MauiPigFarmer's LONG Kauai Trip Report

Jun 13th, 2007, 08:02 AM
  #1  
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MauiPigFarmer's LONG Kauai Trip Report

Hi Kauai Folks! Wanted to post this trip report as a Mahalo for all the help from you guys. I will probably have to do it in several sittings. I hope to have pics posted later today.

We were a family of four traveling with our two best friends for a "family-moon". We were also met on the island by my nephew, who is my age and the closest thing I have to a brother. A total of 7 folks.

We flew from Houston on USAir with a layover in Phoenix. Flights both ways were uneventful, except that they were all full to the rafters. Certainly the fullest planes I've ever flown on.

June 3 - We arrived around 5pm and were met by my nephew, who whisked one of us off to get the rental car while the rest of the waited on the luggage. We were very quickly off to the north shore to our rental home (vrbo 82192 Wainiha River House) on Power House Road in Ha'ena. The rest of the evening was spent cooking dinner, catching up, and having the first of many Tropical Itches. I was glad that we hadn't arrived to complete darkness because on the north shore, dark means DARK.

June 4 - We awoke to rain and decided to make a quick trip to RE/Max in Princeville to retrieve supplies that we had shipped from home. After coming back home and having breakfast we debated just hanging out and watching it rain but we were all so anxious to get in the ocean we decided to chase the sun and headed out for the south shore. My nephew's favorite beach is Maha'ulepu so we thought we'd give it a try. As hard as we were chasing the sun, the rain was following us. Finally as we were arriving at the beach the sky cleared up and we were able to enjoy Maha'ulepu. What a beautiful introduction to this island's beaches. This beach is a bit of work to get to but certainly worth it for the seclusion. After a few hours hanging out were were all getting a little snacky so we set out for Poipu to give Brennecke's a try. Service was mediocre. Food was all over the place. The nachos were tough and overpriced, the quesadillas and fries were good, the calamari was excellent. After our snacks we headed over to the beach to give the snorkeling a try. Honestly it was rougher than I felt like dealing with. I know people travel from all over to snorkel this beach, and maybe it was because I was tired, or maybe because I didn't go in on the right side, but I didn't feel like being battered so I took my fins off and rested. The coolest thing about this beach was that two monk seals had decided to grace us with their presence. One left pretty quickly but the other hung around a good long time. It sure didn't take the lifeguard long to get them roped off. On the way back to the north we stopped at Foodland in Princeville for a few supplies, and I picked up my first of many hawaiian music CDs from the vendor who sits outside that store. Over the course of the week I ended up stopping for a new CD a total of 3 times. So many times in fact that the last time he ended up just giving me a CD! Anyway, if you go to the Foodland in Princeville you should expect it to be EXTREMELY cold if you've spent the day at the beach in the sun. We were literally shivering before we could get out of there. Then back to our home for a wonderful dinner and early bed night.

June 5 - We awoke to more rain but still couldn't wait to get to Ke'e Beach. We packed our stuff and off we went to find some protection from the intermittent rain under a tree. The rain continued to come and go all morning, but the clouds did part long enough to give us a gorgeous peak at the coastline. The snorkeling at Ke'e was amazing. We just couldn't get our faces out of the water long enough to care that we were getting rained on. After several hours at the beach we decided to come home and put on real clothes and head to Lihue for a bit of souvenir shopping. On the way down we stopped at Moloaa Sunrise for smoothies, juices and coffee. Service and products were all good. In Lihue we hit Red Dirt, ABC, Longs and Hilo Hatties. After a stop to take in the beauty of Wailua Falls we headed back to the house for some grilled steaks in paradise.

June 6 - On this day we headed out to Kipu Ranch for the lunch / waterfall ATV ride that we had booked months in advance. The four adults all drove Honda 450s and the two teenagers rode the guided Rhino. Kipu Ranch also has a bike that allows a rider on the back, be we all chose to drive. Mike and Randon were our guides and they were WONDERFUL. Just the first part down the road that was lined by Cook Island Pines that were several hundred feet tall was awe-inspiring. We stopped several times ruding the ride for the guides to fill us in on local legend and flora and fauna. This was not just an all-out, thumb-on-the-throttle ride. Us 4 adults are pretty experienced riders as we spend days at a time in Central Oklahoma riding. It's worth saying that we were all VERY impressed with their safety procedures. Before we left they fave a thorough orientation and watched us go around their test track. Then 30 minutes into the ride they stopped us at the top of a large hill for another safety lesson. Let me just add in here that even though I am an experienced rider I have always had a healthy fear of hills and this was the only part of the ride that I wasn't sure I would be able to do. Mike and Randon turned one of the 4-wheelers sideways on the hill and made each rider get on while they turned it almost all of the way over on it's side so that each rider could feel his own tipping point. If somebody had done that for me years ago it probably would've eliminated my fear of hills. Then they made each of us ride down the hill slowly one at a time while they stood there and gave us encouragement and hints. After that . . . it was on. We rode hills for the next 30 minutes or so, and then on to a wet jungle section where we put the machines in 4WD and did some mud-puddling. We made a little stop at a swimming hole and a few of us took turns at the rope swing where they filmed the Indiana Jones segment where he swings off into the waiting river plane. Then on to the lunch stop which was a small waterfall and to be honest we were all a bit disappointed. It was really just a little trickle that they didn't encourage getting into because of run-off from surrounding pastures. We were thinking "THIS is the waterfall?" and all of the visions of sitting under a waterfall enjoying the pounding pressure from above were flying out of our heads. After lunch we headed back towards the office, making a few stops along the way to discuss legends, look at the Nene Geese and "wild" boar (although I don't know how wild you can call the boar if they're being fed). After the last stop one of us thought we heard Mike say "now on to the waterfall" and our hearts soared. We were hoping against hope that whatever we were going to see would make up for what we now jokingly refer to as the "cow pond." Oh boy did it ever! We went way back past the office where we turned off the bikes and hiked down to a perfect swimming hole with a perfect waterfall. The hike down and up was a bit tough but made possible by holding on to some of the largest bamboo I've ever seen. We waded in and swam over to the falls and hung out until it was time to go. If there was any drawback to the waterfall hike it would be the mosquitos. If you do this ride take some skeeter spray with you. The real kind with DEET. Not the cutesy little citrusy smelling stuff.

After the ATV ride we took a minute to pay our respects at the Rice memorial and take another look at the long line of Cook Island pines that we had ridden through at the start of our ride. We all felt so thankful to have gotten to see this beautiful piece of private land and to learn some of the legends from guides who were both local and very respectful. We all agreed that we would do that ride again in a heartbeat.

On the way back through town we stopped at Beezers for a shave ice with mac nut ice cream on the bottom. We also stopped in at 'Opakea'a falls to wonder for a minute at the beauty of this island. Then back to the house for some hellacious teriyaki grilled chicken and an early bed night. We had a lot of those as our body clocks never really adjusted. Normally we were in bed by 10, up briefly around 2:30am and up for good around 6am.
MauiPigFarmer is offline  
Jun 13th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Nice report!

My son & I did the Kipu Beach ATV tour ( no lunch ) and enjoyed it very much as well! We did the rope swing and I too, was amazed at the height of the Cook Pines!

One of the peacocks graced us with a full blown strut, which I was able to capture on camera.

I'm glad you got to do a really good waterfall...what teases they were!

Thanks for a great report!
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Jun 13th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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. . . continued

Pics are now posted at http://mauipigfarmer.myphotoalbum.com

June 7 - We had been watching the weather all week and this was the day we had chosen to try for the canyon. On the way through Hanalei we stopped in a Na Pali Catamaran to verify our booking for the next day. We had booked 3 months in advance for Capt. Gary (North Shore Charters) who uses Na Pali for his bookings. I was sick to my stomach to learn that they had no reservation for us. This was the one activity that we all had wanted to do and the main reason that we chose to stay on the north shore. We had chosen to charter a small private boat because we've all been on big snorkel boats before and didn't feel like being part of a cattle call. If you've snorkeled with a big boat, you know what I'm talking about. Anyway, we went on towards the canyon with Cindy from Na Pali promising to call me when she figured out what she could do for us. After several frantic phone calls between me and Cindy it was decided that several weeks ago when I called to see if we could add one more person to the boat my voucher was pulled and never put back in the correct stack. Pure and simple human error, but I was no less sick about it. We decided to go on about our day at the canyon and decide what to do about the charter later.

The drive to Waimea from the north shore is looooong, but the views were stunning. Again we had to marvel at all the beauty on this island. We bypassed the Kalalau lookout for the Pu'u o Kila lookout and were awarded with the most spectacular view you can imagine. We spent a long time just soaking in that view.

After the canyon we stopped at Salt Pond Beach Park, then we drove around to the left side of the park through the airfield to check out the little lava cliffs and tide pools. Actually we were looking for a "hidden" blowhole (thanks for the tip Mike, but we didn't have any luck). We then made a stop at Glass Beach for Better Half, who is a dedicated beach-comber. It's a very interesting beach, and it's also very hot there. We all ended up sunburned from this little day trip and the only exposure we had was at the canyon and at Glass Beach.

We made an unplanned stop at Kauai Coffee and ended up with enough coffee to caffeinate our household for the next 20 years. I'm not a big fan, but Better Half digs it so I'll compromise.

On the way back home we made another unplanned stop at Anini Beach. We were all tired, fussy and Kentucky fried so we thought some cold water just might do the trick. When we pulled up at the park we spotted a HUGE boat across the street and went to knock on the door to see if they would hire out for a private Na Pali cliff charter. Unfortunately no one answered. The Na Pali trip was looking further and further from our grasp. As we were changing clothes to get in the water at Anini another charter boat came in so we thought "what the heck . . . one more try" and walked over to speak to the captain. Turns out it was Capt. Gary, the guy we were supposed to go with the next day. Cindy at Na Pali Cat had called and explained the problem to him, but of course there was nothing he could do because he had other trips booked. He did, however, give us a phone number to a boat owner who was available for hire the next day. Turns out it was the guy who owned the gargantuan boat across the street! Capt. Bob from Anini Fishing Charters could not have been nicer to deal with. I made a quick consulation with my group and we called him right back and booked for the next morning. Our spirits were high. We returned home after relaxing at Anini to a wonderful southern dinner of beans and cornbread and turned ourselves in for the night so that we could be rested for our early boat ride in the morning.
The moral for this day is to check, check, doublecheck all your bookings. Even though I had called Na Pali Catamaran once since booking the trip originally 3 months prior, I should have called again the minute we were on the island. As it turns out, all's well that ends well but we sure would have been extremely disappointed not to have found a charter. More on the boat ride next posting.
MauiPigFarmer is offline  
Jun 13th, 2007, 12:37 PM
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Your photos are so beautiful. You last shot in the album is at my very favorite spot on the island. Sounds as if your "family-moon" was superb.
barbiedollsarelovely is offline  
Jun 13th, 2007, 05:18 PM
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OSB - didn't you love the way those Kipu Ranch guys are respectful and knowledgeable about the land. I loved that tour and would do it again tomorrow if I could.

BarbieDolls - our family moon was the trip of a lifetime. It's funny that you say that about the lighthouse being your favorite place on the island. Everyone I talk to can tell you exactly where their favorite spot is. The lighthouse overlook is certainly a beautiful place to be.
MauiPigFarmer is offline  
Jun 13th, 2007, 05:47 PM
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. . . continued.

June 8 - We head out to meet Capt. Bob at Anini Fishing Charter and off we head to the Na Pali coast with the relief captain (Chris) and his mate, Mike. The trip out was pretty calm. We got to visit with Mike about the area and his old life back in Seattle. As we rounded the point at Ke'e and the coast came fully into view we were all taken aback. Absolutely stunning. Every picture of this coast that I've ever seen didn't do it justice. Capt. Chris would get right in there and show us sea caves and waterfalls we would never have seen. And then he came to a big sea cave and we kept going towards it, and kept going towards it, and kept going towards it. And we're all thinking "there is no way this guy is going to fit this big boat in that cave." And he did. And then he did a 180 and drove it right back out under the waterfall. WOW. I just can't describe the feeling of being all the way in that sea cave on the back of that boat and watching it turn around. I was so impressed with Capt. Chris at that point I can't even tell you. So we motor on, stopping occasionally to discuss parts of the coast. At one point Chris notice dolphins and he circled them 3 times so that we could all get a look at them. Try getting that on a cattle call boat. We finally reached our snorkeling destination and they outfitted us with our gear and put us one at a time into the water.
MauiPigFarmer is offline  
Jun 13th, 2007, 05:53 PM
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Sorry, I was quick on the trigger that time.

Anyway, the guys told us about where they like us to stay and where they thought we'd find the best snorkeling so off we went. They never called us back to the boat. In fact if we hadn't gotten hungry there's no telling how long we would have snorkeled for. As it was I would estimate we were out for about an hour. After a quick lunch we headed back in with a warning that it was going to be a rough ride. Boy, he wasn't kidding. There were times when that boat was coming out of the water and remember this was a big boat. We rode the waves back in and said goodbye to Chris and Mike. What a wonderful day we'd had with them and Bob's Anini Fishing Charters boat. I would not hesitate to recommend them.

That night for dinner we had Kalypsos in Hanalei. The waitress was awful to the point of being rude
MauiPigFarmer is offline  
Jun 14th, 2007, 05:20 AM
  #8  
poolboy
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So, all those stories about rain on the north shore of Kaua'i ARE true!

How was the rental? It looks very nice. Any problems with bugs?

poolie
 
Jun 14th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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The rental was VERRRRY nice. Besides the mosquitos as big as your head and the occasional centipede there were no other bugs. Well, that we saw anyway.
MauiPigFarmer is offline  
Jun 14th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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poolboy
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Ohhhh...so you didn't see any cigar-sized cock-a-roaches? They only come out at night after everyone's gone to sleep.

The boat you went out on wasn't a power catamaran with a fly bridge was it? If so, we've seen that one out all over the north shore. We were at Makua Beach one day in the afternoon and we saw it going by, presumably back to home and it was bouncing big time through the afternoon swell. Made me sea sick just to look at it!

It sounds like a great trip.

poolie
 
Jun 14th, 2007, 02:42 PM
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Thanks for the great report, really enjoying it. Glad to hear that the Puu o Kila outlook is open, our last two trips it was still closed.

Sorry to hear about Kalypso's, it used to be Zelo's then changed. Guess our next North Shore lunch stop will be the hanalei dolphin or Hanalei Gourmet.
jamie99 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2007, 03:54 PM
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MPG, did you drive to the Pu'u o Kila Lookout or did you walk? Like jamie, the last 2 times we have been the road has been closed. Now, that's a big disappointment after you have looked over the canyon from there 1 time, but can't get back again.

barbiedollsarelovely is offline  
Jun 14th, 2007, 04:02 PM
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What? No rooster stories? Thought about the famous Kauai roosters when I saw a feathered flock on the Florida coast this weekend.
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Jun 15th, 2007, 07:33 AM
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Poolie - We have those cockroaches at home here in NE Texas so they wouldn't have ooged me out anyway. And yeah that was probably our boat. It was a power cat, but it sits very high in the water and doesn't look like the other power cats. It was a rough ride but we all equated it to a thrill ride at Six Flags.

BarbieDolls - We drove to the lookout. I didn't know it had been closed so I'm glad we were able to get there.

Starrs - It's funny you ask about the roosters. I am DEATHLY afraid of roosters having been spurred when I was a little girl. Yall stop laughing . . . I'm not kidding. My family was on rooster patrol the whole time to keep them back more than 15 or 20 feet. The only time there were ever really aggressive was at Ke'e beach, and they only woke us up at 4am once about 4 nights into the trip.

Yall I forgot a couple of restaurants we visited so I will try to add those reviews tonight or tomorrow.
MauiPigFarmer is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Yippee! Love restaurant reviews!
jamie99 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 09:03 PM
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Restaurants:

Kalypsos - already reviewed. Once is good, but I won't try it again.

Hanalei Wake Up Cafe - food was ok but overpriced, mine was overcooked. The table was dirty. I've seen some good reviews for this place, but those folks can have it. I'll pass.

Red Hot Mama's - this is the take out shack at the Last Chance store in Ha'ena. They have some FANTASTIC food and even the small burritos are big enough to split with a friend. They have a phenomenal "hot sauce" there that's not like a salsa. It's got some sort of cream base and what I suspect is chipotle pepper mixed in. Lawdy I loved that stuff. It was hot enough to let you know it was there, but not so hot as to hurt you. If you get up that way stop by and give them a try. Perfect after beach meal.

There is a shave ice place in the middle of the Coconut Marketplace that serves a shave ice large enough to feed 6 of us. No, I'm not kidding.

That's about it. We didn't eat out much as that was one of the points to getting a home instead of staying in a hotel.

MauiPigFarmer is offline  
Jun 16th, 2007, 02:55 PM
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MPF: I agree about the shave ice place. I thought about getting one , to enjoy back on the beach after I finished my fish wraps - that is until I took note of the size of those things!
The fish wrap was good too!
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Jun 16th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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poolboy
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I'm sorry to hear about your experience at the Wake-Up. I've always had good food there. I'll report back after I've eaten there in August.
 
Jun 17th, 2007, 12:13 AM
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The road to the farther Kalalau lookout is newly paved and is now the smoothest bit of road of the entire ascent
pspercy is offline  
Jun 17th, 2007, 02:49 AM
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Just another reason to get back to Kauai next year, pspercy
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