Kauai Day 3 – The North Shore

I was awake again at 5.30am and this time got to see a pretty nice sunrise as I worked on my blog. I do miss the old days of being able to go for a sunrise walk but at least I can enjoy it from the comfort of our apartment while I wait for my pain med (thanks fibro) to take effect.

We Kevin awoke we enjoyed breakfast out on the lanai and then got ourselves somewhat organised for todays adventures.

First stop was at Snorkel Bob’s where Bob (I assume) met us at the door to request that we are facemasks. I don’t blame him and had actually been trying to decide wheather to fetch ours from the car when he’d opened the door. It was such an easy and streamlined process to get our gear and I was able to get prescription goggles, which means I’ll actually be able to see the fish clearly for a change.

Next stop, before starting our official guided tour, was the Kauai Juice Company in Kapaa (though I do believe these are all around the island). I decided on the Akala juice while Kevin went with a matcha. We drank them during the car journey and really enjoyed them. Pretty pricey (though everything seems to be here on Kauai) but it was a holiday must do (at least once).

Finally as we left Kapaa it was time to start our Shaka guided tour of the stunning North Shore. We find these guided tours to be awesome as they take you to and point out places you wouldn’t normally see – like the Kalalea Mountains where the “fin” resembles King Kongs profile when you get closer to it.

We then drove to Moloa’a Beach where Gilligan’s Island filmed it’s first season. Boy did I love that show as a kid.

Next up was Kahili Beach – remote and down a dirt road, we’d never have found this patch of paradise without Bobby (who we’ve named as our Shaka Guide). Here you have the beach on one side and a kind of lagoon on the other. Apparently at low tide you can wade across the water to the other side of the beach. We did see people doing this but didn’t attempt it ourselves.

There was then a brief stop at Kilauea Lighthouse – though it is closed on Sundays so we only viewed it from a distance. We did enjoy seeing some of the sea birds flying around, though I was probably more enamored with this little red headed bird – actually known as a Red Chested Cardinal (though in fact they are not cardinals). We’ve seen them all over and they are just stunning. I believe the white bird in the tree is a Red Footed Booby.

We did follow the guide out to Secret Beach but since it’s a hike down & up, and we had a bus to catch at 12pm, we didn’t visit. We also missed Anini Beach were we had planned to snorkel, but realized we would not have enough time.

The stop at the Hanalei Lookout overlooking Hanalei Valley was incredible. Seeing the patchwork of taro fields with the mountain behind them was such a picture perfect scene.

Bobby (the Shaka guide) then took us down into the valley, over the single lane Hanalei bridge and on a drive out alongside the taro fields. It’s definitely not what you expect on a Hawaiian Island but was beautiful.

We then drove into very quaint little town on Hanalei. This was our planned stop to pick up some lunch to eat later. The foodtruck I had wanted to eat from was closed but luckily the Thai Elephant had some vegan options.

We also had to get some Holey Grail donuts since they are vegan. I didn’t know they made them fresh so they were hot when we got them. Don’t think I’ve ever had hot iced donuts before. While waiting for our lunch we tried two of them. They are made from taro and I really like the flavour and they definitely aren’t as sweet as normal donuts. We tried the bottom two in the photograph and much to my surprise I like the Lilikoi (passsionfruit) the best.

Once our lunch was ready we had a short drive to the shuttle parking area. One the way we passed by this incredible little church which was completed in 1912.

We arrived just as a shuttle was leaving but we were booked on the 12pm one anyway. It was a 15 min ride up to Ha’ena Beach where we got off. Sadly it was pretty rough out in the water so snokeling at Tunnels Beach was out.

Instead we decided to have our lunch and then have a swim at Ha’ena Beach. Lunch was okay but nothing amazing. We were visited by a hen and her 3 chicks which were oh so cute.

Then it was time for our swim. The beach drops off super quickly and there is a flat rocky bottom (which was really strange) but once out deeper it was wonderful. As you can see the water is such an amazing turquoise colour and it was a comfortable temperature (after that initial shock).

Best of all was the amazing view back to the beach. I could have stayed out here for hours just taking it in. But all good things must come to an end – and a pretty disasterous one at that. I already mentioned the suddenly drop when you enter the water which made exiting even harder than entering. I felt pretty confident – having spent much of my youth in the surf but I hadn’t realized how much slower I was now at 50. I wasn’t able to exit switfly once I got in close to the shore so I got bowled over. Not normally a problem but this shore break (due to the steepness) was FULL of sand – which I meant I then ended up with sand EVERYWHERE !!!!. I think another wave got me before I was able to get to my feet and make it to “dry” land, taking what seemed like half the beach with me.

We ventured back up to the park area to collect ourselves and luckily Kevin spotted some showers off in the distance. I was then able to get most of the sand out of my hair and some out of my cozzie (the showers weren’t private so I couldn’t remove it). Now I have been dumped a time or two in my younger years and played in the sand for hours but I have NEVER had so much sand in my swimsuit.

The next step was to dry off a bit and then get changed back into normal clothes – wiping the remaining sand off as best I could. At least I felt sand free enough that we could continue on with tour of the North Shore.

Just across the road from the beach is Maniniholo Cave, which is actually an old lava tube. It’s not especially exciting but definitely worth a visit if you stop at the beach. We had the place to ourselves so that was cool. We then walked back over to where the bus dropped us off and were about to sit down to wait when one turned up. Talk about good timing. Kinda glad someone else was driving since the roads are pretty narrow and there are quite a few one way bridges.

Once off the shuttle and back in our car we drove back into Hanalei to Wishing Well Shave Ice. I’d read good things about this food truck and there was a line when we arrived. They also have some natural toppings (made in house) and offer coconut cream as a topping.

Both Kevin and myself went with this option and while it might not look as stunning as the photos you see with the artifical coloured toppings, this tasted AMAZING.

We decided to drive the few minutes down to Hanalei Pier where we sat at a picnic table and enjoyed the remainder of our shaved ice while taking in the view, though as you can the clouds were starting to roll in.

Shaved Ice thoroughly enjoyed (esp. after not drinking very much today) we wandering out along with pier stopping, of course, for a little photo session. My hair was totally crazy ,thanks to the sand, surf and ocean breeze.

With our guided tour complete we headed home, stopping at Safeway (which was unfortunately busy) to pick up a few more grocery items.

Back home we enjoyed a snack on the lanai and later had dinner and watched The Adam Project – which was a good light movie to watch.