Friday, June 10, 2011

Kauai Part 2

I am continuing the process of reviewing, editing and creating collages from our Kauai vacation. I love it because it helps me keep the details of the trip fresh in my mind. Since documenting & printing this blog has become our family scrapbook, it is important to me that I try to add the details and highlights of the trip. Keeping that in mind, please know it doesn't bother me if you just skip to the pics (remember to click to enlarge) and don't read all the boring deets. :-)

Initially, seven days in Kauai seemed like a sufficient amount of time, but in actuality, we weren't able to see all the sights and experience everything we originally set out to do. We significantly underestimated the impact the timezone change of 5 hr would have on us. It affected our sleeping and eating schedules and seemed by the time we were finally adjusted then it was time to leave. I guess this means that we will have to return some time in the future - Hurray!!
We visited many different beaches on Kauai including: Po'ipu beach (walking distance from our condo), Salt Pond Beach, Wailua beach, Anini beach, & Tunnels beach. One thing we noticed about the Kauai beaches was how sticky the sand was. There was no brushing this stuff off your skin even when it was dry. It was the strangest thing ever! It was also squishy...where you sink down, not firm and compact like I expected. Lots of interesting sand castles were all over on the beaches, but we didn't build any. We also had quite a collection of sand coating the inside of our rental jeep. Messy stuff for sure!
One of the big excursions planned by Steve was an open-air (door-less) helicopter tour of the island, which he scheduled for Monday morning and lasted about an hour. This was the first helicopter ride for both Steve & I. We were able to converse with the pilot via two-way intercom built into our noise reduction headphones. The views were extraordinary and amazing, even if it was hard to maneuver to take photos. Part of the prep before getting loaded into the Hughes 500 was to sign all the liability wavers and to be weighed. Yup - we had to step on a scale, so no cheating. This information was kept private, but was important apparently for load balancing.
Here is a diagram of the seating on the chopper. The P = pilot. The little mini-seat in the middle ended up being my seat. Steve and the other couple riding with us had the remaining seats and literally had an arm and leg hanging out of the helicopter. For some reason, I didn't understand this detail and was looking forward to being able to lean out of the side of the helicopter while taking photos. Instead, I was the monkey-in-the-middle and felt like a little kid squished between to larger guys (Pilot Jason & Steve). I think I was well prepared for this role since I am a middle-child, who was frequently sandwiched between my two brothers in various pick-ups & station wagons during my childhood. I highly recommend this activity. It was definitely a highlight for us.
Another organized activity we decided to partake in was a river kayak and hike to get to the Secret Waterfall. The trip lasted almost 5 hrs and was a very worthwhile trip. We started out with a two mile kayak on the Wailua River. It took Steve & I a couple minutes to get our steering down, but once we mastered it we were the speed-demons of our 8 person group. After reaching our landing spot, we began a 1 mile hike. Although a short hike, it actually took nearly an hour because of the rough terrain, including a river crossing holding onto a rope. Our guide was extremely helpful with pointing out unique vegetation as well as sharing island history. One thing that was very surprising was to see the damage caused the previous week by an overland flood when 17 inches of rain fell in one day. So glad we weren't in Kauai then! The guide also shared a lilikoi (a.k.a. yellow passion fruit) he found on the ground with those brave enough to try it. It looked disgusting, but the taste was amazing.

When we arrived at the Secret Falls, we were captivated! Secret Falls is a 120 ft, roaring, and beautiful sight. We swam in the pool, but had to be very careful because of the vortex the falling water created. Steve was much braver than me. We were also warned about random boulders being tossed down the falls. Didn't need one of those to land on our heads! We had a simple lunch of sandwiches and juicy pineapple. Once everyone was done eating, swimming and taking photos we hiked back to our kayaks. This excursion got two thumbs up from Steve and me.
In addition to being obsessed with flowers, I can't get enough of crashing waves and roaring waterfalls! Kauai was a visual & auditory feast for me. Some of the falls we were able to drive up to, some we saw while on the helicopter tour & one was from the kayak/hike trip. The waves were stronger some days and there were always surfers taking advantage of the water ride. Surfing is an activity that we weren't able to squeeze in, so that is still on my bucket list.
I did take a few pics of some wildlife we saw: Some were playful (spinner dolphins), some were creepy (huge spider), some were annoying (early morning rooster wake up calls), some were colorful (koi) & some we were glad we didn't encounter (man-o-war jelly fish). I loved the spinner dolphins and the tiny lizard stuck to our patio door one morning.

The most amazing creature of all was the huge green sea turtle we encountered while snorkeling off of Tunnels beach.
Of course, I have no pictures so I grabbed this photo off the Internet. This ancient, magnificent marine animal was graceful, yet prehistoric looking. I was so excited when I spotted it that I nearly inhaled ocean water gesturing to Steve to make sure he saw it as well. I watched it for a long time as he munched on the coral. Truly one of the highlights of the trip for me!


Kathy said...

Loved the recap. Look forward to the next part. Dreamy.....

Lori said...

I love hearing the details of your trip. It all sounds so amazing. A Sea Turtle....YOU GOT TO SEE A SEA TURTLE!!! So cool. What a great vacation.

Heather said...

Wow....I am LOVING your photo collages and all the details of your trip. Yay for including the sea turtle even though you hadn't taken a picture of him. One of the coolest things for sure. Dude.