April 6

ALOOOOHA! Here on the Wailua River in Kauai, settled in after a perfectly tolerable flight (exit row, aisle seat, no one in the middle).

Sharon lets me do whatEver I Want including using the step stool for a foot stool. Happy me!
More rain chains!

Remember that Thai antique chain that hung into the large blue/green vase you can see here? Well that chain is gone. It's either somewhere else and I haven't spotted it yet or it broke or it didn't work right.

These kinds of chains one can actually buy without going to Thailand. And I will!
The Spirit House with a newly arrived ukulele player to make you welcome.
And speaking of welcome, this guy used to sit by the door with open arms. He has a new home out by the side fence.
I have SO many pictures of this tree. I love this tree.
The entrance to the back garden and the 9 hole miniature golf course.
The statuary have made themselves at home quite nicely.
It's been windy Sharon says, but not too rainy so we'll see how we go.
April 7

We did a morning walk at our got'ta go place, Lydgate Park. Soo nice.

We are on a mission to learn about birds. So what is it that I want to do? Of course...
...take their picture!

The Red-Crested Cardinal. First and foremost, the bird we always seek out and always cheer his appearance, we call him The Dude. We call his lady Dudette.
After walking the path in the morning we came back in the afternoon to sit in lawn chairs and wait for birds.

The Common Myna. The full scene is from our chairs, my zoom fully extended, and the inset is that exact bird cropped out of the picture.
The Common Myna and a chicken. Is that a chicken or a Splendid Red Junglefowl? Not splendid enough for a Junglefowl I think.
A young Pacific Golden-Plover (Kolea in Hawaiian). The adults have different markings and you can see one in the inset, or so it seemed from the book. No guarantees here!
The Zebra Dove.
Ah yes, a Splendid Red Junglefowl, who crossed the road.
April 8

We went up to the Kilauea Lighthouse this morning, home to a great flock of the Hawaiian state bird, The Nene (pronounced naynay)...
...and great soaring birds...
...including the massive albatross colony that takes some serious reach on your camera to get a shot.
We took a slow wander through the gorgeous taro fields.
It was so beautiful out there. I'm hoping that another time during this trip we'll come out here again, park the truck and walk. There's only one small area for parking and it was full.

Egret! Nene!
After the taro fields we drove out to the beach at Hanalei.
Say hey Dude!
THEN Bob and Sharon and Kenny and Kathy came over for an early dinner (ack! no picture!).

Wow we had a busy fun filled day!

Outrigger training on the river as seen from the front lawn...
...and in the fast fading light, turning the other way to see the house.
April 9

Good morning Fiona/Hi'iaka!
We went here this morning, built in 1924 "the Albert Spencer Wilcox Building, was originally a library and then ((in 1954)) converted to the Kauai Museum..."
From the museum's website: "We strive to celebrate the history and culture of our island’s immigrant and indigenous ancestors and create an understanding to better our future."

Our guide for a one and a half hour tour was charming and knowledgeable.

Then we had lunch at a lunch-time plate lunch place despite that they call themselves Garden Island Barbeque and Chinese Restaurant.

All the lunches were 'choose your protean from around the world (shrimp curry, mahi mahi, chicken katsu, loco moco, bbq short ribs, etc etc), two scoops of white rice, and a scoop of macaroni 'salad''. Plate lunch.
Home for a rest after all this fun and then in the afternoon we enjoyed a sweet little hula show at the Coconut Marketplace.
And then we're home in time for sundowners and a tasty dinner of leftovers.
April 10

On the way to Poipu, The Tunnel of Trees including the ever amazing mutant house plants with leaves bigger than a man's head that climb to the sky.
The grand view at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu. What a great place to hang out and take the air.
The atrium is host to several long-lived parrots.

They try to make it not so zoo-ish by having lessons for the kids about bird conservation and appreciation, by not leaving them out in the public for long stretches, and maybe other considerations as well. But still.
A Black-Crowned Night-Heron (Auku'u in Hawaiian). We've seen these guys in many places but they are so well camouflaged, this is the first time one has been out in the relative open.
There are a few fantastic walks that spoke out from the Grand Hyatt but we always just do this one because it is so dang gorgeous.
Surf fishing off the rocks.
We took a break on the patio at the Hyatt where we found a dozen or so House Sparrows flitting about fast and twitchy as they are; they do not sit still for a photograph.
We love the Kauai egrets. We call out from the truck Egret! Egret! all day long.

We had lunch at Brennecke's as we usually do when we come to Poipu and then stopped off for a Spouting Horn viewing as we usually do.

And then, after a short shopping stop, it was Back Home for a quiet evening on the lanai.
April 11

We went across the river today for a stroll around the gardens of Smith's Tropical Paradise. They also have evening luaus here and the only concession for rides up to Fern Grotto.
The garden stroll is along paved paths through very tended landscaping with themes such as 'The Filipino Village' and 'The Tropical Orchard'.

The Brazilian Rose Tree.
Plumeria, so Aloha.

I asked google 'will plumeria grow in Santa Monica'. The first answer was 'check out the Southern California Plumeria Society'. Well ok!
A new bird, heading off for the swamp! Hello Mr Common Moorhen (Alae'ula in Hawaiian).
The Splendid birds are called the Splendid Red Junglefowl. This guy thinks he's just as splendid as a fowl needs to be.
Some of what they have: lakes with fountains, chairs in which to rest, the Japanese bridge, lawns and trees and flowers, our Zebra Doves, Junglefowl, Common Moorhen, and the ADA compliant path for strolling.

There are peacocks too, nice ones, and goats.
The view of the house from the restaurant at Smith's where we enjoyed a nice lunch on their deck.
Camas and Curtis came over for dinner which was lovely as always. Sharon picked up a feast from our favorite Thai restaurant. YUM!

Camas offered to take me out paddle boarding again so that's something to look forward to. Oh goodie.
April 12

The morning view out my bedroom window. I know.

Today we are going to the once-a-year Kauai Orchid and Art Festival in Hanapepe.

Let's remember that the entire population of Kauai is less than 70,000 people, 20,000 less than the city of Santa Monica so everything they do here has a local community theater feel.
First up in the entertainment program out in front of the small church, the keiki class of Taiko Drummers.
They were good, and this woman, their teacher, was AWEsome.

We heard the first slack key player who came on after the taiko but we weren't so taken. Slack key players were going to be on all afternoon so they were probably saving the best for later in the day.
The orchids were all in a church social hall - colorful and really interesting. There were many many varieties we have yet to see at Trader Joes.
We decided since we were already so far around to the north we might as well swing up to see Waimea Canyon.
At first it was entirely clear and by the time we got there it was raining...
...so we took a break at the Kokee Lodge Restaurant for their must-eat Portuguese Sausage Soup and Corn Bread. Whenever I get intrigued by something else on the menu and order that, I wish I had had Portuguese Sausage Soup!
It stopped raining for a while and the hens and chicks were all out, then more rain, and the chicks headed for mom's protection.
Back at the festival we heard the last slack key player and he was wonderful. He goes by Makana and you can watch him play on youtube.
April 13

The Saint Regis Hotel, Princeville, Sunday Brunch. Toooo delicious, soooo plentiful, all of anything you'd want.

(St Regis)
For years the hotel at Princeville was THE place to take guests especially grandma. All the grandmas Love it at Princeville.

When Saint Regis took over and freshened up the décor they removed a lot of the Hawaiian but left the appeal.
A garden view.
What I did a lot of today was read. I'm reading Michener's Hawaii again and at the same time I'm following along with Sarah Vowell's book again - a fictionalized and a fact filled account of the same story. This is fun, time consuming but fun.
April 14

We enjoyed a long-awaited lunch at Duke's, at the foot of the Marriott Hotel looking out at Kalapaki Beach.
This Marriott is a great place to stay in Kauai - the beach is very quiet, it's on a bay, so it's easy to paddle board and for kids to swim, the pool is great, the grounds are lovely, and you can walk to plenty of places for eating and drinking and making merry, not to mention shopping.
Nene and a Black-Necked Swan hanging out by the feeding station at the Marriott.
More of the decorations at the hotel...
...and the lobby.
Back home I took a walk to see if I could make it to Lydgate without getting run over. Success!

The walking path is now extended into Wailua so you only have to maneuver a few blocks of a busy street without a sidewalk.
It seems, according to the Audubon Society, that these are Rock Doves also known as Common Pigeons. Or maybe they just plain old pigeons.
I couldn't find who these guys were but from Idaho Sharon: "They are Chestnut Mannikin. They travel in large flocks, "like a cloud of bees"." Thank you Sharon!
April 15

We spent the morning with Sharon and Bob working on their upcoming trip to Europe, which was great fun. You know I like other people's trips almost as much as my own.

We're standing here in the Photo Spot because the camera settles nicely on the counter.
Then we took a drive out to the cutie little aloha town of Koloa...
...for lunch at the Tomkat Café...
...and to look at the Sugar Mill memorial.

from The Internet: "The Sugar Monument itself is a circular, concrete sculpture suggesting a mill stone. Inside, there is a captivating bronze sculpture depicting the eight principal ethnic groups that brought the sugar industry to life (Hawaiian, Caucasian (this guy is missing from the sculpture!), Puerto Rican, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, and Filipino)."

from the internet: "Supposedly, the artist etched a Caucasian figure on a horse on the wall between the Hawaiian and Puerto Rican figures. Zooming into my photo, I can somehow make out a possible horse head and torso but not much else. It's possible that 25 years of Hawaiian weather has worn off the etching."

More (all different sources): "A bronze sculpture by Jan Gordon Fisher paying tribute to the diverse Hawaiian sugar mill workers, the ruins of the 1841 Ladd & Company sugar mill are nearby. The monument was built in 1985 for the 150th anniversary of the Hawaiian sugar industry and placed in Koloa since the first Hawaiian sugar plantation originated here."
Opaekaa Falls, just up the road from the house, pouring into...
...the Wailua River that flows in front of the house and out to sea.
What I wrote to Angela yesterday:

"The weather has been excellent - not too hot, only the very occasional drizzle, a nice breeze. Fabulous.

"And last night we had a huge 'Blood Moon' from the eclipse and so many stars I about went nuts. I thought I would just take someone else's picture off the internet because I don’t have a tripod here but I haven't found one yet that gives the full feeling. It was like this image but better because glowing orange clouds floated in and out of view and super bright stars dotted the sky."

(internet pic)
April 16

The whole truth and nothing but.
We had some fun tonight! Dinner Theater!! We went to a totally tourista mediocre buffet dinner and a 'community theater' production of South Pacific. Everyone was having FUN!

Also everyone was ordering bottles of wine so I'm thinking that probably contributed to the festive spirit.
April 17

A pano of a View Point looking out over one of the larger fields of taro on the island.

Look right down the middle and you'll see a dirt road following the small winding Hanalei river. Kayak rowers love this river and that's Ohiki Road that we drove on last week when I took some pictures of the taro.
So we decided to go down there, park at a little dirt lot at the trail head of the Okolehao Trail and walk around.

We did not take the Okolehao Trail however. There is 1,250 foot elevation in 2.5 miles. Yikes, but people do it because "you will be rewarded with captivating views of Hanalei Bay, verdant Hanalei Valley, Makana, Kilauea Lighthouse, and the Napali Coast".

We are not doing it. There's the elevation, the mud, and because "a sturdy hiking stick and mosquito repellent are recommended."
It was gorgeous, entirely silent except for the rustling plants and the singing birds, and the smells wafting about on the gentle breeze were so delicious.
Birds! They were sadly so far away but here are a few anyway including second from the top, a new one, the Hawaiian Coot.

The ducks are new too, the 'pure' version found only on Kauai (No Expert I, but I'm pretty sure based on the picture in wikipedia).."The Hawaiian Duck (Anas wyvilliana) is a species of bird in the family Anatidae. .. Some authorities treat it as an island subspecies of the Mallard .. The native Hawaiian name for this duck is koloa maoli."

There's a plover at the top I think, but I don't have an idea about the almost indistinct little guy at the bottom.
The Maniniholo Dry Cave, directly across the street from Haena Beach Park. You can get way back in there, farther than you can see in this picture, into total darkness and still be safe for children (senior folk-Don't Fall!).

It's a fun stop along the road past Hanalei if you can find parking, which we could not so Sharon stayed in the truck while I ran in for a quick look.
So many treasures to appreciate around the house.
April 18

Camas came by this afternoon to be my paddle boarding Sherpa, hauling the heavy board down to the dock and again out of the water and guiding me along the way...'you're doing great, you're doing great, bend your knees a little more, what's the worst thing that could happen?'

It was FUN although I did hug the shore and at one point went down on my knees because the power boats that race up and down with skiers generate some serious wake, surfing sized wake it seemed to me anyway...


Bob, Sharon, Kenny, Ruby, Pat, Kathy, Curt, Camas, Sharon
Yummy food and excellent conversation. And a grand time was had by all!

Names again: Sharon, Bob, Kathy, Kenny, Sharon, Pat, Ruby, Curt, Camas.
Camas was home making brownies for dessert so Curt, never to be outdone, made peanut butter cookies. We enjoyed them both Equally with a nice scoop of haupia ice cream.

Sharon was making a cocktail surprise that everyone enjoyed. She and Bob also brought a lovely green salad.

Pat and Ruby brought a fish cocktail, a couple of bright, fresh salads, and rolls. Kenny bbq-ed the FABulous local fish he had just picked up this morning(YUM!) Sharon made bbq beans that were SO delicious and I did (as always...soon they're going to get tired of) stuffed eggs of many varieties.

What did I forget?! I'm going to spend to day digesting.
April 19

We were walking along the Kealahele Makalae ("the path that goes by the coast") makai of the sweet little town of Kapa'a, crossing a bridge and admiring the pineapple fence when, if you'll note that little ledge in the right lower corner and what do we see...
...you go girls!

As parents we might not be so up on the 'you go girls' part but they did say the water was so deep they can't touch the bottom and they did it a bunch of times for the entertainment of the passers-by.

(Fun fact: Mauka means on the mountain side of the road in the context of directions while Makai means on the ocean side of the road.)
More along the path.

There are holiday accommodations here in Kapa'a and although they don't have the luxury of the major hotels or the appointments of the expensive condo complexes, I think it's a great economy choice because you're right on the path, right at a decent swimming beach, and right in town so you don't have to get into a car every day if you don't want to.
Just a bit past the above picture is the old Scotty's restaurant that is now Beachwalk with the same good-enough-not-great food and the same amazing view.
Ever since September 11, 1992 when Hurricane Iniki took out so much of Kauai including the Coco Palms Resort (of Blue Hawaii fame, and a thousand other films), everyone (literally) on the island has been talking about what to do next while...
...the whole place just sits here and rots away.
April 20

Easter Brunch at Sharon and Bob's. What a fine festive affair!

Ruby, Kathy, Sharon, Sharon, Kenny, Curt, Camas; Pat, Bob, Dan, Jan, me (I ran around!)
It's The Aloha Way.
My very favorite year after year; it just never gets old. I'll be keeping this guy on top until Sunday! You can scroll down to see if there's anything new.
April 21

Anini Beach. Wow. Looking toward the Kilaeua Lighthouse way at the end of the land out there.
Looking the other way toward the state park, around the corner, with extremely popular camping sites.

The weather was inclement as you can tell by the lack of visitors but we did get time to eat our picnic and 5-10 minutes to sit out in chairs and ENJOY.

Regular visitors to Anini know that you can't trust the weather and bring various shelters or find themselves a spot in the trees but these guys are just letting it happen.
Spotted Dove (also called the Mountain Dove, Pearl-necked Dove, or Lace-necked Dove).
Running to escape the rain too.
April 22

From the Library and Research Center at the National Tropical Botanical Garden we looked down upon the McBride and Allerton gardens which are wonderful to tour but today we've come to visit the exhibition of amazing botanical prints from the Voyage of Discovery series, originally created during Captain James Cook’s 1768-1771 voyage around the world.

They had a film that ran about an hour telling the story of the journey and how the British Museum finally printed 100 sets of the more than 700 plates 200 years after they were made. It was well worth a visit.
We had some dang tasty lunch at a local café and then went to the Kukuiolono Park to enjoy the Japanese garden.
It was large and very well made.
There's also a wonderful woodland trail that edges the park.
Back at the house, splashing around in the river, a Muscovy Duck.

I didn't know the name of this duck so I googled 'duck ugly red head' and found the exactly correct entry. From Brigitte: "Muscovy duck is known as Barbary Duck in culinary terms..... Mighty good in the pot! Mmmmmmm"
The gardens around here are blooming their little heads off. The blooming really kicks off around the end of April so it's great to see something different every morning. Oh, look at this one! we say all day long.
April 23

The newest, and a profoundly influential bird of Hawaii, the Great Silver Bird. In the middle at the top, there she flies on her regular migration through the sky, holding the economy together.

"Hey whatever...we're in the SKY."
At the end of Lydgate, the Hikinaakala Heiau.
Beyond the heiau, that's the bridge and the river's mouth that I can see from my bedroom window.
More. It's a super photogenic spot.
In the afternoon we went to a tour at one of the local farmer's markets. It was interesting and informative and fun too.
April 24

More Very Aloha.

I just finished reading Michener's Hawaii and I want to share this story, The Meaning Of the Rainbow from hawaiianlife.com:

"The rainbow is the celestial path that the Hawaiian Gods use to come down to earth from the cloud islands. ... The rainbow is also perceived as the pathway that the souls of the dead take to travel to the heavenly realms. ...

"The rainbow is thus a symbol of transformation, and those who can freely travel between the upper world and the lower reaches live like gods among humans, enjoying earthly prosperity and abundance.

"Featured as a pathway between dimensions in Hawaiian mythology as it does in various cultures round the world, it also acts as a footstool for Malanaikuaheahea, the wife of the legendary transpacific voyager and astronomer whose name, Maliki’i is also the Hawaiian term for the Pleiades star cluster from which the first Hawaiians came to earth."
I took the above picture from our seats in this lanai, my favorite Happy Hour, at the Oasis on the Beach restaurant and bar.
April 25

We had another nice dinner party at the house today.

I didn't take any pictures but I snagged this off Curt's phone. It's a professional picture of one of the outriggers that Curt built. This one is in Japan. He's done a few others too. Very travel-brochure-aloha I think.

April 26

Wildlife in the garden, since I haven't got a new bird in a while.
It had been raining a lot overnight, enough to raise the river many inches. In the bottom picture, usually the dock is flat. The dock on the top is next door, fitted out with a lawn chair for your sunning pleasure.
We took a late afternoon pop up to Camas and Curt's place. I love their kitchen. These are the two that got married last year in June and Sharon and I changed our annual trip from spring to attend.

From this kitchen emerged a full-on Hawaiian luau dinner: chunky chips and nuts, poi (of course), laulau, fall-off-the-bone meaty baked ribs, lomi-lomi, pan fried purple sweet potato wedges that I must make at home, mashed potatoes like I make them, kimchi, green salad, haupia pie, lilikoi pie.

Koa, Curt, Camas, Steve, Sharon
BB Guns! A flurry of BB gunning brought down that can. Me too...it was fun.
April 27

Haven't looked up these guys yet - they surely have long necks. We think they're probably nene since we haven't seen any other geese-line guys.
Copied from kaneiolouma.org:

"The Kāneiolouma Complex in Poʻipū, Kauaʻi, is considered sacred to the Kanaka Maoli culture, and is a historic landmark. Until recently, hidden by overgrowth, this site remained a complete mystery. Now the ancient village can be glimpsed from the road.

"The feeling of the power and mana of this sacred site is clearly felt by island visitors. In the near future, this new cultural center will be the opening of a new chapter for the Kanaka Maoli culture of Kauaʻi and the world."
This scene is exactly next to the one above. Copied from thegardenisland.com:

"Four 16-foot kii, representing the four corners of Honua, the pillars in ancient Hawaiian astrology, were placed on Saturday at Ke Kahua O Kaneiolouma.

"The four kii — sometimes mistake for tiki — are the Hawaiian gods Kane, the god of the sky and creation; Ku, the god of war and male pursuits; Lono, the god of peace, rain, and fertility; and Kanaloa, the god of the ocean, who represent the next phase of Ke Kahua O Kaneiolouma restoration work.
“This is not about religion,” said Randy Wichman, historian for Hui Malama O Kaneiolouma, a group organized to care for and restore the historically significant site in Poipu. “This is about navigation, the stars, fishing, and even agriculture.”

I'm not sure how you separate gods from their religion, but of course this guy wants to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.
We took a farewell walk at the Grand Hyatt...
...and a farewell lunch at the fabulous Beach House Restaurant. This was the view from our seats.
He was there too, and had plenty to show the ladies.
April 28

Sunrise from the back window. Beeeutiful.
We had to get out early for our tour of historic Waimea, first landing of Captain Cook in 1778, sugar town and early port for whalers.

A charming woman with 80+ years of long, fine stories rich in all that is Aloha and life in Kauai was our guide. She didn't take us around the town as I expected...but it was fun anyway and the town itself has an historic walking route with great signs for all the stops. Next time we'll do that.

Hawaiians are nuts for genealogies and our guide was no exception. During the tour of her church's graveyard we learned how she was related to all the families represented.
Having just finished a second reading of Hawaii and a third time through Unfamiliar Fishes I've got a ton of Hawaii stories buzzing around in my head. Thankfully, I did not interrupt the guide.

That building has a story and I forget what it is.
Our tasty lunch stop, Wrangler's Steakhouse, with a small collection of Paniolo memorabilia Paniolo being the Hawaiian cowboys.

The Hawaiians got some cows from Captain George Vancouver in the early 19th century. King Kamehameha put a kapu on the cows so they multiplied like crazy.

"When "Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) visited California, then still a part of Mexico he was impressed with the skill of the Mexican vaqueros, and invited several to Hawai`i in 1832 to teach the Hawaiian people how to work cattle.

"Even today, traditional paniolo dress, as well as certain styles of Hawaiian formal attire, reflect the Spanish heritage of the vaquero. The traditional Hawaiian saddle, the noho lio, and many other tools of the cowboy's trade have a distinctly Mexican/Spanish look and many Hawaiian ranching families still carry the names of the vaqueros who married Hawaiian women and made Hawai`i their home."
At the pier once in use for whalers and sugar transport vessels now just something to look at for the tourists.
More from the pier. That's the private island of Niihau there on the horizon.

Here's some of the story from Ms Wiki: "Elizabeth Sinclair purchased Niʻihau in 1864 from the Kingdom of Hawaii and private ownership passed on to her descendants, the Robinson family. ... The people of Niʻihau are known for their gemlike lei pûpû (shell lei) craftsmanship, and speak Hawaiian as a primary language.

"The island is generally off-limits to all but relatives of the island's owners, U.S. Navy personnel, government officials and invited guests, giving it the nickname "The Forbidden Isle." Beginning in 1987, a limited number of supervised activity tours and hunting safaris have opened to tourists. The island is currently managed by Bruce and Keith Robinson."
We took a swing by the Hanapepe Salt Ponds Beach. It is not particularly obvious how to get there and hence most popular with the locals. Hold on little girl!

Then we're home for a nice quiet second-to-last night on the river.
April 29

Some morning snaps from Sharon.

Mount Wai'ale'ale, 99.9% of the time shrouded in clouds. But we check every morning anyway.
A last lunch and we decided to have it at our favorite, Brick Oven Pizza, with leftovers for breakfast to make it double good. Pepperoni pizza, whole wheat thin crust, and the crust gets brushed with butter and garlic.

Camas came over to schlep the boards so we could go for a paddle and it was wonderful. We went twice as far as last time and I rode through the skiers' wakes standing up (last time I sat down...) so yay me.

A wonderful finale to a wonderful time in the Garden Isle - MAHALO Sharon!

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