Kauai, Hawaii March 31 – April 4 2016


We arrived at the airport and  rented a car where we saw a chicken walking around the Alamo car rental.  As we spent our four days in Kauai we learned that the island of Kauai is home to thousands of wild chickens, a particular variety that’s vibrant in plumage.  They eat the venomous centipedes native to Kauai, a trait that people seem to like, but they have no natural predators besides pet cats and dogs, and the population is growing at an alarming rate.  The Hawaiian chickens really only came into their own as the pigeon of Hawaii in the past few decades, after Hurricane Iniki destroyed chicken enclosures in 1992, releasing many of the island’s captive chickens into the jungle.
We drove the short distance to our beach front hotel. We were on the east coast of Kauai. The hotel was recently acquired by the Hilton chain and was still under renovation.  It had opened 2 days before we got there!  We were adventurers, trying it out.  The hotel had been one of the island’s best in the 1960s when first built.  It had good bones, but really needed the loving care it was getting.  Renovations in the wing in which we were staying were complete, other than the old hydraulic elevator that lurched and bumped its way to the second floor.  One ride and then we walked the stairs for the balance of our stay.  The lobby area and pool were completely renovated and they were working on the second wing and the landscaping.  The hotel manager and his staff were great, and we certainly would stay there again given a chance.
 There is a partnership with hotel & the Department of Hawaiian Homelands to protect the land that the hotel is built on. Since the hotel is on sacred land there was a sunrise worship ceremony that we took part in the next morning. Shelley was asked  to put a ceremonial gift by the noni tree surrounding the sacred area where a temple once stood.
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After breakfast we were picked up for a cruise of the Wailua River and the nearby fern grotto.  It is a 21 mile river that feeds into the Pacific Ocean.   As we boarded the boat, which was a scow pushed by a small tug boat, we were greeted by musicians playing ukulele and guitar.   Beautiful scenery.  We were surrounded by mountains and groves of Haue growing along the banks as we cruised down the river. We watched some hula and everyone on the boat learned hula together.  After the 2 mile cruise we got off the boat to hike the fern grotto area. The musicians played the Hawaiian wedding song & hula by this area that is famous for its wedding cave surrounded by hanging ferns , ti & red ginger.
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We drove to Kappau for lunch & then to find some waterfalls.We discovered Opeka Falls and Wailua Falls. At Wailua falls we saw swimmers at the bottom & white birds with long tails flying above called Kia Kaie.
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We then drove south to find Spouting Horn state park . We heard that the Spouting Horn blowhole is one of the most photographed spots on Kauai. The Poipu surf channels into a natural lava tube here and releases a huge spout of water during large swells. There’s a video of it on our Facebook page.
We saw a woman walking through the park holding a parrot.  She let him sit on Shelley’s arm.  He was so colorful!
We rested in the afternoon and then used the hotel’s bicycles to ride the bicycle paths by the shore. It was a nice path that meandered through tree lined paths and along the water in some areas.
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The next day we drove to Hanapepe to see an arts festival & orchid show. We stopped for breakfast along the way.  In Hanapepe we wandered lovely art galleries and listened to local children drumming.
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IMG_3170Hank found a woman offering a foot massage and even got help from  her five year old daughter wanting to learn her mothers trade.
We walked across their famous swinging bridge.
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We drove back to the hotel to rest and then drove to Lighthouse on the North part of the island. The road to the lighthouse was being repaired, which cut short our hike. We were able to look over the cliff and watch the soaring of  many types of sea birds.
We rested, had some lunch and rested more. We booked a river cruise for the next day and a sunset cruise for Sunday . We had plans  to meet with Hank’s friend Jim Lurie on Saturday.  He and his wife were visiting Kauai staying on the North side of the island. We had a lovely visit and dinner with Anne & Jim Lurie and were up early to see a beautiful sunrise.
We set off on a drive through twisting & turning roads for Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
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By good fortune we met Anne and Jim Lurie again at the Waimea overlook, even though we had not planned to see each other at the canyon. We drove to two other magnificent lookout points.
We ate lunch The Beach House at Andy Sheppard’s suggestion and watched surfers, then on to Port Allen to catch the boat for the sunset cruise around the otherwise inaccessible northwestern part of Kauai.  On the cruise we saw a small pod of spinner dolphins.
We passed tall cliffs and a fabulous sea cave. We saw mountain goats and a red footed booby on the cliffs. 
The cliffs had a really interesting pattern of mist and rock.
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Here’s our sunset photos from our last sunset on this first big adventure.