The challenges of posting daily with photos…One year ago today we left South Africa for Morocco…A sad goodbye…

With little wildlife in Kauai, other than chickens and roosters, we find ourselves more attracted to birds than we’ve been in the past. These Zebra Doves are commonly found in Kauai although not native to the Hawaiian Islands.

When we first started posting in March, 2012 we seldom posted photos. During the early period, I posted every few days, occasionally adding a photo as we were in the early stages of planning to travel the world. 

The marina in Port Allen, Kauai.

For those of you who entered our site somewhere in between, here is our first post from March 14, 2012, posted without any photos.

As time marched on, I began to write more frequently. When we realized that adding photos was to be an integral part of this site, gradually we added photos, more and more as my skills reach a level where it wasn’t embarrassing to include my feeble attempts at photo taking.

A view from a single lane bridge we crossed along Highway 56.

In March 2013, a full two years ago as of tomorrow, we began to post daily, including photos, only missing a few days here and there due to a poor wifi signal, power outages, or travel days. Although on most travel days, we’ve posted something, albeit short and without photos.   

It’s ironic that there were milestones in March in both 2012 and 2013 but it’s a mere coincidence. Sometime this upcoming summer we’ll hit our 1000th post. It’s hard to believe I’d consistently do one thousand of anything, let alone write every single day. We’ll certainly mention that day when it arrives in July.

The mountains, a few days before the rains.

I’m not tired or bored with doing this nor is Tom with his fact-checking, research, and proofreading. It’s a labor of love coupled with a passion for sharing our sometimes exciting, sometimes mundane, lives with those who will listen. I suppose if I started reading such a continuing story I’d always be curious as to what happens next.

We’ve thought about whale watching tours such as this but after spending over $400 on such tours with no sightings, we tend to hesitate to book another.  Perhaps, we’ll wait for whale watching in the South Pacific.

No words in this amateur writer’s vocabulary can possibly express the gratitude we both feel for our loyal readers who follow along with us even on the dull days with few exciting photos or with photos they may find less interesting. 

A hazy zoom to houses built into the side of a mountain.

My photo-taking skills continue to grow but can only grow as fast as the quality of the camera we have at any given time. On our third camera since we first left the US on January 3, 2013 (we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012), we still have a long way to go. When does an amateur photographer ever feel they can stop learning or improving their equipment?

Rock gardens always baffle us as shown at Russian Port Elizabeth. Of course, in August, 2014 we visited Stonehenge, the premier rock garden of them all.

One of the biggest challenges has been having enough photos to share each day. Its on our minds daily, where shall we go to take more photos? At times like this, when its been raining for three solid days, neither of us have much desire to get out and walk or even drive looking for photo ops.

Not all beaches in Kauai are sandy and pristine. 

At any given time, I have no less than 50 photos I’ve yet to post which I keep in a folder on my desktop, each day moving the photos I’ve used that day to a permanent file. On occasion, when we do post the same photo more than once, I say so in the caption. That’s not to say I don’t make an error from time to time. Gosh, try to write an essay with photos everyday and not make mistakes.  It goes with the territory. 

If perfection were the objective, one would tire of doing this rather quickly. Knowing our readers give nary a thought to our occasional error, I go at it each morning between 7:00 and 11:00 am (our time) with a passion only I can explain. Its been almost three years since the first post, two years since posting daily.

A breakwater with a warning light and a small fishing boat.

This morning as I perused our remaining yet unseen 78 photos, I contemplated the nature of a theme in the photos, which invariably I attempt to include although not always mentioned. 

Today, I’m at a loss so please bear with me. There is no theme, no rhyme or reason to these photos and perhaps those over the next several day’s photos as the predicted week-long rain continues.

One day we stopped by the Kilauea Lighthouse which was closed for the day, hoping to see whales. We’ve yet to tour the lighthouse with it been so crowded on the days it’s open, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. We didn’t see whales but will return for a tour as the tourist season wanes in a few months.

Once the sun shines again, we’ll be back out walking and driving enjoying the wonders of Kauai, telling our story in both words and photos, sharing them with all of you the next day.

Luckily, although its raining, we still have a social life. Today, we’re off to friends Richard and Elaine’s lovely home for a midday party with another couple we’ve yet to meet. There’s no doubt it will be a delightful day, although indoors, as we revel in the privilege of having friends in Kauai.

A craggy shoreline in our area of Princeville, where most beaches are located below a steep and treacherous cliffs, often inaccessible. A mere 10 to 15 minute drive will take us to exquisite sandy beaches as shown in past posts.

As soon as I’m done here, I’ll make the second dish I’m bringing to share upon my own insistence. Yesterday, I prepared the first dish. Since our cozy condo is simply too small for entertaining anyone other than ourselves, we feel highly motivated to bring a dish (when appropriate) when visiting other’s homes.

Rain, snow, or shine, we all tend to find ways to keep ourselves entertained and hopefully, engrossed in whatever we choose to do. Happy Saturday!

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

We took this photo, our last sunset in South Africa, as our plane headed out of South Africa. Tears welled up in my eyes not only when saying goodbye to our many friends but also to the many visitors that oddly came to call over the last several days as if they knew we were leaving. (Oh, well. Its romantic to think that anyway). Someday, we’ll return. In the interim, our hearts are filled with memories we’ll carry with us for the rest of our lives. For details from that day as we made our way to Morocco, please click here.

Rain predicted for a week…It’s still paradise…More new photos…A year ago mascot as time to leaving South Africa neared…

Before the week-long predicted rain, it was clearer than we’d seen since our arrival, with considerably less “vog.”

It’s been sunny in Kauai almost every day since we arrived over six weeks ago. One of our new friends has said we brought the sunshine with us. Many locals have mentioned it rains a lot in the winter months as shown in this chart, but until these past two days, we haven’t had much rain.

Nawiliwili, Kauai, HI Weather
Temperature (Fahrenheit)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
High 78 78 78 79 81 83 84 85 85 83 81 79
Low 65 65 66 68 70 72 73 74 73 72 70 67
Temperature (Celsius)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
High 26 26 26 26 27 28 29 29 29 28 27 26
Low 18 18 19 20 21 22 23 23 23 22 21 19
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Inches 5 4 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 5 5 6
Centimeters 13 10 10 8 8 5 5 5 5 13 13 15
Precipitation Days
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Days 15 13 17 17 16 16 19 18 16 18 18 17
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Percent 82 82 81 81 81 80 80 81 82 83 82 81

Many times it rains only at night or for a few minutes during the day. On Tuesday, while the sun was shining we headed out for our walk only to find it raining when the sun is shining, not unusual in Hawaii. With the fear of getting the camera soaked, we went back inside. It’s been raining since.

Yesterday, when I headed to the club, I got soaked from the car to the fitness center and again when I stopped at the Foodland market for a few items. I never see a local using an umbrella, only the tourists. In an effort to fit in during our extended stay and the fact that we don’t have an umbrella, I was soaked along with everyone else.

Blue waters.

It was funny to see all the soaked hair and clothes while grocery shopping including my own. Oh well, I was dry shortly after returning home and my hair was resolved by a quick swipe or two of the flat iron.

Today’s photos are from our last walk on Tuesday when the sun was shining.

With our extended stay of four months, with less than three remaining, we find ourselves feeling more and more like locals than ever before. At the grocery store, I found myself buying the quaint local newspaper, The Garden Island, later reading it from cover to cover, savoring every word as if it all mattered to me. Somehow it did.

The vibrant greenery with the sea as a backdrop creates an appealing scene.

This happens to us when we stay in a locale for three months, more so than a stay of six weeks to two months.  Perhaps, that feeling of inclusion is self imposed by some innate desire to “belong” as we’ve observed in the wildlife kingdom where familiarity is the foundation of feeling safe and secure. We, humans, are like that too.

Traveling down the cliffs to get to this cozy beach is too treacherous for us old-timers.

I suppose that’s why those of you who are armchairs readers of our posts, for whom we are very grateful, find yourself only dreaming of traveling the world unable to conceive of letting go of that which you know and love.  We get that.

Tom and I are the “weird” exception to the instinct of nesting. We often wonder if it’s due to a few facts; one, we both had kids as teenagers and faced responsibility so early in life, and two, my years’ long illness prevented us from traveling. 

The craggy rocks and vegetation are common along the shoreline in the Hawaiian Islands.

Neither of us had ever dreamed of traveling, let alone unencumbered with “stuff.” Four years ago, before we ever conceived of this idea, I couldn’t have imagined giving up my comfy chair in the family room, the various artwork on the walls, or my four colored sets of Fiestaware.

The colors are of the sea are breathtaking.

We were like most people who feel proud of the various items we’d discovered throughout the years incorporating them into our lives as treasured possessions. 

As the tide rolls out…

Besides all the obvious challenges of leaving all the people we love, we left the neighborhood where we’d spent 26 years for me, 21 years for Tom; the familiar walks in the neighborhood, the sounds of the loons calling to one another a distance from the shore, the giant owls hooting in the trees at night and what Tom affectionately called Big Bird, the blue herons that often stood on the end of our dock while we oohed and aahed each time they came to call.

Spring flowers begin to bloom as spring comes early in tropical climates.

Do we miss all of that?  Surprisingly, only for a moment when we’re reminded of something special. Instead, we’ve found new treasures, not a comfy chair or a hand-carved lamp made from downed trees in the yard.  We’ve found other treasure, none of which we can take with us.

Cattle egrets are common in the islands.

This morning, another rainy day that isn’t predicted to clear, I sit here in a less comfy chair with the sounds of roosters crowing in the yard. My little “birdie” friends will soon arrive chirping at me for yet another morsel of the raw walnuts I put outside on the veranda railing every day.

Soon, I’ll head back to the grocery store when last night I realized I’d forgotten an important ingredient for the dishes I’m making to bring to a luncheon at the home of friends tomorrow. And, once again, I’ll get soaked in the rain and once again, I won’t mind.

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

The caption I wrote last February 27th, on the day before leaving South Africa holds true today in regard to the small things: Thank you, Mr. Tree Frog for serving as the mascot for all the “small things” that brought us so much pleasure during our time in Marloth Park. Even you will be remembered.” For photos of other visitors that came to say goodbye on our final days in Marloth Park, please click here.

The end of our trip to the southern coast of Kauai…A sunset like none other…A year ago, human and animal came to say their goodbyes…

A little strip of clouds added to the view of the setting sun in Poipu Beach, Kauai.

After we spent time at Spouting Horn as described in yesterday’s post, it was time to head to our hotel, the Sheraton Kauai in Poipu Beach. With valet parking only, we took our few bags out of the car on our own and headed to the registration desk.

The sunset started like this, bright and relatively clear.

With only one guest in front of me at the desk, we expected, we’d be checked in quickly. Their computers were down. Well, up and down. After 20 minutes it was finally my turn. Tom waited in chairs with the bags while I handled the check-in, our usual procedure.

Then, it progresses to this point, giving us hope the cloud would provide an amazing view.

Again with their computers up and down, the wait was annoying, but, I stayed calm and friendly, especially since I was asking for a free upgrade to an ocean view room. Another 20 minutes later, key cards in hand we were headed to our upgraded partial ocean view room on the VIP level (whatever that is).

It was getting more interesting by the second, not the minute. Note the streak at the bottom right.

When we realized we had to cross the street to get to our room, I was tempted to go back and ask to be closer to the main pool and the ocean. I decided to forgo this option realizing it would be another wasted 20 minutes. 

Off we went on an at least 10-minute walk to our room, frustrated as we crawled around tarps scattered all over the walkway floors. There was construction occurring in almost every area. This stuff usually doesn’t bother us.  But, at $300 a night, it would have been worth a mention when we checked in and perhaps provide us with a quieter area.

Here’s the link to our review in TripAdvisor.

When it progressed to this point, we knew we were in for a treat.

As always, we chose not to complain. Low stress is a part of our motto. The room did have a nice view overlooking the pool and the ocean at a distance. The king-sized bed was comfortable and the décor and furnishings were of high quality and tasteful. The over-sized bathroom was well appointed with amenities including two fluffy robes hanging in the closet. We were content.

After spending a bit of time relaxing and making a reservation for dinner at the popular Merriman’s Fish House Restaurant located in a new nearby center, Kakui’ula Village, a shopping mall in Poipu Beach that would appeal to avid shoppers.

As darkness fell, it presented this view.

Leaving the hotel for dinner before sunset, we wandered over to a lookout area to take the sunset photos we’re sharing today. Other guests were equally enthused snapping photos with their cell phones. It’s amazing how quickly the sun makes its final descent, quickly changing if one so much as looks away.

Eyes peeled at the display on the camera, I stood in place, careful attempting to avoid making a single movement to ensure a clear shot of the breathtaking scene before us. We couldn’t have been more excited to add yet another sunset photo to the dozens we’ve accumulated over the past few years of travel.

View from our fourth-floor lanai.

The only available dinner reservation at Merriman’s was for 7:30 which can be a problem for me. Since I exercise what is called “intermittent fasting,” I only eat one meal a day during which I am never hungry based on my high fat, moderate protein diet which kills my appetite for 24-hour increments. 

When we arrived at Merriman’s Fish House at 6:45, we asked if we could get in earlier. They were booked although, downstairs on the lower level, they had a casual burger and pizza restaurant. We decided to give it a try when the kindly hostess called to discover they did in fact have an available table.

Here’s the link to the review we posted on Merriman’s Pizza and Burger Restaurant at TripAdvisor for details.

With little sun remaining by the time we got to our room, we decided to spend an hour by this uncrowded smaller pool in the area of our distant room.  Oddly, we had to walk to the main pool to get beach towels. That made no sense.

For those of you who don’t click posted links, the food was mediocre but the service was impeccable. The chef made a good effort to accommodate my way of eating which included a tiny salad, plain burger on the side, and an extra order of avocado. Tom had a burger and fries. Our dinner was under $50 with a tip. 

Back at the hotel by 9:00 pm, we settled in for a good night’s sleep and an early morning exit with a plan to head to Costco and Walmart in Lihue. More on that tomorrow.

Thanks, dear readers, for stopping by. It means the world to us.

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

Louise and Danie came to pick up after our overnight at the Crocodile River Safari Lodge. As we approached our home, we spotted these giraffes, necks in a tangled mess. We all howled with laughter and joy for this scene. It was getting to be time to say goodbye to our human and animal friends as departure day loomed. For more friends that came to say goodbye including Clive and the returning Mr. Frog, please click here.

Barking Sands Beach…Spouting Horn…Amazing finds along the way…

The view as we walked toward the Spouting Horn.

Low stress, easy travel. It defines us in our ongoing worldwide travels. A plan as to where we’re going to spend from weeks to months gives us peace of mind. Having no plan as to how we’ll spend that time in each location gives us joy.

This trip to Poipu Beach a week ago, although over a span of only 30 hours was a perfect example. The only plans we had in place when driving into the sunrise early last Thursday morning was to visit Waimea Canyon proving to be a dud in the vog. On the return trip, we went to Costco as planned and as always, was fruitful and spendy (an acceptable word according to the dictionary, mostly used in the northwest portion of the US).

The sea was relatively calm as we near Spouting Horn.

The overnight at the Kauai Sheraton was somewhat disappointing. We’ll share the details with photos in tomorrow’s post. The dinner at a local popular venue was equally disappointing. More on that later as well.

As we’d reached the end of the paved highway after passing Barking Sands Beach, we had no choice but to turn around and head back to Poipu Beach. Many of the interesting sites we visited along the way were shared in the posts of the last few days.

Our mouths were agape when we saw the water spout through the lava rocks along the shore at Spouting Horn.

Remaining in the sites we visited along the way is our few photos of Barking Sands Beach and the unexpected Spouting Horn. We’d seen the sign as shown in the photo below, having no idea what Spouting Horn could possibly be. 

The sign we spotted point to Spouting Horn.

Was it a resort community? Did it have something to do with a horn using spouted water for sounds? Did it have something to do with water and the sea? It proved the be the later in our speculations. 

With only an arrow pointing us in the direction of Spouting Horn we knew were in the right place when we saw a busload of tourists, most likely from the island hopping cruise ship that tours the islands week after week, Norwegian’s Pride of America. 

There were several openings in the lava from which the ocean spouted as the waves washed in and out to the shore. We could only imagine how majestic it would have been on a day when the waves were more aggressive.

Having toured the islands by cruise ship on our way here in October we had little interest in this cruise especially when rated a 4 out of 6 possible stars. Plus, it’s pricey for the seven days seldom offering any discounts or perks).

Our jittery video of Spouting Horn.

Tom was especially relieved to see the tour bus most likely with 60 patrons on board pulling out of Spouting Horn’s parking lot as opposed to pulling in. As long as I had a good spot from which to take photos of whatever brought about all of the commotion from the crowds didn’t bother me one way or another.

One of the smaller spouting openings.

We parked the car and were stormed by no less than 10 chickens of varying ages, gender, and size. “Food for us?” they asked in the under-their-breath clucking. “Nope,” we replied as we scurried out of sight to head toward the walkway requiring us to walk through two perpendicular rows of local wares and handicrafts.

We didn’t purchase a trinket, but I did take the photo below of a cat sleeping in a hand-woven basket that intrigued an adorable toddler as shown below.

A cat sleeping in a woven basket, admired by a toddler, in a handicraft shop in Spouting Horn.

Another 50 yards beyond the tourist shopping area, we approached a chain-link fence. Maneuvering my way in between the other lookers I managed a perfect spot and found myself almost squealing with delight when we beheld the scene below.

Each spout was different from the last, some spraying straight up comparable to a geyser, others creating a wider spray. The crowd roared with excitement.

In concept, it was no big deal…water spouting between lava rocks as the waves washed up and back to the shore. But, in observation, it was a feast for the eyes, nature at its finest. 

Luckily, the fence was low enough to allow me to shoot the included jittery video, difficult to take when I had tourists at my elbows rocking me to and fro. Ah, perfection isn’t what we offer here. Real-life is. So jittery it will be. Please try to enjoy it anyway.

Barking Sands Beach is located on the west side of Kauai on the grounds of the Pacific Missile Range Facility. This beach is part of a 17-mile long stretch that extends from Polihale Beach to Kehaka Beach close to the end of Highway 50.

After a few photos and gleeful expressions between us, we sensed our time at the fence was coming to a quick end when others were obviously hankering for my good spot. I acquiesced stepping back for them to hungrily move in.

Back in the little car, we’d yet to find our hotel and although we’d used accumulated points for most of the $300 plus rate, we wanted to spend a little time enjoying the easy comfort of feeling pampered. Well, forget that. We’ll tell that story with photos in tomorrow’s post along with one of the most exquisite sunsets we’ve seen to date.

Although the sand at Barking Sands Beach was a deeper color, this expanse of perfection reminded us of the Indian Ocean when we lived in Kenya. Click here for our photos of the white sand beaches in Diani Beach, Kenya.
Few bathers were to be found on this beach. 

See, Mother Nature seldom disappoints.

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

One year ago, only days before leaving South Africa after three months in Marloth Park, we were asked to spend a complimentary overnight in a tent along the Crocodile River at the Crocodile Bridge Safari Lodge in order to write a review. While seated on the veranda, we spotted these elephants, baby, and the huge matriarch holding watch over the herd. For details, please click here.

National Tropical Botanical Garden…A surprising find…

As soon as we spotted this sign on the highway, we decided to give it a try.

It was amazing how much we saw in one day when early last Thursday we headed to Poipu Beach to stay overnight for my birthday. For once, we felt like typical tourists, rushing from one location to another, on a frenzy to see as much as we could see in the time allotted.

As we walked along the path, Tom spotted this tree trunk which sent me spiraling with joy. What a find!
At first, I thought this tree had been painted which would be ridiculous in the tropical garden. Upon closer inspection, I could hardly believe my eyes. It is a Rainbow Eucalyptus or Eucalyptus deglupta

Usually, that isn’t us on the tourist’s mission to “see it all.” We’ve noticed the guests that come and go, living next door to us in our Princeville condo. They come for an average of four or five days and rush out, day after day, hauling “stuff” to get out there and see what they can on their short stay.

What beautiful colors Mother Natures bestows upon her treasures!

Many who visit Kauai the first time stay for short periods as they often visit other islands during their vacation/holiday, unaware at first that it’s hard to leave Kauai and for many, it’s more difficult than leaving the other islands. Nothing compares to Kauai as far as we’re concerned. 

These plumerias were the only greenery and flowers growing on this otherwise bare tree.

There certainly is plenty to see in Kauai if sightseeing is their thing. For us, the beauty surrounding us day after day provides us with such a sense of peace and contentment that we could easily get lost in time, never seeing much outside our immediate area.

These lemon yellow daisies were pretty.

But this time, we’ve made a concerted effort to get out and see as much as we can, especially when we feel so connected to this amazing island. We continue to talk, asking ourselves if we could live here one day, but feel for the long term it wouldn’t fulfill our objectives.

We’ve accepted that if we stay in one location for any greater length of time than three months we’ll get bored and restless. That’s just us, having adopted a lifestyle we find exciting in its ever-changing nature. Also, the affordability of living long term in the Hawaiian Islands becomes an issue that must be addressed before considering a move here. 

A gnarly truck stood alone.

Housing prices and rents are through the roof. The cost of electricity, fuel, and groceries are shocking at times. Trips to Costco help tremendously often ending in spending hundreds of dollars and hauling huge oversized containers of products one hopes to eventually use.

Medical care, from what we’ve heard, is mediocre at best. Many travel to Honolulu, Oahu for the treatment of more serious illnesses than seek the local care in Kauai.

A papaya tree.
However, many find their love and dedication to the islands worth a struggle and with careful planning find a way to make it affordable and this we fully appreciate and understand. 

Here in Princeville, although an affluent area of upper-middle class and wealthy, we have met many residents living on fixed incomes, managing to make it work.

The gift shop at the National Tropical Botanical Garden was filled with books on local history.

I suppose in a way, if we did ever settle somewhere, we wouldn’t want a life of financial struggle. In many countries in which we’ve lived the cost of living was less than half the cost of living in the Hawaiian islands.

On occasion, we’ve spotted varieties on cactus in Hawaii as shown in the lower left of this photo.

Tom reminds me not to focus on costs as much as when writing here, in hopes that our readers don’t assume that’s our only concern. It’s not. But, many of our readers, I say, are curious about our lives wondering if they too could travel or live in another country (or area) and make it work for them.

This variety was shaped differently than other similar cactus we’ve seen in our travels. Usually, these paddles are thinner in other climates, wherein this case they were double the thickness.

We’d love to see comments from our readers on this topic. Feel free to write a comment at the end of this or any post.

Anyway, back to our trip to the National Tropical Botanical Garden. We had no idea of this property, stumbling upon it on the highway from Barking Sands Beach to Poipu Beach in our hunger to see more and more. After parking, we walked a considerable distance taking photos along the way until finally, we encountered what appeared to be a ticket office. 

These berries on palm trees eventually turn a bright red.

Self tours were posted for $20 each and guided tours at $40 each, lasting for a few hours. Still having much more to see as the day wore on, we decided to wander about for a short time on our own. Soon, we’re planning on arranging a tropical garden tour that has been highly recommended by locals. To avoid redundancy, we decided to continue on.

For whatever reason, this palm tree’s top exhibited stunted growth.  Any botanists in the room willing to explain? Soon, we have a professional tour of a massive tropical garden.

We were thrilled to take these photos included today, a few of which left our mouths agape at the wonder of nature. Wherever we may travel we find the majesty of Mother Nature’s bounty, at times right outside our door and at other times, requiring a little bit of investigation. One never knows what treasures lurk around the next corner.

Please check back. We have a real treat for tomorrow’s post!

Have a terrific Tuesday! 

                                            Photo from one year ago today, February 24, 2014:

The previous night, one year ago, we had a braai (barbecue) for our closest friends in Marloth Park. Time to depart was fast approaching. It was a fabulous evening as the sunset and visitors came to call, pleasing all of us. For the exciting photos, please click here.

A visit to Kukuiolono Park…Another historical spot in Kauai…Sightseeing continues…

Stumbling on this site along the highway, we stopped to check out this historic location, Kukuiolono Park.
A quote from the Kukuiolono Park website:
“In the town of Kalaheo, just off the beaten path lies a hidden gem, Kukuiolono Park and Golf Course. The park was once the site of an ancient Hawaiian Heiau and more recently the estate of the late Walter McBryde, who was the owner of the McBryde Sugar Plantation and donated the 180 acre parcel to the state as his gift to the people of Kauai.
The park offers extensive walking paths and gardens with breathtaking mountain and ocean views. The challenging 9-hole golf course is popular with the locals for its beauty and the most inexpensive greens fees on the island.
The newly renovated Japanese garden is a great place for a stroll down a quaint path and over a footbridge where visitors can see fountains, statues, bonsai trees and other plantings. The garden path leads up to a unique and extensive collection of Hawaiian lava rock artifacts and a newly-built meditation pavilion.”
Tom, history lover that he is, often reads every last line on such sign while I peruse the area for photo ops.

Obviously, sightseeing every day is impractical. For several reasons, we’ve had more interest in visiting various sites here in Kauai than we’ve had on the other islands.

The chickens flocked to us the moment we parked the car.

Ending a cruise in Honolulu on October 5th, we were coming off several busy months needing a break; two cruises, a month spent in Paris and London, three days in Boston, six days in Vancouver, dealing with two broken laptops and preparing for the arrival of family to the Big Island. 

As soon as we exited the car, this determined rooster indicated he was anxious to find out if we had any food. We did not. However, his familiarity with humans visiting the park made him unconcerned as I approached for the photos shown below.

On top of it all, we were worrying about the lava flow reaching the two houses we’d rented in Pahoa, feverishly checking online for other options. By the time we arrived in Maui on October 16th after spending 11 days in Oahu in a condo we found uncomfortable, we needed another break.

We’d never been close enough to a rooster, to notice his sharp spurs.

Arriving in Maui we immediately prepared for predicted Hurricane Ana shopping for the possibility of being without power or water for days to come. Once that risk subsided we hardly felt like driving around sightseeing.  We ending up spending lots of lazy days at home in the lovely condo overlooking the sea. It was easier to do nothing than plan trips.

Upon closer inspection, we saw how dangerous this spurs could be. Undoubtedly, roosters know how and when to use these. We kept our distance although he was a friendly fellow.

By the magic of life on the Hawaiian Islands we were able to take photos to share and we never missed a single day of posting in the six weeks in Maui. We did venture out on a handful of occasions to check out local attractions but, had little interest in long drives in the car.

There were a few flowers blooming in Kukuiolono Park.

Now, here we are, after over four months in the islands and we’ve got the bug to check out everything we can find on this exquisite island. At this point, we’ve accomplished traveling the entire perimeter of the island of Kauai as far as the paved roads allow.

The park had several trails leading to the rock displays.

From here? There’s plenty more. We feel excited to investigate the nuances only particular to Kauai along with many other sites we’ve yet to explore. With only three months remaining, we have time for planned and unplanned social activities and taking our time to see what magic lies beyond that which we’ve seen thus far.

Each of the historical displays had signage to explain its significance in Hawaiian history.

As a bonus to us, we’ll continue to observe and photograph the growing albatross chicks. We’ll be long gone by the time they’ve fledged the nest to take off on their own, when the last time their parents headed out to sea, never to return, as each chick impatiently awaited their next meal. 

Zoom in to read the sign. This basin was used by fishermen to keep their catch fresh overnight.

When the days pass as the chick waits in the nest and the parents don’t return, the chicks eventually realize that their time has come. They are on their own. And sometime in July or even August, the day will come when they too, head to sea to begin their lives. 

Offerings were left by the fisherman for the Divine One.

Lessons can be taken from wildlife who have the sense to know that at some point we must let the offspring go to build their own lives. Its never easy to do. 

Tree molds were formed over 2 million years ago when lava poured into the trees.

We humans may come to realize that giving them the opportunity to go off on their own only makes them stronger and more confident in the perpetuation of the species whether human or animal, ultimately to achieve fulfillment in their own lives.

A salt pan was used to gather salt from the sea, to be dried for everyday use.

Wildlife teaches us many lessons. As Tom and I have spent considerable time in our travels observing the life cycles of animals, we’ve seen how resourceful and determined they become to provide for their own when needed and to let go when the time is right. It’s the wonder of life.

We were intrigued by the oblong shape of this palm tree trunk at Kukuiolono Park.

And the wonder of our lives continues, whether sightseeing or relishing in lazy days at home, whether writing to our readers, our family or friends or, whether blissfully engaged in mindless activities. All of it matters. 

Another fish storage basin made of rock.

Every single day that we’re given life matters. Its how we spend it that shapes who we are, who we want to be and the legacy that eventually we’ll leave behind.

Having seen everything we wanted to see, once again, we were back on the road to what proved to be some of the most exciting finds of the day. Check back tomorrow.

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

As we busily prepared for our upcoming goodbye dinner party we were hosting, the visitors came to call as always. We seldom missed an opportunity to say hello, offer a few pellets, and take a photo.  For details on this date, one year ago, please click here.

Visit to the Kauai Coffee Company…Kona or Kauai, which is better?…

Tom and a scarecrow at the Kauai Coffee Company.

In our old lives, for a special occasion, we’d purchase a pound of Kona coffee, assuming it was the best coffee in the world. Day to day, we drank McGarvey’s Kona Blend which was wonderful in itself.

The sign at the entrance to the Kauai Coffee Company, which we visited on Thursday.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re not coffee experts. I fill my 14-ounce insulated mug once and that’s it for me for the day. Tom usually has two ceramic mugs, three once in a while, for his fill of the day.

Tom was busy sampling the brewed coffee in the café.

Until we arrived in Kauai and he decided to drop a few pounds joining me in my way of eating,  he’d add both Creamora and sugar. Now he’s down to real cream only (which I also use) since forgoing the sugar, not allowed on our healthy diet. 

This guy was explaining the roasting process which is explained in this link from the Kauai Coffee Company’s website.
The beans spinning in the roaster. It was difficult to take a good photo with the crowds gathered around this display.

After our morning coffee, we never desire more.  In essence, we’d hardly coffee addicts or coffee aficionados.  On travel days, we don’t have any coffee, fearing the perfunctory trips to the bathroom after a few cups. This further illustrates our lack of passion for caffeine or coffee.

An antique coffee grinding machine.
An antique coffee roasting machine.

However, taste and a mild brew are most important to us. We cringed at a strong cup of coffee such as we often had in Europe and on cruise ships. For a 10 cup brew (actually ends up making just enough for both of us in the morning) we use a paltry three scoops of coffee in the brew basket resulting in a toasty mild flavor, we both prefer.

A display of various grinders and brewers.

So, I encourage those of you that like strong coffee to take our perceptions with a grain of salt. However, any of our readers/friends/family who’d ever visited us in our old lives, know we made one fine cup of coffee in our built-in automated French press machine.

An antique handheld coffee grinder.

The challenge since we arrived in Kauai has been: Do we continue to buy 100% Kona coffee at $12.95 for a 12-ounce bag or do we spend $8.95 for an equal-sized bag of Kauai Coffee Company’s brew? On the past three islands, we visited we purchased the Kona. After all, we are in Hawaii. 

A display of the multitude of offerings for sale at the gift shop. We didn’t buy any coffee when it’s lower-priced at the local Princeville grocery store.

Once we arrived in Kauai, noticing the larger displays of Kauai Coffee Company’s varied offerings and of course, the lower pricing, we decided to give it a try. Without a doubt, we preferred the milder, less bitter nature of the Kauai coffee, grown right here on the island.

What coffee has to do with clothing baffles us other than the fact that tourists “buy, buy, buy”.”  Not us.

On my birthday outing, we’d decided to stop by the Kauai Coffee Company’s farm for a tour of the grounds, the gift shop, and roasting presentation which we easily found as we drove along Highway 50 until we spotted the sign at the turnoff at Halewili Road.

Neither of us had ever seen coffee plants.

A short distance down the road we entered the parking lot which although fairly full wasn’t so much so that we’d be waiting in lines to get inside and to take the self-tour. Private tours were offered but we decided to go off on or own to avoid waiting for an hour for the next scheduled tour time.

The early buds.

Entering the gift shop and museum immediately filled our senses with the blissful smells of varying types and flavors of richly brewed coffee. In the museum/café area, dozens of brew pots were set up for free sampling their abundant varieties. I tried the Banana Nut brew while Tom opted for the plain medium roast. We both were thrilled with our choices although they were a bit strong for us.

There were hundreds of rows of coffee plants beyond the walking path.

I must admit that I do like flavored coffees. But, Tom, my guy with the simple palate, prefers unflavored. As a result of only one coffee pot, we choose the unflavored. Also, we’ve found that flavored coffees tend to make the coffee brewer hold the flavors affecting future unflavored brews. 

We hadn’t seen bristle-like plants such as this, since we were in Africa. 

After a few tiny cups of our selections, watching a video on coffee roasting while sitting in the chair provided, we wandered about the museum and then headed outdoors for the tour of the plantation, a former sugar cane plantation, following paved trails through the various coffee plants joining many other tourists.

This is a harvesting machine. Zoom in to read the sign.

Much to our surprise, we really enjoyed walking the path, seeing the various plants, observing the beans, the flowers, and the greenery growing on row after row of plants. The entire plantation wasn’t open to the public but a large enough area was designated via the path to ensure we had a good perspective.

Cute, eh?

Signs were posted at various locations which we stopped to read along the way. Tom always reads such signs while I breeze over them while I’m more preoccupied with taking photos of interesting points along the way.

Coffee sorting area.

After an hour or more, we were back on the road, ready to find the next attraction in our tour of the south and western side of the island of Kauai. Tomorrow, we’ll be back with our visit to the popular pristine Barking Sands Beach and a beautiful Japanese rock garden.

Another coffee-related cute sign.
Whoever thinks much of how coffee is grown and handled? It was interesting to see the process at the Kauai Coffee Company.

Back at home, we’re content as we can be with gorgeous sunny days and today’s upcoming visit to the Makai Golf Club for my workout and an hour poolside visiting with our friend Richard and others we’ve come to know.  It couldn’t be more enjoyable. 

The old hand drying and sorting process.
At times, the beans grow outrageously large.

Later, we embarked on another walk through the neighborhood to see the progress of the albatross chicks and to discover what other wonders of Kauai we can stumble upon. Life is good.

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

Upon awakening in the morning, our first visitor was waiting for us by the braai (the barbecue area) hoping for a pellet or two. Of course, I immediately complied. Our time in Marloth Park was coming to a quick end causing me a bit of angst. I didn’t want to leave. Tom, as always was ready for the next adventure. For details from that date, please click here.

Continuation of the road trip to Poipu Beach…A wide array of sites to see…

The horse seemed happy to see me as I approached the fence,with giving us his version of a smile.
As we drove away, the horse’s eyes stayed with us. He, too, enjoyed the short interaction.
Unable to see the Waimea Canyon due to the vog (fog and volcanic smog) the ride back down the mountain was relatively quick.  As we lowered in elevation, the air began to clear, although the sky was still hazy.
Back at sea level, the sky cleared and the scenery was breathtaking.

With a plan to turn right toward Barking Sands Beach (photos tomorrow) once we reached the main highway, Highway 50, we continued along the road, spotting the photos ops we’re showing here today. 

This creek wandered along the quiet road.

When the above horse smile at us, animal lovers that we are, we couldn’t stop laughing. It only takes a minute of interaction with an animal to get my head spinning longing for more. 

Another road leads us to another area of the military installation, located on the ocean.
Military installations were positioned at the end of several roads we explored, preventing us from going further.

After seeing this horse, I began looking at the chickens and roosters along the highway with a renewed interest.  OK, I’ll admit it.  I’ve loved the chickens since the day we arrived in Kauai. I continue to look at everyone we pass. 

Shortly after we were back on Highway 50, we stopped at the Kawaiele Waterbird Sanctuary, only spotting a few birds as we wandered the grounds.

Not unlike my fascination with warthogs in Marloth Park, I have a special affinity for the chickens since discovering that they are much smarter than previously assumed. 

Here’s the ‘Alae ke’oke’o as shown in the poster below, one of only a few birds we were able to see at the Kawaiele Waterbird Sanctuary.
This poster helped us determine the bird we’ve shown in the water.  Not quite sure how to pronounce it but it’s an ‘Alae ke’oke’o. Many Hawaiian words and names are difficult to learn to pronounce.
The wetlands at the bird sanctuary.

Lately, I’ve been making a clucking sound at the roosters and surprisingly they approach me with fascination, thinking I’m “one large hen” they need to pursue. One almost climbed into the car with me as shown in this photo below. It all provides us with fodder for laughter.

This rooster wanted to jump into the car with me after I’d made clucking sounds. 

Once we reached the highway after the interaction with the horse we headed along the western side of the island. With a map in hand we were able to locate appealing attractions along the highway stopping many times to investigate and take photos, enjoying every step of the way.

This dirt road would have taken us to the very end of the road as shown on the map on the western portion of Kauai. Unfortunately, the little car would have been damaged on the rough road forcing us to turn around.

Tomorrow, we’ll share our tour of the Kauai Coffee Company where we had an opportunity to see how coffee was roasted, taste a variety of their blends, and wander a path through the coffee estate, a former sugar cane plantation. We had no idea how much fun we’d have visiting a coffee farm!

See you later with lots more!

                                           Photo from one year ago today, February 21, 2014:

A year ago on my birthday, Nomsa and Zeff stopped by to sing Happy birthday in Afrikaans to me and exchange warm hugs while we were living in the African Reunion house. Having cared for our needs for three months it would be difficult to say goodbye a week later. Notice the sign behind Zeff’s head, “Take risks. If you win you will be happy.  If you lose you will be wise.” Then and now we find significance in those words as we continue in our travels. For details from that date, please click here.

Vog!…Fog!…We couldn’t see the Waimea Canyon…But, we saw so much more…A year ago…birthday visitors…

The early morning sky through the windshield as we left Princeville at 6:40 am yesterday morning for our mini vacation.
The higher up we drove, the more we realized that we’d most likely not be able to see the Waimea Canyon due to the vog.

Expectations often lead to disappointment. In our world travels we’ve attempted to keep our expectations low, allowing many opportunities to be pleasantly surprised, rather than sorely disappointed.

These few photos were taken from a lower elevation.
At this point, we were at 2500 feet above sea level.
Upon entering the state park, we still have several miles to drive to the lookout point.

So was the case yesterday when we were particularly pleased that we’d kept our expectations low for actually seeing the Waimea Canyon.

By the time we reached the lookout point, the vog had taken over. No overlooking view was to be had.

Thus, when we arrived after a two, not three-hour drive from Princeville (in moderate traffic) and, the canyon was shrouded in the vog (fog and volcanic smog) which was so thick you could cut it with a knife, we weren’t surprised or overly disappointed.

This was the walkway to the lookout point at 9:00 am, getting “voggier” by the minute. 

We had an agenda of other sites to see on the south and westerly end of the island of Kauai that without a doubt, were as satisfying as seeing the canyon may have been on a clear day. We’d heard it was more likely we wouldn’t be able to see the canyon than not. 

Through the vog, we spotted this chicken and her chicks huddled again a short stone wall.

Once we arrived at the Waimea Lookout Point and after a few minutes of checking out the views, we were heading back down the mountain with “other fish to fry.” The vog was simply too dense.

As we drove back down the mountain, the visibility improved although there was no sun.

With a map in hand and numerous points of interest to explore along Highway 50, we found ourselves driving to the very end of the most westerly point on the map as shown below in this previously posted map.

Over the next several days, we’ll continue to share the many photos and stories of the fabulous time we spent in Poipu and the southern coast of Kauai to celebrate my birthday which is today. What a perfect way to celebrate a birthday!

The sun peeked through for a few minutes, only to be hidden again for most of the remainder of the morning, making a strong appearance after 2:00 pm.

The overnight stay at the Sheraton Kauai was also ideal. Able to get a free upgrade with a little nudging we had a partial ocean view and a spacious room with free wifi. Using the link here on our site for, we’ve been able to accumulate enough points for three free nights valued at up to $216/night to pay for most of the cost for the room, leaving us with a bill for $77 plus the $31.50 resort fee. 

The rich clay soil along the canyon’s edge at a lower elevation.

Our total out of pocket cost for the “getaway” was $107 plus the cost for fuel (minimal with the tiny car) and meals.

This morning as I prepare this post, we’re hoping for an hour by the gorgeous oceanfront pool before hitting the road again, planning to stop at Costco in Lihue to “reload.” After Costco, we’re heading back to Princeville to unpack our stuff and the Costco loot settling in for a great birthday dinner at home. We couldn’t be more content.

Tom suggested we return again this morning although we suspected it wouldn’t be any different another day.  It appears that a sunny view of the canyon is relatively unlikely most days.

Thanks to my husband for making this birthday special as he always does in one way or another. 

We’ll be back tomorrow with many new photos of other sites we visited that are clear and easier to see as opposed to today’s “voggy” batch from the unpredictable Waimea Canyon. Please check back.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, February 20, 2014:

One year ago we posted this photo when friends had come for dinner to celebrate my birthday and this charming visitor came to call during dinner. What fun we had!  For details from the day’s post, please click here.

Part 2, The Queen’s Bath, a beautiful and terrifying place…The balance of the return hike back up the cliff…A year ago celebration at a “girls only” lunch…

This was as far as I could get to the edge at the Queen’s Bath without slipping off.
Tom stopped to access if he’d go further.  He decided to continue to the bath without the camera but didn’t go into the water. With the heightened risk in winter of the sea grabbing an unsuspecting victim and carrying them out to sea, no photo or view is worth it to us. Tom returned 10 minutes later while I waited on the shelf, so relieved to see him with a big smile on his face.

By the time you see this post, we’ll be well on our way to Waimea Canyon, a three-hour drive to the furthest end of the canyon to the lookout point. Hopefully, the weather will be good allowing for clear photos. 

Had I been brave (or foolhardy) enough to descend further, I would have had better photos of the Queen’s Bath itself which is shown here through the trees.
The color of the water was heightened by the crisp clear blue sky and the clean ocean water.

The weather in Kauai is unpredictable and often rainy this time of year. We’ve been lucky to have mostly sunny days since our arrival over a month ago. Tomorrow’s weather in Poipu is expected to be sunny with rain on Friday, when we’ll be heading back home.

The Queen’s Bath from the last point until descending into the water.

On Friday, when traveling through Lihue (where the airport is located) on the return drive, we’re planning to stop at Costco to once again stock up on household goods, supplies and groceries. With the high cost of food at the local and farmer’s markets in Princeville and surrounding areas, Costco provides an excellent opportunity to save a little. 

Quickly this seeming level path is disrupted into dangerous terrain, making passage difficult.

Buying in bulk is not a problem for us with three months remaining in Kauai. Over time, we’ve learned to gauge the quantities to purchase to ensure we don’t have much in the way of “leftovers” when its again time to depart. 

There were various signs along the way with few mentioning the dangers of navigating the path and the Queen’s Bath. With the number of deaths over the years, many locals are pushing that this “attraction” be closed to public access.

It would be great if we could mail a box of foodstuffs to Australia when we depart Kauai. But, the cost of mailing a package of food outside the US is prohibitive when the package would have to go through customs, resulting in added fees. 

We stayed away from that alternate route which may have been easier but since has been abandoned due to the loss of many birds.

We’re traveling to Australia by cruise ship with minimal baggage restrictions, but we’ll still have a few flights in order to get to our first rental in Trinity Beach, nears Cairns; the flight from Kauai to Honolulu, Oahu where we’ll board the ship and then again, the flight from Sydney where the cruise ends, to Cairns, a flight equivalent to flying in the US from Georgia to New Mexico, a fairly long distance with baggage weight restrictions.

I cringed when looking up at the path which was much steeper than it appears.

From what we’ve learned about Australia thus far, the items they carry aren’t unlike many items we’ve been able to purchase in Hawaii, only at a slightly lower cost.  With our restrictive diet there are items that aren’t easily found in certain counties such as avocados,  coconut oil, unsweetened coconut milk, unsweetened raw coconut, coconut flour, almond flour and raw nuts. 

Neither of us had yet to see a chicken in a tree.  This hen was about 20 feet from the ground, easily flying to perch on this branch.

We won’t know if these items are available until after we arrive and shop. If not, we’ll figure out a means of having them shipped to us from inside Australia to avoid the high customs and shipping fees.

One more view of the waterfall on the climb back up the cliff.

Today, we’re sharing the balance of the photos from Tuesday’s visit to the Queen’s Bath and the treacherous hike back up the sea cliff. We’ll excitedly be back on Friday, the actual day of my birthday, anxious to share the details of our mini vacation. 

As we neared the end of the hike back up the cliff, I was relieved we’d made it back safely without falling.

Perhaps, we’ll have steak and lobster for dinner on Friday night, purchased from Costco, for a celebratory dinner. Then again, I’d be content with an avocado stuffed with salmon salad. Tom? Not so much. He doesn’t eat avocadoes or salmon, or any fish for that matter, or any veggies except salad or green beans…Better stick to the steak and lobster!

Back at you soon!

                                          Photo from one year ago today, February 19, 2014:

Two of my new girlfriends in South Africa took me to lunch for my birthday last year. Here is Linda and me at a fabulous resort for lunch.
And here is Linda and Kathy, my Marloth Park, South Africa friends with whom I’m still in touch on a regular basis. We have a great lunch! I miss them both. For details of that date, please click here.