The North Shore. Wow.

Kauai Travel Blog

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Today was spent exploring the North Shore of the island. We headed out this morning along the windy road around the island to explore. Turns out, the North is AMAZING. There was plenty of awesome beauty to be seen all along the road around the island, but our first stop was in Kilauea to check out the lighthouse and the cliff views, which were spectacular. The lighthouse itself was just a little lighthouse, but the jagged black lava cliffs all around us with waves crashing onto them were breathtaking. We hung out there for a little while and took some pictures and took in the view before heading up the road some more to Princeville. We stopped at a little shopping and dining area in Princeville because we were hungry and it looked like a good place to pick up some lunch. We settled on a little bar and grill and I had a teriyaki veggie burger. The food was ok at this place, not great, but I loved that they were playing The Beatles White Album the whole time we were eating, so it was more of a sing-along lunch than just a regular lunch. Awesome. We chatted with a couple who had just arrived from their home in Indiana (poor sods) and were eager to get some tips on the good places to go, so we told them about some of the cool things we had seen and done so far. We got a little shave ice after lunch (mine was a combination of pineapple, mango, and watermelon...mmmmmm) and checked out the Hanalei Valley Lookout, which was located conveniently across the street from the place we had our lunch and shave ice. The view was awesome. There were taro famlands down below (taro root is what they use to make poi), and amazing mountains towering above. I counted 4, maybe 5 waterfalls (wasn't sure if it was a waterfall or not from that distance) cascading down the mountain. Kauai's mountain's claim to fame is that it is the "wettest place on Earth", meaning, it gets the most inches of rainfall per year out of any other place on Earth. No wonder there were so many waterfalls.
We plan to try and kayak down the river to the base of the waterfall at some point before we leave Kauai (a sad thought indeed, leaving Kauai).
Next we headed down the road to the town of Hanalei. We stopped at a craft fair and bought a cool wooden carved vase, hand carved by a local guy who was sitting there carving vases right in front of us. We also relaxed a bit and enjoyed the band that was playing. The name of the band was Ku Halelea. I liked them and wanted to buy a CD from them, but they said it isn't out yet, but they are working on it. I'll have to check back online after a while. One of the band members gave me his contact information to check back on the CD release, so I just might do that :)
We wandered off to Hanalei Bay after the craft fair. It's a beautiful beach, and we plan to go back, but since we were exploring mostly today we didn't spend too much time there. We did, however, stop for about an hour at a cove just up the road from Hanalei Bay. Initially, we just wanted to check out the cove, but then there were these cool lave rock formations that just called our names, so we had to go climb them. We just had to.
Next we were off to Tunnels Beach, which is by far the most incredible, amazing beach I have ever seen. The scenery was incredible, boasting views of the beginning of the Na Pali Coast, the sand was warm and soft, and the water was clear and warm. Behind us was a beautiful jungle, and trees with all their roots exposed (because in the winter the giant swells probably take out the land under the trees, haha....that's why all the houses there are on stilts too). The beach had a campground on it with a bunch of really hilarious hippies camping there. They were blasting Bob Marley and dancing around. Those who had children let them run around naked, and one lady who was very likely stoned out of her mind was planting a tree next to the parking lot. Many of them had long beards and looked as though they were not just camping, but lived at Tunnels Beach. I could definitely think of worse things.
We heard that in the summer, this beach is also one of Kauai's premier snorkeling spots, so we took the snorkel gear out of the car and set out to see some fish. It was a looong walk down the beach to the point where we believed the snorkeling to be, and by the time we got there I needed a break, so we sat down on the beach for a bit. Norwood decided to ask a lady who was sitting near us with her snorkel gear if she knew where the good spot was. She pointed back closer to where we had come from (bummer, we walked too far), but then mentioned to us that if we wanted to, there were a ton of sea turtles right near us!!! Sea Turtles! That re-energized me right away, and I threw the snorkel gear on and galloped to the water. It was AMAZING! I swam with sea turtles today. We were snorkeling around in the area where they were and they would swim right up near us, not bothered by us at all. They were awesome! There were about 5 of them swimming around and eating some sea grass that was in the area. Every now and then one of them would poke a head above the water temporarily, so I got to see them swimming around and poking out of the water. I was so close to them. It was absolutely incredible. I think I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.
(note: we did take pictures, but we got this disposable underwater camera, so posting them will have to wait until the camera is developed).
After our sea turtle encounter, we headed back down the beach to the regular snorkel spot. Norwood dove in to check it out, and I decided that I was exhausted (the area where the sea turtles were was actually a pretty rough current so I was fighting the current at the same time as enjoying the sea turtles), so I just relaxed on the warm sand for a little while. A little dog came up to greet me and I pet it for a little while before it ran back to it's human to play fetch.
When we had finished hanging out at tunnels, we did a quick trip to the end of the road, to the beginning of the Kalalau trail...just to check it out and see where we would be going when we hike the trail...and then turned around to head home for the evening.
Along the way, we stopped at a cave, which we had somehow missed the fact that it is right across the road from Tunnels Beach, hahaha....the cave was CREEPY!!! I walked all the way to the back of it though, but I was definitely creeped out, hahaha. It is formed by lava, as everything else on the island is.
The drive back was nice, as I got to see a lot of spectacular scenery in the light of the sunset.
For now, I'm pooped. We're at the apartment cooking up some spaghetti, calling it a night.

I'm looking forward to exploring the island some more tomorrow!!!
HeatherHop says:
Yeah, lots of surfers...but I live in San Diego so I wasn't particularly excited by them, hahaha!!!
Kauai is AMAZING! I haven't been to the others...I want to explore all the islands, but Kauai was absolutely incredible! :)
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010
Eric says:
Sounds awesome, I've been to Hawaii but never this island (only Maui and Oahu)! I've heard Kauai is a lot less developed and more interesting. Did you see any surfers?
Posted on: Jul 21, 2010
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