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With Mother’s Day almost here, I though it would be a good idea to give a shout out to my own mother. Mom – You taught me so much about how to be a woman and how to live my dreams and love my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you!
And now, for the rest of you reading this, let’s talk brunch.
If you don’t know, brunch is the magical meal between breakfast and lunch, the perfect time to take your mom out for a bite to eat. And this year, I recommend Tortilla Republic for your meal needs. Here’s why.
1. Tortilla Republic is yummy. Seriously, their food is really good. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten something there that I didn’t like. They are a “modern Mexican grill,” which means that their Mexican food is grilled to perfection and has a signature flavor that I simply love. In fact, I’m craving it right now just typing about it.
2. They have drinks! Their margaritas are just about famous in both Hawaii and Hollywood. Plus, they have a plethora of other options for you, including their Mother’s Day “Mom-osas”. These are sure to be a big hit.
3. For Mother’s Day, they are featuring a “Mom-osa and Bellini cart.” And they are serving brunch from 9am-3pm. So you can bring your mom down for food and drinks, enjoying your time together with the assistance of a little alcohol. (Which is sadly a necessity for some of you and your moms.)
Now, here is my question: will you be on Kauai for Mother’s Day? Cause if you are, this is a great choice for a brunch, lunch, or dinner date with Mom. And if you are on Kauai but your mom isn’t here, why not go anyway? You can take pictures of your great time and send them to your mom as a Mother’s Day present. ☺ Or you can take me and I can watch you eat all of the amazing food while I try to stick to my diet. *sigh*
So, every few posts or so on this blog, I throw in some information about local vacation homes for rent. This way, if you are reading along and my words are convincing you to come visit, you will know about all of the good places to stay! It’s my service to you. ☺ And that’s why I’m going to tell you about Hale Ylang Ylang in Hanalei.
Now, this month is all about food for me. (Yes, mostly food I can’t have now that I’m on a diet, but still…) And so I wanted to showcase a gorgeous house that also had a fully set-up kitchen and was a short walk away from some nice restaurants. Hale Ylang Ylang is that vacation home.
Actually, it’s a town house, located right near Hanalei Bay. The view is beautiful, which is probably why the house has so many large windows. In fact, the dining room has a long table situated between two extremely large, wide windows. The result is the feeling that you are eating outside in a tropical garden.
And the house itself is exquisite. I know that’s an odd word to use for a house, but this house has such appeal for me. It has hardwood floors, wood paneling that offsets the lighter shades of furniture, a quaint little stairway, a cozy window seat (really more of a window bed) with a bookshelf, and intricate little details that make it all at once cute, spacious, light, respectable, and perfect for any family.
There are two master bedrooms downstairs with King-sized beds, private bathrooms, and all of the privacy you could want. So you could bring your best friends and easily have enough space. Plus, there is an outdoor shower for after swimming in the ocean, cable tv, a DVD player, high speed internet, a washer/dryer unit, and, most importantly, a kitchen to drool over.
The kitchen has granite counter-tops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, a small island for prepping dinner, and all of the equipment you’ll need to make a great meal. All it’s missing is some food, which local markets can easily provide. And speaking of local markets, now we’re getting into the heart of this post: walking distance.
This town house is walking distance from town. That means you’ll be walking distance from a great beach, yes. But it also means that you will be walking distance from several stores, a farmer’s market, and a bunch of wonderful restaurants that serve great food all year round! In other words, you will not only have a great kitchen for cooking your own gourmet meals, but you can also go out to eat at a number of gourmet restaurants without having to rent a car!
So, if you like food the way that I do (or if you just like being incredibly close to a beach and a great shopping center), then choose Hale Ylang Ylang for your next vacation rental here on Kauai. You will absolutely love it!
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.
Yes, I’m still on my diet. But tonight my fiancée took me to an amazing restaurant and I couldn’t help but eat a full plate of food. Now, I know what you’re thinking. No restaurant is worth breaking your diet and getting fat, right? Well, I’m not so sure about that. This place was really good.
Now, I might have written about this place before. I can’t remember at the moment. (It’s almost 2:30am.) But even if I have, I’m going to write about it again. It’s worth it.
We went to Mediterranean Gourmet, one of the nicest restaurants on the island, especially if you enjoy gourmet cooking. And considering they have won a Hale Aina Award every year since they opened, I have no doubt that a lot of people like to eat gourmet food. ☺ Now, if it helps, they have some wonderfully healthy choices on their menu. Not everything is smothered in cream sauce and butter. In fact, many menu items are just the right ingredients, placed together to create new flavors that will surprise your palette.
My finance had reservations for 7:30, but we missed them. (Reservations are pretty important at this place, as they have a large following of food lovers.) But when we got there at 9pm, there were openings, so we got right in.
And then I saw the menu.
You know, this menu is a delight even on a day I’m not dieting. But when you walk into a restaurant after eating only a morning smoothie, a handful of nuts, a salad, and a few carrots, this place is like dining in heaven. I mean, right off the bat, you see the appetizers menu with their hand rolled Spinach Fatayers and Spanikopita. Oh and their Babaganush is SO good, and I say this after hating eggplant as a child. But then you see the rest of the menu and you fall into a happy state of food envy.
Don’t worry everyone – I was pretty good. I stuck with half a salad and some fish. Of course, it was a Fattoush Salad with little pita bread bits crumbled on top. (Amazing!) And I guess the fish was pan in sesame oil and tasted even better with the goat cheese, grape tomatoes, and dates it came with. So I technically *could* have eaten better if I’d wanted to. But I think I should get some credit. After all, I could have eaten at a fast food place, right? At least this way, I ate extremely well and filled myself with real food.
My fiancée didn’t help. He got the rack of lamb with garlic mashed potatoes and ate it right in front of me. It was like torture… or it would have been if my food hadn’t been so very good.
So, as you can see, there are some wonderful places to eat here on our island, especially if you aren’t on a diet. This Mediterranean gourmet fare is a real treat, a perfect place to take the one you love while on Kauai. And it’s right here in Hanalei! So eat the food, enjoy the ambiance, and savor ever bite. It’s worth it.
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.
So this month I have started a diet. Now, I know what you’re thinking: why in the world are you dieting when you live on Kauai, a place where you can find SO MANY different kinds of delicious food?! Well, let me tell you.
Last month, I decided that it was finally time to bite the bullet. That’s right – I took my future mother-in-law wedding dress shopping with me. And we actually had a good time. I expected a bit more “Oh Sweetie, he’ll hate that” and instead got a lot of “You look gorgeous! My son is SO lucky!” Yep, it was a good trip.
But, and here is where I tell all of the embarrassing details… I had to try on dresses that were a size bigger than I expected.
Okay, for those who know me, this isn’t exactly a surprise. After all, food is one of my favorite things. And Kauai has some of the best food on the planet. So is there any wonder that I’m not as skinny as I used to be? No. No there’s not. But I was still upset. I had my heart set on being a certain size for my wedding, and I wasn’t there. It was time to do the unthinkable; it was time to diet.
Fortunately for me, there is a lot here on Kauai to assist with a good diet, as well as several restaurants that serve decadent dishes and fabulously fattening desserts. So it won’t be the end of the world to diet for the month. But deciding to diet got me thinking about food and food got me thinking about all of the great places to eat here on Kauai.
And then a plan formed.
So, for the month of May, I will be blogging at Munchies! I’m calling it May Munchie Madness, and I’m planning to talk all about the food options here on Kauai. We’ll go over good healthy choices, great restaurants, interesting places to find food, and great farmers markets. In other words, we will eat, read, and be merry! I hope you’ll join me this month as we take a tour of this island’s main munchies.
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.
If you decide to stay on the North Shore and want to take your kids to the Anini Beach swimming area, then I have a vacation rental suggestion for you. One of the best rentals near Anini Beach is Puanani, which is a short walk away from the water. Why is it nice? Well, let me tell you about it.
The first thing I loved about this vacation rental is the interior design. Now, normally I would be bragging about the space and the price (which I will get to), but you can’t help but love this place when you walk into it. This is a two story home with high ceilings and a fun and tropical interior theme. The support posts are painted in bright, friendly colors and the staircase to the second floor is simply beautiful. So, if you are a fan of unique interior design at all, you must visit this place.
Okay, onto the good stuff. This place is HUGE. Seriously, it is a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2 living room vacation home tucked into a tropical paradise. The size makes it easy to find your own space, even if you are vacationing with 6 other people. The locational privacy makes it ideal for vacationing families or up to 4 couples vacationing together. And the price is unbeatable, especially if you are looking into hotel costs. (But I’ll get to that in a minute.)
As well as the size, this place has a few amenities. For instance, each bedroom has a bathroom, so there is no fighting over the shower in the morning. The living room couch also folds out into a sofa sleeper, making this a house for up to 8 people. Plus, there is a large wrap-around covered deck on the second floor with tables and chairs, so you can relax each evening while BBQing up a meal and watching the stars above the foliage of the mountain. Yep, it’s nice.
Other amenities for this place include a fully-equipped kitchen for all of your cooking needs, two separate living rooms so you can break up into groups, and free wireless internet for those who need to check my blog for the latest updates. ☺ There is a large yard out front where you can run around and play, and there are fruit trees on the property that you are allowed to pick for some delicious treats. And, if you packed light, that’s okay! There is a washer and drying in the home for easy laundry services.
Now for the cost. If you have researched hotel rooms at all, then you know that they can run anywhere from $200-$500 per night. So, if you and three other couples want to come to Kauai together, that would be between $800 and $2000/night for your group. (Doesn’t sound good, am I right?) HOWEVER, this enormous vacation home is only $2,500 for the week! That’s 7 nights of lodging for up to 4 couples for only $2,500. And when you add on space, amenities, location to the beach, etc… well, you can see why this is a good deal and a nice house.
So, if you are going to be visiting the Anini area, check out Puanani in Kilauea. You are simply going to LOVE this place.
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. ☺
If you decide to stay on the North Shore and want to visit a great beach with lifeguard protection that is perfect for swimming, I would suggest coming to Haena. There is a vacation home here, called Haena Place, that might be just perfect for you and your family, especially if you are a family of 4 or less.
Haena Place is located in a quiet neighborhood in Haena, tucked away into a small cul-de-sac. It is a two-story home with a wrap-around deck that overlooks the lush tropical mountains. So each morning you can step out onto the deck with your family, your food, and your coffee and have a nice breakfast while looking out onto the beautiful tropical landscape.
The house itself is perfect for a small family. There are two bedrooms. The larger of the two has a King-sized bed and the smaller room has a Queen. Plus, there are 1 ½ baths, so the kids will have their own bathroom for everything except showers. The living room is just right for watching one of the movies in the bookshelf for checking out what’s on cable. And the kitchen is fully stocked with the utensils and cooking equipment necessary to make a wonderful meal. You just need to pick up some ingredients.
Plus, the location of this home is perfect. Not only is it located in a safe and quiet neighborhood, but it’s also only a short distance away from Tunnel’s Beach and Haena Beach Park. Haena Beach Park, as you know, is a lifeguarded beach. Plus, the natural shape of the underwater obstacles decrease the large surf, making this beach perfect for swimming and snorkeling. So if you want a family adventure on the beach, this is the place to stay.
And the price is the best part. Hotels are really expensive and you don’t get anything more than a room and a bathroom. It’s even worse when you think of having to spend your entire vacation sharing a small space with your kids. The lack of privacy and crazy mess will get to anyone after a while. But this house is only $1,350 a week! Seriously, price some hotels and you’ll see what a wonderful deal this is. And when you consider all of the amenities you get when you rent a home instead of a hotel room, you’ll definitely decide in favor of Haena Place. You can take my word for it.
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!
Okay, there is so much more to do before the Prince Kuhio Day celebration ends. But I don’t have enough time to blog about all of it. ☹ (Sometimes it’s hard when the rest of my life interferes with my blogging.)
SO… I’ve decided to give you a brief overview of everything else you can do during this month. Hopefully, you will see something you’re interested in and you can contact the venue for more information. Okay, are you ready to quickly learn about your options? Good!
Cultural Demonstrations (FREE) – Did you miss the crafting sessions and cultural lessons last Friday? Well, good news! There will be more sessions today (March 24) from 9:30am to 3pm. Plus, in addition to the previous lesson choices, you can take ancient hula lessons at 10am! Awesome, right? For more information, contact Stella Burgess at 808-240-6369.
Talk Story (FREE) – A talk story (if you haven’t read this blog before) is an oral account of Hawaiian history. And at this Talk Story, you will have the opportunity to listen to our eastside kupuna tell the histories of Kauai. This is also a great chance to ask questions about Kauai and a good chance to get your children some extra credit in their history classes. The talk story is Thursday (March 28th) at 10am. For more information, call 808-632-8202 and talk to the front desk. (This Talk Story will take place at Kauai Lagoons in Lihue.)
Birthday Party – You knew that was coming, right? Okay, so this party will take place at Smith’s Tropical Paradise in Wailua on Friday (March 29). From 5-6pm, the life of Prince Kuhio will be showcased, pictures will be shown, and history will be given. Then at 6pm, there will be an abundance of food! So come hungry and bring your wallets, because this will cost money. You can call Smith’s or check their website for more information.
Another Birthday Party (FREE) – This will be a town-wide celebration in Anahola on Saturday (March 30) and will take place mostly at Anahola Beach Park from 11am to 5pm. There will be stories, dancing, art, games, crafts, food, and more. For more information, call 808-639-1754.
Easter Egg Hunts – In all of this celebrating, we can’t forget Easter, right? So, you have options! I have heard about two egg hunts so far: one in Anahola and one at the Prince Clubhouse. The Prince (golf course in Princeville) will be hosting an egg hunt, meet the bunny, and refreshments event from 9-11am. This event is FREE but food will cost money. Anahola’s Easter event will take place at Anahola Baptist Church from 1pm-1am and will include a live bunny petting zoo, games, songs, stories, snacks, an egg hunt, prizes, and more. Free for all ages. You can call 639-9675 for more information.
Okay, that is just a few of the things happening this week. Crazy, right?! And the funny thing is… there is so much more I could have told you about! So if you don’t see something here that sounds like fun, just look around you and ask a resident. We’ll be happy to help you find a concert, craft fair, water sport, rental company, or luau that interests you. ☺