Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 6 Thurs Nov 11 KAUAI

Kauai is the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands and is also known as the "Garden Island".  The entire population of the Island of Kauai could fit into the football stadium in Honolulu!

From the moment we looked outside at the harbor here in Kauai we knew that this was our favorite Hawaiian island we visited on this trip!!!

We went to the Cadillac Diner for breakfast...as we were just approaching the port on Kauai and I spotted the tugboat alongside the cruise ship and snapped this photo and of the sun already rising strongly into the sky!

We disembarked and exited the terminal to line up for our scheduled Roberts bus tour with the highlight listed as "Waimea Canyon": the Grand Canyon of the Pacific! Our driver "Cousin Rocky" was a very experienced and extremely educational tour guide!

Our first stop was at Spouting Horn...a blow hole formed from lava tubes. 

Looking left

and right

from the Spouting Horn lookout stop!

Here are a few good shots of the blowhole at its best during our 20 minute stop to see it.
It was quite fascinating to hear the noise...like a wind instrument in nature!  And the sound came out from a different hole than where the water spouted.  Greg got some good video footage as well which I will include here once he converts them to a format that this blog will allow to be upload.

I spotted this little gecko on the rock wall by the blow hole:

Our next stop was for a quick shopping opportunity at a locally owned gift shop.  They had samples of Kona coffee and Hawaiian punch.  I got a tshirt, shell bracelet, 2 drinks and a box of chocolate covered coffee beans all for under $20

Our next stop was Waimea Canyon!

On the way we crossed over this bridge crossing the Waileu River...the largest river on the island:

We also passed this graveyard in front of an old abandoned sugar cane factory:
 This photo shows how red the soil is...rich for farming.  This also is a good example of the only pine trees growing in Hawaii that Capt. Cook brought to the islands in order to grow straight tree poles to construct masts for his sailing ships!

The drive up to Waimea Canyon was very twisty and steep, but Cousin Rocky made it look easy somehow!  We were sitting near the back of the grayhound sized bus so I was glad I took a 24 hour dramamine when I went to bed last night!  Note to self: Seek front row seats on all remaining bus trips!!

We had about 30 minutes at the Canyon lookout and this was definitely the highlight of the tour...amazing vistas in every direction...the pictures dont even come close to revealing the colors of the strata in the mountain walls! It was amazing to see how tiny a helicopter appeared in the huge canyon below!

Here is a photo of the big bus we rode in today:

Always finding little bits of nature to photograph up close and appreciate their beauty:

and we cant have a day in Kauai without including a beautiful portrait of a free range chicken:

Coffee Beans growing in the fields...they can produce 2-4x's as many crops per year in Hawaii than anywhere else in the world because of the amazing perfect climate there!

This is the "Sleeping Giant" mountain range:

I took this photo of McDonalds because the bus driver was telling us about the rules of building size/height and advertising on Kauai so there are no billboards or large signage of any kind.

Back on the ship....for a little bit...just for a quick bite of lunch!

After we ate lunch at the Aloha Cafe Greg took a nap and I went on the free shuttle to Walmart to do some gift shopping!  I got tshirts for the kids and some goodies to take home with us.  I even stopped by the McDonalds inside Walmart because the rumor I heard is true...they still DEEP FRY the apple pies at McDonalds in Hawaii!!! woohoo....what a treat LOL revisting the 80's and my childhood.  I wish I could take some home to share them with the kids too!

I got back to the ship around 3:30 and woke Greg up and we took a shuttle a few blocks to the beach nearby the ship dock. It is actually close enough to walk and we ended up walking back, but shuttles ran all day back and forth to that beach, shops/park until 9pm.
there was a beautiful resort right on the beach which had the restaurant DUKES right next to it as well.  there were all kinds of water toys you could rent right there on the beach as well if you wanted to.

the black lava rock is so amazing to see the color and texture!


there is our ship...you can see how close it is to the beach at the dock in Kauai


little sandpiper bird...reminded me of the ones in southern california


yes those are my very own footprints!

I touched this sea slug...just one poke with my pointer finger...he was slimy and squishy!

This fish was caught in a tidepool and swimming in circles rather desperately
So I scooped him up with both hands and tossed him into the ocean!

There were young local boys playing on the beach who were delighted with Greg's kite!  They were jumping up in the air trying to catch it and oooohing and aaahhhhin when he swooped it around them.  They were even throwing handfuls of wet sand at it to try and knock it out of the sky!!

some pricy homes along the hillside!


gorgeous sunset...yes I photoshopped this pic...just a bit :)

I thought this sign on the volleyball nets was funny


We really enjoyed our relaxing time on this beach!  Greg flew his kite pretty much the entire time (a few hours) and I had fun walking the entire cove back and forth twice snapping pics and searching in tidepools for treasures.  I kept stuffing shells in my pockets :)  We stayed out on the beach until the sun set and it got dark outside! It was the most colorful sunset of our entire trip...just gorgeous!  We walked back to the ship instead of taking the shuttle after stopping at an ABC store for drinks/snacks for tomorrow's bus ride.  Once we were back on board we showered off all the sand and cleaned up for dinner!  I wore my red floral dress!  We were running late by now, so we went first to the Magic 101 show in the Mardis Gras.  Greg actually went ahead of me because I wasnt finished getting ready.  He didnt want to miss any of that presentation because the magician from earlier in the week was going to be teaching the audience how to do a couple of tricks! As I was making my way to the show, I walked through the ship shops area and two of the girls who run one of the shops commented on my dress and said it was beautiful :) (I just said Thank you very much! without telling them I got it at Goodwill two days before my trip!)

Greg enjoyed the magicians presentation very much!  He convinced our Aussie friends Rita and Vince to volunteer to go up on stage to help with one part of the show.  The pics below show the chronological events of the trick...they still to this day do not have any idea how he did it or where the egg went or where it came from when he made it re-appear!!! It was a lot of fun....lots of laughs :)

Around 9:00 we went to the Skyline Restaurant to finally have dinner...and met our favorite server named Maurice who just happened to be from Clackamas Oregon! (just 20 minutes from where we live!) For dinner I had the fresh fruit appetizer, rack of lamb entree and for dessert chocolate flourless molten cake...with a dollop of vanilla icecream on top! (yes I took a picture) Greg had Appys: cerviche, crab hot and sour soup, entrees: spicy creole chicken and swordfish/shrimp skewers, for dessert: lemon cream pie!

After dinner we went back to the Mardis Gras to watch "Liars Club" put on by some of this weeks musicians and comedians.  They each would give a different definition to a very long crazy word and the audience had to decide which one was telling the truth!  It was pretty hilarious, but obviously staged/rehearsed. 

Finally back to our cabin at midnight to go to bed!  Here's a pic of our cabin #8685 and me holding one of the Daily flyers that outline each days very packed schedule of events and activities! and yes, this is the red floral dress that I got at Goodwill for like $7 oh ya baby!!!

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