Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ha'ena beach or "Tunnels"

Today (Thursday) we went back to Ha'ena beach for Joel and I to go snorkeling and for Dick and Stevie to watch :-) It is a beautiful beach but a long walk to the area where you can safely go in to snorkel- the sand is deep and not easy to walk in but you can't complain. The water was clear and blue and this time we saw our first turtles- the first one from a distance, the second came right up to us and gave me a bit of a shock. There were also fish everywhere, so we really enjoyed it. The only downside was the lack of sun, so the water was not as clear as we hoped.

I did not even take my camera with me but we all had margaritas at home after and I used the timer on my camera to get pics of the four of us for a change, as well as some of the margaritas themselves...











Wednesday's adventures

One of my not so exciting adventures yesterday (Wednesday) was loading the dishwasher and filling it with hand dishwashing soap rather than the proper stuff. Therefore we have very clean kitchen floor too!!

We also swapped the Sebring convertable rental car for a four door soft top jeep, which we decided was actually far more appropriate for this island and its interesting road surfaces (read pot holes) on the overused routes. It is also much easier for four people to get in and out of! Hence our day started later than normal.

We first went to see some waterfalls- Wailua Falls and 'Opeaka'a Falls- both pretty spectacular even from a distance. Then headed back to Kapa'a for BBQ at Scotty's bar, which you go to mostly for the fabulous view of the ocean whilst eating lunch. The food is pretty good too.

'Opeaka'a Falls



Wailua Falls



View from Scotty's Bar



Lastly we donned our hiking shoes and drove up a long and winding road to several vista points. Firstly to Puu Hinahina lookout. No-one can quite prepare you for the view. I hate to say Grand Canyon, but it is hard to describe it any other way. Just absolutely stunning- and so unexpected. Beautiful. The views were also wonderful at the Waimea Canyon lookout.



But, we were not done! Further up the road, we got to the head of the Na Pali Kona Forest trail. Unfortunately, the clouds were very low and so it was almost foggy. Sometimes we were above the clouds almost like being on an airplane. It did however make for some very moody photos and some beautiful snatches of the valley below us. I also took lots of pictures of the flora and fauna. Most of which are posted on my Flickr page. Excellent photo trip!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Boat trip to Na Pali State Park Coastline and more snorkeling

Tuesday we got up at 5 AM to drive to Port Allen to do a boat trip along the Na Pali coast and Niihau. It was an ominous start as it started raining on our drive there, but no one seemed worried when we checked in at Holo-Holo Charters.

The boat was a big catamaran with plenty of space both inside and out, which was a good job considering the weather, and the fairly fast ride. It started well however as not before long, we spotted a school of dolphins which stayed around a long time and so I took lots of photos!




Eventually we came to the Na Pali State Park coast line- there was still some low cloud hanging around so it was very moody looking but it also made the colors pop. It does mean that the photographs do not do it justice in any way. It is just such a majestic magnificent sight. The sun started to break through and the water was just so blue.




Many many photographs later, we moved on towards the forbidden island of Niihau.

We were moored up near a "rock" (not technically an island as it has no fresh water) off the coast of Niihau. Then we got to snorkel for about an hour- one of the seals came in for a swim too! The bad news was that my waterproof camera sprung a leak and stopped working. No idea how or why as it had worked perfectly the day before. So once back on the boat, I photographed from the dry with my other camera.



At least three times during the seven hour trip we spotted whales having fun rolling in the waves- only once did I manage to get a good picture.



Needless to say, we were pooped when we got home!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bicycle ride and more snorkeling

Monday we rented bikes for the morning and cycled along a really nice bike path along the coast from Kapa'a for about 5 miles and then back. It was very quiet, with lovely scenery and an easy ride. Well worth the $10 bike rental.

After lunch we went snorkeling again at the Lydgate Beach. This is apparently normally a quiet cove which is protected by lava rocks, however the sea was so choppy today that the waves were crashing over the lava rock barrier and causing quite a swell. It was still a fun snorkel time for me though as I ended up at one end where all the fish seemed to be sheltering and there were literally schools of fish- so many that I was giggling to myself. I kept trying to take photos with the waterproof camera but then the swell would get both me and the fish and all I'd end up with was fish tails!



This evening we dined at the famous Duke's restaurant- very nice! Tomorrow we are all up before the sun to go on a catamaran ride up the west coast of the island to see the Na Pali coast state park and do yet more snorkeling. Can't wait!

Most of the trip photos on my Flickr page, and I just created a new folder (on the left) with just pictures from this trip in them.

And finally, we have seen lots of surfers, especially on days with big wave action today, and some of them are amazing but this little girl did make me think that they do start them young here!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Glass beach, Junk yard , Japanese Cemetery, and more snorkeling

This morning we headed south of Kapa'a towards 'Ele'ele, which is technically called the south shore. On the way we saw glass beach, which is actually near an old dump- millions of pieces of broken glass washed in from broken bottles and auto glass. There was not as much there as there used to be as people have taken lots away, but it was very strange walking on lots of smooth glass. I know sand is similar really but to see blue and red in it was different.





The dump itself was apparently created at the turn of the century, and now the sides of the cliffs are embedded with the junk- from old cars to other metal and glass. It is a fascinating but macabre sight.

The saddest part is probably the old largely abandoned cemetery near the same spot. Stevie said that when they first came here, it was fairly neatly kept but today it was overrun with weeds and debris. The graves I saw were largely Japanese ones, and carved in Japanese characters so I had no idea what they said.





After lunch we headed over to see the spouting horn - a small lava shelf where water from waves is thrust through an opening and quirts out a blow hole- apparently it is one of the only blowholes that makes this weird moaning gasping sound as it fills.



Then we headed over to see the Hyatt hotel in Po'ipu - not the normal sightseeing but the hotel and its grounds were quite spectacular. Stevie and I were going to book a spa treatment until we saw the price list! Instead we used their restrooms to change into our swimsuits and went snorkeling in some much colder water than yesterday! We did see lots of great fish though.

Sight seeing, Snorkeling, margaritas and whale spotting!

Yesterday we were driven up the east coast of Kauai north of Kapa'a in the convertible we have rented for the week. The temperatures here are strange in the sense that they don't vary tremendously throughout the day- the difference between day and night is only about 10 degrees and the variation in the day is only about 5 degrees, and it generally varies between 70 and 75 Fahrenheit during the day with some humidity so it is very pleasant. The skies are generally partly cloudy with big patches of sun and the occasional threat of rain that passes quickly. I'm told that normally it does rain once a day like in the tropics.

The scenery here is spectacular and the beaches are as beautiful as you would imagine. We've seen lots of people surfing and learning to surf, but this one particular boy make me smile..





Don't you just love his pose?

Eventually we settled on snorkeling at Anini beach and had a great time in the water. I was surprised at how much we saw, and also surprised at how warm the ocean was considering we are literally in the middle of the ocean miles from anywhere.. I tried taking photos using our small waterproof digital camera and some came out ok considering it is not meant for that purpose.

After an afternoon of swimming we had to go to the supermarket for basics for breakfast and also to buy ingredients to make margaritas according to the boys. Firstly everything is very expensive. You forget how far everything has to come!

Joel made extremely good but very potent margaritas and we sat and drank them on the porch and whilst drinking them we spotted whales blowing and tails, and no, it was not the alcohol induced. Not a bad day.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Travelling to Kauai

So this week, my blog entries will also be a diary of my holiday in Kauai, and a photo or two, although most of the photos will probably be on my Flickr page.

We left home yesterday early from San Jose airport, which was not a pleasant experience- one word sums it up- queues! We only just made the plane and arrived at the airport over an hour and a half before the flight. The flight was on Hawaiian Air, and they too, are squeezing every penny they can, from having to pay to check any bags, to renting headsets and movie players on board. The flight was a long one; extra time for strong headwinds meant a 6 hour flight just to Honolulu. We did make the connection in time and the 30 minute flight to Kauai was so short it was laughable.

It was also really windy in Kauai but it was warm and slightly humid with partly cloudy skies. Perfect.

We arrived at the rental home a few hours before Joel and Stevie and found out very quickly why they love it so much here:



and the view from the house was worth the flight...



We spent the rest of the afternoon eating, drinking and wandering around Kapa'a first on our own and later with Joel and Stevie- a great relaxing start.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ready for my holiday!




Yay, it is Thursday night and we leave for Kauai tomorrow! I'll try to document as much as I can over the next week, and post lots of photos on my Flickr page (see the link in the bottom right of this page). We have never been to Hawaii, so I am very excited!

Carl's new Tesla




The Java Posse were meeting at our house on Wednesday night, so Carl took the chance to bring Joe over in his new Tesla. Carl took each of us on a quick test drive. No-one could quite believe how fast the car accelerated from a complete stop, and how quiet it was. We all came back with big smiles on or faces :-)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Garden surprises

Last year, I scattered lost of wildflower seeds in the bare patches in my back garden. To be honest, I forgot all about them until this spring when a host of plants started growing. Trouble is, I had no idea which were weeds and which were wildflowers! I must have pulled some up in my weeding frenzy, but others I left, and crossed my fingers! In the last few days I suddenly realized they had flower heads, and today they were poppies!






I also found lots of other plants beginning to bloom, and took pictures of them to remind myself of what they looked like at this time of year.





Monday, April 20, 2009

Heatwave


We're having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave..

We knew it was coming, but it was still a shock when it got here. I went for a walk at 11 AM and it was 84 degrees Fahrenheit in San Jose. By 4 PM it was 94F in San Jose, and 98F in Morgan Hill... by 4:44 PM it was 96.2F, so it has cooled down, and at the time of writing (7:45 PM) it is already down to 85.8F. The long term forecast is for it to cool again and there is even the possibility of rain at the weekend. However it did give us a reminder and taste of what it will be again come midsummer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Winetasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains




As part of Dick's birthday weekend, we went for a drive in the Mustang with the roof down. Dick had already scoped out some wineries he wanted to visit. It was the first time we had decided to explore the Santa Cruz mountains wineries. There are a lot of them! Dick found a self-guided tour of a few wineries which had Pinot Noir on their tasting list. I mainly took pictures of scenery and flowers. A couple of which I have posted to my Flickr page. The last one we visited was in an old school house called Burrell School Vineyards. They had very cleverly named their wines with a school theme and their wine wasn't bad either!

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