Archive for November, 2010

If you want to go hiking in a real outdoor wonderful, then you should come to Kauai and experience one of our many beautiful hiking trails. We have great paths all over the island from the bike paths near Lihue to the Hanakapiai trails in Haena. But if you want something truly different, how about a swamp?

This might sound weird, but the Alakai Swamp Trail is a fun and free excursion for Kauai tourists. With a moderate difficulty level, this is definitely a hike that you shouldn’t try as a novice, but it’s easy enough for most trail hikers. Ranging for three and a half miles one-way, this trail will lead you across the swamp, giving you a first hand view of the wildlife and plant life of a swamp area. (Don’t worry; I’m not talking an up-close-and-personal encounter with rats here.)

The swamp is part of the Kauai rainforest, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. As such, there is a lot to see on this trek to Kilohana. The trail varies from a dirt path to planks through the bogs, so you’ll have to watch your step and stick to the trail markers. There is no sense getting lost or wet in this slippery and muddy place.

There are no restrooms in this wet wonderland, so you’ll have to hold it if you want to hike it. There are also no drinking fountains, so any water you want needs to be brought in bottles. Everything else you need to know is basic common sense.

So, if you are thinking that a swamp hike sounds like fun, you’re right. The word swamp often scares people away, but it is only here that you will experience some of the most amazing views and sights in Kauai. Just remember to bring appropriate footwear, sun block, water, and a first aid kit (just in case). You can also bring a few snacks, but don’t trash our trails. Keep it all in your backpack and save our rainforests.

When you visit my little corner of Kauai, you get all of the best vacations all in one. I’ve often heard my cousins discussing where they will vacation, whether near the beach or to the mountains or to a tropical location. Those really are the three choices most people consider when they think about vacations. And Kauai has them all!

Mountains – First of all, Kauai is known for its beautiful mountain ranges. The Haupu Mountain Range is definitely a sight to see. Located between Lihue and Hanapepe, this range covers a lot of ground and extends all the way to the ocean. The highest peak on this range is known as Haupu Peak, and it is almost 2300 feet above sea level! Not bad for an island that is directly on the sea.

Beaches – There are several beaches on Kauai, most notably Hanalei Bay. That is my favorite, especially since it is so close to where I live on the north shore. With white sand galore and a half-moon crescent shape, this is a beautiful spot to snorkel, swim, scuba dive, paddle boat, and enjoy the water.

Tropical Locations – All of Kauai is a tropical location. It contains a rainforest that is one of the lushest locations in the world. Plus, there are hiking trails, biking routes, tours, helicopter rides, and zip line adventures to several of the most secluded spots in the forest. So no matter what you feel like doing, you can experience the wonder of our tropical environment.

So, as you can see, we really do have it all.

November 22, 2010 by, Emily

Sunday, November 14, was a very hard day on the island of Kauai for many of its residents. Why is that? Well, one of our heroes was committed to the sea.

Andy Irons was returned to the island for his funeral on Sunday, accompanied by his family and several friends and natives. His ashes were laid to rest in Hanalei Bay, a site of extreme beauty and peace and a place Andy himself loved. It was a beautiful ceremony and a sobering event. He will very much be missed.

I guess it goes without saying that Andy Irons was a personal hero of mine. I used to watch him surf, wishing that I could fly across the waves like he did. Of course, if you have read this blog before, then you know that I can’t surf at all. It’s like watching a rag doll fall down the stairs. But when Andy took up a board, it was like he could walk on air.

I remember watching him for the very first time several years ago. There were some big waves that day, and most of the surfers on the island were out in force. But you could clearly tell which one was Andy. Not only did all of the other surfers stop and stare at him, but he also out-surfed them all, and he made it look effortless. I remember wanting to learn to surf so badly after that. I even went out on the water with a few friends. But unfortunately that lesson ended the same way that all of the previous ones had: I was waterlogged and bruised.

I dearly hope that Irons’ widow knows how much he will be missed by the world, especially those of us on Kauai. It is such an honor to have our Hanalei Bay be his final resting place.

I’ve been asked many times over the last few months why I write this blog. Well, there are several reasons why, so it’s usually hard to pick just one. To begin with, I was asked to do it by a friend. I have a lot more free time to write than most people, and it was a good opportunity to be helpful. So I took it.

However, over the course of the last several weeks, I’ve come to truly enjoy writing this blog. I get to keep track of where I’ve been and what I’ve done, which is nice since I don’t keep a diary. And I get to share my thoughts about things, from fun activities to music that I like. All in all, I get a lot out of this blog personally and I get to share a lot of my personality and preferences.

Of course, there is also a practical side to this blog, a side that I love to think about. I help people. I get to figure out where the fun activities and hot spots are on the island, I research which ones are family friendly and which ones have an age limit, and I have a lot of fun doing it. After people read this blog, they know where to go and what to do when they come to the island, and from the perspective of a native, no less!

So, this blog really means a lot to me. I hope that you all get as much out of reading it as I do when writing it.

I have been told recently that I’m avoiding a topic in my blogs, a topic that apparently is very important to many individuals… mostly men. That topic is fishing.

On Kauai, there are several fishing opportunities. Why? Well, fishing is a big deal around here. In fact, we even have our own fishpond built over 1,000 years ago by Menehune, excellent fishermen in their own right and also wonderful craftsmen… at least that’s what Hawaiian mythology dictates.

So, if you are looking for a great fishing location, come and visit our island. There are two types of fishing you can find here: freshwater fishing and deep sea fishing. According to the men on the island that I have interviewed, if you have never gone deep sea fishing, it’s something you simply cannot afford to miss out on. Being out on the open water, man against fish, in an epic battle for domination! (At least, that is what I’ve been told.)

If you decide to go deep sea fishing, you won’t even need a fishing license. There are several charter companies you can choose from, the best of which are located on the north shore of the island. Each boat captain has a different set of rules and regulations regarding your catch, what happens to large fish caught on board, and what safety policies are in place. So once you find a good charter, I would recommend asking a lot of questions.

Of course, if you would rather fish on land, we have that too. Freshwater fishing is very popular on the island, though remember that you will need a fishing license. These licenses are available from the State Division of Aquatic Resources in Lihue, and you should also pick up a copy of “Hawaii Fishing Regulations” while you’re there. In addition, keep in mind that you don’t have to purchase a year-long license if you are only planning to fish while on vacation. Some 7-day and 30-day licenses are also available.

Once you have your license, don’t just go anywhere to fish. There are specific fishing areas that are open to you, some of which require a special permit. For instance, the Wahiawa Public Fishing Area requires a permit, so you must pick one up at the Aquatic offices or at a local fishing supply store. These permits are usually free.

And there you have it. I have talked about Kauai fishing. Now maybe the men of the island will give me some peace about it. :)

November 13, 2010 by, Emily

Did you know that Kauai has its own community radio station? It’s true! KKCR’s blend of what they call “mixed plate radio” is an excellent choice for easy listening if you are coming to the island. But don’t be shy. You can check them out now by listening online!

I mention this now because I love music. I listen to the radio constantly, and I enjoy a wide range of stations from traditional island music to pop and rock beats. I have long appreciated those with musical talent, as I wasn’t given much of it myself, even though I have spent years cultivating it. And, after all of this time, I can easily tell you that music comes from the heart and the soul, not from an instrument.

My heart and soul are fed the most here on Kauai. I’ve traveled a bit, especially during my college years, but I’ve never found a place that spoke to me as much as Kauai does. It is my home but also my inspiration. I can sit out on the beach watching the waves or travel into the lush vegetation, soaking up the sun, enjoying the ocean breezes, and reveling in the scent of a thousand different flowers. It is truly a wonderful experience.

So if you are a musician yourself, I recommend visiting the island. I truly believe you’ll find some inspiration yourself here. In fact, I’ve seen it happen for quite a few talented artists over the years. What can’t you be one of them?

Not long ago, I mentioned the Wade Beach House in one of my blogs. However, unlike the other rental homes that I’ve mentioned over the months, I didn’t give much information about this one. Therefore, here is some info about Wade Beach House, a lovely rental home in Kilauea.

With 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, you definitely won’t run out of room in this large and luxuriant home-away-from-home. In fact, with over 3,000 feet to work with, you could invite all of your friends along on your Kauai vacation. The home itself was built in 2006 and is located right on Anini Beach, so you have easy access to the water. Plus, there are several gorgeous windows in each room, giving you a great view of the waves, especially during whale watching season.

The interior of the home was designed with Brazillian Cherry hardwood floors, custom furnishings, and a private hot tub for relaxing after a long day of seeing the island. There are all of the usual amenities, like a washer/dryer, a plasma TV, and wireless internet. And there is a fully equipped kitchen for when you want to cook your own meals and enjoy a night at home.

Anini Beach is a wonderful location for a rental home, especially since it is ideal for snorkeling, paddle boarding, and swimming. These protected waters are clear and warm, owing to the tropical climate. And the sands are white and comfortable on your feet. Who wouldn’t want to stay on this prime piece of real estate?

November 10, 2010 by, Emily

When you come to Kauai, there are many things to see and do. But when you have kids, sometimes they need something simple and fun to do, something that reminds them of home. So I recommend visiting Kamalani Playground in Lydgate State Park.

Kamalani Playground is a great place constructed by locals. In fact, thousands of locals came together to clear a space and work on this playground. That was about 15 years ago. Today, this playground remains beautifully maintained and open for locals and tourists alike, along with their families.

Of course, when I say playground, you are probably picturing a few swings and a jungle gym. Bu there is much more to this play area from mazes to a Japanese-style garden. There is artwork everywhere and enough things to do to entertain your kids for a few hours. The playground itself is a beautiful wooden structure with a 2nd story walkway leading to long slides. It really is an exceptional playground with a lot of charm.

So if you come to Kauai and want to visit this amazing play area, here are some directions. If you are staying in Princeville, head south on Kuhio Hwy (State HWY 56) until you reach Kapaa. Lydgate State Park will be off the highway on your left. And, of course, if you are coming from the south, take State HWY 56 north toward Kapaa and the park will be on your right.

I have been sick for several days. I hate the flu, and I really hate not knowing who I got it from. So I decided to investigate. I called all of my friends and had them come by so I could interrogate them. Unfortunately, none of them had been sick recently, and none of them knew anyone who was. So the case was cold.

Next, I called work to see if anyone else had called in recently with the flu. Someone had. My co-worker Greg had called in two days before, and he hadn’t been back since. I knew that he was the one who had infected me, but I just couldn’t prove it. So I did some more digging.

Against my better judgment, I called him. But his wife said that he wasn’t home. I told her it was extremely important and that I just needed to ask him one question. So, she went ahead and gave me his cell phone number. After calling him, I discovered that he wasn’t sick at all. In fact, he and a couple of friends had rented a boat from a place like North Shore Charters and had gone out sailing for a few days. They had just gotten back an hour before at were on their way home. My case had suddenly gone cold again, and I was getting the chills.

Today, I still have a bit of the flu, but it’s getting better. I never did figure out where I got it from, but that’s the least of my problems. All of my friends who came over to be interrogated ended up sick, and they are not happy with me. Sorry guys!

November is here! I know that most people don’t like the approach of winter, but I am the exact opposite. I love when winter approaches because the whales come with it.

For those of you who have read my blog before, you know that I enjoy whale watching and recommend it to everyone. Whale watching is an easy way to spend some quality time with nature, especially if you are on vacation. And you don’t even have to get in the water. You can whale watch from one of the bluffs or a local beach.

I personally have my own little whale watching spot, and I love to pack a lunch and go out for the day with my binoculars. Often times, you can spot an entire pod of whales spouting and surfacing near the island, and it’s a sight unlike anything in the world.

Watching whales is like being up close and personal with a dinosaur. Whales are massive, majestic creatures. Unlike sharks, they are mostly peaceful and wouldn’t hurt a fly. And yet they are some of the largest creatures in the world! Seeing them, even from a distance, is an experience because they reflect everything we should be: family oriented, passive, and flowing with nature.

If you have always wanted to visit Kauai, might I recommend coming during whale season. You can find a charter and go out on the water, searching for these marvelous creatures, or you can simply stay in a vacation rental by the beach or up on the bluffs, like the Wade Beach House. Believe me – it will be worth it.

November 5, 2010 by, Emily

I went out today and visited an important spot in my island’s history, a place where I have gone before to think and to write. It’s a quiet place where visitors can come and see a piece of our history. It’s also a place where God is said to reside. Here is a bit of history.

Just 10 short years after the Kingdom of Hawaii was established by Kamehameha the Great, the first missionary on Kauai started to build a mission. He placed that mission in Waioli on the North Shore, and to this day it is open for tourists to visit and learn.

The missionary’s name was Reverend William Alexander, and he was from the southern state of Kentucky. He worked long hours, fixing up the mission and trying to convert the islanders for the Lord. During that time, the Waioli Huiia Church was founded and many islanders started learning about God. Then, five years later, the Wilcox family (a well-known family here on the island) took over the house. They moved in and began missionary efforts as well.

Of course, over time the mission fell into disarray. The missionaries passed away and no other missionaries came, meaning the house was deserted and useless. Then, in 1921 the house was restored and was put into operation again.

Today, the mission house continues to go through restorations, as it is officially in the National Register of Historic Places and is therefore well kept. From this mission house, many other Christian denominations sprouted and grew, and God was found on Kauai.

Now, as a native, I can see this from many views. Some believe the mission to be a great waste, the destruction of our people’s traditions and religious beliefs. Others believe the mission to be a place of greatest joy, where salvation began on these pagan shores. I’m not inclined to give my full allegiance to either group.

I can, however, tell you that it is a lovely place to visit, especially if you like the peaceful quiet that the building exudes. When I really need to think, this is one of the locations that I gravitate to, just to find a bit of silence. Perhaps that means that God is here. I don’t know. But I do know that I would recommend this historical location to any tourist who is visiting the north shore.

On Kauai, we are taught American history, just like any other state. But, of course, we have our own cultural traditions and way of life. So, for the most part, we enjoy a life that is quite different from any other American states, and we appreciate that way of living.

Today, however, was a day to celebrate 500 years of American history. Was it a special holiday or some national day of remembrance? No. Today I went to the Sheraton Kauai Resort and watched a play, one that had me rolling on the floor with laughter. (Well, not literally, but you get the idea.)

The play was called The Complete History of America: Abridged. I called for reservations a week ago after some friends went and said it was funny, and I’m glad that I did. The room was full for this 90 minute production comedy, and those 90 minutes went by extremely fast. The play was put on by three actors who literally acted out the history of America… for the most part. It was funny and great fun, especially when they would run into the back and change costumes quickly, coming out as a completely different person in history. I loved that.

All in all, while I’m sure several points weren’t covered by their retelling of history, I remembered more about my history lessons in that one evening than I ever did in school. So, for visitors who will be on Kauai in the next couple of weeks, might I recommend catching the show? It is definitely something fun to do, a performance that will be a highlight for your vacation. And it’s held at the Sheraton, so you can stop by the restaurant and eat before the show! But I don’t recommend staying there, as rooms can be a bit expensive.

Do you like granite counter tops, private getaways off of pristine golf courses, fully furnished vacation homes, and all of the amenities you can dream about? Well, then I suggest you book Villas of Kamalii 11 the next time you’re on the island.

First of all, let’s discuss location. This rental is the best of the Villas of Kamalii, located in a private area of the greenbelt with an amazing view of the golf course. There are no other houses around, so you’ll have a private getaway all to yourself. However, it’s located on prime real estate in Princeville, so you’ll never have to worry about being far away from the action.

The amenities are also one of a kind. With flat screen televisions, a swimming pool and hot tub, a barbeque, beach toys in the garage, and internet access, you will want for nothing. The kitchen is fully equipped and the home is fully furnished. There are two master suites, one with a queen bed and one with a king, plus a third bedroom with two twin beds and a guest bathroom. This means that you can bring the whole family and enjoy a fun filled week on Kauai.

Now, when you are on vacation, you’ll want to stay in a place that’s relaxing, peaceful, fully equipped, and fun. This villa has all of those things, plus an $1100 per week price tag that simply can’t be beat. Just check into local hotel prices for seven days if you don’t believe me. Plus, unlike a hotel, you’ll have the freedom to do what you want, when you want to do it.

Of all the vacation rentals on Kauai, this is the one I’d move into if my house burned down. So I’m recommending it to you. Come and see the beautiful side of Kauai from the luxury of your own golf course vacation rental.