I have yet to go to any of the botanical gardens on the island, but I did manage to snap some photos of some beautiful flowers while I was recently pilfering fruit in Princeville. There are fruit trees everywhere and so much fruit simply falls to the ground for the birds!
Recently, I've been reading a lot about writing as I work on my first book. I came across the site 17,000 Days. The person's inspiration for the blog came when she calculated how many days she had left in her life.
She suggestions finding your age on this chart, then getting your remaining years left and multiplying it by 365.25 to get your remaining days.
I did it and got 17,017 (!). Using this date calculator, my estimated day of death (D.O.D. ??) is... (drum role!):
November 21, 2060
I'm now going to use that date as a countdown on the main page of this site, as a reminder to make each day count!
How many days do you have left?
On Easter, Emily and I took my inflatable kayak (a birthday gift last year from Emily - best gift ever!!) out on the Kilauea Stream, which dumps into Kilauea Bay at Kahili (Rock Quarry) Beach (click link to see pictures and read about my adventure exploring the nearby lava pools).
She was going to lay out on the beach but then decided to come at the last minute, and I happily paddled along as she was even more content to lay down and be treated as a queen being paddled up river.
This excursion is not mentioned in most guidebooks because after a half-hour you pretty much reach the end of the river. It's private property, but I explored just twenty yards upstream to find an ideal swimming hole with a rope swing. It's a shame that places like this have been bought up and now people are prevented from enjoying some really cool, unique spots on the island. Technically, rivers and beaches are supposed to be public, but increasingly people are buying up lands and preventing others from gaining access. What a shame!
Wai Koa Plantation Trail
I took my mountain bike out for a spin behind the only mini golf course on the island in my local town of Kilauea. It turns out this is private land that the public is allowed access to for a 5-mile loop for walking or biking. There is a dog park, community food forest, farms, orchards, forests, a dam and more all to see along the way of the winding path. I really appreciated the work of the Wai Kai Plantation run by Kauai Fresh Farms to maintain a beautiful space open to the public, especially when so much private land has become off-limits to locals and visitors. It's easy to rent bikes from the Namahana Cafe right by the road.
Halfway through I stumbled upon what felt like the Garden of Eden on Kauai! I'm sure the several botanical gardens on the island are even more beautiful, but the sheer surprise of coming across something so unexpected and beautiful was a real delight!
The perfect way to end this 5 mile loop would be to stop at Banana Joe's for a fresh, frozen fruit shake of banana and pineapple! Unfortunately for me it was after 5 pm by the time I finished. I'll have to return with Emily!
Secret Beach (Kauapea Beach)
One of the worst-kept secrets near Kilauea on the North Shore of Kauai is Secrets Beach. It's a long, treacherous hike down to the beach, but it's well worth it.
Most of the property above Secrets Beach is private and owned by multi-millionaires (if not billionaires!). Emily cleans at one of the houses where several celebrities have stayed (although I'm not allowed to disclose which ones). I found some trails that had not been used in a long while and explored up the hills as much as I dared without disturbing those in their McMansions. Quite idyllic.
Next I went around to the left to explore up on the rocks to see if I could make it around to the Secret Lava Pools. No luck this time, with the tide well in and the surf fairly strong.
In many towns on Kilauea there are Japanese Cemetaries, often perched atop knolls with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. They're often hidden off an unmarked side road and are quite nondescript, yet tale of a bygone era of the island when workers were brought over to harvest the sugarcane.
I joined family friends Jane and John on the South Shore for a nice walk behind the Hyatt along Shipwreck Beach and the Makewehi Lithified Cliffs.
We saw some really cool formations along the cliffs, unlike anything I had seen on Kauai.
After we returned to Shipwreck, I just had to jump off the well-known cliff-jumping spot. Although it's hard to tell from these pictures, I estimated (and later confirmed) the height to be about 35 feet.
We currently live in Kilauea on the northeast side of Kaua'i. It is well known as a former sugarcane plantation and for the sole lighthouse on the island. Today it is a bird sanctuary - you can see many of the birds down in the lower right of the photo. One of the guys I play soccer with, Rob, works on the maintenance staff of the private nonprofit that now runs the lighthouse and its grounds. It's $5 per person to walk out to the lighthouse. I'm waiting for visitors before I do that!
Larsen's is a well-known yet hard-to-find North Shore beach. It is named after the nearby plantation owner who built a cabin on this beach, traditionally known as Ka'aka'aniu Beach. You can see why tourists call it Larsen's.
This is a fairly nice snorkeling area though it can be quite shallow, so not ideal for swimming. There are actually two beaches separated by a rock outcropping and a break in the reef with a current that will take you out to sea.
Behind the beach is a trail that leads to the furthest beach and all the way back to the trail head up the cliff. There are other trails leading down from private property, although it has a lot more rural/farm-like feel than Secret Beach with all of its mansions up the hill. I heard from one local that the trail is part of a longer, ancient Hawaiian coastal trail that should be public access but private landowners have put up barriers and a small group of people are fighting back in the courts for their rights. Land rights and private property are a big issue here on Kauai, especially as more and more rich people buy up the land, leaving the locals to feed off the crumbs from their table... not an ideal or dignifying place to be. (Go to the bottom of this page for a sermon about eating 'crumbs from the table.')
Perhaps the safest and best place to swim and snorkel on the North Shore of Kauai is Anini Beach, just past the Kilihiwai Bridge and Kilauea Town. The road goes down and runs the length of the long beach with multiple access points. We chose one at random right before the park where you can camp and came across this delightful scene. I used a new photo app to "paint the picture."