Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kauai Part I- the South Shore

Donn and I got away on December 11 and flew through Honolulu to Kauai. It was pouring rain in Honolulu when we went through - not a good sign. Especially since the marathon was in a few days (I had a friend running her first marathon there). Storms usually pass through quickly in Hawaii but this one seemed to be hanging on. Our flight was uneventful and we landed in Kauai in time to visit a couple of places on the island before checking into our cottage in Poipu.

When we got to our cottage - Koloa Landing Cottages - we found the manager in our unit cleaning up and looking very tired. The storm we saw in Honolulu had passed through Kauai early that morning and the place, save our cottage, was a disaster. Her office was flooded and all the other cottages had leaks; she had been there since 5 AM! These cottages are slated to be razed when the economy picks up for building more condos. Ours was a cute studio that used to be a boat house and was built pretty solid. Throughout the weekend the storms came and went; some were pretty spectacular but we stayed dry. Waikomo Stream near our place; it dumped into the ocean at Koloa Landing. When we arrived this is what it looked like:

By the end of the weekend it was a torrent of raging red dirt and mud:

The housekeeper at the cottage said she had lived here 19 years and had never seen anything like it! We had considered shipping our snorkel gear back home since we thought we'd not get any in with all the murky water; so glad we didn't.One of the benefits of the rains was seeing the small animals that usually live out of sight. We got a new pet - not sure what to name him (her?)- maybe Sluggo. He (she) reminded us a lot of our cat. There were also anoles hanging out eating all the bugs, which helped keep the mosquito population down.

Our friends Sarah and Zach had been up on the North Shore three days and came into town Sunday afternoon. They were going on a snorkel tour the next morning that went along the Na Pali coast. It didn't look good for snorkeling due to all the mud in the water (sharks can't tell you from a sea turtle) but we wanted to see the coast, so we managed to secure a spot on the boat. They picked us up early Monday morning and after a little talk by Captain Trent, we were off to sea in a big catamaran! I took lots of photos -too many to post here, but here are a few:

Sarah heading to the open sea

Zach contemplates life in Kauai

When we were heading back to port, someone spotted a whale or two off in the distance, so the captain steered the boat over for a look. It was a humpback and her calf. She put on quite a show, breaching and slapping her fin. Too bad my camera was below deck by then! We also saw some porpoises and a manta ray. My favorite part was laying on the deck and relaxing to the gentle sway of the boat. After a good lunch and a beer, that really hit the spot! It was a long and fun filled day and Sarah and I were pretty tired near the end of it!

All afternoon I took naps and that night I slept the best since being there. Tuesday we visited the farmer's market in Lihue in the pouring rain, and that afternoon I sneaked into the pool associated with Sarah and Zach's place. It was longer than 25 yards and had a water slide and hot tub. We took advantage of it all, getting in a nice workout, some good sliding, and good gossip in the hot tub. After dinner at our place, we met them at the bar at their condos and were treated to the best Pina Coladas I have ever had. Plus a "baked Hawaiian." Mmmm!

The next morning we met them again for an early morning snorkel - first of the trip- finally!! I saw some cool fish and had fun hanging out in the water. Later, Donn and I went to Waimea to use the internet at a cafe/art gallery and check out the west side of the island. The weather turned out to be a little cool and rainy, with some residual flooding which closed some of the roads. We kept hearing people talk about digging mud out of their homes and how much water they got, etc. Later we headed over to Kapa'a to the farmer's market. It was quite a bit bigger, and the rain had stopped, bringing out more people. Lots of hippies on this side of the island made for good people watching! Two older women who looked like aging hippies were selling vegetables. We wanted to get some kale, and one of them started giggling at her own joke about it being Russian kale - it's rushing around! I told Donn I make it a rule to never get stoned before doing retail.

The weather continued to improve and by Thursday morning it was perfect for a surfing lesson with Sarah! We hooked up with Amy from Aloha Surf lessons; we were her only two students for that 2 hour session! We did a quick ten minute lesson on land and then carried our boards down to the water where Amy stood armpit deep and helped us catch waves. She interpersed the lessons with stories of growing up in Kauai - like when Hurricane Iniki went through during her first week of high school. It destroyed the school, which made for a bunch of really happy kids! The roof blew off her house but that just meant they had to sleep in the open for a while. It was all good. Meanwhile, Donn was up on the beach and snapped photos of us. Here we are attempting to look like real surfers:

up on the board

steady now...


Surfin' Sarah shows great form!

It was great fun and after 1.5 hours, I was toast - There were a lot of plank poses and push ups involved, along with paddling. We took a break and then went out to try and catch some waves on our own, but they had gotten pretty crumbly. We have both vowed to continue lessons back home....

Donn and I took off for the North Shore that afternoon to our little yurt near Hanalei. More about that in the next post. We were so glad we were there for longer than a week, as the weather slowly improved. In Hawaii, just wait a while and it will get better!


Chris said...

I would need Yaktrax to stay on that board! Nice work!
Hope you softened up the waves for us:)
Can't wait to rope you back into our running weekends.

Anonymous said...

I love the surfing shots! Sounds like you had a great time while we were digging ourselves out of the snow. Glad you were able to see some sunny days!

Backofpack said...

Wow, looks like fun! I can't wait to see the yurt shots. Hope you have pictures of it.

Anonymous said...

Nice to know you had some decent weather on Kauai! I love Hanalei! My favorite place to hang out. We always rent a house way out by Ke'e off of Banana Beach. It's super remote....Have you seen Tropic Thunder? It was filled out there..Hilarious movie...We were there, running, when they were filming Oct '07.
Sorry I missed your call! We were back home when you left the vmail. Would have been great to hook up with you in Waikiki!!

Laura H said...

One note I forgot to say - we were waiting for the Shuttle Express shuttle to pick us up Dec 11 - they were late. Their driver showed up to a place that had a reservation for one person - and five people came out. Instead of sending another shuttle for them, the driver took them, inconveniencing everyone else who had reservations. Fortunately the next driver who was sent to get us was really good and got us to the airport on time. But Shuttle Express is on my s$%t list, for both leaving and arriving to Seattle!

robtherunner said...

So, so, so, jealous! You sure picked a good time of the year to visit and get away from here.