Saturday, February 26, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
longer holidays we've had where we've stayed in one place. When we
fly out on Monday evening from Honolulu, we will have been in Hawaii
for two weeks, on Kauai for 12 days. We've stayed here on Kauai
before for two weeks. It was worth it then. It has almost been worth
It has been warm and lovely each day. Each day it has rained, but
almost every day we have been able to lie on our beach towels in the
sunshine as well; such is the way of Kauai, known for being the
wettest place on earth.
Each morning we have awoken to the sounds of the surf pounding the
shoreline 20 yards from our pillows. Doves and frogs burble in the
trees outside. There's the traffic I mentioned earlier. But we have
grown more accustomed to it.
Almost every morning one or both of us has got up, made the coffee or
tea, and watched whales breaching, puffing, slapping and fluking their
way across in front of our cabin. The tour boats are usually there
with them too. Sometimes not.
Each day we've watched the clouds or the vog cover the sky, but each
day the sun has battled through.
Each afternoon we have retired to our deck to read and to sup a frozen
concoction blended with fresh pineapple and coconut milk.
Most nights (let's see: nine out of eleven?) we have fired up the
barbecue and grilled a steak or some chicken: a luxury we are not
afforded at home.
Each night we have watched the sun disappear into a flare of red and
gold, always into the low-lying clouds toward Polynesia. We have been
here so long that the sun has been setting slightly more north in the
sky each night, and is now setting behind Ni'ihau, a small island off
the South West corner of Kauai. Or rather, it would be if it wasn't
usually descending into the clouds.
Most days we have been able to swim in the ocean. We have snorkeled
off Poipu and Salt Pond and seen a breathtaking array of colourful
tropical fish, as one does here.
Tonight we walked on the beach under the stars and came across a large
wedding party stretched out across the beach to the water; 4x4 trucks
and giant white lights glaring across the broad expanse of otherwise
empty beach. It was surreal. The bride danced in the sand with her
beau, illuminated with tiki lantens jammed into the sand, Big surf
crashed to shore, illuminated in the lights, and little crabs, like
flashes of light, zipped across the sand in front of us, as we walked
We are not sure if we'll be back to Kauai. Like everything in this
world, it changes. Not always for the better. We change too. And
with those changes come new horizons and new thoughts.
This is one you lock away and bring out on those cold and dark winter's nights, when you are tired, when you are working late, and when a pair of board shorts and a pair of sandy flip-flops are two thousand miles and an ocean away.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Blue skies arched above us this morning so we were on the beach at Kekaha right away. The wind goddess was whipping up the sand into an exfoliating blast, so we retreated a few steps to the neighbouring lawn.
We baked for almost three hours until the rain made an appearance.
Waiting it out on our lanai reading our books.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
through. Made for a good afternoon at Salt Pond park. Lots of pretty
fish seen while snorkeling and plenty of hours under the warm sun.
Back at the cabin now, after a few shopping stops to replenish
supplies, for BBQ chicken and greek salad.
This will be our fifth night of BBQ out of six.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
The weather remains unsettled, with patches of blue amongst forbidding gray, and the periodic shower. Today we slept in. I managed almost 12 hours sleep. I am working my way up to the full 1/2 day of sleep.
After a morning walk on almost-empty Kekaha Beach, we packed our usual lunch with a tipple in the thermos, and drove off in search of solid sun. We managed a swim and snorkel at Salt Pond, with a bit of tanning thrown in the patches of sunshine, that is, before the smoking rednecks drove us off ...to find a retailer.
You see: Wifey had discovered that the promised blender consisted of an Oster bottom end and a Sunbeam top end ... Or something like that. Needless to say: It was NFG.
So it was off to Wal-Mart in Lihue. But first I wanted to try a gluten-free baker in Kapa'a. On our way north through Wailua we came upon a two-mile tailback headed south on the Kuhio Highway. Having missed our turn to the baker, we ended up having to pull a U turn and getting caught up in the terrific jam.
Since we first came to Kauai 13 years ago, Kauai's recreational developments haven't really grown, thanks to strict regulations on building permits. However the number of visitors has grown dramatically. Where the two major state highways meet in Lihue, there is a constant backup of tourist rush hour in the middle of the day. It used to take 2 hours to drive from one end of the island to the other. It would now take four. The blend of locals and tourists has mixed up a potent batch of frustrated commuters and confused visitors.
I can completely sympathize with the locals and their bumper stickers: "If you love Kauai, go to Maui."
And we are part of that horrible rush that is bringing this island to its knees.
Kauai is starting to become everything that I dislike about Maui. Crowded, congested roads; too few beaches populated with too many self entitled tourists; goods and services too expensive for the locals; residents almost completely reliant upon tourist dollars that are competed for with more and more local attractions managed by new immigrants and transplanted mainlanders; aged infrastructure groaning under the weight of the tourist burden with State and County budgets unable to keep up with the demands that the rest of the world is placing on these island jewels.
We have spent many days on Polihale beach with not another single person in sight for three miles in each direction. Now, the rutted 4x4-only cane field road is easy passage for anyone in their rental Jeeps, and there's a constant stream of those jeeps passing in front of our cabin on their way out to - what used to be - the end of the road.
We, on our fifth visit, are the problem, of course. Soon, the silent Kauai refuges will have to be found in the adult swim hours, poolside, in some overpriced luxury resort with no privacy and demanding, boorish neighbors.
People like us.
Call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye.
Is that the sound of a $15 Wal-Mart blender I hear? Well, then fuck it. Wifey says it's time for a strawberry daiquiri.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
not going to be ready for us until 3 pm, wifey had mapped out our
Costco, Wal-Mart and Big Save shopping lists. We got the rental car
(we always go for the cheapest) and made our way around Lihue,
gradually filling up the back seat with liquor, food, water, pop and
the bare essentials. Then we drove down into Koloa to get our snorkel
gear from Snorkel Bobs, as one does, and finally out to Kekaha.
This is our third stay in Kekaha and second at Hale Aloha. After
unpacking and getting settled, we discovered that a few things have
adjusted themselves in the intervening years. Some dramatic and some
Subtly, the traffic along the traffic along the Kaumualii Highway
between the Pacific Missile Range Facility and the rest of Kauai has
changed dramatically in the four years since we were here last. It's
heavier and starts earlier in the morning.
Around 4 o'clock in the morning.
But the most dramatic change in the landscape is what the storms have
done to Kekaha beach.
Formerly an 11 mile expanse of unbroken and unspoiled beach that
started a mile east of our cabin and extended ten to the west, ending
in the wild and dangerous dunes of Polihale, Kekaha beach has been
decimated by storms, and the beach across from our cabin is gone.
A lava rock seawall has been dropped into place to stop the
encroaching brine, and the mighty waves splash up so high that their
spray almost lashes the road.
Just after we discovered this, the storm god washed his hands of us,
and unleashed a torrential tropical storm so vengeful that we spent
the night and most of the next day inside.
The rains and wind will also keep us out of Polihale, whose dirt
access road through the cane fields is now impassable to our modest
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
On the way over from Vancouver we watched the movies Hellboy, which was very entertaining and funny, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, also funny and intended to put us in the mood for Waikiki. Which it did.
Our plane descended down through thick cloud and we landed in a light rain which, as we made our way off the plane through the open terminal, became a torrential tropical storm. We got our bags and found a taxi and as we drove out from underneath the airport underpass the rain had stopped. Then 10 seconds later it was torrential again.
Anyway, we found our way to the New Otani Kaimana hotel, where it was bone dry, checked into our modest room and made our waey to dinner. The Hau Tree restaurant in the hotel is one of Waikikis finest, as it turns out, and we had one of the best meals we've ever had, which is rare in the US. I had a pan seared duck breast appetizer served on a poi/green onion pancake with a tropical fruit chutney. It was unreal. And four giant, juicy lamb chops to follow. Phenomenal service, which is not rare in the US. The two intertwined Hau Trees that shade the outdoor dining room are impressive, and their branches actually intrude on the sight lines for some diners. Under these trees, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island.
This morning we woke up before sunset to discover that our land side room had a rather spectacular view of the sunrise over Diamond Head.
We are still in bed. The sun is shining hot through our open balcony door, the incredibly scented breezes are wafting through the room, and we are actually getting a sun tan ... We're not even up yet.