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."
Living in Kilauea now, I decided to check out one of the local beaches, Rock Quarry or Kahili Beach. There are two bumpy dirt roads on either side of the Kilauea Stream (which I later kayaked!) Valley that lead down to the beach. It's easiest to access from the southern dirt road off of Wailapa Road.
However, my first foray down to the beach was walking down the northern dirt access road past a monstrous house going up. You come out to an incredible view of the river mouth opening to the beach with an ideal picnic spot of cool shade and lush grass.
I decided to explore further up the coast to my left. I found lots of rocks and a trail that went over ancient lava formations until I came across some amazing tidal pools in the rocks.
I suggest coming here ONLY when the ocean is calm and the tide is low. There were several stealth waves that came out of nowhere and got me wet. Quite an adventure and not for the faint-of-heart. There was at least one nice-sized lava pool to sit in near the end and close to the cliffs that appeared to be the safest. I would be very careful in any of the others. I opted not to get in any and kept to the high ground.
On the way back, I took some photos of some old dumped equipment, probably left over from the sugarcane plantation days.
Yesterday I posted to Facebook about this interesting documentary about a peculiar man who retired to simply skate. Here is what I said in my post, followed by the video, courtesy of NYT after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
A different kind of retirement. Summary: "Slomo" used to be a doctor. An old man once told him to "Do what you want." As his eyesight started failing, he decided to "retire" and reinvent himself as someone who skates everyday down the San Diego boardwalk. He's perfected the art of skating slowly, tapping into the acceleration we feel as we glide on the earth's surface around the center of the earth (for an explanation, see about the 9:00 minute mark or so). He says he gets called all kinds of things, and thinks people react in different ways (mostly positive) to seeing someone doing exactly what they want to be doing. Pretty inspiring.
After accepting the advice to "do what you want to," 'SloMo' identifies the next step as figuring out what you want (let alone for now what makes you successful). As I've mentioned in a previous post, I continue to struggle with a similar about wants in life, namely Who Am I? and What is my purpose?
Emily reminded me of a therapy technique used to identify what we want. The theory behind it is that our emotions, both negative and positive, come from our core desires. Put another way, our emotions are expressions of what we want.
The exercise is relatively simple, although you will want to write some things down or have a patient partner there to listen and help trace the pattern. Here is the step-by-step process:
Think of emotions as layers of an onion. Each layer is peeled away to reveal another emotion until you reach a core state of being where you desire to be for a long time, if not forever. For most, this is complete and utter contentment, joy, peace, love or happiness.
The purpose of the exercise is to not simply uncover your core desire. It is to show you how your emotional reaction to a situation is actually in your own self-interest in getting what you want. Your core desire is just hidden in many layers. This helps in understanding your emotions and how they serve your ultimate purpose.
Try it out next time you have an intense emotion that you're not sure where it came from. What might initially appear as destructive behavior might lead to something more constructive.
One thing I was concerned about coming to Kauai was being able to play team sports. Well, it turns it out is has not been much of a problem at all!
I may have overdone it, however, as I didn't stretch my hamstrings well on Tuesday night, and in rainy weather I twerked, er, tweaked my lower right back muscle, possibly my interior oblique. I tried to play basketball the next night, which - surprise, surprise! - wasn't a good idea.
Looks like it'll be several days off nursing a pulled lower back before I'm back at it. Some light stretching, laying on my back with knees at 90-degree angles, ibuprofen, and as little lifting as possible!
It feels a lot like being sick...
But boy, has it been fun!
An article I wrote for a forthcoming driving-CD of the island of Kaua'i. Visit www.kauaidrivetours.com for more information.
Approaching Wailua from the south, you will see Lydgate Beach Park on your right just before you cross over the Wailua River. This place of sea and sand marks the sacred gateway into the heart of the island. Called hauola or “dew of life,” this area around the river’s mouth was well renown as a place of healing and wholeness. Here many ancient Tahitian voyages would embark and arrive, and many ali’i or chiefs resided. Remnants of large volcanic boulders just off shore create a small, somewhat protected area for swimming and snorkeling. The last king of Kaua‘i, King Kaumualii, used to swim here.
At the north end of Lydgate Beach Park next to the river’s mouth is a heiau erected in the 14th century. The original structure, called Hikina-a-ka-la or “The Rising of the Sun,” rose like a mighty fortress, measuring 80 feet wide and nearly 400 feet long, with walls six feet high and over eight feet thick. Each day at dawn, the sun’s first rays broke through the sea’s salt spray and warmed the stacked stones. Kahuna or priests would greet the rising sun with chants and prayers. They placed wooden statues or ki’i along the river wall to keep watch and sway with the shifting tides.
Within the heiau walls was a pu’uhonua, a place of refuge for those fleeing a crime. After a few days of performing sacred rights, a refugee would be released without being punished. Various people sought refuge here during times of war.
Today, all that remains are foundation stones amidst a grove of coconut trees. Remember that this heiau is still a sacred place. People often leave offerings wrapped in ti leaves. May these offerings and this sacred place continue to offer healing for all.
An article I wrote for a forthcoming driving tour on CD for Kaua'i. Visit www.kauaidrivetours.com for more information.
Turning onto Kuamo‘o Road (Highway 580), you are now entering Wailua Nui Honoa, the Great Sacred Wailua river basin, one of the two most sacred sites in all of the Hawaiian Islands. Less than a quarter mile on your left is a small turnout at the Holoholoku Heiau, the oldest place of worship on Kauai. Here the Hawaiians honored the beginning and end of life.
The low stone wall you see, measuring 24 by 40 feet, marks the original foundation of the heiau. This heiau honored all of the Hawaiian gods, giving particular recognition to Ku. Ku literally means “rising upright,” as in the rising sun over the ocean nearby, and often the Hawaiians worshipped Ku for good fortune and prosperity in their endeavors. Archeologists believe animal or possibly human sacrifices were part of the worship here.
Just as life ends, so does it begin. Walk a few meters beyond the heiau to a small cliff face and another sacred site called the Birthstone, where the last king of Kaua‘i, King Kaumualii, was born. The flat sandstone in front of the small stone foundation marks the remains of a sacrificed dog, making the area kapu or forbidden to commoners.
Inside the stone wall was a hut for the expectant mother. When the time came, she leaned on the birthstone, Pohaku Hoohanau, to your left, and placed her feet on the umbilical stone, Pohaku Piko. The umbilical cord, representing past connection, was wrapped in kapa leaves and wedged in the large crack in the cliff to protect it from rats. A rat eating the cord meant the child would become a thief. No matter one’s lineage, a future chief had to be born on this stone in order to be chief and absorb the sacred mana or energy of this place. Here, place matters.
The modern staircase leads to a Japanese cemetery dating from the 1890s. Return to your car to continue up Kuamo‘o Road, built on an ancient path called “The Way of the Kings.” Many chiefs would travel along the Kuamo‘o or “Spine of the Lizard” on their annual pilgrimage, stopping at one of seven sacred sites, including Holoholoku, until they reached Mount Waialeale.
I had an interview today at Kapaa High School in order to get a letter of approval in order to take a class in May in order to be a substitute teacher! Whew! I'm not sure what possessed me, but while walking back my explorer's itch started acting up, and I decided to explore some of the side roads in Kapahi, the neighborhood in north Kapaa where we live.
The side roads end in spectacular vistas of Anahola to the north with the impressive formations of the Kalalea Mountains.
At the bottom of the road, I came across an "encampment" consisting of a house built in conjunction with a school bus, linked to some solar panels. Quite the setup!
Not far away and I saw a tent at the edge of a meadow. Whether or not these people own the land, the owner permits their presence or they're just squatting, I'm not sure, but I'm sure someone knows what's going on... just not me!
I eventually made it up to the other side of the valley to get a nice view of all the really nice homes lining the opposite ridge.
There is a lot of trash on this island. I'm not sure if it's an island thing where it's just hard to dispose of trash - it certainly costs money - or what, but you can find evidence of human waste pretty much anywhere (sadly).
Eventually I made it through some trees and brush to find a meandering road that got me back to the main road. I passed by a mansion on top of the hill and another "encampment" down in the valley. A tale of two camps, if you will.
I took care not to blatantly trespass or disturb anyone, but I was probably on private land from time to time. All in all, it was a fun trek through the 'backcountry' of Kapahi, and as I returned through our neighborhood, I said to myself, "I could see myself making a life here."
We will see what happens!
Emily and I are currently living in a eesty-tweetsy cabin, merely 10x10 or 100 sq. ft. plus a lofted area where we sleep. But the benefits are cool ocean breezes blowing through the tropical trees all around us, and... horses in a pasture right next door!