride along the eastern side of Kauai ended up with pretty muddy conditions, so we had to rinse our tires in the outdoor shower areas—anything to save the $10 cleaning charge that the bike rental shop was going to charge for muddy bikes.

After so many miles of hard pedaling (not really), we had to reward ourselves with Shave Ice in Kapa’a town—I like it best with macadamia nut ice cream in the bottom.

Our shave ice server at Ono Ono

Our evening was spent at a local hangout, The Patio (behind the Ace Hardware store) where you can bring your own drinks, order Thai or Chinese food and listen to live music—very relaxing.

Mark, Sarah, Tim, Linda and Hank at The Patio
Tom, Mary Ann, Marilynn, Richard and Mark at The Patio

Of course, we had to take pictures of the local critters, including a giant snail, a few geckos, some native Hawaiian geese, called nene (pronounced nay-nay), and the ubiquitous chickens that Kauai is known for.

A 5-inch snail--really!
A tiny little gecko

Our next day repeated a wonderful breakfast, followed by a short drive into Hanalei, where we caught the island shuttle to Ha’ena State Park (Ke’e Beach) at the end of the road. Because of all the flood damage from a couple of years ago, several bridges are being rebuilt so traffic is severely limited along Kauai’s north shore. You either need a permit to drive your car, or you can hop on the shuttle to let someone else do the driving.

This drive is one of our favorites, and we enjoyed the glorious views of Hanalei Bay, Bali Hai Mountain, and many unnamed (or unknown-to-us) sites along the way.

Ha’ena State Park has completely redone their paths to Ke’e Beach, so we enjoyed the boardwalks through the taro fields. No snorkeling allowed because of rough conditions so a few of us walked along the beach.

Others followed Tom up a questionable trail to a heiau (Hawaiian sacred burial site) overlooking the beach and the ocean.

Richard and Marilynn follow where Tom leads--that might be a mistake!
We made it to our destination--the heiau. Thanks, Tom!

After all that hiking/walking, we had to once again fortify ourselves with more shave ice, this time from Wishing Well in Hanalei.

Everyone crashed in the afternoon, but Hank and Tom were brave enough to do a little snorkeling at Hideaways Beach where they saw several turtles (no pictures taken). Hiking up and down the trail to Hideaways is treacherous at best, but the ropes give you something to hold onto and we had no mishaps.

One of the views from Hideaways Beach
Using the rope ladders to hike up and down to Hideaways Beach

The Puu Poa condo complex is a great place to enjoy sunsets and the beautiful coastal views or just relax at the pool.

Mary Ann, Tom and Hank at the pool
One of the beautiful views from our condo complex

We capped off our short visit to Kauai with great meals at Kalypso and Dolphin, enjoying great seafood and live music.

Cindy, Hank, Linda, Tim, and Tom at Kalypso
Ice cream pie in the shape of a fish!

Our travel day to Palau was full of adventure, not of the most favorable kind. We had to leave early in the morning to avoid a parade going through the middle of town, but our chosen breakfast restaurant (Duke’s) wasn’t open yet—bummer! A local recommended Kalapaki Joe’s, but after sitting for 15 minutes with no service, we decided we had better head out.

So, we ate quick breakfasts at a local bakery, got to the airport and flew to Honolulu, where we discovered that our flight to Guam was delayed about 8 hours. That meant that we would miss our connection to Palau, and this is not a place with very many flights. So the additional unscheduled adventure will be an 18-hour visit to Guam, where we’re hoping to visit the U.S. national park there, before we head to our final destination of Palau. We’re losing a day of diving because of the delay, but that is all part of life when you travel to very remote destinations.

Drowning our sorrows as we wait for our very-delayed flight-Mark, Sarah, Tim, Linda, Mary Ann and Tom
Hank, Richard and Marilynn put on a brave face
Cindy, Mark and Sarah enjoy lunch as we wait in Honolulu.

Next post will probably be after we arrive home from Palau. We look forward to sharing our diving and World War II photos with you soon.

2 thoughts on “Kauai—The Garden Isle”

  1. What a wonderful vacation with a great group of friends…you guys are truly blessed!

    Enjoy the Garden Isle and feel free not to think about the traffic on the 405 !

    Sending our Aloha to all of you…

    Marleen and Q


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