Tour rained out…Trip to tourist town of Hanalei…Interesting morsel about the tiny town…Tour rescheduled for tomorrow…

A juice bar on wheels in Hanalei.

With heavy rains off and on all day yesterday, we decided to forgo our planned tour postponing it until Thursday. We always prefer sunny-day photo sharing when possible and also prefer to avoid getting our equipment wet in the rain. Why ruin our camera when it may have another year of life before the humidity ruins the lens?

A pub in Hanalei.

Instead, we decided to head to the cozy town of Hanalei which would enable us to wander the areas, check out a few shops, and mostly stay dry. Kauai is an island centered around outdoor activities with few indoor venues available anywhere on the island, except for dining establishments.

The bar at the popular Dolphin Restaurant.

We’d made enough dinner with leftovers for last night’s meal when we’d expected to return from the tour around 6 pm. Preferring not to eat out except on special social occasions due to a lack of options for me, whenever we have plans that may take us to the dinner hour, we plan ahead making extra meals.

These types of handcrafted glassware items often appeal to tourist shoppers.

It’s not as if there are “fast food” options available for me, making planning in advance. for such occasions logical and relatively easy. Recently, I perused the precooked deli case at the Foodland to see if there was anything that would work for me not finding a single entrée or salad that would be appropriate. 

The larger of the two Koi wood bowls is $1500, similar to a bowl we’d posted while in Lahaina, Maui several months ago.

When we took off for Hanalei in the rain, we did so knowing dining out wouldn’t make sense when we already had a full meal awaiting us at home. Part of that mentality is also precipitated by our ongoing desire to avoid being wasteful. Based on this article, 40% of all food purchased for the average home in the US is thrown away. 

These handcrafted plates were pricey, many over $100 each.

With careful planning, I’d speculate, we don’t toss more than 10% of our food, most of which is due to spoilage.  Although we carefully plan our meals and make purchases accordingly, food spoils. At times, we’ve purchased food that spoils in a matter of days, mainly organic produce which generally seems to have a short shelf life when not coated in chemicals. For that reason, we’re totally accepting of the potential spoilage factor.

The colors of the glass varied for a beautiful display in this shop in Hanalei..

Hanalei is a pleasant town, most of which is located on the main road through town, the Kuhio Highway, with the beach, homes, and some businesses located on the side roads.

These quirky glasses were almost $100 each.

Hanalei is located near the mouth of the Hanalei River on the north shore of the island. Surprisingly, according to the United States Census Bureau, the town itself only has a total area of .8 square miles, of which .6 square miles is land and .2 miles is water.

This colorful glass was made in the colors of the sea.

Hanalei means “lei making” in Hawaiian. Alternatively, the name Hanalei also means “crescent bay” and may be indicative of the shape of Hanalei Bay.

Less than 500 residents occupy the little town but, it’s known for the following facts that we gleaned from this site (accuracy not guaranteed):

  • Hanalei was the backdrop of several film productions, such as the 1958 musical film South Pacific. Scenes were filmed in the town itself and at Lumahai Beach to the west of Hanalei.
  • Those who explain the Peter Paul & Mary song “Puff, the Magic Dragon” as a marijuana metaphor explain that Puff’s homeland “Hanah Lee” is actually the town of Hanalei, which, according to them, is renowned for its marijuana. The cliffs on the side of the beach are said to look like a dragon. This interpretation was rejected by the song’s authors. (As we recently mentioned in another post).
  • The beach at Hanalei Bay was selected No. 1 on “Dr. Beach” Stephen Leatherman‘s 2009 list of top 10 beaches.
  • Hanalei was mentioned in “Twin Peaks” as a place of residence for the town psychiatrist and his wife. Scenes for the movie “The Descendants” starring George Clooney were filmed in and around Hanalei, on the beach at Hanalei Bay, and in nearby Princeville.
  • A song titled “Hanalei” was a part of the I’m With You Sessions by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2013.
Surf and clothing shop in Hanalei Bay.

As for the history of Hanalei:

“In the early 19th century the Imperial Russians were present here. In 1815 the German physician and agent of the Russian-American Company, Georg Anton Schäffer, came to the Hawaiian islands to retrieve goods seized by Kaumualiʻi, chief of Kauai island.

These carefully wrapped kayaks are available for rent to navigate the Hanalei River.

On arrival he became involved with internal Hawaiian politics, and Kaumualiʻi planning and manipulating to reclaim his own kingdom of Kauai from Kamehameha I with the help of the Russian Empire. Kaumualiʻi signed a “treaty” granting Tsar Alexander I protectorate over Kauai. From 1817 to 1853 Fort Elizabeth, near the Waimea River, and two other Russian forts near Hanalei were part of the tsarist Russian America.”

Wandering through the town definitely gave us a sense of its history and culture. It’s a popular tourist town with an inordinate number of restaurants, according to TripAdvisor’s mention of 39 dining establishments, bars, and coffee shops which even includes a food truck. 

New photo of Hanalei Bay from a sunnier day.

Traffic wasn’t as dense in the rain as many held newspapers and tour books over their heads as they dashed from location to location or returning to their cars. Parking is always at a premium. The shops are the typical pricey tourist town shops, many with upscale quality merchandise and others with $15 tee shirts and hats. There’s a little bit of everything for budget-minded tourists. 

Some local residents travel to the Foodland in Princeville to grocery shop or for better prices, head to the Safeway in Kapaa, a 45-minute drive. Many in Hanalei, once a month, make the 75-minute drive to Lihue to Walmart and Costco as is the case for many Princeville residents that make the lesser 60-minute drive. 

Another new view of Hanalei Bay taken on a sunny day.

We giggle over how often we hear of locals heading to Costco to do the bulk of their shopping. Although we love Costco, it’s not easy to find many of the ingredients we use in preparing our meals grass-fed meat, and organic veggies. At this point with about six weeks remaining until we depart, making “big volume” purchases at Costco makes little sense.

In any case, we had a pleasant few hours taking photos, finally heading back home to Princeville to our cozy spot, our pleasant condo with views of Hanalei Bay from our lanai.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, April 8, 2014:

Gosh, I loved those wonderful meals Madame Zahra made for us. The fried items were aubergine (eggplant) dipped in an egg (no flour) and sauteed in olive oil. I should make that. It was delicious. Tom didn’t care for the meals as much as I did. Please click here for details from that date.

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.

Quiet contemplation while winding down…Check out the senior version of photo taking using a tripod! One year ago at the river, a White Fronted Plover…

This bright ray of sunlight when captured by Tom’s steady hand this morning. Tom took all these sunrise photos this morning around 7:00 am. He’s getting better!

With a renewed sense of wonder after a day without spotting a single “blow hole” this morning we dashed out the door when Tom spotted two Humpback Whales breaching the surface of the sea. 

It impressed me that Tom took these sunrise photos. 

Grabbing the newly purchased $15.99 tripod, we set up the camera prepared to take a few more whale shots, dreaming of the full-body breach one may never capture in a lifetime. 

Based on current reports there’s been a tremendous number of whale sightings in Kauai at Hanalei Bay, where we’ll be in a mere six days. Although we’ll be living across the street from the bay, we’re prepared to buy two portable lawn chairs from Costco when we arrive to haul them along with the camera and tripod to the beach each day for whale watching.

The beaming rays of sunshine always warrant a photo. Good job, Mister!

It won’t be as convenient as it’s been living only 30 feet from the roaring sea here in Pahoa but, as always, we’ll revise our strategy to make it work. I’ve kind of grown attached to this cozy beach house as Tom and I have returned to our simple way of living alone together, having more fun than two seniors would ever imagine at our ages.

Although he took the sunrise photos using my camera, he adjusted the tripod and older camera hoping to get a few whale photos. Alas, they didn’t breach again for now. This pose made us laugh. Here’s the “senior” way to use a tripod, comfortably ensconced with one’s butt in a chair, (although the tripod raises up to a full height).

Again today, we prefer to languish at home beginning to think about organizing and packing. Plus, we have the empty cardboard box to fill with unused food and household products to take to the post office in Pahoa to mail to ourselves in Kauai. This time we’ll mail it only one day before arrival since it takes only one day for inter-island packages.

Salt resistant vegetation commonly seen along the shore.

In reality, we could pack it all in a matter of a few hours, but we’ve found planning ahead is a great stress reducer, making our departure seamless and uncomplicated which we thrive on.

Yesterday, staying in once again, we were at a loss for photos to post today. We’d literally used all the good shots we’d had in the “Next Day Photos” folder on my desktop and wondered, as we often do, what we’ll post for today. 

Last evening’s waves were breathtaking.

Alas, the beauty of our surroundings, as always, provides the opportunities we seek, and the worthy scenes are presented to us, begging to become a permanent part of our website.

A beautiful scene is our neighbor Yoko’s yard.

Today, in its simplicity, we cut our words short to share these photos and to allow us time to get back outside and see what else Mother Nature may have in store for us in the next 24 hours. She seldom lets us down.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, January 9, 2014:

It was a year ago today that we stood on the shores of the Crocodile River enjoying the various wildlife including the White Fronted Plover, quietly at rest.  For other photos of the wildlife we spotted that day, please click here.