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Kauai 4 Years Later: It was just like riding a bike!

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Jun 22nd, 2011, 11:03 AM
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Kauai 4 Years Later: It was just like riding a bike!

I love the Fodor's board...reading questions, asking my own questions and reading experiences through trip reports. I thought I would give trip reporting a try by typing my own so here goes...

About us:
DH turned 30 while on our trip and I am 29 (until October 4). This was our third trip to Kauai but it had been four years. DH & I went to Oahu for our honeymoon in August 2005; then our first trip to Kauai was May 2007; and in late August 2007 we got a great flight deal so we jumped at the chance and went back to Kauai. We love Kauai so much that we had decided to go back every two years so we planned to go back in October 2009 but one month before our trip DH got laid off. It took four years from our first trip in May 2007 and two years since planning the October 2009 trip and we finally made it back to that magical island we fell in love with!

Basics:
Our trip was from May 28-June 4, 2011. We flew US Airways from Austin, TX to Phoenix, AZ then from Phoenix to Lihue on Saturday May 28. The flight was the reverse coming home on Saturday June 4/Sunday June 5. We booked a Mustang convertible through Budget which totaled $451 for the week. We stayed on the North Shore in Princeville at the Sealodge Condos. We love the North Shore and the Sealodge and had stayed there on our previous two trips. This trip we stayed in this unit: http://hestara.com/b10.htm

Day 1: Saturday May 28-- It really is just like riding a bike!

Our plane ride was uneventful with listening to MP3 players, reading books and watching True Grit which was played on the overhead tv screens. The captain tells us over the speaker that we will be making our decent into Lihue which sends excitement through me. After all this time...four years, planning for the '09 trip and the hard times we had with DH's lay off, we will finally be standing on Kauai soil. I LOVE this island so much...I just love how it feels being there! I get my seat in the upright position and my nose is glued to the window...breath held just waiting for that first glimpse of "my" island. Finally after the four years of thinking and dreaming of being there, after flying all day...I see it and I can't help the tears that come to my eyes. This place has a hold on me! Not just on me but DH too. You can see it all over his face as he is leaning over to see that glimpse of "our" island. The plane tires touch down and we have made it! We can't believe that it's real because it feels as though we are dreaming!

We step off the plane, pass through people waiting at the gate with envy in their eyes that we are arriving and that our trip is beginning. It is 2:00pm local time...which makes it 7:00pm at home in Austin, TX. I love open-air Lihue airport! Right off the plane, I feel the warmth of the island. We walk out of the airport to the shuttle to take us to Budget. We had to wait longer at the office than I expected but 'no worries, we're in Kauai'! Finally, it's our turn at the counter so we are moments from being cut loose! We are asked if it was our first time on the island so we tell him how many times we have been and we have this island mapped on our hands! "We're veterans, we got this"! We are handed the keys so we step out the door feeling the breeze on our faces and smelling the salty air. We get into our silver Mustang convertible, put the top down and we can't help but look at each other and smile! We pop our mix c.d. we made of island tunes and we're off! This island is ours for a week...

We head west of the airport to our favorite pizza place...Brick Oven Pizza in Kalaheo! It's almost 3:00pm so it's past our dinner time at home. I love how the windows are open so the breeze is blowing in. I also love the gingham curtains and tablecloths. My favorite thing is the license plates lined along the wooden rafters above all of the tables. We order a medium pepperoni with the garlic butter crust and relish in the fact that we are there. After scarfing down our pizza (we hadn't eaten since breakfast), we decided to drive a little further west to Lappert's in Hanapepe. I had Tutu's anniversary which is coconut ice cream with raspberry and passion fruit sorbet and DH had caramel coconut macadamia nut. We ate our ice cream feeling content we were in Kauai!

Back in our convertible, top down, music going so we could make our way to the North Shore. We made a stop at the Wal-Mart in Lihue for a few things...one being sunscreen. We both used a carry-on so we could not pack sunscreen because of the allowance of ounces. We also made a stop at the Foodland in Kapa'a to get beach mats. We like to use those the woven mats instead of towels because the sand comes off easier. We pass through Kapa'a...over the bridge that is along Waipouli Beach Park...I love going over the bridge with the ocean right there, my hair whipping in the wind and smelling the salty air! Another favorite spot of mine is to pass along Kealia Beach. After Kealia, I love seeing the red dirt along the road to Anahola and Kilauea. We make it to Princeville and arrive at the Sealodge. The B10 was great...just as it is pictured! Our first night we got settled at the condo. Semi unpacked; put luggage away and got comfortable. We went to bed hoping it wasn't all a dream!

It was a good first travel day. It felt good to get back to "our" island. We knew how to do our first day and that's just what we did. It was a nice feeling...it was familiar...it was stored in our memories and we could recapture it again. It really was just like riding a bike!

Stay tuned for...the perfect beach day; boogie boarding on DH's 30th bday; and falling in love with a beach cruiser bike!
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Jun 22nd, 2011, 11:25 AM
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I'm enjoying your report so far - can't wait for more!!

Lovely unit - how were the breezes in the condo?? Was it comfortable all day and night?
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Jun 22nd, 2011, 12:52 PM
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jcb: We weren't in the condo much during the day except for Friday until almost 1:00pm. On Friday it rained all morning so it was nice and breezy. At night it was cool enough...I slept comfortably every night. We also had a ceiling fan in the dining area on and two oscillating fans running. We have been before to the Sealodge and had no a/c so we knew what to expect. I'm glad you are enjoying the report.
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Jun 22nd, 2011, 02:32 PM
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Day 2: Sunday May 29-- Visiting old favorites

Sunday morning I woke up at 5:45am! It was 10:45am at home so it's hard for me to sleep late. It usually takes me until mid-week to adjust. DH could sleep all day if I let him! I let DH sleep until 6:30am and I couldn't wait any longer to wake him. We talked about what to do for the day and ate blueberry waffles.We decided since we had driven from Kalaheo to Princeville, we wanted to revisit Princeville to Ke'e. We got our beach clothes on, lathered on sunscreen and off we went.

First, a stop at the Princeville Foodland for ice and lunch items. We really like to pick a beach to stay at all day and we eat lunch on the beach. Our routine is breakfast at the condo, lunch at the beach and out for dinner. After leaving Foodland, we headed towards Ke'e.I absolutely love this part of the North Shore! It is my favorite part of the island! I love the Hanalei Bridge; Hanalei; all of the one lane bridges; the lushness; the quaintness of it all; the quiet; when the ocean reveals itself; the feel of it all; I LOVE the North Shore! We made it to Ke'e, eyes wide taking everything in that I possibly could to burn it in my memory.

It was now time to decide which beach we wanted to stake our claim at for the day so we mulled it over. On our August 07 trip we discovered Secret Beach. We spent one day there and have talked about it over the past four years. We say, "let's just do it, go to Secret Beach today". We have been waiting for this so why not? At that moment we were by Ha'ena Beach Park so we made the drive down to Secret Beach. If you are coming from the north take the second Kalihiwai Road. Just as a side note, I get all of my information from the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook. I love that book! I used it four years ago and for this trip. We get to Secret Beach, park and get all of our stuff for the hike down (10-15 minute hike). We planned on staying all day so DH lugged our ice chest down the hike. The hike was actually a lot steeper than I remembered. We make it down the hike to discover that, although Secret Beach is in the famous blue book, it is in fact not a "secret" any longer. The surf was pounding; it was cloudy; too "discovered"; and not what I had been waiting for. Don't get me wrong, it is still beautiful and it's Kauai but I didn't feel the same about it as I did four years ago.

I was hoping for this setting: http://vicki-.travellerspoint.com/59/

We ate our lunch there but soon decided to "let" everyone else have the beach. We decided from Secret we would go try Moloa'a Beach. To get there take the Ko'olau Road to Moloa'a Road. We also went to this beach four years ago. It was quiet and we felt secluded and it was on vicki's blog so we wanted to try it again.
http://vicki-h.travellerspoint.com/57/

When we first got to Moloa'a it was sunny but windy and the surf seemed slightly rough. We walked to the southeast side of the beach where the water is calmer. It is calm enough for wading and swimming. We decided to get in to for a little swimming. It was really nice but some clouds started to roll in. Those clouds were really disappointing me. It was the end of May! Don't those clouds know the "rainy" season is over. I was surprised when I read Vicki's blog about her trip to Kauai. Her pictures of Secret Beach and Moloa'a are amazing and I have to admit that I'm jealous! Their trip was in April of this year and I have always read that November to April is the rainier season in Hawaii. She had two perfect days with low tide. My pictures don't like anything like the one of Vicki or the one of her husband on Moloa'a. We lounged around a bit longer and took pictures then we decided to call it a day. We headed back to the condo to clean up after a day at the beach so we could go to dinner. We ate at Bubba Burgers in Hanalei. We love Bubba Burgers and sitting on the benches on the porch of Bubba's looking out onto the street/shops of Hanalei. We went back to the condo to relax for the night.
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Jun 22nd, 2011, 03:17 PM
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I feel and share your enthusiasm. We stayed just across the way at Hanalei Bay Resort.

Your review is making me smile!!
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 09:11 AM
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Day 3: Monday May 30-- The Perfect Beach Day

I awoke a little after 6am...still trying to adjust to the time. I love waking up to look out at the endless ocean and hear the waves crashing just thinking we have the whole day ahead of us. We did our usual routine of breakfast and getting beach ready.

We set out in search of our beach post for the day. I have always been curious about Lumaha'i Beach. I love the picture, page 53, in the blue book of the eastern portion of Lumaha'i Beach.

Four years ago, DH & I were at Ha'ena Beach Park when it started to rain so we left hoping to leave the clouds behind. We pulled up to another beach and stayed for a little while. Back at home we have reminisced about our previous trip four years ago so when going on this trip I wanted to show DH that beach we went to so he could see what I was recalling. We discovered on this trip that we were in fact on Lumaha'i. Not the eastern portion but the one you park right off road and walk up to. Lumaha'i (the part at the road) has pounding waves and is not really swimmable. I remember that day four years ago that we only sat on the beach and did not swim. I remember reading about the eastern portion which requires a hike down but for some reason I remember thinking, four years ago, that I thought it would be really steep and I did not realize where parking was for it so we didn't put too much thought into going then.

I am so happy to report that we did figure out where to park and did hike down (not really steep at all and definitely nowhere near the steepness of the Secret Beach hike) to the eastern portion of Lumaha'i Beach. What a perfect day we had on, according to the blue book, Kahalahala, which is the technical name of the eastern portion of Lumaha'i. We didn't know what to expect so we just brought our beach mats with us. Almost near the end of the 5 minute hike...Lumaha'i revealed itself so I turned to DH and said, "we aren't going anywhere else today", with a big smile on my face! The sand was so soft; the water sparkling from the sunlight; the water so calm that people were wading, floating and swimming. It was perfect! We found our spot to lay out our beach mats and DH went back up to the car to get our ice chest. When he got back we settled in our spots and ate our lunch. How is it that nacho cheese Doritos taste so darn good on a beach? We watched people swimming/wading; people jumping off the lava rock and just feeling completely relaxed with no care in the world. We laid there in a complete relaxed state; swam in the ocean; jumped of the lava rock ( I needed extra encouragement from DH on that one because I was being a chicken!) After being in the water we let the sun dry us while we read books. I almost can't describe how absolutely relaxed I felt. It was the best feeling in the world that I wish I could bottle and take home! Every muscle in my body was unbelievably relaxed. I just don't know how else to describe it...the sand had formed around my shape and I didn't want to let go of this feeling but eventually we had to peel ourselves away from this perfection. Reluctantly we gathered our things to hike back up to the car. It really was the perfect day! It was the perfect beach!

We went back to the condo to clean up from our day at the beach so that we could get dinner. We ended up eating Bubba's again...like I said, we really like Bubba's! One thing you must know about DH & I...we are burgers and pizza kind of people. We aren't into salads, vegetables, etc. We are picky eaters! One new thing at Bubba's is that we always wait for our food on the porch and we eat on the porch area so we had never been inside where the counter & t-shirts are so we had never noticed all of the celebrity pictures on the wall of the celebrities that have been to Bubba's! We saw Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Adam Sandler, Colbie Caillat, Jack Black and the list goes on. It was really cool to see them pictured at Bubba's!

Back at the condo for the night...DH's last night in his twenties!
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 09:31 AM
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Sounds glorious. I assume you know this, but just in case....

http://www.hawaiiweb.com/kauai/beaches/LumahaiBeach.htm
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 01:03 PM
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Great trip report so far. More please!

I will be visiting Kauai for the first time in Oct 2011 so your report is helping with my planning. Thanks!
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 01:05 PM
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rsidhu, I'm going to be there in October too! (I've added Kalaheo Pizza to my list)
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 01:09 PM
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LOL...........sf7307, it's Brick oven pizza in Kalaheo! and it's on my list as well.

louistraveler5 hurry up - we're patiently waiting.........just kidding.
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 01:30 PM
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I'm so happy to read that ya'll are enjoying my trip report!
I definitely recommend the blue book...it's a must!
http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Kauai...8860929&sr=8-1

Stay tuned for day 4...
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 02:48 PM
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Day 4: Tuesday May 31-- DH's 30th Bday, boogie boarding and the chocolate cake!

We awoke to DH's 30th bday! We made a big birthday breakfast at the condo consisting of eggs, sizzlers, and biscuits. It's what DH wanted for his birthday breakfast. After our breakfast we got beach ready.

For his birthday, DH wanted to spend the day at Brennecke's Beach on the south shore. It is perfectly made for boogie boarding:http://www.flickr.com/photos/nj_dodge/1428063703/ *This is not my picture. I "borrowed" it from Flickr. The condo came equipped with two boogie boards but on our previous trip we rented boogie boards from Snorkel Bob's in Kapa'a. We left our condo to make our way to the south shore and as soon as we got to Kapa'a the traffic came to a halt! We had been in some traffic in Kapa'a on our previous trip but nothing like this. As we were inching a long we saw a sign for a right hand turn that either said Waipouli or Wailua Bypass so we took it...big mistake! We sat in just as much traffic if not more. Our drive to DH's favorite beach was not off to a good start. I can't recall how long we sat in traffic...it must have been almost an hour! After our Kapa'a traffic jam it was smooth sailing to Brennecke's Beach. We settled into a spot on the sand, ate some lunch while watching everyone boogie boarding. After a little bit DH was ready to get in on the action...he was ready to get wet! He got in first for a little bit so I could take some pictures of him then I joined in on the fun! It really is made for boogie boarding...the waves break about waist deep or you can go further out. It is so much fun! We spent all afternoon enjoying the waves and celebrating DH...how lucky to be in Kauai on your bday...

After we tore ourselves away from Brennecke's Beach we made our way to none other than the Brick Oven in Kalaheo for DH's bday dinner! Did I mention how much we like burgers and pizza?! We got pepperoni and half of it with smoked ham for DH along with the garlic butter crust. On the way we were wondering what desserts they had because we never noticed before so we checked and there was chocolate cake on the menu. Of course we had to order the cake in honor of DH's bday! OH MY GOSH let me tell you this cake was absolutely delicious! It was chocolate cake with chocolate icing...so moist, not overly sweet and just simply delicious! We were so glad we ordered it. It was a nice way to end DH's bday! We made our way from Kalaheo back to Princeville to call it a night.
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 02:58 PM
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rsidhu & sf7307: Where are each of you staying for your trip?

We really love the Sealodge and I've used these websites:
http://hestara.com/
http://www.kauai-vacations-ahh.com/

Also, I thought as a first timer, rsidhu, you might like this map:http://www.summitpacificinc.com/kauai_map.html

I absolutely LOVE Kauai and would love to help so any questions you may have just ask!

More to come...day 5
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 03:05 PM
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One more thing...while your "patiently" waiting for me to finish my report, I highly recommend reading Vicki's blog on her Kauai trip. I came across the link for it on Fodor's about a month ago. Her blogs are addicting...she tells the story so well and her descriptions are so vivid. I was loving it because I read it before our trip! You can click on each day she was there from the table of contents:
http://vicki-h.travellerspoint.com/toc/
Enjoy!
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 05:17 PM
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I haven't decided yet but I'm leaning towards the Westin Villas in Princeville using points. I'm a little worried about the rain. What do you think - should I stay in the North Shore or South Shore?

I really enjoyed Vicki's blog - thanks for the link.
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 05:19 PM
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We're staying at the Hyatt (freebies - the only reason we're going, having already spent 3 weeks in Southeast Asia this year!).
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Jul 1st, 2011, 12:17 PM
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rsidhu: I wouldn't worry too much about the rain. It is scattered showers that pass quickly. Clouds will roll by that sprinkle rain then it's over. You can always find a beach or somewhere to be where there is not rain.
Although, our week there we did experience more rain than our past trips. On Friday June 3, there was a disturbance over the entire island. It rain quite a bit until 1:00pm and that was June!
You never can tell and most people say you can't let the rain keep you away so you just have to take your chances.

I'm so sorry for the delay...day 5 and the rest of my report to come.
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Jul 1st, 2011, 01:12 PM
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Day 5: Wednesday June 1-- Our Groundhog Day (the movie)

Finally I slept until 8:00am! It's mid-week so I'm adjusting to the time difference. DH & I didn't talk in depth about activities we would like to do on this trip. We both considered this more of a beach leisure trip and we were going to just let things happen as they may. We had discussed ziplining or a surf lesson. On our trip four years ago we did horseback riding on the South Shore with CJM Stables and it was beautiful and a lot of fun!

Today DH & I lazed around talking about what we wanted to do today. We also talked about our 'groundhog day' routine we had going. We were having breakfast at the condo and doing our 'beach ready' routine of having my swimsuit on; lathering on sunscreen; then putting our beach clothes on in order to fixate ourselves on yet another beach for the day. It's somewhat ironic that on my vacation I was growing antsy of our 'routine' because that's our life at home. It's what fits my personality. I enjoy having a routine and doing the same things constantly. I absolutely adore Kauai and its beaches but I felt that we needed to break up the routine. I find it difficult to express my feelings about this because I don't want to seem unappreciative or ungrateful because I am grateful and realize that I was/am lucky enough to have a moment of my life in this magical place!

By Wednesday I had grown somewhat antsy of our routine but we decided over our talk that we were going to continue with our beach leisure for the day and mull over an ideas before our trip was over. We also decided that as much as we love our beach time we do need to sprinkle in some activities throughout our week. We figured out the perfect recipe for our 'perfect' week in Kauai!

The morning was also a little more rainy than usual so we didn't leave the condo as early. Once we did get on our way we decided to spend the day on 'our' perfect beach...the eastern portion of Lumaha'i. We didn't get our 'groundhog day' at Lumaha'i because the clouds would not cooperate. We couldn't recreate the perfect beach day. Clouds continued to roll over the beach and the sun refused to make much of an appearance. We chalked it up to, "once you reach perfection, it's hard to recapture".
I'll still always have that one perfect beach day!

We headed back to the condo to get ready for dinner. We ate at Hanalei Dolphin that night. I loved the romantic, tropical atmosphere. Open air, Hanalei River, tiki torches, candles on the table. I had the fish & chips and DH had a steak. It was really nice! After dinner, we went to this shop 'I Heart Hanalei' which was next door to the Hanalei Dolphin and I got a Hanalei, Kauai shirt!

Back to the condo for the night...

Up next...day 6
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Jul 1st, 2011, 02:12 PM
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Day 6: Thursday June 2-- Fate Intervened and I fell in love with a beach bike!

Thursday morning I slept until almost 9:00am! We put on 'normal' clothes in preparation for an activity day! It's funny, we continued to mention all day how good it felt not to have swimsuits and tons of sunscreen slathered all over us!

First, we wanted to check out the Hanalei Okolehao Trail. We went over the Hanalei Bridge then took an immediate left and drove almost a mile to the parking lot. We parked and easily found the small footbridge to begin the trail. We started along the trail to get a feel for it but quickly the trail turned narrow with so much vegetation that glided against us. We wouldn't have minded but I felt that I did not have the proper attire for such a hike. I was wearing shorts and sandals so we felt it best to turn back and save it for our next trip. Also when we got back to the car I noticed that I had two large welts from mosquito bites...one on my forehead and one on my leg. One thing you must know...mosquitos LOVE me. Proving my point, I had two bites and DH had none! Next trip I am going to bring a pair of pants, tennis shoes and we are buying repellent. I would love to do this hike!

We drove into Hanalei and stopped at Pedal 'n Paddle. The blue book says that you can rent beach cruisers in Hanalei at the Pedal 'n Paddle. We stopped in but were told that they were out of bikes because most people rent them by the week not by the day. We were stumped on what to do...couldn't do the hike and there were no bikes
We went back to the condo to flip through our blue book and come up with an idea.

Sorry to cut day 6 short but I need to continue later...
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Jul 20th, 2011, 03:54 PM
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..".I just love how it feels being there! I get my seat in the upright position and my nose is glued to the window...breath held just waiting for that first glimpse of "my" island. Finally after the four years of thinking and dreaming of being there, after flying all day...I see it and I can't help the tears that come to my eyes. This place has a hold on me! Not just on me but DH too".....

Know just what you mean. We feel that way every time we go and we go about every 1 1/2 to 2 years. It is our home away from home and we are sad every time we have to leave...It truly is our place to totally relax. Just sitting on the lanai watching the waves crash with our morning coffee or wine in the evening is worth it all. Our last trip, we were there in Feb 2011, we had the most spectacular whale spotting ever. It was awesome. Enjoyed your report.....
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