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.

A trip to Hanalei Beach…Memorable day! How did we get so lucky? Hawaii population and tourism stats…

Vicki, Jerry and me.
Tom and Jerry (ha!) really hit it off!  We’d wished they’d been staying longer!

Kauai is different than the other Hawaiian Islands. One cannot drive all the way around it. Its population is the lowest of all of the major islands:

Hawaii State and County Population

Hawaii Population
Hawaii Population Density:

Oahu: 1,594.9 persons per square mile
615.8 persons per square kilometer
Big Island of Hawaii: 45.9 persons per square mile
17.7 persons per square kilometer
Maui: 187.1 persons per square mile
72.2 persons per square kilometer
Kauai: 121.2 persons per square mile
46.8 persons per square kilometer
Molokai: 28.2 persons per square mile
10.9 persons per square kilometer
Lanai: 22.2 persons per square mile
8.6 persons per square kilometer
Niihau: 2.5 persons per square mile
1.0 person per square kilometer

Tourist Visits:

Adding the tourism stats makes us realize that during our four months on the island of Kauai, the likelihood of making friends is low based on its lower level of tourism and its remote nature as shown in the above pie chart.

This was our view, all day when we sat in a part shade, part sun area with Vicki and Jerry.

Tom and I headed to a beach, any beach, for some fun in the sun, and to take some photos. No more than two minutes after we picked a spot, a kindly gentleman, Jerry, helps us maneuver our new Costco purchased portable lawn chairs and our beach bag down the short but relatively steep uneven hill from the parking lot to the sand.

A one-lane bridge we’d traveled on our way to the beach.

Jerry seemed to be about our age and we were surprised he’d offered to help. Good grief, a person of any age would have difficulty maneuvering that drop off. (I banged my head on a tree limb going back up at the end of the day, although not seriously).

We’ve missed sandy beaches after the six weeks we’d spent on the Big Island where most of the beaches consist of black sand and lava rock.

Jerry, one of the most friendly people we’ve met while in Hawaii, is vacationing in Kauai with his lovely wife Vicki for a short period, sadly leaving today. Oh, how we wish we’d have met them when they first arrived. Surely, we’d have spent considerable time together.

Yesterday, Tom and I took off from the condo around noon determined to find a spot to sit on the beach when there’s no pool at this condo complex.  We’d known there was no pool here when we booked the condo long ago. But, in our zealousness to stay at a beautiful yet affordable location to “lick our wounds” from the holidays, we were willing to forgo a pool when we knew there were sandy beaches on this island, some in immediate proximity.

A camping area along the beach includes a port-a-potty.

However, many of the beaches we’d researched online required dangerous treks down steep cliffs and over rough terrain to reach the beach. Not wanting to risk injury in our lives, which could terribly impede our travels, we tend to avoid high-risk activities. Well, some high-risk activities. 

Too conservative? Perhaps. But, can you imagine how a broken leg or knee injury would affect us, homeless folks, not only time-wise but financially if we had to stay put to recover? We’d miss future bookings, losing deposits, cruises, flights, and on and on. It would upset the apple cart having a domino effect. Instead, we choose to err on the safer side based on our current ages and level of fitness.

An oceanfront house on Hanalei Beach.

Finally, we found this particular section of Hanalei Beach after driving through the absolutely charming town of Hanalei with shops and restaurants lining the boulevard, deciding we’ll surely return in the near future to dine out and walk along the streets. It couldn’t have been more appealing. Future photos will surely follow.

The traffic was dense on the narrow highway requiring we cross several one-lane bridges. The friendly people of Hawaii need no stoplight or stop sign to gain access to these several bridges. They politely let the next grouping of cars pass without giving it a thought.

The sand was soft under our feet as we walked along this section of Hanalei Beach.

Even Tom, the usual “overly grumpy” driver, stayed calm and cheerful as we crossed each of no less than four such single-lane bridges. When we spotted a seemingly adequate strip of sandy beach, a parking spot was awaiting us. Leaving our stuff in the car, we found a spot to get down to the beach to walk along its sandy shores to investigate, as shown in some of today’s photos.

There was a waterhole, most likely a result of high tide.

Back at the car, we decided to select the beach area closest to the car to avoid hauling everything over the fallen trees and branches. No more than one minute after we were loaded up, there was Jerry, at the ready, to reach up a helping hand. Who is this kindly gentleman, Tom and I asked in our eyes when we glanced at one another?

After chatting for several minutes, we decided we needed more time to chat and made our way toward his and Vicki’s perfect sandy spot, part sun, part shade. From that point on, the memorable day began and later sadly ended with hugs goodbye, and promises to stay in touch.

This beautiful dog, most likely an Alaskan Malamute, was tied to this tree and hardly noticed us passing by on the beach.

They own two homes; one in Pennsylvania and another in Scottsdale, Arizona where they travel back and forth, based on the seasons and personal obligations. They were surprised by our story; these two old-timers, homeless and traveling the world for who knows how long. How fun it was when they pressed us for the story after the story of our travels. 

We felt guilty hogging the conversation but they, like others on occasion, are curious as to how we live our somewhat unusual lives. And, we were curious about how they managed to own two homes as many seniors do throughout the world.

The beach had many fallen trees and branches making it tricky to navigate at certain points.

Sadly, as the sun began to wane and with their upcoming departure back to Arizona today, we finally said goodbye. They’d kindly offered to take us out to eat but I’d already prepared most of the evening’s meal and we both felt dirty when we were covered with sand. 

The trees on either side of us created a quiet beach.  We were the only visitors in this particular spot.

We all packed up our stuff and hugged goodbye, knowing we’d stay in touch. This morning, opening my email, there was a charming email from Vicki and Jerry and we couldn’t have been more pleased. One never knows how paths may cross again someday.

It was a glorious day. May your Tuesday be the same.

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

On a rickety pontoon with no less than 20 other passengers, we took off to explore the Blyde River Canyon in South Africa. Tom was thrilled to be back on a boat. No wonder he loves cruising as much as he does!  For details and more photos on the river, please click here.