On the road again…Kauai never disappoints…

Do I recognize this scowl, similar to Tom’s when driving in traffic? Just kidding, honey!

Yesterday, when the sun wouldn’t cooperate as we sat by the pool in the clouds, we decided to go check out the Kilauea Lighthouse where we’d planned to visit today for a tour. 

These bulls were lounging under a tree. Notice the grumpy one on the left definitely annoyed at us for stopping.

Since it’s not possible to book tours at this particular first-come, first-serve venue, we thought it might be a good idea to check it out to see what type of waiting line there would be. 

Once we arrived, we were shocked by the line of cars and the number of people waiting for the next tour. With no required admission fees, we should have realized that January and February are busy tourist months in the Hawaiian Islands and it would not be a good time to attend a free tour.

Ocean view from Kilauea.

After getting stuck in the long lines for a while, we decided to come back in April or May when the tourist traffic has slowed down. Most travelers from the northern hemisphere seem to visit Hawaii before their own spring season arrives, spring break perhaps being the exception.

Instead, since we were already quite away from Princeville, we decided to explore the general area. We couldn’t have been more excited by the scenery we discovered in the little town of Kilauea (same name as the erupting volcano on the Big Island) and its surrounding beaches.

Mynah Bird.

Each time we drove down what appeared to be a dead-end road heading toward the sea, we gasped over the breathtaking beauty before us. Haphazardly, we made our way down one road after another, finding many roads that simply come to an end. 

Yard of one of many massive private residences in Kilauea.

However, the route required to come to that end, left us in awe as one interesting point after another awaiting our exploration. Often, one of us catches a glimpse of something wonderful and Tom doesn’t hesitate to back up or turn around if necessary. 

Away from the ocean, the sky is clear.

I‘m surprised Tom doesn’t mind backing up or turning around. In fact, he freely offers to do so, hoping we’ll get a good view of yet another of Mother Nature’s treasures.

This quaint church in Kilauea is definitely eye-catching.

Unfortunately, the sky was overcast most of the day and there was a dense haze in the air, referred to by the locals as a “vog.” See the description below for an explanation of vog:

“Vog in Hawaiʻi

Vog is a form of air pollution that results when sulfur dioxide and other gases and particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight. The word is a portmanteau of the words “volcanic”, “smog“, and “fog”. The term is in common use in the Hawaiian islands, where the Kīlauea volcano, on the Island of Hawaiʻi (aka “The Big Island”), has been erupting continuously since 1983. Based on June 2008 measurements, Kīlauea emits 2,000–4,000 tons of sulfur dioxide every day.

Apparently, the vog wafts over all of the islands as we’ve witnessed these past four months since we arrived by ship on September 29th. (Gosh, that four months went quickly. Surely these next 111 days will pass as quickly). Dense humidity also covers many areas due to the vegetation covering the mountains, hills, and parts of the beach, only adding to the impeded view at times.

The red Ti Plant, commonly used in landscaping in the islands.

As we sit here now with the view of the mountains out the window when we lift our heads and the view of the sea when we wander out to the veranda, the foggy view even on this sunny day is a constant. We’ve yet to see a clear view of the mountains or the sea from our lanai.

Then again, who’s to complain? So, our photos look a little hazy taken by this less than professional photographer attempting to capture a feeling, a view, and a memory that need not bespeak perfection.

A beach along the road.  More beach photos to follow tomorrow.

So, today, we share our “voggy” photos with enthusiasm and aplomb, hoping our readers share the joy of nature with us, however humbly we may present our perspective.

It’s Saturday night!  (Do you recall, “Live from New York!  It’s Saturday night!)  Enjoy!

                                             Photo from one year ago today, January 31, 2014:

It was a year ago today, that we moved out of the Hornbill house over to the Khaya Umdami house when our hosts and new friends, Louise and Dani offered that we stay in this upscale house (at no additional fee) until their next guests would arrive. How did we get so lucky to stay in this gorgeous house, priced well beyond our budget?  For more photos of this fabulous property, please click here.

A visit to a local farmer’s market…Birds that come to call…The sights and sounds of travel…Walking gingerly…

We captured this bird photo from quite a distance in the trees behind our condo. It appears to be an Eyebrowed Thrush.

If we’re patient and stay quiet, many birds will stop on the lanai railing for a visit. I keep the camera ready to go on the dining table moving gingerly when a bird stops by.
Occasionally, we’ll spend idle time sitting on the chairs on the lanai looking for signs of life in the dense rainforest, hoping to spot a few of the more unusual varieties.

Prices were high at the local farmer’s market, resulting in a less than usual crowd.

Hawaii is not known for its vast array of wildlife. To date, we’ve seen birds and mongooses (only on the Big Island). Of course, in the bird family are the zillions of wild chickens everywhere we go. 

Whether it’s a trip to the gas station, supermarket, or strip mall, there are chickens. It appears there are as many roosters as there are hens busily crowing and clucking day and night. The only reprieve seems to be from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am when they seem to sleep.

This fruit is red rambutan is also known as hairy lychee.  These were priced by weight, which wasn’t posted.

By 4 am each morning, the crowing and clucking go into full force, and at times, the sound is deafening. Tom often gets up to shut the windows when it interferes with his sleep.

Somehow, the sounds don’t seem to keep me awake. It was the same for us in Morocco. The sounds of the call-to-prayer and the roosters didn’t disturb me after a few days, but, Tom struggled the entire two and a half months.

Beautiful flowers for sale at the farmer’s market.

In Italy, we had to adapt to the clock tower next door to us, which chimed every 15 minutes or so. It was off by several minutes each time it clanged. Oddly, that sound didn’t keep either of us awake after we adjusted after a few days.

Each area and each country has its own nuances, whether it’s sounds, rituals, or traditions that only add to our joy of immersing ourselves in the best life we can live wherever we may live.

These are soursop, a fruit reputed to slow the spread of cancer, but no studies have proven it to be effective. These are priced at $6 each.

Surely, in the months to come, living in Australia will present new customs and rituals and sights and sounds, that only add to the experiences that we treasure as we make our way to new continents in our ongoing travels.

This morning, awake at 5 am, I struggled to try to go back to sleep, hoping for one more hour. Alas, it was not to be the case. Finally, I ambled out of bed, trying to walk quietly with the knowledge that someone lives below us.

This is pomelo, priced at $2 each.

I’ve always been a “bull in a China shop” walking loudly, banging and clanging cabinet doors and pots and pans (as Tom always says). Quiet, I’m not.

The day we moved in, we met the kindly gentleman that lives below us. He gently reminded us to walk quietly as he can hear every move we make.

Grass-fed cows along the road to the farmer’s market in Hanalei.

Not used to having neighbors in close proximity, when in most cases we’ve rented houses, not condos or apartments, it’s been odd to have to consider the heaviness of our steps and movements about the condo.

This has been particularly difficult for me. How does one change their gait when inside, and yet, continue to walk strong and steady when outside? Each time I stand I remind myself to walk gently. If I forget to walk gently, I assure you, Tom will remind me.

These Brazilian Cardinals are common to the Hawaiian Island and frequent visitors.

So far, the neighbor hasn’t complained. But, if he does, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’d have to slither along the floor like a snake to be any quieter than I’ve been attempting to be.

Today, I’m off to the health club and if the sun stays out, Tom will join me for a time by the pool. Afterward, we’ll be off for more exploring. Our days in Kauai are simple and uncomplicated.

A Red Cardinal on the lanai railing.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with new photos. And Sunday, we’ll be back with photos from a scheduled tour at 1:30 pm in the village of Kilauea. 

Have a fabulous Friday!

                                           Photo from one year ago today, January 30, 2014:

On this date, one year ago, we’d booked our flight from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga, South Africa to Marrakech, Morocco which required us to fly to Cairo, Egypt.  For details and costs for that booking, please click here.

The Na Pali Coast…Wet and dry caves and tunnels…The end of the road…

The colors in the tunnels at Tunnels Beach are varied.

Life is easy, living on Kauai. We’ve wandered in a pleasurable routine, leaving time for exploration, meeting new people, stopping to revel in the astounding scenery all around us.

The entrance to the tunnels at Tunnels Beach.

Honestly, we’ve never seen such beauty in one location, on one island. Who knew? I’d been to Kauai years ago, but did the usual tourist thing, staying in a resort/hotel that had everything one could want, did a little sightseeing, and tried a new restaurant every night. 

After working out and time at the pool, we had no idea we’d head to the Nap Pali Coast. As a result, both of us were still wearing our swimsuits and me, my workout pants for a peculiar outfit. Had we decided ahead of time to go exploring, we’ have gone home to change our clothes. In Hawaii, swimsuits are acceptable day wear.
Tom at the tunnels.

Under those conditions, one only notices their immediate surroundings. But, in those days BT (before Tom) I wasn’t as observant as I am now. Also, I seldom took photos. 

Note the person at a distance which provides a better perspective of the massive size of these tunnels.

Having developed an eye for possibly good shots, both Tom and I are always on the lookout for that which may appeal to our readers and also remind us in years to come how lucky we were to see what we’ve seen in our travels.

Inside the tunnel.  If we’d had a flashlight, we’d surely have continued deeper into the tunnel.

Oftentimes, Tom drives while I practically hang out the window since the narrow road on most of this island doesn’t allow for stopping. Although, we do stop at almost every designated overlook, beach, and park when possible.

Looking out to the road from inside the dry tunnel to Tunnels Beach.

Sure, we miss a few things along the road making a mental note to return someday soon. After all, we have plenty of time in these remaining three-plus months, actually 114 days until we leave for Honolulu to sail away.

Finally, we reach Napali/Na Pali.

The time will fly quickly as we now realize we’ve been here two weeks as of today. At our current rate of sightseeing, every few days or so, we’ll eventually run out of the major points of interest, especially now that we have seen the entire north coast that is reachable by road.

It was an overcast day and the beaches were still packed with tourists.

Beginning in March and April, we’ll see new blooms of many varieties of flowers we’ve yet to see when we’ve been in the islands from October through May. It will create an entirely new landscape for these exquisite rain forests and mountains.

We’d have loved to have spotted the Hawaiian Monk Seal but none were on the beach.

When we decided to drive the Na Pali Coast on Tuesday, it wasn’t planned in advance. On several occasions we’d driven part of the way stopping up to a certain point, leaving more for the next time. Finally, we drove to the end of the road at Na Pali Coast State Park as shown on the map.

Kauai Map showing points of interest and the location of Kauai vacation rentals. Kauai Map, Kauai Map, Kauai Map.
The road we took to the Na Pali Coast is not shown on this map but you can see the Na Pali Coast State Park in the upper left of this map.

It’s odd for the road to end. Surely, there are roads that travel to the more remote areas in the northwest, requiring access from further inland locations.

At this point on the beach, we were at the end of the northwest road in Kauai in Napali. Much of the 15 miles stretch of the Napali Coast is inaccessible due to steep cliffs. A boat tour would be ideal to see the entire coastline.

In the near future, we complete the remaining shoreline roads heading south past Lihue to the southwest until that road ends and then a trip to the Waimea Canyon as shown in the western interior. 

Napali, aka Na Pali, can be spelled two ways with the accent over the first “a.”

We’ll never run out of the less well-known points of interest that ultimately we end up loving the most. Those obscure, unanticipated events, such as the albatross that will continue to bring us joy over these next few months when the eggs are hatched and finally, the parents will allow the chicks a little time away from under the nest.

This is ideal for the serious hiker.

Without a doubt, we’ll cherish the change of seasons, although not as evident as in other parts of the world, when spring and summer flowers begin to bloom in Hawaii, that was tucked away over the few degree difference of the winter months.

This is the entrance to the “wet” tunnels where swimming is not allowed.
The water is most likely stagnant in this tunnel when the ocean is across the road.  Unless, of course, it’s fed by a spring or river nearby.

Today, we off to the golf club for my workout and a little sun time at the pool, a quick trip to the local grocer, and who knows what other treasures will be calling us?

Hanging vines from the steep cliffs above the caves.

Have a day that brings you many wonderful surprises!

                                           Photo from one year ago today, January 29, 2015:

Organize nursing of three baby warthogs in our yard in Marloth Park. How sweet is this! For a special visitor on that particular date one year ago, please click here.

The Laysan Albatross story continues…A 63 year old Albatross named Wisdom has a baby…

s it coincidence that a few days before we even knew about the albatross living in Richard’s neighborhood that we read this story about a 63 year old tagged Laysan Albatross named Wisdom and her mate had hatched another egg?

Whoever gave albatross much thought, let alone found them incorporated into their lives?  We’d heard of them.  We knew they flew across the sea and had white feathers.  But, that was the extent of it.  Until now.

When last year, this story about Wisdom’s chick hit the airwaves and social media we hadn’t spotted it until it popped up again on Facebook a week ago. Tom and I both read the story in awe of this magical bird and only days later Richard told us about the albatross families living in his neighborhood.

We’re always surprised how life is filled with serendipitous moments, however small, from time to time, making us shake our heads and wonder about the mysteries we encounter along the way in our travels, in our lives.

“Wisdom the Laysan albatross is making headlines again. We’ve watched in wonder ever since she hit 60 years old and was still successfully raising chicks. Last year she and her mate raised another chick to fledge, and this year their newest baby has just hatched!
“As the world’s oldest known bird in the wild, Wisdom is an iconic symbol of inspiration and hope for all seabird species,” said Dan Clark, refuge manager for Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, in a news release. “She provides the world valuable information about the longevity of these beautiful creatures. In the case of Wisdom, she has logged literally millions of miles over the Pacific Ocean in her lifetime to find enough fish eggs and squid to feed herself and multiple chicks, allowing us the opportunity to measure the health of our oceans which sustain albatross as well as ourselves.”

Here is the link to
the full story about Wisdom and her chick.  

There’s never a moment that we are out and about that we aren’t searching for the next sign of life in nature to warm our hearts and remind us of how delicate and precious life really is and, how fortunate we are to behold its wonders as we continue to travel the world.

Yesterday, we took a road trip and have many photos of our own to share over the next several days. It felt as if we drove to the end of the world.  You’ll see why tomorrow.

Happy Hump Day!

                                           Photo from one year ago today, January 28, 2014:

In our “small things” series in Africa, we were excited to get this close up of a moth through the glass on the veranda door, late one night. For other small things, please click here.

Part 2, a day to remember…Thanks to new friends…The Laysan Albatross story begins…

Here’s our video of the Laysan Albatross.
 When we lived in Africa, whether on safari in Kenya or in our yard in Marloth Park, each time we had the opportunity to see wildlife, our pulse quickened and a rush of feel good hormones, one of which is dopamine rushed through our bodies.
Looking up to see if her mate is coming back with dinner.

It may be a work of art, an animal, or a stretch of beach that triggers the release of the powerful hormone that makes us feel great. For many, the triggers may be different. For us, seeing wildlife sends us both into a level of joy that is hard to describe which has only escalated these past few years as we’ve traveled the world.

This nesting albatross was the first one we spotted, sleeping on her/his nest. Both the male and female tend to the nest.

When our friend Richard invited us to walk with him in his neighborhood to see the many nesting Laysan Albatross in various neighbor’s yards, upon sighting the first bird, I felt as if someone shot me in the arm. An immediate smile overtook my face, my heart raced with excitement, and for some odd reason  (hum…) I felt as if I was “home” (wherever that may be).

The dark coloration around their eyes varies from bird to bird.

For at least 30 minutes, we wandered from yard to yard, occasionally waving or talking to neighbors who were comfortable seeing us with Richard rather than tourists snooping in their yards. 

Even a hibiscus plant is a good spot to nest.

What our eyes beheld was awe-inspiring; as many as five albatross at one time in various yards throughout the neighborhood, paying little attention to us as we made a special effort to stay far back to avoid disturbing them.

These two were hanging around the dense vegetation in the center of the cul-de-sac.

It’s important not to get too close to these seemingly friendly birds. They release a hormone when frightened which may be dangerous to them. Staying as far back as possible is imperative for their good health.

Then, there were three…

Luckily, our camera has an excellent ability to zoom in, making it possible for today’s video and photos.  Our course, the dopamine coursing through my body, made my hands a little unsteady, so I did my best. Usually, I refer to this shakiness as excitement and enthusiasm when in essence, it is dopamine.

Then there were four…

As we walked from house to house, we couldn’t believe how many nesting, dancing, interacting, and sleeping albatross we spotted. If we say that we saw the exquisite birds in no less than a dozen yards, we wouldn’t be exaggerating. 

A loner, nesting close to a house.

I wondered how residents would be able to go about their daily lives when these precious birds were living in their yards. Surely, if it was us, we’d be sitting outside on lawn chairs, at a safe distance, watching their daily interactions with the hope of eventually seeing a hatchling.

This one reminded me of Tom, “Oh, I hate going for a walk!”

Well, we’re the people who sat outside all day in the bush in 90 degrees, bug and snake-infested Africa waiting for the next moving creature. Of course, we’d be equally enthralled with these birds.

So beautiful!

For Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology’s information about the Laysan Albatross including a clip of the sound of the birds, please click here.

Flying is the Laysan Albatross’s forte, not walking which appears awkward.

Again, we thank our friend Richard for bestowing this amazing opportunity upon us. Without his assistance and friendship, we’d never have known about these exquisite birds, only seeing them when they occasionally fly over our heads.

It was surprising how they paid no attention to us walking by, continuing with their adorable antics.
Contemplating their next move under a lemon tree.

Once again, we find reasons to be grateful for perhaps another bit of “safari luck.”

These smaller two may have been siblings, were grooming each other.
Marine Conservation Biologists in Hawaii band the birds in order to maintain an accurate record of as many birds as possible.

Tomorrow, we’ll share a wonderful story of the oldest banded Laysan Albatross. Do check back and have a great day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 27, 2014:

Neither of us had ever seen the Sickle Bush which grows in Africa. We were fascinated by its prickly feel and look, along with its beautiful colors. For more “small things” we found in the bush, please click here.

Part 1, a day to remember…Thanks to new friends…The albatross story begins…

Stained glass, whether antique or newer, attracts a tremendous amount of interest for its often fine workmanship as in the case of this piece in Elaine and Richard’s home.

Yesterday morning, about the time we finished posting, we received an email from our new friend Richard, a 17 year homeowner in Princeville and 7 year permanent resident. 

The view from the lanai at Elaine and Richard’s lovely home.

He said he had a gift for us and would be at the golf club until noon. We were planning on heading over there anyway since it was my day to workout. Shortly we were on our way. 

Elaine and Richard’s inviting living room filled with comfortable furnishings and amenities.

It was cloudy by the time we were out the door, preventing us from lounging by the pool after my workout. But Tom could visit with Richard while I worked out.

The huge master bedroom is warm and appealing with its fine furnishings and décor.

Giving a gift to people you’ve only known a few days was beyond gracious of Richard and accepting such an unexpected gesture was a new experience for both of us. 

This antique desk and handmade wood ship are eye-catching.

After the discussions of our love of wildlife and Richard’s perusal of our site, he easily determined that this gift was better given sooner rather than later while we could enjoy the depth of its meaning during our time in Princeville.

The gift Richard gave us yesterday, The Majestic Albatross by Robert Waid, a neighbor of his.
Perusing these photos certainly triggered enthusiasm on our part, anxious to see even one of these majestic birds up close, if possible, during our time in Princeville.

Having discussed the wonders of the albatross on the island of Kauai and the many currently nesting near his home, this book, written by albatross expert and aficionado, Robert Waid, also lives in Richard’s neighborhood. 

These bears reminded us of all the Santa Bears we had in our old lives.
This large China hutch contains many photos of family members, all of which Richard treasures.  We too had such treasures in our old lives. Now, we have all the scanned photos as opposed to the frames and places to store them. Oddly, we don’t miss having “stuff” but can easily admire the stuff of others.

Of course, we were chomping at the bit to have a peek at this amazing phenomenon, occurring right here in Princeville. With this book in hand, our desire to witness these birds first hand only escalated.

Richard sat behind the impressive magistrate’s desk giving us a feel as to how a visit to his office in St. Louis might have been.
Richard, an attorney from St. Louis, Missouri, sent his English magistrate’s desk and other treasures to Hawaii years ago via a container on a ship. This method is often used to transport cars and belongings from the mainland (and other countries) to Hawaii. Note the other antiques in his “man cave,” a converted garage.
Without any prompting from us but certainly based on our enthusiasm, Richard invited us to see his home and meet his lovely wife Elaine who had little warning that people she’d never met were stopping by on a Sunday. 
Richard and Tom sat outside at the golf club engaged in lively conversation while I worked out. My HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout takes less than 20 minutes instead of the usual one hour or more most exercisers usually spend. As a result, we showed up at Elaine and Richard’s home a bit earlier than expected per Richard’s earlier phone call.
This stained glass window, of which Richard and Elaine have many, reminded us of the zebras drinking from our pool in Marloth Park, only one year ago.
A grandfather clock in Richard’s man cave.

Of course, Elaine was gracious and welcoming while we attempted to be as unobtrusive as possible while Richard gave us the full tour of his beautiful and interesting home with expansive views of the sea.

Although not antique carpeting, this pattern is definitely befitting the environment.

Today, we’re sharing photos of the tour of Elaine and Richard’s lovely home, and tomorrow, we’ll be back with our video and photos of the “majestic albatross” (per Robert Waid).

This is Elaine and Richard’s wedding photo, 28 years ago.

Thanks to Elaine and Richard for their hospitality, kindness, and generosity and of course, to their neighbor, Robert Waid, for his inspiration and exquisite book

A Hawaii themed stained glass window built into a stone wall.

We’ll be back tomorrow with some of the most exciting and heartwarming wildlife photos /videos we’ve been able to share in quite some time.

Happy Monday, dear friends.

                                             Photo from one year ago today, January 26, 2014:

Three giraffes crossing the road when we were on our way to the local market. Even Tom couldn’t stop smiling whenever there was this type of traffic jam.  For details from that day, please click here.

Complaining?…Not I!…One year ago…A colorful visitor comes to call…

Cloudy skies are common on Kauai. One of the rainiest spots in the world is located at the center of the island at Mount Waialae, with an average rainfall of 472 inches a year, with a record of 683 inches in 1912.

It’s Sunday morning at 9:15 as I write this. An occasional bit of sun peeks through billowy clouds giving us hope that the day will prove sunny. But, who’s to complain when last week we had sunshine the entire week, spending a few hours most days by the pool at the golf club, then off to explore the island.

A cloudy sunset creates an interesting scene.

Now, as we sit here, with roosters crowing every minute or so, birds singing in the dense forest behind us, we can’t help but smile. Even cloudy days like today are a treasure.

Only moments later it changes.

I can’t help but think back to Kenya, only 14 months ago, when we had no living room and we spent 15 hours a day outside on the open-air veranda. There were bugs constantly landing on us, the heat was in the humid 90’s and poisonous centipedes slithered near our feet. We had no AC in the bedroom and no screens to open windows at night. Only a ceiling fan offering little relief.

Later, in South Africa, we spent all of our days outside on the veranda when we had two living rooms indoors, in the humid ’90s, bugs hovering near our heads, snakes at our feet and yet we stayed outside awaiting the visitors.

The boat launch at Hanalei Beach.

Oh, how we’ve adapted. And now, as we languish indoors, no bugs, screened windows open to a cooling breeze on a cloudy day and for a moment, I whine about the lack of sunshine. But, only for a moment, when I’m reminded by a troll inside my head that screams, “How quickly you forget!”

Notice the lifeguard to the right as other jet skis enter the water at the river.

No, we won’t forget. Nor will we diminish the reality that in a little over four months we’ll be living in Australia at the edge of a rainforest where the mozzies and the wild things are. Surely, once again we’ll adapt. Living in Australia means wildlife, insects, snakes, and other unknown creatures many have never seen in a lifetime.

Trees hanging over the river.

In our reality, the most excitement and fun we’ve had has been when we’ve been most uncomfortable; hot, sticky, flies in our faces, stinky from repellent, clothing wet with sweat with adrenaline pumping through our veins with anticipation over the next breath sucking adventure.

Ah, I do miss that. And yet, we sit here in luxurious Princeville, in an easy-to- keep-spotless-condo with AC (which we seldom use), screens, no bugs to speak of, with nary a thought but when the sun will shine so we can go to the pool and on a drive to take sunny-day photos or when our next social event will transpire. 

Beach near the Hanalei River.

Yes, we are adaptable but in both directions; the roughing it variety or the ease of carefree luxury. Good grief, we’re only one hour from a Costco store when in Kenya, we had but a limited little grocer who didn’t carry celery and the tomatoes were too ripe and with guards with rifles who frisked us at the door as we entered.

In all, we’re grateful.  Grateful for the vast array of experiences, grateful for the people we meet, and grateful for the life we’ve lived thus far. And most of all, we’re grateful for each other.

Oh, oh. The sun’s out. Gotta go…the pool is calling us!

                                          Photo from one year ago today, January 25, 2014:

These Helmeted Guinea Hens were frequent visitors in Marloth Park. In fact, as often as we saw them, we assumed they lived in the bush in our yard. Their colors are amazing, although their chicks didn’t acquire the colorful helmet until they’ve matured. For details from that day’s post, please click here.

A budding social life…Who knew that Kauai would be such a friendly environment?…

The Wai’olo ha Church in Hanalei, a popular church and point of interest in the area. For more information, please click here.

When one first arrives in beautiful upscale Princeville, it’s easy to make assumptions that with its certain sense of affluence, that it may not be an easy area to make friends. How wrong we were!

From what we’ve been able to determine there are seven one-lane bridges in Kauai, most of them in the Hanalei Bay area. Hawaiian residents and tourists are highly cooperative in letting several cars pass at a time. Often, we’ve observed signs posting stipulating that one allows six or seven cars to pass before proceeding. Surprisingly, the flow moves quickly.

Many former mainland (USA) residents moved to Kauai to get away from it all full or part-time. Welcoming short term residents such as us, most likely not returning anytime in the near future, may not be a top priority.

As for making friends with tourists, we find this highly likely on a cruise sharing the commonality of interests on the confines of the ship. Otherwise, while traveling, most of the friends we’ve made have been residents of the area. 

This one-lane bridge crosses over the Hanalei River.

On a few occasions, we’ve met tourists open to making new friends while they’re traveling as in the case of the two couples we met this week, thoroughly enjoying time together with Vicki and Jerry, at the beach and Jessica and Ed, our next-door neighbors for another week.

Yesterday, at the Makia Golf Club pool where I now work out and we both lounged at the pool several times per week, we met Richard, a former attorney from the Midwest, who kindly invited us to a house party on February 4th, a monthly tradition for a relatively good size group of locals observing the full moon.

Another one-lane bridge crossing over the river that flows from the sea in Hanalei Beach.

Of course, we were delighted to RSVP on the spot, especially when Richard happened to have an invitation with him with the location and particulars. What a marvelous opportunity to meet locals with whom we can socialize during our four months (as of today) that we’ll be living in Princeville. 

Shortly, after meeting Richard we met Shayna, a neighbor of Richard’s and a permanent resident who was also welcoming and we hope to see again soon.

Many beaches are lined with trees such as these, providing some shady areas.

We never have expectations about meeting people in a new environment. Tom and I both are very friendly.  But, under certain circumstances, one can detect the demeanor of others that doesn’t invite conversation. 

I find this to be the case when working out when others appear to be caught up in their own exercise routine, seemingly exuding a “don’t talk to me” persona. In fact, I may be guilty of this same thing when working out, deep in concentration on doing my best in form and intensity.

Today’s soaking rain will certainly be advantageous for Kauai’s abundant vegetation.

It seems to us that the relaxed setting of lounging by a pool, sitting at a bar in a restaurant, or casually lingering at any venue provides the best opportunity for friendliness and idle chatter.

We took this photo at the exact moment as the rooster stuck out his neck in order to loudly crow when we stopped on the side of the road. Perhaps, he is warning the hens and chicks that danger looms, amongst many other reasons.

At this point, we’re considering attending a Super Bowl party at the golf club, but we’re awaiting an email with the particulars. Apparently, yesterday we were informed that there will be a cost for all members to attend. The amount and circumstances of that fee will determine our attendance. If food is included, most likely, none will be appropriate for me. We have to pick and choose those events that make sense for us overall. We shall see.

So far, we’ve only seen haze near the mountains, most likely due to the green hills covered with vegetation. This particular scenario was common in the hills of Madeira, where we lived this past spring and part of summer.

Today, it’s raining hard enough that we may stay indoors. We’ve been out every day this week and one day at “home” will be fine. We attempt to go out each day to take new photos for the next day’s post. 

Fortunately, we still have plenty of photos from this week that we’ll happily share over the next few days until the sunny skies return and we head out for more exploration.

A fountain at the entrance to a residential area in Princeville, Ka’iulani.

Here’s to wishing each and every one of our readers a fulfilling and pleasant Saturday, rain or shine, snow or warmth, and anywhere in between.

                                         Photos from one year ago today, January 24, 2014:

It was one year ago that I dropped my Acer laptop, breaking the screen. I continued using it over a period of weeks attempting to use it in this condition which ultimately failed. Living in Marloth Park, South Africa didn’t provide us with many opportunities for promptly making a new purchase especially with my requirement of a Windows 8 touch screen. Within a few weeks, a solution was in place when Okee Dokee and I traveled to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga to make a new purchase. Please click here for details of that day’s post.

Wow!…A pier at Hanalei Beach Park…Scenery beyond description…See for yourself! Three little what???

It was so exciting to stumble upon this pier at Hanalei Bay.  Notice the “beach closed” sign on the left, which obviously no one observed, including us.

Yesterday, after our time at the “club,” (Listen to me. I sound like a snob. Don’t mean to), once again we took off in a westerly direction on the main highway toward the tourist dense Hanalei Bay.

We hadn’t been on a pier such as this since our time in Belize, two years ago.

We understand why the tourists flock to Hanalei. When one thinks about it, tourists do know where the action is and what is worth seeing. It almost becomes a matter of “follow the crowd.”

A few times while we lingered on the pier, a sea spray came up and over the sides of the pier. There had been high surf warnings the past few days which were diminishing as of yesterday.

Sadly, that’s the way it is in most places we’ve visited. The beauty of the best spots is often shrouded by the density of the people clamoring to see what it’s all about.

Since we arrived in Kauai, Tom has been following my way of eating and is losing weight.  He grumbles a little until he gets on the travel scale. 
A tsunami monitor on the pier.

Sure, there is extremely rough terrain to navigate in order to visit sights that are less accessible to the masses, resulting in quiet and serene viewing.  But, let’s face it, our days for extreme hiking and other such activities are long behind us. Too often, we’ve encountered seniors with walkers, wheelchairs, and cane who have been injured while traveling.

An artist was painting a beach scene while in the shade of these trees at the beach.

We proceed with caution and, so do many tourists of all ages, at their own levels of fitness. Speaking of fitness, the working out is going great. I’ll be back to my “old” self (or shall I say “new” self) a lot quicker than anticipated. Most likely, in three weeks I’ll be able to match where I left off some time ago, anxious to move forward.

The views from each side of the pier are impressive. But, as shown in other photos here, the mountains add an indescribable element.

Back to Hanalei Bay…Tom had heard that if one drives down any side street from the main road toward the beach in the charming town of Hanalei, getting past all the vehicles lining the streets, a world of wonder awaits at the end of the road.

There was a heavy mist in the mountains.

Thinking it would be one more beautiful beach, I sat back with my camera in hand while Tom drove anticipating a few shots requiring I step outside the car. Little did either of us know what treasures lay at the end of those side streets.

We visited this spot after we’d already spent our time in the sun. Surely, we’ll return another day with our lawn chairs.

Suddenly, we were parked in an almost completely full lot, anxious to get out of the car to walk the pier and the beach ahead of us for some of the most exquisite scenery we’ve seen in the world.

Little ones were giggling over the surf as parents held on tight.

For those of you who have followed us from the beginning of our travels, you’ve seen many of the beaches and tropical islands that took our breath away including the dozens of beaches we’ve seen on our past 10 cruises in the over past two-plus years. 

The roaring surf. What a sight!

But, dear readers, nothing and I mean nothing, we’ve seen to date compares to Kauai. The combination of sand, surf, greenery, and mountains is hard to beat and to clearly define in our amateur attempt at photos. 

Sure, the scenery of this pristine beach would have been more enticing without all the crowds. But, it’s the revenue generated by tourism to Hawaii that makes the maintenance of these public areas possible. 

In addition, yesterday, we had an opportunity to see the Hanalei River which flows north from the eastern slopes of Mount Wai’ale’ale for 15.7 miles until it reaches the Pacific Ocean at Hanalei Bay as an estuary

What a sight!  What a day!

“Mount Wai’ale’ale, Kauai”
Taking sunny pictures of Mount Wai’ale’ale (see more photos) proves to be difficult. This mountain and especially its summit is almost always concealed in moisture-laden clouds. In fact, it is one of the wettest locations on Earth, receiving about 450 inches (11,430 mm) of rain each year. The rainiest year on record so far was 1982 with 683 inches (17,300 mm).

Many sources (including the local tourist industry) say that Mt. Wai’ale’ale is the wettest spot on Earth, however, the 38-year average at Mawsynram (India) is higher at 467.4 inches (11,870 mm), according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Located in the center of Kauai, Mt. Wai’ale’ale rises 5,148 feet (1,569 m), making it the second-highest peak on the island, after Kawaikini at 5,243 feet (1,598 m). In the Hawaiian language, Wai’ale’ale means “rippling water” or “overflowing water.”

The clear sky only added to the beauty of the setting.

This is intriguing enough to make us determined to explore this river further at some point in these upcoming four months. As a matter of fact, it appears there are more sights to see in Kauai that are favorable for our level of exploration than on the other three islands we visited over these past three months we’ve spent in Hawaii.

Beachgoers exploring the shoreline.

As for today, yet another beautiful sunny day so far, of which there are many on this island, it doesn’t appear the expected 60% chance of rain today will actually transpire. If it does rain we certainly won’t complain. It’s been sunny every day this week and we’ve taken advantage of every moment.

The homeowners of these properties that line the beach could easily tire of the constant flow of surf and sunbathers. But, they need only look beyond the crowds for views of a lifetime.

Have a fabulous Friday and weekend to come. We’ll be baaaaaaaaaack!

 Photo from one year ago today, January 23, 2014:

I’ve made an effort not to bore our readers with too many one-year-ago photos of warthogs, my favorite animals in the bush. But, this shot of “three little pigs” made me smile and I just couldn’t resist sharing it one more time. For more photos from this date, please click here.

Exploring our area…We’ll never run out of sights to see…What an island dream come true…More new friends…

The mountains exhibit a hazy cast even on sunny days most likely as a result of low lying clouds and humidity from vegetation.

Were we asked to choose the most beautiful island we’ve seen so far in our travels, there’s no doubt we’d have to say Kauai. There is no tropical island we’ve seen that compares.

This sign was posted between residential properties as a small park that provided access to the above views.

Of course, there are the distracting points; traffic, tourists, lines, and “reservations required.” But, we can live with all of that over these next four months.

This tiny park with an expansive view consisted of the benches on the left and rough terrain access to the valley below to the right of the little hut.

We have no doubt that we’ll never run out of photos to share. One needs only to drive down what appears to be a dead-end road to find views.  Jumping in the car for even a short drive we’ve found wondrous new scenery awaiting us.

To the far left is a private residence with many signs posting, “private property.”

I supposed now is as good a time as any to be in Kauai. Oddly, from what I recall 30 years ago, it’s not that much busier now than it was back then. And certainly, it’s not busier than it was on the other three Hawaiian islands we’ve recently visited: Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawai’i.

Down an unexpected road, we stumbled upon this view.

We’re already spoiled living in the lush and exquisite area of Princeville. The area was so well planned that each building, each venue, and each point of interest takes advantage of the surrounding natural beauty.

A narrow river ran through this valley, lush with greenery.

Taking a drive around the entire island isn’t easy in Kauai as shown in the above map without taking many out of the way roads. But, we look forward to exploring during our many months on the island.

In the interim, we’re reveling in our surroundings, often in awe when making the shortest of trips. Since joining the Makai Golf Club a few days ago which we’ll most likely visit each day, we find ourselves taking side roads after leaving the club, only to find one amazing slice of beauty after another.

And beyond, is the sea, the beach, and more mountains.

Today’s photos are from one of those unplanned explorations that we share with enthusiasm. We can hardly wait to go out again on our next foray into the wonders of the garden island, aptly named for it’s garden-like natural beauty.

The magic of mountains, greenery, and water always creates a magnificent sight.

Much to our delight, a new couple moved in next door to us on Tuesday night in the adjoining condo owned by our owner, Jim. Exhausted after a day-long trip from South Carolina they were anxious to get to bed. They are also impressed with the property and its views. The roosters…well, they easily could do without the crowing.

These smaller bodies of water are a paradise for the birds on the island.

Last night, Jessica & Ed joined us at our place for a happy hour for a delightful start to the evening. Finally, we split up to make our respective dinners knowing full well we’d all be getting together again soon during their remaining eight days on the island.

Lovely home with views of the valley from their backyard.

How fortunate we’ve been meeting couples here in Kauai. The laid back atmosphere and feeling of less “hustle and bustle” seems to contribute to the ease with which friends are made.

Fences to keep chickens out most likely weren’t successful.

We couldn’t be more content after one week in Kauai. How did we get so lucky to find this fabulous newly renovated condo in this perfect location? Perhaps, once again it’s “safari luck.” Although on safari in Kauai one might only see chickens!

Mr. and Mrs. Poultry hanging out.

Happy day to all of our reader friends!

                                           Photo from one year ago today, January 22, 2014:

It wasn’t only possible to see wild animals in Marloth Park. When we stayed at the Blyde River Canyon Lodge, approximately 150 miles from Marloth Park, here too, the wild animals gathered on the grounds as a normal course of their day. It’s what South Africa is all about! For more details about that date, please click here.