To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, we took a trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi (read the previous parts here). We had several sites on our agenda for this day…
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
We were still firmly in our routine of getting up just after 7:00 AM. It was going to be difficult to change to something different in a few days, but that was in the future. For today, we were happy to be doing what we were doing.
When we arrived at Ilima Terrace for breakfast and were shown to our table, we were pleased to see that we had the same server as the day before. And he remembered us, too. This was the first time we had the same server two days in a row, although we had seen all the previous servers helping other people at different tables. Breakfast was once again delicious as always, and we were once again quite full from eating a much larger breakfast than what we are used to eating back at home.
Yes, I took a photo of the restaurant ceiling. I thought it was interesting.
Our breakfast view. The net was either to keep us in or to keep the birds out. If it was for the latter, it did not always work.
As usual, we let our breakfast settle a little bit by spending some time walking around the hotel grounds. The hotel was so large and so beautiful that we knew we would not get tired of just spending some time there each day. As we walked through the garden areas, we stopped to take photos of many of the interesting flowers and plants that were there, so that once we got back home we could remember some of the many things that we saw. We enjoyed the fish and swans in the pond, the palm trees, and the beach in the distance. Home was going to seem very ordinary when we got back there in a few days.
Looking through the hotel lobby, literally.
Just another view of the hotel grounds. I took lots of photos like this. Every day.
Laura at the hotel.
Our walk took us down by the beach. We saw that one of the swings was empty, which apparently did not happen all that often based on our previous walks. So we sat in the swing for a while and watched the ocean and the waves. Out in front of us was an area with lots of lava rocks, and the waves would make tidepools in the low areas. Sometimes the water would slowly run out of the pools, only to be filled up again later by another wave. The white foam would slowly wash over the rocks, and slowly drip off, until another wave came. Wave after wave, it was all different each time, and it was all fascinating.
Just a swingin’! (To those of you who will now have the John Anderson song stuck in your head for the rest of the day, you are welcome.)
The view from the swing.
Some people were out walking on the rocks, and it was fun to watch them try to avoid getting soaked by the waves. Sometimes they were successful, and sometimes they ended up with wet pants. That is what happens when you are out by the waves. I have learned that lesson myself sometimes.
As we were coming back through the lobby, Laura saw a sign that they were bringing out one of the macaws that we had seen sitting in the lobby each day, so that the bird would be available for photos. Laura was all for that, so we got in the line and waited. It was not a very long wait, and then it was our turn. We each got to have the bird sit on our arm for a photo. I was surprised that the bird did not weigh nearly as much as I thought it would. I guess those birds are all feathers. Who knew? It was pretty neat, and it was something that we had not done before, so we were glad to have done it.
Just hanging out with our feathered friend.
After that, we headed up to our room to get changed for our adventures of the day. As if sitting in a swing by the beach and holding a colorful bird on your arm were not enough adventures. We loaded up the Mustang for our day and headed out of the hotel, going north.
We once again passed through the towns of Līhuʻe and Kapaʻa, stopping as usual for our lunch supplies. However, unlike on our past trips north, traffic was pretty heavy this time along the way we were going. So Laura, with help from her phone, navigated us through a scenic route that took us up away from the shore for a while. It might not have been that much shorter in the long run, but it kept us moving, which always seems better. And we got to see some different scenery, too. Where would we be without cell phones and their maps these days? I would most likely still be lost, actually.
Anyway, we made it to our first stop. Or rather, we passed our first stop. No problem, Laura said, we could go a little farther and walk back to it. So we did. We stopped at a park with a small parking lot, grabbed our bottles of water, and set out on foot.
The park we stopped at was for access to Paliku Beach, and Laura had seen on the map that it had a tree tunnel to walk through. So we walked through it. It was okay, but not quite as impressive as we thought it might be. Still, the trees provided some shade from the sun, so we were more thankful for that once we got out to the main trail.
Walking through the tree tunnel. I bet it gets spooky at night.
After the tree tunnel, we were on a path that used to be a railroad track used by pineapple plantation owners to transport their pineapples. Where we were going turned out to be a slightly longer walk than I expected. But it was a well-paved path, and it had some really nice views of the ocean and beach down below. Add in the fact that we had brought our water for this hike, and there really was not that much to complain about.
Nice view down there!
Along the way, we passed two different places that were known to be historic burial sites from the old days. There were signs warning about not destroying these sites. I thought that was quite interesting. However, if the warning signs had not been there, I would not have even known that the burial sites were there.
The trail that used to be a railroad.
We eventually reached our destination, the Pineapple Dump. The name may sound a little questionable, but this was a railroad pier where the pineapple plantation owners would dump their unused pineapple pieces into the ocean. To us, it was much more interesting than it might sound.
The beach at the shoreline when we first started walking the trail gave way to cool lava rocks farther on down.
All that is left now of the Pineapple Dump is the concrete supports for the track. For obvious reasons, you cannot walk out on those, although you can look out from the solid ground and enjoy the view. And what a view it is. The coast stretches off in the distance in both directions. Back behind you, all you can see is the trail and some grassy hills. It does feel very remote and distant.
The Pineapple Dump above the rocks. See another photo at the earlier post Pineapple Dump in Kauaʻi.
While some might walk by and say, “Well that’s interesting,” and then keep on going, we stayed around and enjoyed the view for quite a while. And that was not just because we had walked a pretty good while to get there, either. Even after being in Kauaʻi for several days, we still loved seeing the view of the shore and the ocean. I don’t think that would get old for quite a while, if we could have stayed for quite a while.
The view on down the shore. I love views like this.
Laura at the Pineapple Dump.
But it was eventually time to move on, so we went back to the former railroad track trail and walked back to our car, dodging the occasional bicycle riders who came our way. There seemed to be more of them than when we had walked the opposite direction, and they were not exactly slow riders, either. But that was okay. Usually, they made some sort of noise to let us know they were coming up behind us, which was nice of them.
Once we were back at the car, we kept on going north to our next destination. One of the sights I had read about that looked interesting was the Kīlauea Lighthouse. So with Laura navigating, we made our way there. Since I had not researched it all that much, we were not quite sure what we would find there besides, obviously, a lighthouse, but in some ways that is the fun of exploring. Why learn all there is to know about a place before you go? That takes away part of the joy of discovery.
When we reached the lighthouse, we first stopped at an overlook that was pretty far away from the lighthouse. It was interesting to look out across the bay and see the lighthouse there. Not to mention that the whole view was fantastic, and not just because there was a lighthouse there. But we wanted to get closer, so we drove on through the narrow gate and down the road to the lighthouse site.
See the lighthouse way over there?
The Kīlauea Lighthouse is actually part of a National Wildlife Refuge, and there is also a Kīluaea Point Historical Society at work there as well. As you would guess with all of that, there is a $5 admission charge. That was actually the first thing we paid to do during our entire trip, besides fly on the plane and rent a car, of course. Besides, $5 is relatively cheap, so we did not mind paying.
There is a bit of a walk from the parking lot, but it is not all that far. We stopped at the visitors center and gift shop to look around, although we did not find anything to buy there. But they did have lots of books about Kauaʻi, the types of birds there, maps, and other stuff. It was a good selection.
A cool model of the island of Kauaʻi in the visitors center. The lighthouse is near the white words at the upper right of the island.
Along the way as we walked, we could see that there were lots of birds across the bay, which explains the wildlife refuge. And by “lots of birds,” I mean lots and lots of birds. There were some occasionally flying overhead, too, so we made sure not to look straight up, just to be safe. We later learned that the land across the bay used to house a top-secret radar site during and after World War II, but that has since been dismantled. Pretty cool.
All the little white specks in this photo are birds. Lots of them.
A wider angle view of the point where the birds were nesting.
Once we got to the lighthouse grounds, we were greeted by a volunteer who asked if he could take our picture with my camera. Actually, he pretty much insisted. So I gave in and let him use it. I had the fisheye lens on the camera and he moved back far from us, but I was still able to make it work. And I did appreciate having a photo of the two of us that was different from our usual armʻs length selfie photos. I did also take some of those photos, as well as some portraits of Laura and the lighthouse for good measure.
Laura and her lighthouse poses. See more photos at the earlier post Visiting the Kīlauea Lighthouse in Kauaʻi.
We enjoyed the views of the lighthouse, which actually was not quite as tall as I thought it might be. Unfortunately, they do not let people go inside the lighthouse, although I can understand why they do not. We also enjoyed the views looking out from the lighthouse grounds. Similar to the Pineapple Dump, we could see lots of shoreline, and lots of water. Not to mention lots of birds. There were signs around telling us what kinds of bird that we could see, and those were helpful for those of us who don’t know. There were also signs about humpback whales, but it was not their season to be there, so we did not see any.
They also had some of those binocular machine things around the grounds so that you could look over to the adjacent point and see all of the birds. Between that, the lighthouse, the volunteer, and all of the signs, they did their best to keep us informed and taken care of. That was nice. We enjoyed all of that, and we enjoyed all of the views, too.
One more view of the rocks and waves, because I liked it.
The only slight downside was that it was slightly cloudy that day. But at least it was not raining, so it was not all bad. Except that we were planning to go to the beach next. So we were hoping that the clouds did not decide to produce some rain for us.
Hey there, little guy!
After spending lots of time looking at the lighthouse, the birds in the distance, the shorelines, and the ocean, we decided to make our way back to the car. When we got back to the parking lot, there were even more cars coming in, so someone was happy to get our parking space.
On our way out of the area, we stopped by a small shopping center that we had seen on our way in, the Kong Lung Shopping Center. As with many sites on Kauaʻi, the history of this place went back to the sugar plantations. The original store here was a business opened by a Chinese man to sell goods to the workers of the area plantations. Once again, we were interested to learn of the history around us. The shopping center was receiving some renovations, and we did not go in all the stores. But the ones that we did see were interesting, and it was a nice little stop along our way. Once again, history is everywhere if you look for it.
From there, we went on to our next destination, which just happened to be another beach. Laura had once again found us a nearby beach to visit, so we drove off to try to find it. She did mention that this one once again involved parking and walking, because as with others this one was right next to a residential neighborhood.
We drove to where she had found on the map, Moloaʻa Beach, and we found a place to park down a side street with tall, thick trees on both sides. But we knew from what she had found that people in this neighborhood were protective of their homes, and rightfully so, so that we were careful to find the right place to park. We did not want to park in anyone’s yard or block a driveway, after all.
We walked down the street past some interesting houses. Many of them were built on stilts, with parking space underneath the main house. We guessed that this area would get some flooding from time to time when a big storm comes through the area. Most of the houses looked rather nice, but they did not have much land at all with them. Most of them were right up at the street, and the beach was just on the other side. That is an interesting way to live, and much different from our wide open space back home.
It took a few minutes for us to find a way to the beach where we did not feel like we were trespassing on someone’s property. Moloaʻa Beach was somewhat different than many of the other beaches we had visited. The beach was at a bay, which meant that the waves were not all that large. There was a feeling of seclusion with the bay being surrounded by land and trees on three sides. Interestingly, there was quite a bit of driftwood and such washed up on the beach. Probably some of that had come from the land, being washed down to the beach by rains, while more of it had come from the ocean. It did not necessarily feel dirty, but it did feel a little cluttered.
I liked the sign at Moloaʻa Beach.
Also, there were more people here than at some of the beaches we had visited, including a couple of relatively large family groups. I got the feeling that many of them either lived in the houses surrounding the beach or had rented one of the houses as a vacation home. I did not know that for certain, but they did not appear to be people who just wandered up like we had. But no one came and told us we did not belong or anything such as that. We found a large log to serve as our base and hold our stuff, and we enjoyed the water for a while.
Looking down the shore. Although there were more people here, it still was not crowded, as you can see.
As with the other beaches, we did not venture out all that far from the shore. The waves, although smaller, were still somewhat strong, and there was still a good bit of pull to them when they would go back out to sea. So we played it safe and did not take any major chances. But once again, it was nice to be in the water, even if the sun was behind the clouds while we were there.
The view in the other direction. Look at all those people!
It was a nice beach overall, but it was not my favorite that we had visited. But then it would be hard for any beach to top ʻAliomanu. That one set the standard for all of the others to follow, at least for what we look for in the beaches that we visit. Still, it was nice to see yet another beach of Kauaʻi.
One more view before leaving the beach.
But then it was time to move along, so we walked back to the Mustang. This time around, we did not attempt to change clothes in the car. For one, thing, there were more people around, and for another thing, we were planning to go straight back to the Grand Hyatt anyway, so we could just change there.
The drive back to Poʻipū was not all that bad, considering we were in the late afternoon traffic. My copilot slept some of the way, but fortunately I pretty much knew where I was going by that time.
We arrived back at the Grand Hyatt and went to our room to change into some dry clothes. Supper was calling us, but not on the phone, of course. We decided to go back to the Poʻipū Shopping Village, where we had been after supper the previous night, to check out the food offerings there.
At Poʻipū, we decided on a Mexican place we had seen the night before, Island Taco. It was a small counter service place with an adjacent seating area. Just right for us. There was a line, but it was not too long and it gave us time to figure out what we wanted. Interestingly, Island Taco was right next to Bangkok Happy Bowl Thai Bistro, so it was interesting to see two cultures clash in Hawaiʻi like that. Not that there was really that much of a clash. Out in front of the Happy Bowl were a couple of musicians and a couple of hula dancers, which just added to the mix of cultures right in front of us. Hawaiʻi is a very diverse place.
We put in our order and waited for our food. The seating area was open to the rest of the shopping center, which itself was all covered but open air. It was a pleasant evening out, so the open air aspect was not a problem at all. We watched the people in the long line at the gelato place next door (yet another culture element), but we did not plan on going in there anyway. Pretty soon, we got our food. It was good, but slightly spicy. We ate it and were thankful for our Cokes to combat some of the spicyness.
After eating, we looked around in some of the shops of the shopping center that had been closing the night before. We found a shirt in Crazy Shirts that I had been looking for. We skipped Del Sol since we had been there the night before, and we enjoyed looking around in Whalers General Store, which had some of everything. When we were checking out in Whalers, the cashier, a younger guy, asked how our day had been. We said we had been to the beach and to the lighthouse. “The one in Līhuʻe?” “No, the one in Kīlauea.” “Wow, that’s a pretty good drive!” I guess because we live out in the country, we don’t think driving 45 minutes to an hour to get somewhere is that far, but he felt differently. Always interesting to see how others feel about things. And maybe we should have checked out the Līhuʻe lighthouse, too. Maybe next time.
We then went back to the hotel for the night. But before going to bed, we had the slightly depressing chore of starting to pack up our clothes and purchases. After all, this was to be our last night at the Grand Hyatt. It had been a great week. But we still had a full day ahead of us before going home. So we got one more good night’s rest to get ready for the next day.
Just one more day left! Check back soon for more from the 2018 Kauaʻi Trip Report!