Hawaii 2012 – Kauai Part 3 *pic heavy*

Previous posts in this series:

While recovering from my mosquito bites we visited the south side of Kauai at Poipu / Sheraton Beach.

The beaches on the south shore are postcard pretty!  We saw a sleeping monk seal taking a nap while we were there.

This is also where Justin was bodyboarding in the ocean near some boogie boarders… he saw a shadow in the water and quickly got out.  From the shore I thought there were dolphins in the water because some fins kept popping out of the waves.  Turns out they were HUGE manta rays… one was at least 6 feet in length and the other one was a little bit smaller.

We had lunch at Bubba’s Burgers (there are a few locations in Kauai), which feature 100% grass fed Kauai beef.  I hadn’t tried grass fed beef prior to this…  It was pretty good.  Nothing to write home about except for the fact that the meat tasted very fresh.

The following morning was our long awaited Na Pali coast snorkel adventure!  We picked the Capt Andy’s after perusing a few Yelp reviews.  Unfortunately the visibility in the water that day resulted in no snorkeling.  :(

BUT!! Winter months are the perfect opportunity for whale watching!  This was the first time I had ever seen any wild marine mammal other than a seal.

A view from the bow:  (bow = the front of a boat, starboard = right side if you’re sitting in the boat, stern = rear of the boat, port = left side)

* Random fact about me:  I was briefly a coxswain for the UCLA Men’s Rowing/Crew team as a freshman in college.  Coxswains steer the boat, yell out directional commands… ex: “HOLD PORT!!!” I was recruited on the sole fact that I am petite, despite not having any rowing experience whatsoever!  Anyway, long story short…its been so long that I’ve forgotten the various parts of a boat.  haha! *

The tour group provided a delicious breakfast of danishes, juice, and fresh pineapple.

The first sighting of the day was a little turtle swimming towards shore:

Our first whale sighting!  By law we’re only allowed to be a minimum of 100 yards away from a whale.  Honestly we were SO far away from the whales sometimes it was hard to visualize their true size.  (Most of these photos are zoomed and cropped)   But, check out the whale in comparison to the boat next to it:


We didn’t see any full breaching (jumping out of the water) but it was still amazing nonetheless. :)

The Na Pali coast:

The Na Pali coast is roughly 15 miles long and its nearly inaccessible unless you kayak, hike or take a boat.  There are no roads to this area.

If you look closely here, you can see pods of spinner dolphins!

There were SO MANY dolphins swimming around us!  It was truly unforgettable.

Spinner dolphins are smaller than the dolphins we normally think of.

Some spinning in action:

Small waterfalls trickle down along the coast:

Some movies that were filmed along Na Pali: King Kong, Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides

One afternoon we decided to rent some bikes and bike along the east coast!

I don’t know about you but I prefer the old school coaster-break bikes that I rode as a kid.  So much easier than ones with hand breaks.

The last time I rented a bike was in Japan in Kurashiki in 2010.  I swear, nothing compares to the feeling of biking when you’re outside in a pretty environment like this.  It’s so incredibly calming.

Of course we had to do some geocaching!  Whenever we travel we’re going to try to find at least one.  (There are LOTS of caches internationally too).  I think Justin found this one on the bike path around a bunch of rocks.  We signed our names on the little slip of paper inside to say that we were there.

More geocaching… whoops.  We thought this was the cache but turns out it wasn’t.

Found it!  It was a little tupperware tub!

Yeah… the ocean makes me happy. :)

I love how the simplest of experiences can really make you appreciate life and reflect.

We visited Donkey Beach while we were biking.  What a name, huh?  From my travel book:  “So named by drifters in the 60’s who observed burros and mules being used by the sugar company to haul seed cane to the fields nearby.”  It is also an unofficial nude beach.

I don’t know why I’m so attracted to these little tree entryways.  It makes me think of enchanted forests…a little bit magical and mysterious.

Donkey beach in its entirety:

Justin found another cache!

On the way home we stopped by a small activities fair.  We checked out a jewelry booth and Justin found a necklace that he fell in love with.

Keoni Durant carves sculptures and also makes the most beautiful Polynesian inspired jewelry.

The necklace:

Justin had been looking for a necklace like this for years… I’m really happy he waited and bought this one since it was such good quality.  Expensive, but worth it.  Buy here.  Keoni also explained to us the meaning of the design.

A powerful tool, the Double Barb Makau was the hook of choice for Kauai fishermen.  Inspired by an ancient Hawaiian fish hook found in the Bishop Museum archives, the pendant is a symbol of fortitude — it means “you can.”

So much biking made us SO hungry so we stopped at this tiny food truck.  There’s no sign but our travel book called it “the Happy Shack.”

This tiny little truck has a HUGE MENU with a variety of foods:  Chinese, Hawaiian, Mexican, Thai.  Candies, shaved ice, sammies, hot dogs, smoothies!  It took a while to make a decision because the dizzying amount of options is incredible.  We only saw the owner (a middle aged Asian woman) inside.  How can one woman produce SO MANY items! Amazing.

Justin hamming it up while we wait for our food:

Me calling my parents back home. 😛

Justin’s favorite Hawaiian lunch is the Kalua Pork plate.

I had garlic shrimp.  It was no Giovanni’s, but MUCH better than the shrimp at the Shrimp Station in Kapaa.

Part 4 is coming up!  As always, thanks for reading about my vacation adventures.  :)

♥ E&I