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.

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.