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Kauai – July 1, 2007

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Sunrise Photography

When my watch started chirping at 5:00am, it did not seem like 8 hours had passed. I was eager to get out to take some pictures, though, so I jumped out of bed and asked Chris if she still wanted to come with me. She grunted that she did and dragged herself upright. Chris had not slept well. She said she had been cold much of the night and had “really weird dreams.” We got dressed, grabbed the camera gear and were on our way about 5:20. We could smell damp smoke from the grass fire the night before, but we didn’t see emergency equipment or flames as we drove away.

On our previous trip to Kauai, we had discovered a scenic Japanese cemetery near Anahola. I had programmed its location into our navigator before we left home. I thought it would be a good place to shoot the sunrise. I should have looked more closely at a map. It turns out that the view from the cemetery is to the northeast, not the east as I thought. The sun would come up behind a hill to our right.

We arrived at the cemetery about 5:45, more than 10 minutes before sunrise. There was enough light for me to get some predawn pictures using the tripod. The horizon was cloudy, and it looked like the sunrise might not be very colorful. The clouds provided some drama for the pictures, though, and I still got some that I liked.

One thing you notice early in your stay on Kauai is the wild chickens. There are hens and roosters all over the place. This time of year, there were lots of chicks, too. The story is that the chickens are descendents of ones that escaped wrecked chicken coops after hurricane Iniki in 1992. There were a bunch of the birds running around the cemetery while we were there. Since I was using the tripod, I didn’t get any pictures of the restless birds, but Chris caught a few with the Nikon S10 she uses.

While I took pictures, Chris decided she needed some coffee. She took the car back towards town to find a McDonalds or something. As she drove south, she got a perfect view of a rosy sunrise, a sight I couldn’t get from my location. After she returned, I finished up my photography and we headed back toward Kapa’a. We would be attending an orientation breakfast put on by Pleasant Holidays at 8:00.

Geocaching

It was still early when we headed back. We decided we had time to do some exploring. We headed up a promising side road that took us past Kapa’a schools and churches. As we drove rain fell off and on, sometimes heavy, but never for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

While we were driving, Chris suggested we take advantage of the time and try to find a geocache. The navigation GPS told us the closest one was only 8/10 of a mile away, so we headed for it. The navigator took us onto another side road and told us the cache was near a little turnout next to a rickety pier at a small reservoir. I looked for it near the pier, but Chris found it much closer to the road. We took some more pictures and decided it was time to head back. We had to go back to the hotel to pick up some vouchers before breakfast. As we crossed the Wailua River, we saw a single helicopter ferrying water from the river to the scorched hillside, probably dropping it on the few remaining hot spots.

Island Disorientation

At the hotel, I told the navigator to take us to ResortQuest, where our orientation breakfast would be. I should have double checked the address, because we ended up going to the wrong place. Once there, though I plugged in the right address, and we made it to the orientation only 15 minutes late. It hadn’t started yet. “Breakfast” was croissants, pastries, pineapple, milk, juice, and coffee in a tiny buffet. The food was good, though, and there was plenty of it for the 15 or so people attending.

The orientation was a litany of activities we could sign up for while we were there. We were already booked on a Na Pali snorkel cruise, and the helicopter ride seemed far too expensive—$220 each for less than an hour tour. We ended up not signing up for anything with Pleasant Holidays, but we were happy to have had the free breakfast.

After the orientation, we headed back to the Aloha Beach Resort to rest from our busy morning. It was 9:30am.

Taking it Easy and a Trip up North

Chris decided to catch up on her sleep, so she settled in for a nap. I headed to the lounge where I could use the hotel’s wireless network to get on the internet. There I downloaded the pictures from the cameras, checked e-mail, and caught up some with this journal. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the internet service there was free!

Around 10:30, I woke up Chris and we decided to drive to the north shore of the island. Our friend Sheila had recommended a restaurant called the Hanalei Dolphin, and we wanted to check it out. The drive was very scenic, and we arrived at the restaurant about 12:15. We were seated at a nice table on their deck and enjoyed a tasty lunch: a Fin Burger (white fish sandwich) for Chris and a Calamari Burger (fried squid steaks on a bun) for me. The food was delicious and the service was quite good.

Next door to the Dolphin is a little shop called Ola’s. It sells art and knick-knacks. We bought some gifts for folks back home and chatted with the clerk. She was a very pretty young lady who was running the shop while the owners (her aunt and uncle) were on vacation. She had been spending her summers that way for several years—house sitting for them and running the store while they slipped away. It seems like a nice arrangement.

While we were in Ola’s a heavy shower fell outside. It soaked the people at the garden tables at the Dolphin despite the umbrellas over the tables.

Around the corner from Ola’s is a clothing store. Of course we went inside. The clothes were resort expensive, but I found a Kauai tee shirt I liked and bought it. The next store was a jewelry store/art gallery. When we were on Kauai 6 years ago, we bought some cute placemats based on the works of Kauai artist Kim McDonald. The art gallery featured full-size prints of her work, but they were very expensive. We didn’t buy any.

We finally exhausted the shopping possibilities near the Dolphin, and the rain had stopped. We headed through Hanalei to find another geocache. As we pulled into the beach parking area near the cache, we recognized it from our previous visit. We had tried to snorkel at that same beach. The area was pretty busy with sun bathers, Sunday picnickers, etc. We tried to look for the cache without being conspicuous, but I’m not sure we succeeded. I know we didn’t find the cache. There were a couple of young men looking around the same trees we were, and Chris thought one of them had a GPS. We don’t know if they found the cache or not.

Hanalei Bay

As we drove back through Hanalei, Chris needed another fix for her shopping jones. I dropped her off in the heart of the town and continued on to find another geocache. She shopped for about 45 minutes, but found nothing she wanted to buy. I was able to find the next geocache I looked for. It was at an overlook with a spectacular view of Hanalei Bay. I wanted to give Chris more time to shop, so I took a trip down a one-lane side road that parallels the Hanalei River. For such a small road, there was a surprising amount of traffic. I had to pull to the shoulder about 5 times to let vehicles coming toward me pass. There were nice views from the road, but nowhere to pull off and park while I took pictures. I just drove to its end at a private residence, then turned around and headed back.

Taro Fields

When I arrived back in Hanalei, I parked and hunted around for Chris. I spotted her just a few minutes later crossing the main street toward me. She was done shopping, and we headed back the way we had come. Another overlook, another geocache—and another shopping center. Chris went across the street while I found the cache and took some pictures. This time Chris found a bracelet that matched the dress she would wear to the wedding, so she didn’t come away empty handed.

More Relaxation and Some Decent Barbecue

It was about 3:30—time to head back to our hotel. By 4:45, we were at the hotel lounge, where Chris found a shady spot on the deck to read. While she enjoyed the breeze there, I checked email and looked for a restaurant on yelp.com. We wanted something besides seafood, and a likely candidate was Scotty’s Beachside BBQ in Kapa’a. It had 3 good reviews on yelp, all talking about the view and the good food.

At 5:00 the bar in the lounge opened and I ordered a Kona Longboard Lager to drink while I surfed the web. It was good. When it was gone, I ordered another. Meanwhile I had joined Chris on the deck and read the last chapters of my book—an OK action adventure/romance called “On the Run” by Iris Johansen. (I should have been writing this journal instead. The notes were piling up…)

Around 6:00 we showered and got ready for dinner. I also called the desk to ask for some repairs in our room: the TV remote was dead and our tub drained very slowly.

With the administrative work out of the way, we headed to dinner. The restaurant is on the second floor of a building with an unobstructed view of the beach and ocean. The beachside wall is open to the outside—but we saw garage-door style windows that could be used to enclose the place. We were shown to a table for two right next to the open wall, where we thoroughly enjoyed watching the palm trees, waves, and chickens outside. The waiter tried to talk us into trying a Mai Tai, but Chris was driving and, as she pointed out to the waiter, I had “been drinking already.”

Chris ordered the half-rack of ribs, which were fall-off-the-bone tender and very tasty. I ordered the pulled pork, which was disappointingly bland. The servings were huge, so we ended up with cornbread and some of my pork left over. I added some spicy BBQ sauce to it and transferred it to a take-out box. We planned to see how it tasted cold. Despite the mildly disappointing pulled pork, we enjoyed ourselves. The atmosphere and view were wonderful, and the service was good. The waiter asked where we were from, and then told us Scotty (the owner) is also from San Jose. We didn’t get a chance to meet him, though.

We were back at our hotel at 8:00. I was fatigued, but Chris refused to let me consider going to bed before 9:00. I poured myself a small glass of wine (to make up for the missed Mai Tai) and we headed back to the lounge, where we found our table on the deck unoccupied. Chris got a decaf coffee from the bar and we enjoyed the sound of the waves, the breeze, and each others’ company until we were ready for bed.

During the day we had discovered that the cause of Chris’s chill the night before had been a draft from the air conditioner. Its cold air flowed across the top of the wall at the head of the bed and then blew down onto her side. We switched places this second night, since I was more prone to be hot than cold. Once again I made sure the alarm was set for 5:00, and we turned out the lights at 9:15.


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