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Honu, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
A few miles down the road from our condo is the beautiful Poipo Beach. It is an amazing place to swim with the family in a naturally protected environment. You can enjoy snorkeling in places that are only a few feet deep, allowing your younger children to hone their skills alongside of you. While we were there we saw a Honu or Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle on the beach and swimming in the reef area.
We were also able to see the endangered Monk Seal on the beach. The Monk Seal is one of the most endangered mammals in the world and is endemic to Hawaii. Today, there are known to be under 1100. A team of people is in place for the protection of these creatures and they put up a barrier that looked like crime scene tape to keep people from approaching too closely.
Mahalo for your great book
Prince Kuhio Monument at Prince Kuhio Park
Prince Kuhio was the last heir to the Hawaiian royal throne. As a territorial delegate to Congress, he pushed for the rights of Native Hawaiians by helping to pass the first Hawaiian Statehood Act in 1919 and later the Hawaiian Homes act, which set aside 200,000 acres of land for Hawaiian homesteaders.
Prince Kuhio Park
This park borders the Prince Kuhio Resort, where we stayed. It was a pleasant place to look at birds in the morning and evening. I found Nutmeg Manikins, Brazilian Red Crested Cardinals, Pacific Golden Plovers, Shamas, Zebra Doves, Finches, Sparrows and many Chickens and Roosters. The Roosters enjoy crowing at any time of day, but particularly around 4 in the morning.
I was careful to observe the Park rules which include not sitting on the lava rock walls and touching the sacred stones.
I wasn't able to find out about this particular stone. It was on the far side of the main portion of the park in a garden area with several other stones of significance. I do know that the stones often commemorate places of birth or other special events. Sometimes they are held to have special healing powers or may be a touch point with the land where it is located.
Salt Pond Country Store, Hanapepe
The Salt Pond at Hanapepe
Heading West, toward the Waimea Canyon, we stopped at the Salt Ponds and the Salt Pond Country Store. It is a nice place to go for a snack before heading into the Canyon or after a day, swimming at the Salt Pond Beach Park. The marsh next door is a great place for endangered wetland birds such as the Hawaiian Duck, Coot, Stilt and Gallinule
I was fascinated by the Salt Ponds and the traditional salt making methods used there and will link you to a video that explains the process in detail. Culturally, it is not acceptable to sell the salt from the flats which only 17-26 families are allowed to process. The rights are passed down from one generation to the next. The salt may only be used by the families, given as a gift or bartered. The manager of our condo at Prince Kuhio Condos was kind enough to give me a small amount of the sea salt he had been given by friends, as well as a small amount from the forbidden island of Niihau.
Great video on Salt Processing at Hanapepe Salt Pond
The Manager and his son at Prince Kuhio Condominiums
Waimea Canyon State Park
Apapane, Endemic bird in Koke-e Forest, Kauai
We continued our trip with a visit to Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park. It was pouring rain by the time we got to the viewing areas, thus the wikipedia and Flicker photos. Waimea Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It is 10 miles long and 3,000 feet deep. At the far side is the Koke'e Natural History Museum and Koke'e State Park. The Museum staff will help you with the 45 miles of trails in the Koke'e forest.
There are some beautiful hiking trails as well as some grueling trails down the Pihea Ridge and the Alaka'i swamp where you can find many of Kauai's endemic bird species. I was lucky enough to see the endemic red, black and white bird called the Apapane along the road sipping nectar from the flowering trees as well as Erckel's Francolin walking along the side of the main road.
Lighthouse at Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge
Kilauea Point Wildlife RefugeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Seabirds of Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge
One of the great places to view Kauai's Seabirds is at the Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge. Thousands of Red Footed Boobies nest on the cliffs across from the lighthouse. We were also able to see the Laysan Albatross, Great Frigate birds and White Tailed Tropic Birds gliding in the currents. In the water Humpback whales jumped and spouted. On land the endangered Hawaiian Goose (NeNe) allowed some great close-up photos. The Wedge Tailed Shearwater nests on land around the refuge, making holes in the dirt for their nests.
Kiahuna Plantation Resort and Moir Gardens
Moir GardensClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Kiahuna Plantation was the home of the manager of the first sugar plantation in Hawaii in Koloa. It was later purchased by the Moir family, who built the beautiful orchid and cactus gardens surrounding the estate. Currently the home has been restored and serves as a restaurant. The location is stunning and is often used for wedding ceremonies. We saw a bridal party the day we visited taking wedding photos.
The plantation was free to visit and satisfied my desire to see birds and my husband's desire to see orchids. There was an abundance of both. I added the Black Crowned Night Heron to my bird list and also saw a juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron. Jim Denny helped me identify the juvenile correctly. The Koi ponds and Lilly pad ponds were stunning and provided a backdrop for my Heron photos.
Poipo Shopping Village
Eating a Puka Dog
We stopped at Poipo Shopping Village and had a Puka Dog for lunch. The first time we tried to eat there, a line had formed to the door. This time we were the first in line and four couples followed behind. A puka dog is made of a Hawaiian roll with a hole down the center. The dog or Polish sausage is placed inside. You then choose between tropical relishes like mango or pineapple, a secret sauce in mild, medium or hot and mustard. All of this is squirted into the inside with a pump. They taste terrific. There are also a variety of great shops at the village, ranging from low priced souvenirs, clothing boutiques, restaurants and top of the line jewelry.
Sonshine markets are open Monday through Saturday in different areas of the island each day of the week. Vendors bring their fresh Kauai agricultural products including fruits, vegetables, nuts, honey, flowers and sometimes fish to the market. The event usually is open for about 2 hours. It is normally fresh picked in the morning. We bought some great papayas, avocados, and rambutan.
A visit to Kauai would not be complete without a visit to some waterfalls. There are at least seven, some of which can best be seen by a helicopter tour. We chose to visit Wailua, which can be reached easily by car. When you arrive at the first lookout you will hear some thundering in the distance and wonder what you were supposed to see, Drive a mile or so further down the road. You will be greeted by a beautiful double fall cascading into a pool. There is limited parking, so pick a day when you don't expect big crowds.
If you are there at the right time, you will also meet the Coconut Man, who makes beautiful palm frond baskets. I couldn't resist purchasing one.
We visited Orchid Alley in Kapa'a. This is one of the only retail shops for orchids in Kauai. Fely Sams has been running the shop for about 18 years while her husband tends to growing the orchids. She was very helpful and willing to chat with us about her work. The shop has a gallery in the back with some beautiful artwork. My husband bought two plants and had them packaged to bring home on the plane. They also are able to ship them to your home.
Hawaiian Trading Shop in Koloa
Another fascinating shop was the Hawaiian Trading Shop in Koloa. It was a wonderful mix of traditional tourist items on the right and classy traditional Hawaiian cultural items on the left. I purchased from the right side and put the Niihau leis on the left on my wish list. This shop is unassuming on the outside. It has photo ops for tourists, including a surfboard and wave with a delightful shop cat that loves being a part of the action. The left side of the shop is gorgeous inside with glass cased displays that invite rather than threaten. Thank you to Liz for permission to use the photos and the employees who made us feel right at home trying on expensive jewlry. This is one store where you may buy original Niihau leis, black pearls, coral jewelry and sunrise shells.
Spouting Horn is located in the Koloa area across from the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. The crashing waves in the area cause erosion of the lava rock creating tubes in the rock. Every time a wave crashes in, this particular tube spouts up to 50 feet in the air.
Legend has it that there was a great lizard (Mo'o) that guarded this part of the island and chased fishermen and swimmers from the area. A man named Liko challenged the Lizard to a battle. During the battle he propped the Lizard's mouth open with a large stick and jumped into the water. When the Lizard chased him, Liko swam into a Lava tube and escaped while the Lizard got stuck. That is why you hear a hissing or low moaning sound when the horn spouts.
Luau at Smith's Family Garden in Wailua
You can't leave Kauai without attending a Luau and the Smith family knows how to put it all together. Arrival time is 5 p.m. when you can take a tram tour or stroll around 30 acres of gardens. Buy some bird feed. The zebra doves and chickens will eat out of your hands if you are patient. Mr. Smith claims that anyone who can catch a chicken can take it home. At 6 is the Imu ceremony where the pig is taken out of the earthen oven. At 6:15 it is time for Mai Tais, beer, wine or soft drinks and Hawaiian music.The feast starts at 6:30 and the Aloha show at 8 p.m. The show includes dancing, drums, music, fire and erupting volcanoes. It is a great theatrical production with live music and a fine way to bid Aloha to the island of Kauai.
I would love to hear your comments regarding the beautiful island of Kauai, including any special places you have been. To comment, please scroll to the bottom of the page.