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Okay, I’ve been getting some comments from friends about the fact that I constantly talk about meat when I write about food. (Clearly, they missed my post about farmers markets and the wonderful fruits and veggies on Kauai.) So, I decided to write a post about good vegan options on Kauai. After all, there are many individuals who have wonderful reasons for not eating meat, and my addiction to bacon (mostly because my diet says I can’t have it) should not cause them undue stress when eating out.
So, for my vegan and vegetarian readers out there, this one is for you.
There are a few good options if you want to eat vegan and still enjoy a meal in a nice restaurant here on Kauai. And my favorite place (yes, I am typically a vegetarian who eats a little fish here and there) is the Garden Café at Common Ground. This place is located on a farm! So I guess there’s no doubt that the veggies and fruit were grown locally and picked fresh. The atmosphere is great, as it’s an open-air café, allowing you to see all the beauty of Kauai around you. And the food is delicious. I don’t know how they make their salads so full of flavor, but they manage it. And if you leave without trying the taro fries, you will be extremely sorry you did later. They are out of this world.
Another great place is Postcards Café. I think I’ve written about this place before, so I’ll make this brief. (Well, relatively. I do LOVE to talk about food.) Postcards is right in Hanalei and they serve only fish and vegetarian fare. (Vegan too, if you were wondering.) No beef or chicken will grace their menu, as they are dedicated to providing meat-free (other than fish) food for the vegans and vegetarians of Kauai. They also don’t use any refined sugars, so diabetics might find a gold mine in this place as well. The food is SO good that you hardly notice you’re eating healthy.
The last place I will mention is the Caffe Coco. This place can only be described as quaint. It’s a small vegetarian and seafood restaurant in Kapaa that a lot of people miss (here is a link to their website), but they have one of the best vegan/vegetarian menus on Kauai. Four words: Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup. OH SO GOOD! Seriously, you need to try this place. Not all of the food is “to die for,” but this will give you the most options for your money and your dietary lifestyle. Plus… Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup! Am I right?
So there you have it – 3 places you can eat if you don’t eat meat. And if you do eat meat, they are still really good. Postcards and Caffe Coco have good seafood menus, and the atmosphere at each place is just perfect.
This morning was hard. I am dieting, as you know, and one of my friends suggested that I give up my morning coffee to avoid caffeine, sugar, and dehydration. So I agree, figuring that coffee was the least of my worries.
I was SO wrong.
Last night, I went out with my fiancée and had a wonderful time. We danced, played, walked on the beach, ate a fairly healthy meal together (refer to my last post), and stayed out WAY too late. That’s right – I’m tired.
It was past 2am when I finally came home and snuggled up with my pillow. So when the alarm went off at 7am to inform me that my day was starting, I wanted to cry. It couldn’t possibly be time to get up yet. Life was too short not to sleep as comfortably as possible for as long as possible, right? But alas, I got up and got ready for work anyway.
And then it happened. My sleepy steps wandered into the kitchen and stopped beside my dear friend, Mr. Coffee. I reached for my favorite Kauai Coffee blend and was half-way through scooping it into a filter when I remembered… I was off coffee.
Of course, that woke me up instantly. No coffee? But I needed it! It couldn’t be true! There had to be a loop-hole. And so I did something that I would later regret: I called my friend, woke her up, and begged her to let me have coffee.
Now, I realize that I am a grown woman who doesn’t need permission. But a challenge is like a sworn promise to me. I take them seriously. So when she challenged me to staying away from coffee for a week and I agreed, in my head that agreement was set in stone. And, to her credit, she didn’t yell at me as much as she could have. She simply told me that I could be a wuss if I wanted to and hung up.
Yeah. That was harsh.
Do you know much about Kauai Coffee? They are a local coffee company that makes the most wonderful blends. My favorite has jumped around a bit, but this year it has mostly been their Chocolate Macadamia Nut. It is a perfect combination of chocolate (which I love) and the sweet nuttiness of the Hawaiian Macadamia Nut. Honestly, it’s like drinking Hawaii in a cup… and then covering it with chocolate. ☺
But you know what other flavors are good? They have this amazing Coconut Caramel Crunch that simply blew my socks off the first time I tried it. To this day, I tend to go back and forth about my favorite of their blends and, if it isn’t Chocolate Macadamia Nut, then it’s Coconut Caramel Crunch. And then there is their Hawaiian Hazelnut, which is like their regular roast (already good) with a delicate touch of nutty goodness. In essence, their coffee is wonderful.
And it’s right around the corner! Okay, I admit it’s a bit of a drive when you don’t buy it from the store. But if I really wanted to commute (which I admit I’ve done on occasion), I could just head to the South-West side of the island and visit their company in person. It’s off Halewili Road right before Wahiawa Beach and the town of Hanapepe. And there is nothing better than getting your favorite coffee, freshly made on-site.
So, you can imagine my dismay over the fact that I wasn’t allowed to have it! It was like a physical blow, and it didn’t stop there.
The coffee called to me for the rest of the day, luring me back into the kitchen time and time again. I was tired the entire day, barely able to function as I went about my daily routine. And now it’s only 8pm, and all I can think about is sleep. Maybe I’ll go to bed right now and dream about waking up rested and able to resist my coffee’s allure.
Now, I don’t tell you this just to get your compassion and pity. Okay, that is part of it. I really do want pity here. But I also tell you this to let you know that Kauai has more than great food. We have great coffee. And if you come to visit us, please don’t leave without trying a cup, or two, or three… or 10.
Okay, now I’m going to bed.
I have been told for years that juicing is a great way to lose weight and feel fabulous at the same time. So I decided to try it. However, I came to realize that juice doesn’t really fill me up. Now, it might just be me and the way that I love food, but juice is just liquid. I needed something substantial.
Now, what is juicing really? It’s taking the essentials out of vegetables and fruit and drinking it, right? Well, I can do that AND have substance. How? With smoothies! (Good plan, huh?)
So, every morning at breakfast, I get out my blender (a Magic Bullet that a friend let me borrow for the month) and I go to town, throwing in whatever veggies and fruits I have in my refrigerator, along with a little protein powder and ice. The result is a heavenly combination of wonderful flavors, thick enough to feel like a real meal. I’m dieting and enjoying it! It’s great!
Of course, you may be asking yourself what this has to do with you? Well, that’s a good question, and I’ll tell you. Every morning I mix fresh fruits and vegetables into my smoothie. And every day I can buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the local market stands and farmers markets on the island! Goodbye frozen fruits and canned veggies. Hello fresh, organic produce from right here on Kauai.
Now, I’m from the North Side of the island, so I stick with these markets. But there are farmers markets all over Kauai if you just ask around about them. So if I don’t mention a FM that you know about and love, feel free to leave a comment about it here on my blog.
Okay, here is my schedule:
Monday – I go to Westin in Princeville with a friend who lives there and buy organic produce between 5 and 6pm. If I can’t go there, I hit Namahana Farmers Market by Banana Joe’s at 4pm.
Tuesday – Waipa Farmer’s Market meets at 2pm at Waipa Ahupuaa Field. They have great organic choices and chocolate covered bananas!! (Those are healthy because they are bananas, right?)
Wednesday – I don’t know of a FM on the North Shore. So if I don’t stock up on Tuesday, I buy stuff at the Kapaa Sunshine Market in the New Town Ball Park Parking Lot between 3 and 4pm. They have organic stuff too, but it is a bit of a drive for me.
Thursday – The Kilauea Neighborhood Center Ball Park Parking Lot has a FM at 4:30pm. It’s smaller than the others, but it gets the job done.
Friday – I have the same problem as with Wednesday. But I typically head to Vidinha Stadium at 3pm if there is an event at the stadium that night I want to see. Otherwise, I head into Anahola, where there is an all day market. (The problem with this is that they also serve lunches like a huli-huli chicken plate with roasted potatoes that is to die for! So I have to be careful.)
Saturday – The Hanalei Farmers Market is probably the closest to my house, which is great because then I have more of the day to play. ☺ This market is open from 9:30 in the morning until noon and also features craft booths, which are fun to look through.
Sunday – On Sundays, I eat a real breakfast as a treat after a week of dieting. (Though I usually use the fruit from the day before.) But if you really want to go to a FM, my favorite is in Kealia (East side of the island) by the post office. It runs from noon until 4pm and has much more than produce. There is live music, free entertainment, arts and crafts, flowers, hula, and more. It’s pretty fun and a great way to spend the afternoon if you’re bored.
So there you go. Kauai grows a ton of organic and local produce, from fruits to vegetables. And the number of farmer’s markets can clearly show you that. So if you want to eat healthy, or have fresh fruits and vegetables to work with everyday that you are here, visit some of our markets today.
Well, April Awareness month has gone surprisingly well, if I do say so myself. We’ve seen lots of information about water safety, learned a ton about which beaches to visit, and have even answered a few questions from tourists. Good times.
But what is an awareness month without a wrap-up blog!? Am I right?
So let’s go over the basic checklist (provided by the Kauai Lifeguard Association):
· Know the specific dangers of the site you are visiting.
· Know that rocks are slippery and waves can sweep you out into the ocean.
· Know that the ocean can appear calm and huge waves arrive 30 minutes later.
· Know where rip currents are and how to escape if caught in one.
· Know that shore breaks can pound you into the sand causing serious injuries.
· Know that waves breaking on reefs can hold you under water.
· Know that crossing streams during and after heavy rains can be treacherous.
· Know that lifeguards and local folks have this knowledge and can advise you.
· Know that swimming near a lifeguard is strongly recommended.
· Know that lifeguards are skilled and ready to offer assistance if you need it.
· Know that our free Kauai Beach Guide shows the location of lifeguard towers and can provide ocean safety information.
And remember, Kauai Explorer can provide you with the current ocean conditions each and every day. So there is no reason not to know before you go. When in doubt, don’t go out. It’s that easy.
Also, keep in mind that there are many water activities here on Kauai that are fun and exciting, despite the ocean’s ferocity. These activities (like scuba diving and surfing) are always safer in groups and when taught by certified instructors. And it’s always wise to try new water sports at lifeguard-protected beaches.
I hope you have a wonderful and safe stay here on Kauai.
No, this post will not be about which queens in Kauai’s history were known to use bubble bath. ☺ In fact, this post isn’t about a real bath at all. Rather, it is about a beautiful spot on Kauai that is rather dangerous. While I would normally write a post encouraging travel to lovely spots on Kauai, this blog will be more of a warning.
The Queen’s Bath is actually a tide pool in Princeville. It’s about the size of a swimming pool and is listed on many blogs for tourists as a beautiful spot to hike, swim, snorkel, and watch the surf. According to these other posts, the path down to the pool itself is a bit steep, but the walk is only about 10 minutes long and the view is worth it.
Well, this particular blogger disagrees with what is said on the other blogs. You see, anyone living on Kauai knows that this is a dangerous area, even if it is lovely. Every year, people die while trying to get down the slick, water-covered path to the tide pool, and even more drown as a result of swimming in and near this pool. While some websites will just tell you to wear grippy shoes and avoid high tide, I think this place should be a no-visit spot on Kauai for everyone, including those with grippy shoes.
The last time I visited the Queen’s Bath, I was much younger than I am now. I wore my swimsuit and got into the water. As always, the water was a perfect 75-80 degrees, so swimming was comfortable. Some friends and I went together and we laughed, talked, swam, and played in the water. The problem came when we were leaving.
A good friend of mine slipped from the rocks and fell into the water. She almost drowned. The tide was pulling at her and slammed her against the rocks. She was under for a while. Luckily, we had a trained lifeguard with us (a bonus of having such amazing friends) and he dove into the water after her. When we all made it back up to our cars, we made a pact: no more visits to the Queen’s Bath.
And I’m not the only one who has experienced problems with this area. Over 30 people have died there in the past several years, both from rouge waves and from slipping on the rocks. In fact, Queen’s Bath has been labeled one of the three most dangerous places to visit on Kauai. So, to put it plainly, don’t go there.
I bring this up because we have had a string of tourists visiting this swim spot in the last few months, and not all of them have come back unscathed. And while I want you all to experience everything Kauai has to offer, I also don’t want to see anything happen to you. So please do me a favor and take the following advice:
1. Don’t ever swim without a lifeguard present.
2. Don’t go to the Queen’s Bath and expect a fun day with no problems.
3. And never assume the water is safe and couldn’t hurt you just because you’re a strong swimmer at home and the waves look calm at the moment.
Okay guys, I’m sorry to be so fervent with this post, but I have lived here a long time and want everyone to stay here in safety. There are many beautiful beaches with fun tide pools, white sand, and calm waters that you can visit while on Kauai. And if you need information about any particular beach, just ask me! I would be glad to talk to you about everything you need to know.
When you have children, the idea of going to an island completely surrounded by water might be a bit scary. After all, the worry that your child can wander out into the water and be swept out to sea is a real one when there is that much water around. But, luckily for you, I have the answer.
Keeping your little ones safe so that they can enjoy the wonder of the ocean is important, so I want to help. And luckily for you, I know some of the safest beaches on Kauai! Is that because I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve been to every beach on Kauai? Well… okay, yes both of those things are true. But I know the safest beaches for kids on Kauai because of the Kauai Visitor’s Bureau, who have an awesome pamphlet about water safety and which beaches to choose.
So here is the information I read on the pamphlet:
Anini Beach – Anini Beach is on the North Side of the island near Princeville. And while this beach does not have a lifeguard (which is a big No No in my world), they do have a protected swimming area. So the water in this area stays calm and, if you keep a sharp eye on your kids, you should be able to have a lot of fun at this beach.
Lydgate Beach – Lydgate is on the East Side of the island and, unlike Anini Beach, it DOES have a lifeguard station. So in addition to a protected swimming area, there are trained professionals on site. (Yes!) Plus, if you are just getting into town, Lydgate Beach is just north of the airport a ways.
Poipu Beach Park – Poipu Beach Park has all of the greatness of Lydgate Beach, except it’s on the South Side of the island.
Salt Pond – Just like Poipu Beach Park, Salt Pond has a protected swimming area, ample room to set up your supplies for the day, a lifeguard on duty, and it’s located on the South Side of the island.
So, as you can see, there are a few beaches with calm, protected ocean waters where your small children can splash around, play with floaties, build sand-castles, and experience the warm tropical waves. And if you have any questions about the beaches listed above, you can contact the Kauai Visitors Bureau or simply write them a note on their Facebook page.
Now, I’ve mentioned in my past blogs that high surf should be avoided. Why? Because it’s dangerous. High surf might look like fun in the old-time surfing movies, but in reality 85% of ocean deaths are caused by high surf. Let me give you an example.
Back in January of this year, two tourists from San Francisco were hanging out with some friends and exploring the coast of Kauai. They were walking along the rocks when a large wave knocked one man down and dragged him out to sea. In an effort to save his best friend, the other man jumped in to save him. Both ended up drowning. Their names were Brian Baker and Adam Griffiths.
That is why high surf is dangerous. The sea can be calm one minute and then a wave the size of your house can sneak up and take you out the next. It’s dangerous and easy to avoid. How do you avoid it? Well, listen to the weather warnings, check on the Kauai Explorer website, and don’t go to the beaches with high surf warnings.
So what causes high surf? Well, several different things can affect the surf. For instance:
North & West Sides – Winter storms are a big one here on the North side of the island. These storms cause the surf to grow bigger than normal from September through May. These storms can create huge and powerful waves that can easily take out a person or group of people. So when there is a winter storm warning, avoid the water on the North Shore.
South Side – Summer storms are for the South what winter storms are for the North. In other words, if a summer storm warning is in affect, avoid going in the water on the South side of the island.
East Side – Northeasterly trade winds affect this side of the island all year long. These winds make the ocean rough and create strong currents that can sweep you out to see. So check wind conditions before going into the water on the East side.
And then there are days when the surf is just high. In other words, just because it’s April and you’re vacationing on the South side of the island doesn’t mean there won’t be high waves. Sometimes high surf comes out of nowhere. Why? Because it’s affected by the wind, the waves, the tide, the obstructions in the water, etc.
So how will you know when it’s safe to take your family snorkeling? Well, that’s easy. You can check the water conditions only, watch for signs on the beach, watch the water to see if things are calm or choppy, or simply ask your local lifeguard. The lifeguards on our beaches are friendly, knowledgeable, and open to answering as many questions as you’d like.
Did you know that the waterline ebbs and swells throughout the day? You probably did, but I figured I’d ask anyway. This movement of the waterline on the shore is called the tide, and the tide is affected by the moon.
You see, tides are created because the moon likes the earth WAY too much. Seriously, the moon literally pulls at the earth, trying to bring the things on the earth closer to itself. But the earth is zealous of her stuff and holds onto all of it, all except the water.
Water is a funny thing. In its liquid state, water moves and sloshes and flows. This makes impossible for the earth to hold down, and so the moon pulls at it and actually gets it to move! In the ocean (or large lakes), you can see this pulling action in the form of the tide.
Each and every day, there are two high tides and two low tides. Why? Well, the moon is constantly revolving around the earth. And the moon is constantly pulling at the water. But if the moon is moving, then the direction it’s pulling the water moves as well, creating high and low tides. The sun comes into play as well, combining its gravitational force with that of the moon and the earth at certain points. So by the end of the day, the water has shifted drastically several times.
So how does the sun interact in this little game of push and pull? Well, during a full or new moon, the sun and the moon combine their gravitational pull. This is known as “spring high tide,” though it has nothing to do with the season. During this time, high tide is very high and low tide is very low. It is the most dramatic difference you will see in the tides.
On the flip side, during the moon’s quarter phases, the sun and the moon are working against each other. (More exactly, they are working at right angles to each other.) The result is a canceling out of tidal forces, causing high tide and low tide to be not much different.
So why is this tidal lesson important? Well, if you know about the tides and the phases of the moon, then you will know when it’s safe to play in the ocean! That’s right – it can be that simple. (Though keep in mind that each beach has its own little obstructions, issues, and water hazards.)
So let’s say that you are visiting Kauai during a quarter moon and you want to go swimming in an area with coral reefs. Is it safe? Well, chances are that it is. The moon and sun are canceling out most of the tidal shift, so you don’t have to worry about getting stranded in a reefed zone with the tide coming in.
But what if you’re visiting Kauai during a full moon and you want to go swimming in that same reefed in area? Well, chances are that you will have to be extremely careful because the tides will change drastically and rather suddenly. You don’t want to get caught sucked into the reef with the tide running out or stuck without a foothold when the tide is rushing in.
So there you have it. If you pay attention to the tides, you can easily understand when some of the safest swimming and snorkeling days are. And if you don’t want to go through the effort of checking the phase of the moon, you can always check with your local lifeguards or check the Hawaii Tides website for the answers you need. ☺
We live on an island, so there are MANY beaches to choose from when you visit. Some have great reputations, some are exclusive, some are remote, some are well-populated, and some are just plain awesome.
So when you are choosing a beach to visit, it’s important to keep a few basic questions in mind.
1. Does it have a lifeguard? As I’ve mentioned before, lifeguards can help keep you and your family safe. So if you have the choice, always choose a lifeguarded beach.
2. Do you have children? There are some beaches with lots of activity and big waves and then there are beaches that have calmer waters and fewer people. The beaches in that second category are typically better for families with small children.
3. How well can you swim? Again, beaches with large waves and no lifeguards should be avoided, especially by those of you who do not swim exceedingly well. Each beach is different, and conditions change quickly. So if you are a bad swimmer, avoid the ocean.
4. What does the weather report say today? Each day you plan to go out into the water, check the Kauai Explorer website. Why? Well, conditions change often. Beaches that were perfectly safe yesterday might have large waves and choppy waters today. And knowledge is power.
Okay, so you know what questions to ask, but you might not know anything about the beaches! I can help with that. After all, I live here. ☺
Hanalei Bay Beach Park – Hanalei Bay is one of the most beautiful spots on Hawaii. Typically, when tourists visit our island, it’s to see this beautiful bay. And that is why lifeguards are on duty in this area. The beach is large and stretches all the way around the half-moon bay. For this reason, there is a lot of ground to cover for the lifeguards, which is why I recommend that you and your family set up your towels near the guard towers. And keep in mind that the ocean is not tame in this area, which makes it great for some water sports like surfing but also means you must use caution.
Kee Beach – This is also a lifeguard protected beach and is very near Hanalei Bay. But because of the natural arrangement of water obstructions, it’s much safer than the Bay. This beach is considered a great beach for swimming and snorkeling, so enjoy. But it also has strong currents, sharp coral, slippery rocks, and breaking waves. So please use caution.
Haena Beach Park – Like Kee Beach, this beach is good for snorkeling and swimming, due to the natural arrangement of water obstructions. And this beach has a lifeguard station, so if something goes wrong, a rescue will be forthcoming. It’s also very close to Hanalei Bay.
Anini Beach – Anini beach is considered a good swimming and snorkeling beach because of the natural obstructions in the water. However, there are NO lifeguards on duty here, so I do not recommend visiting this spot. There is, however, a protected swimming area and facilities nearby. So if you watch your family like a hawk, it’s a good place to let your small children put their feet in the water.
Kauapea Beach – Just like Anini beach, there are NO lifeguards on duty. There are also no obstructions, so the water tends to come fast and large. Honestly, I would completely avoid this beach with my family.
Lumahai Beach – There are no lifeguards on duty at this beach and the currents are really really strong. So, if you want to get in the water, avoid this beach. However, if you want to see the pretty spot where they filmed the “wash that man right out of my hair” song from South Pacific, enjoy but stay on the sand.
Also, keep in mind that the North Shore gets large swells during the months of September through May. So if you are visiting within the next month or two, check often on the Kauai Explorer website and check the wave heights before visiting any beach. Also, keep your eyes out for lifeguard warning signs as you swim. Enjoy!
As you probably know, currents are pathways made by the motion of the water, often times affected largely by rocks, reefs, and other underground obstacles. The result is a strong force of water moving in a specific direction, whether you want it to or not. And, since most obstacles are under the water, it’s usually hard to tell where the currents are or how swift they move, unless you have a lot of experience with the water in a particular area.
Well, as beachgoers, we need to be aware of the currents that could adversely affect our trips into the water. After all, knowledge is power, right? If you don’t realize you are walking into a high current area, you could be easily swept into the rocks or out to sea before you realize what’s happening.
That’s why surfers get a feel for the area they are planning to surf before they start out. They follow the path of the water with their eyes and their boards. They make sure the currents won’t sweep them into a reef or a bluff with large or sharp rocks at the bottom. And that’s the way we all should be.
Whether you’re surfing, swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving, it’s important that you find out everything you can about the waterways around you. Do your research. Study the beach you are visiting or the landmark you want to see on the Kauai Explorer website. Ask residents about the areas you should avoid. And make sure that you know what to do in case a rip tide gets ahold of you.
Do you remember watching Finding Nemo? There is a large part of the movie having to do with the EAC (East African Current). During the movie, Nemo’s dad (Marlin) and Dori find themselves “riding” the EAC in order to reach Australia. Why are they “riding” it instead of swimming it? Well, the EAC is an extremely strong current. You can’t swim against it. You can’t fight it. So you must go along with the flow and jump out of it when you have the chance.
Well, rip tides are just like that. And if they snatch you and try to pull you out into deep ocean, you need to take the advice of Crush the Turtle and “Chill.” (Easier said than done, I know.) To help you, keep these three basic steps in mind:
1. Keep Calm. If you panic, you will probably drown.
2. Go with the Flow. Fighting a strong rip current is impossible, so don’t try. Your best bet is to relax, float along with the current, and conserve your air. Floating on your back will help you to breath easily and won’t cause you to waste your energy.
3. Wait. If you have taken any of my previous advice, then the people you came with will realize you’re missing or the lifeguard on duty will see you. And rescue will follow soon thereafter. Your only job now is to float and wait.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, tip currents are involved in more than 85% of drowning deaths at the beach. So know what you’re up against and have a plan before you get into the water. And if the water doesn’t look friendly, don’t go out. Choosing safety is never a bad thing.
Okay, so water safety is so important that I really can’t stress it enough. Hence an entire month of water safety blogs. But water safety doesn’t have to mean just avoiding the water. After all, swimming and water sports are REALLY fun! Water safety is about knowing the beach you are going to visit and following a set of basic safety tips… which I will list out here. ☺
1. Choose Lifeguards – The best way to ensure that you and your family stay safe when visiting the water is to hang out only at lifeguarded beaches. On the North Shore, those beaches include Hanalei Bay Beach Park , Haena Beach Park, and Kee Beach. So if you want to get into the water, go to one of those. However, avoid visiting Anini Beach Park and Lumahai Beach if you want to swim. They do not have lifeguards on duty.
2. Read the Signs – Lifeguards have several jobs, one of which is to place warning signs up for the beachgoers. So if you see a warning sign, DON’T ignore it. Read it and obey. These signs are not designed to ruin your fun. Instead, they are designed to keep you safe while you have fun.
3. Waves Come in Sets – When big waves are coming in, you might not immediately realize it. That’s because waves come in sets. Sometimes there can be a good 20 minutes between sets, meaning that the waves might not be large and dangerous when you get to the beach. That’s why it’s important to check with lifeguards and visit the Kauai Explorer website before you swim at any beach. If there is a large wave warning, you will be notified there.
4. Water Makes Things Slippery – I know this sounds like a “duh” statement, but sometimes it’s hard to remember this fact when you’re off having fun. Walking along the rocks is fun, until you step on a slick rock or piece of seaweed and fall. So remember that wet = slippery while you’re on the beach.
5. Know about water currents and undertow. As I’ve mentioned before, undertow is a sucking action caused by water running back out to sea after a wave. Often times, water will be running out as another wave is crashing in, making for very unstable ground that pulls you under. So don’t get caught unawares.
Of course, the most important advice I can give you is to listen to that inner voice inside of you. If the water just doesn’t look or feel right, get out. The lifeguards like to say, “When in doubt, don’t go out!” And it’s so true. Water sports here on Kauai should be exciting and fun. But the ocean cannot be tamed and often creates its own rules. So stick with your buddy, stay safe, and enjoy your stay on Kauai.
As you know, I’ve termed this month April Awareness month in honor of water safety. I want all visitors to our island to stay safe, avoid dangers, and have a wonderful time. And since so many people acquaint Hawaii with surfing, I think the first water safety blog I write should be about surfing safety.
On the news in February, you probably heard about the surfer who died while surfing a large wave in Hanalei Bay. That’s right in my backyard, so it was especially shocking for me. And while I don’t normally write about death on this blog, I feel this man’s accident is an especially good example of why we should always be cautious in the water.
The man who died was Richard Proczka, a resident of Kilauea! In other words, he was from here, had been in the ocean a million times before, and was a good surfer. But when a high surf warning was announced on the North Shore, he ran toward the water instead of away from it. Now, many great surfers tend to do this, as bigger waves mean bigger surfing awesomeness. But bigger waves also mean danger, especially for those who are newer to surfing.
Large breaking surf is hazardous because it can create dangerous rip currents and undertow. You know that feeling that you get under your feet when a small wave crashes on shore and the water is sucked back out to sea? Well, that’s undertow. Now times that by a million and you have the affect that is caused after a large wave hits the shore. And rip currents are strong currents that not even the best swimmer in the world can fight. They will drag you out into deep water, and there is nothing you can do except stay calm, go with the flow, and wait for help. Even expert surfers are at the mercy of such a great force of nature, as was proven by Mr. Proczka.
So how can you surf and stay safe at the same time. Well, first of all, DO NOT go surfing while a high surf warning is in affect. How will you know when a warning is in affect? Well, there is a website (found here) called Kauai Explorer. You can check there for up-to-date info about the water conditions on the island. This site is up-kept by lifeguards, so the information is good and should be followed.
And speaking of lifeguards, if you want to go surfing, make sure you do so on a beach with a guard tower. Surfing in secluded areas and exclusive beaches might sound fun and romantic, but it’s just plain dangerous. You need the protection of someone who is trained in water rescue, even if you never have to use his or her expertise.
Another good idea is to NEVER surf alone. Find some friends who want to go with you or join a class or surfing club. This is Kauai, after all, and we have quite a few surfers around. I’m sure you’ll never hurt for lack of company.
Did everyone have a great Easter? I know I did. We had a wonderful time with family and friends, enjoying the beautiful weather and experiencing the wonder of Spring. One of my favorite moments was taking my best friend’s children to the beach for an Easter egg hunt. We hid the eggs in mini sandcastles, dunes, and underneath beach towels. We used real eggs too! And when their mom decided to lay down and relax on her beach towel and got covered in yoke (oops… I hid that one), I don’t think we stopped laughing for 10 minutes. Good times.
And now it’s April, a time of big waves, spring break, fun times, and preparation for summer. In April, the world seems fresh and new and exciting and fun and perfect. All things are blooming and nothing bad can happen. And that has led me to one conclusion…
We need a few blogs about water safety.
I know, thinking about the dangers of the water isn’t something that normal people want to do during the Spring. But you know what – being safe while you play is SO important. And whether we like to think about it or not, the ocean can be dangerous. Trust me – I live on an island surrounded by water. I know what I’m talking about.
So this month I have decided to make this blog all about water safety awareness. I’ve termed it “April Awareness” month, and it’s going to be great. Sure, I’ll still be talking about fun places to visit and condos that are perfect for your families. But I’m also going to be warning you away from certain places and giving you tips on how to remain safe in each area of the island you visit. After all, we want you to come back and see us again, and you can only do that if you stay safe.
So happy April Awareness everyone! I hope you come out and see us here on Kauai. And if you are a resident, I hope you give me your feedback about the area and your suggestions for water safety.
It’s going to be a great month!
If you visit Kauai sometime before the end of this month, chances are that you will hear about Prince Kuhio’s birthday. And you will think, “Well, happy birthday to him” and then go about your merry way, enjoying the sand, the surf, and the special events on our lovely island. But there is more to this event than you think.
First of all, Prince Kuhio is dead. I know – shocker, right? So don’t feel too bad if you can’t find him to wish him a happy birthday in person. So why are we celebrating? Well, Prince Kuhio Day is a statewide holiday on Hawaii, and on Kauai we like to build up the celebration a bit. So while the Prince’s official birthday is on March 26th and his full name is actually Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole Piikoi, we have a bunch of celebratory events all throughout the end of March.
Secondly, we aren’t just celebrating a birthday here. Just like President’s day is actually President George Washington’s birthday, Prince Kuhio Day is a day to celebrate the life and achievements of our dear Prince. You see, Prince Kuhio was heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He was prince of the House of Kalakaua. And he was, by all rights and accounts, a great man.
But you see, the United States was forming and our set of tiny islands needed unity and protection. So, when Hawaii entered the United States of America and became an official state, we could no longer have a King. We had a President.
That didn’t stop Prince Kuhio, however. Our prince did not consider himself so important that he would block our entrance into the United States. Instead, he desired the good of all of our people. He worked hard to ensure that Hawaii was well-represented in Congress. He authored the Hawaii Statehood bill in 1919. And he worked hard to provide for his people. By going through the US government, he did more for his people that we could have ever imagined. And he looked good doing it! ☺
And so we celebrate Prince Kuhio Day (his birthday) as a memorial to this great man and a celebration of his legacy. Plus, it’s always a good day for a party of two, right?
Now, if you are on Kauai and you see a PK Day celebration going on, join us! We welcome all tourists and residents alike. And we look forward to celebrating our freedom, our island heritage, and our culture with you.
If you haven’t been to one of our local farmer’s markets, it’s well worth the time, especially if you are staying in a vacation rental instead of a hotel room. Why? Well, you can find a lot of great local produce from fresh fruits to homegrown vegetables. But that won’t do you as much good unless you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, if you know what I mean.
This Wednesday (aka tomorrow) from 3pm-6pm, the weekly Kapaa Farmers Market and Swap Meet will take place. This is one of the better Farmers Markets because you can get excellent produce and also amazing deals on swapped items. Last year, a friend of mine got a $200 surfboard as a trade in for car parts! Can you believe it!?? Of course, I don’t surf, so I didn’t even consider the surfboard. But I’ve gotten clothes, other water sports gear, and a few items for my home from this swap meet. So I know it’s worth a visit.
I try to get there every Wednesday, but lately I’ve only been going once a month. I got a bit busy, I guess, so I don’t have as much free time in the afternoons. But if you have the time, I would highly recommend visiting this Farmers Market. It’s free for anyone wanting some good deals and fresh foods, and it’s only $20 for vendors to set up a booth. So everyone wins.
I’ll include a map of where it’s located (plus it shouldn’t be hard to find on a GPS). My recommendation is to enter the market from behind the Bank of Hawaii on Lehua Street and park there, as there will be less traffic. And once you get there, have fun! Browse, buy, and support our local growers.
When I was a child, I thought there was absolutely nothing to do in my hometown. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. It seems that, no matter how many activities were going on, in my mind they had all been done before. Why should I go to the shopping center when there was nothing there I wanted? Why go golfing or mini-golfing again? Didn’t I just do that last weekend? Why play at the beach? I’ve lived near the beach my whole life and it can’t possibly still be fun, right?
Maybe you were the same way. I remember visiting a friend in California once. She lived up north, which was a bit different for me. I’m used to the sun, the surf, and the sand. But in Northern California, there are mountains, trees, bluffs, and it’s COLD! (Okay, at least it was when I was there in October.) But despite the cold weather, I thought she lived in one of the most unique and beautiful places around. I asked what fun things there were to do, and she just shrugged. She had done it all before and wasn’t sure there was anything fun left to do. (And this is a person who lived less than an hour from Lake Tahoe!)
I guess hometowns are like that when we’re young. But, luckily, they no longer seem that way as an adult. After all, as adults we have far less “free time” to do whatever we want. So, when we have a free afternoon, doing “nothing” at the beach is downright wonderful! Going golfing for an entire morning is like heaven! Getting to shop without distraction or interruption can be fabulous. And learning a new water sport is exciting. It’s like the whole world is new again.
Of course, I live in a wonderful and exciting location. Living on Kauai is like living in paradise. It’s tropical, beautiful, fun, and it smells great! (It pays to be “the Garden Island.”) And if you are a visitor to our island, you will find it hard to believe that I was ever a bored child. ☺
Here on the North Shore, we have some of the best Kauai beaches. It’s wonderful during surfing season, when the waves are big and surfer-friendly. But our beaches are also great for moon-lit strolls, sun-bathing, horseback riding at sunset, snorkeling or scuba diving, paddle boarding, boating, fishing, swimming, and much more. With white sand and breaking surf, visitors will love this area.
Of course, there are also shopping centers, golf courses, ranches, plantations, luaus, tours, helicopter rides, home rentals, and more. I am constantly busy trying new things, visiting the farmers markets, going to museums and craft fairs, participating in festivals and fairs, and overall living life to the fullest.
So if you would like to visit my hometown sometime, please do! I would love to meet you and show you around some of my favorite places, from the lighthouse to the tropical gardens. Plus, there is always something to do, especially for those who need a nice vacation getaway.
For those who don’t know their 18th century Kauai history, Kamakahelei was Ali’i Aimoku of the island of Kauai from 1770-1794. In other words, she was the 22nd ruling chiefess of Kauai, the sovereign over the island but having no ruling authority in the rest of Hawaii. Why? Well, back then the islands were not united. Each island had a separate sovereign (sometimes more than one), and sometimes the islands fought against each other.
Kamakahelei was not even of the traditional ruling family line when she came to power. And to be honest, I’m not quite sure how she managed it. (Several history scholars argue over how exactly she came to inherit the chief’s position.) But somehow she succeeded Peleioholani as the Ali’i of Kauai and ruled for 24 years.
During those years, she worked hard, married twice, had children, and then died. Her first husband was of the ruling line of Kauai and Oahu. In fact, he was the grandson of Peleioholani when Kamakahelei became chiefess! So in all rights, he should have become the sovereign of Kauai. He didn’t however, nor did he take the throne in Oahu. And when he died in battle, Kamakahelei remarried.
Her next husband was a prince of Maui! (Apparently she had some pretty great taste.) He had ruling power over the island of Niihau. And when they wed, the islands of Kauai and Niihau became united. (Talk about a great two-for-one deal!) They also had a child and lived together until Kamakahelei’s death.
Now, why do I mention this? Well, I love history and feel that everyone should know a bit about themselves, their home, and their people. But I also know that the Chiefess Kamakahelei Street Fair is coming up, and it’s always more interesting to understand the person a fun event is named after.
ANYWAY, the Chiefess Kamakahelei Street Fair is this Saturday (February 9th) from 5-8pm. It will take place at Chiefess Kamakahelei middle school and admittance is free. So if you have kids and you want to know what fun things Kauai has to offer this weekend, this would be at the top of my list.
What can you expect? Well, how about food, games, tickets, crafts, music, prizes, photo booths and props, balloon animals, and more! There will be vendors here selling crafts that haven’t been to the previous street fairs, so their stuff will be new and exciting. PLUS you can hear the great music of the CKMS Concert Choir along with a Tahitian dance group and some special guests.
Everything here will be kid friendly and fun. So bring your kiddos down to Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School this Saturday night and enjoy some street fair excitement.
Marlin. Yellow Fin Tuna. Wahoo. Mahi-Mahi.
Kauai is a tropical island, right? We are located out here in the big blue ocean, surrounded by warm waters, deep sea reefs, and fish. Lots and lots of fish.
And do you know what else we have? Boats. Yep, we have boats, fishing equipment, and lots of bate options. So if you want to catch a large Marlin or some Mahi-Mahi for dinner, why not come to Kauai?
Around here, fishing is a major sport. And if you want to go sports fishing, there are several companies on Kauai who specialize in taking tourists out for a day on the water, places like Captain Don’s in Princeville. All you have to do is pay the fees and they do the rest for you, from providing the equipment to sailing the boat.
Of course, that leaves you with the hard part: you have to catch the fish.
Now, if you are an avid fisherman, you have probably investigated the best fishing waters, planned a full few days of fishing into your vacation, and are currently looking to take in the maximum fish allowance. However, if you are new to fishing, here is my advice: put your line in the water, sit back, and enjoy your trip. And if you catch something, consider that a bonus.
Foodland, right here in Princeville, will be collecting used and unwanted eyeglasses and sunglasses this Saturday (January 26th) from 8am to 2pm. These glasses will be sent to those in need in developing countries. Why? Well, in many countries today, there are no eye doctors that a seeing-impaired person can turn to for help. And even when there are optometrists to visit, often times the local population doesn’t have the financial resources necessary to buy glasses or pay for the appointment.
But here on Kauai, we want to support those who might not be able to support themselves. And one way that we do this is to send our used eyeglasses and sunglasses to those who need them! It’s a wonderful system, and we would love it if you were able to participate.
Of course, while you are in Princeville dropping off your glasses (or hearing aids – I hear they are expanding and accepting used hearing aids as well this year), there are many things you can do. For instance, Princeville is home to two of the best golf courses in the world! (Okay, that’s a personal opinion, but they are world renown.) And the Princeville spa is there to relax and comfort you during your time in town. Plus, there is an epic shopping center, some great beaches, and quite a few water sports rental equipment companies. So you will have plenty to do!
So, if you are interested in helping the needy and you find yourself already participating in an activity in Princeville this Saturday, please stop by Foodland and donate your old glasses or hearing aids. Again, the drop off times are between 8am and 2pm. Thanks!
Have you ever been watching a movie and you recognize the landscape from something or somewhere else? For instance, I was once watching a sci-fi movie and saw these redwoods that I recognized from a trip I took to California. It was neat. For some reason, finding an identifiable landmark was really fun for me and it made the movie that much better.
Well, around here, that happens quite a bit. The Kauai landscape has been pictured in several films and television shows over the years, from famous scenes to little known moments. Want to know which movies I’m talking about? Well, let me tell you! (No, I won’t be listing them all. There isn’t enough room for 70+ movie references. But I’ll do my best.)
Jurassic Park is probably the most famous movie to be filmed on Kauai. I can’t even tell you about the number of people who go on the helicopter tour and come back saying, “Wasn’t that whole mountainside used in Jurassic Park?!?” Yes. Yes it was. Waimea Canyon was used in the first Jurassic Park film back in 1993. It gave instant fame to an already famous landmark here on the island.
Now, how about a musical or two? Have you ever seen South Pacific? Because that movie was filmed mostly on Kauai. In fact, being from the Northern region of Kauai, I can tell you that a majority of South Pacific was filmed right here in Hanalei! (Talk about living in a well-known town.) And, if we can consider Elvis Presley films to be musicals, you might also be interested to know that the film “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” was filmed here as well.
Need a list of more recent films? Well, did you see Soul Surfer? I loved that movie, and it was filmed here on Kauai as well. (I told you that we had beautiful sandy beaches that are just perfect for surfing!) And “The Descendants” was filmed here as well, back in November 2011. (I would have paid big money to have met George Clooney that year.) And even parts of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” was filmed here! (Jonny Depp… *sigh*)
Of course, there were many more films shot here along our lovely shores, from “Six Days, Seven Nights” to “King Kong.” But the point is that Kauai has been featured several times in film. Why? Because it’s pristine, gorgeous, exciting, tropical, and fantastic. And the best part: You can visit whenever you want!
So why not come and visit. You can tour the island, see the famous landmarks, and even enjoy the ambiance. And while you’re here, you can sample the great food, beaches, and water sports. Throw in a tanning session on the beach and you have a dream vacation.