Thursday, June 29, 2017

Kauai Part 5

Our last day on the island started off with breakfast at our hotel.  Andy's looked more like a dinner, but he enjoyed it.  My yummy waffle is in the background.
Birds were flying in and out of the restaurant as we ate...we decided we were glad we hadn't ordered the buffet.

Our plan for the day was to see Waimea Canyon.
However, Andy was kind enough to stop at a quilt store that he had actually spotted our first day there.  I came away with some fun treasures.

The canyon was beautiful!

There were a few different lookouts along the way.
The final one is supposed to give you a view of the back of the Napali coast mountains...
unless it's shrouded in clouds :(
I was pretty disappointed.  I mean it was like you were at the edge of the earth and there was nothing beyond.  At one point, the distant bleating of a mountain goat broke the eerie silence.
It was beautiful up there, we just didn't get the view we were hoping for.

We were kind of in a rush to get back to the airport on time but I made Andy stop at a beach for me to do this..."A" squared has kind of always been our thing...Andy and Aimee :)
We were so blessed to have this opportunity and we will be forever grateful for it.
These memories and pictures will always be a delight on which to reflect.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Kauai Part 4

Don't worry, this post will be super short compared to my other ones :)

We stayed at The Kauai Beach Resort near Lihue.
This was a great central spot on the Eastern shore so both the drives north and south were not too long.  It's also very near the airport.
We were very happy with our room and the resort...clean and beautiful.  They even upgraded our room to an ocean view that they had available at no charge.
They have a long, tree lined drive leading up to the hotel.
Since we were unable to squeeze everything in to our stay and missed seeing the Allterton Gardens and their Moreton Bay Fig Trees, I had to get a picture of one here.

Andy's favorite trees were the Banyans

So, kind of a funny story...
The night before, when we had come in from our outings, we dropped our wet towels in the bin at the hotel front desk.  The next morning as we are preparing for the day Andy couldn't find his swimming trunks.  He looked everywhere and we finally realized they must have been wadded up in the wet towels that we had returned.  He called down to the front desk and they checked with the laundry but they were nowhere to be found.  We decided that we would just need to stop at the ABC store on the way up north and buy some new ones.  Well, we stopped...and found some trunks...and a lot of other stuff.  We loaded up on souvenirs and gifts realizing we might not have many other opportunities left.
Among our new acquisitions was a lot of chocolate to give away when we got back.  I was really worried about it melting while it sat in our car all day so we decided to go back to the hotel and drop it off.  Andy drove me to the front entrance and I grabbed all the bags and ran them up to our room.
On the way to our boating experience that we had booked for the day, we stopped at the Hanalei lookout.  Isn't it just gorgeous?!?!

It wasn't until we arrived in Hanalei and parked the car that it hit us both that, once again, Andy was without swimming trunks!  I had not thought to take them out of the bags when I dropped everything else off!  We couldn't believe it.  Luckily, we were near some shops so while I went and checked in for our excursion, he ran to go buy a 3rd pair :)
Everyone else got on the bus and waited for us while he found some, bought them and ran back to the check in spot.  The rest of the group was very patient with us although it left Andy a bit flustered.

So, after my experience on the helicopter (which I don't know that I mentioned, I had taken motion sickness medicine before the flight...didn't seem to do much) I decided to take the maximum dose and risk feeling tired.  I decided I would rather be sleepy than sick.
There we were on the boat, I was sipping a gingerale just in case and thinking "I've got this!"
Well, not so much :(
It didn't take too long before it got to me and I was smiling through my teeth.

I never got as sick as I had on the helicopter...never needed a bag but my stomach and my head sure were not happy.
The co-captian was kind and tried to help me out by having me sit in the back and stare at the coastline, giving me ginger chews and a cold soda to put on the back of my neck, but I was still sitting there just thinking that the two most exciting (and expensive) experiences that I was looking forward to the most while planning our trip, I ended up not being able to enjoy fully.

Once again though, Andy was feeling fine and I was happy that he was capturing it all on camera.

We went into a sea cave which thrilled Andy.  He was amazed that the waves didn't smash us into the walls. 

  I think if the water would have been more calm we would have gone into this one as well.  The roof of the cave had fallen in so there was a little island in the middle.
We (well at least Andy) had seen this from above on the helicopter.

The Napali Coast!
Isn't it stunning?

A little bit past that breathtaking sight above, we stopped for lunch and snorkeling.
They told me that probably the best thing for me would be to get in the water and I should feel better.
Almost everyone that got out used a noodle so I didn't feel silly with my water insecurities.
I borrowed Andy's snorkeling stuff for a few minutes but mostly I was just focusing on trying to feel better.

We weren't super impressed with what we saw down in the water but that's okay, it was still a really neat experience

 After a while we were ready for lunch so we hopped back on the boat...I only ate some chips...
When everyone was ready to head back Andy and I were sitting in the front of the boat with another couple.  The captains told me that sometimes, people find the front a good place to be when sick so I decided to give it a try.  They told us that once we got going we were kind of stuck up there because they were going to close the doors and didn't want people going back and forth.
That was the best decision I made that day :)
We flew through the water and got bounced and jostled all around but I did not feel sick!
I don't know if it was because I was keeping my mind occupied with trying to stay in an upright position or what but it was a miracle and I was thrilled!  The four of us got such a kick out of getting splashed on and jumping through the water...lots of laughter.
I was very happy that I was able to end that adventure on a positive note :)

(clouds had come in by the time we headed back so even though I think it's just as beautiful this way, I'm glad we were able to get pictures of the full view before)

 Our tour was through Na Pali Catamaran and we had no complaints.  They were great.

Once on land again my stomach was feeling much better so we went straight from the boat to a crepe restaurant...

...and then right back to the beach

We didn't realize it at first because we got to it a different way, but we ended up at the same beach we had hiked down to on our first night.
There were lots of clouds again, so we didn't have a super sunny beach, but it was oh so pleasant and we had it almost completely to ourselves.
I think I was still under the influence of my medicine because I laid down and promptly fell asleep.
Andy enjoyed taking pictures of the waves.

 One thing on our list that we still hadn't done was go to Queen's Bath.
It was duskish when we found the trail and we had no idea how treacherous the hike down would be.
It was so muddy and slippery!
We seriously wondered if it was even worth it to continue.  I was sure one of us was going to get injured.

Luckily we made it down...
 ...and were greeted by this warning.

We kept our distance but were still able to enjoy the beautiful view and sunset!

 We didn't want to be hiking up that slippery trail in the dark so we tried to find a balance of hurrying and making sure we stayed upright.
We were blessed to get back to our car safely and relatively mud free.
Then we drove back down to Kapaa and had dinner once again at the Olympic Cafe.
Our skin was encrusted in salt from our boat ride so it felt really good to get back to the hotel and clean up.  And that was the ending to our 4th day on Kauai.

 And I apologize, this was not nearly as short as I thought it would be.  I assumed that just because I didn't have that many pictures from this day it would be a short post...not so.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Kauai Part 3

Multiple people told us to eat at The Kountry Kitchen in Kapaa for breakfast.
We both really enjoyed it.
I ordered a monster coconut/chocolate chip pancake with coconut syrup.
It was delicious and I had a hard time finishing it.

Our plan for the day was to go to the Princeville Botanical Gardens.
We got lost trying to find it but stopped at a beautiful lookout while searching.
A cute little brood greeted us...

The Princeville Botanical Gardens were amazing!  We spent 3 1/2 hours roaming acres of luscious land crowded with all kinds of exotic plants.
It was a little more tame than the other adventures up to that point but we were both fascinated and loved it!
I'm sorry for all the pictures and I don't remember most of the names of these flowers but they are just gorgeous.

This is called a Bat Flower

Guess what we saw growing in Hawaii?!?!
The guide and other members of the tour were interested to hear that I had a few growing as house plants back in Utah.
I wrote about mine back here.

These were different colors than mine so they were fun to see.

 Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree

In the middle of our tour we had a chocolate tasting.
We got the whole process of how chocolate is made and were able to taste several different, mostly dark, chocolates from around the world.

Then we moved on to the cocoa trees...
 I thought it was pretty funny that they messed up on this sign...

Our guide was amazing!  He had quite a story too...moved to Hawaii and lived in a tree for two years before he got married.
This picture below is of fungus.  It's a blurry picture because he kept waving it around and wouldn't hold still.  We spent about 15 minutes hearing about how amazing fungus is and all the crazy things that it does that no one realizes.  He was quite passionate about the topic.

This crazy blue berry is from the Rudraksha tree.
Again, we heard the history of this tree and how spiritually important it is in the Indian culture.
I was just so blown away by its color!

Some of the names of these plants were pretty fun :)
Can you see the giraffe's knees?

I didn't get a picture of the actual flowers behind this sign but I loved the name.

And I think Fairy Rocker is the perfect name for these little beauties.

Andy tasting a type of ginger...

They had their own swarm of bees on the grounds and we got to taste their honey.
You know, it's always been kind of ironic (especially to my mother in law) that I love bees so much but I don't really like the taste of honey.  I don't mind it as a sweetener in recipes but on it's own, it's just not my cup of tea.

This is another type of ginger.

This bloom is as big as a small cantaloup and stands on a stalk of  at least five feet.

                                                                               This is Noni fruit...apparently it is super medicinal.
It just reminded me of the caterpillar on A Bug's Life :)

 After enjoying the gardens we drove back to Hanalei to find nourishment.
After wandering around in the rain trying to decide between the food trucks and the other establishments I finally ended up with another burrito from Chicken in a Barrel and Andy wanted to experience some coconut shrimp on the island.
I also had to get another shave ice at Jo Jo's while we were there.

The weather was awesome in Hanalei and we were enthralled with the view of the waterfalls and misty mountains in the distance.

We parked by this awesome church to get the pictures.  I should have gotten a shot of this from the front because it's so pretty.

This was a very cool tree along the road to Hanalei that we passed several times and finally stopped to get a picture.

Once again, we felt like we hadn't had a real beach experience yet and so we went in search of a sunny location to try out some snorkeling.
We drove to one near Princeville where there was more sunshine at the time and put on our gear.
For the record, I am not an awesome swimmer and have never felt super comfortable in the water so learning to snorkel was a big deal.  I didn't go in deep but I did seem to figure out the general idea.
I only got one picture of this event and it turned out kind of funny looking so I won't post it.
We enjoyed the sand and the waves as long as we could before we needed to head back down the coast for our luau...

We reserved spots at the Smith's Family Luau in Kapaa.

We got there just before they began the meal.  I wasn't too excited for the food since I'm not a big meat eater but Andy was kind of looking forward to it.
I did end up really liking their potatoes and vegetables.
Below center is Andy trying poi for the first time.  We did not expect it to be so very bland.
We certainly didn't love it but at least we can say we have experienced it :)

 Since we hadn't had a chance to explore the grounds before the meal we slipped out a little early from dinner to walk around.
It really was a beautiful area.

As soon as we saw the hoards of people coming over from dinner we raced to get a good spot in the amphitheater for the show.

We were pretty familiar with a lot of the types of dances we saw since we've been attending Abby's hula recitals for so many years, but there were some fun new things as well...

Like this...we don't get fire dancers at Abby's shows :)

It was a good experience but at the same time I was a little disappointed.  I guess I had pictured a more intimate (meaning maybe 50-60 people instead of the 200-300 that were there) dinner and show right on the beach.  I honestly don't know how other luau's would compare but this is the one thing I booked that if I were to do it again, I might look elsewhere.

That being said, it was still a pleasant evening and we happily concluded our third day on the island.
p.s. so sorry for the super long post...I just have to get it all in there :)