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Mel and Dan are napping, my husband has just gotten up and I've just gotten back from wandering about Koloatown. The week as simply flown by. Tomorrow we turn the cars back in and board a non-stop for the mainland. Sometime between midnight and 1 am, I'll be getting in to my own bed and Monday morning I'll be back in my office, trying to convince myself that this trip actually happened.

As I write this, the waves are lapping at the beach 50 yards to my left. The air is sweet after the days rain, courtesy of the plumeria at the edge of the lanai and a mango has just dropped off of the tree outside the living room window.







All I can say is amen for digital cameras and electronic picture frames, to make the memories real again when I need them - which I suspect will be the case by Wednesday next.
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Three and a half years ago I had a close encounter with a sea turtle. On our first full day on Maui we went to a secluded beach, mostly known only to the locals, a place called Paloea. I'm probably destroying the name, but then the Hawai'ian language is not my strong suit. I subsequently found out the beach is not far from Turtletown, a popular destination for haoli tourists out for a snorkeling adventure.

That day I spotted two Pacific green sea turtles feeding on a reef, maybe 30 feet from shore. I slowly swam towards them. I got within a few feet when they started swimming; I paddled gently after them. A few moments later they separated; one of them turned and swam back to me. stopping just three feet away.and looked me right in my mask. (I don't know why I assume he and not she. I have no idea of its gender.) This creature had to be the size of a 5th grader. I remember looking at its beak and thinking, "You are an herbivore, right?" The turtle then circled around me twice and this time a bit closer looked me right in the mask again. He then turned and swam off, leaving me breathless. The creature was so beautiful, so graceful, almost majestic.

Then it hit me. Where the hell is a camera when I need one?

Costco had a Fujifilm digital rated as waterproof up to 9 feet or so, and I was not coming back to the islands unprepared.

The snorkeling here on Kaua'i is not what I experienced on Maui. The waters off of Maui's south shore are much calmer, I think in part of the islands of Kaho'olawe and Lana'i, both to Maui's south. One needs to be much more aware of the currents here, how they interact with the topography of the island's shore and just how strong a swimmer you are, or more pointedly, are not. We were at Poiupu beach earlier this week and found a protected cove there, along with lifeguards on duty. The fish were plentiful on Tuesday, so Dan and I decided while his wife and my husband went hiking, we were heading back to the beach. Towards the end of my first snorkel, I stood up in chest deep water. Another snorkeler 20 closer to the shore was gesturing wildly; Get your face back into the water! I looked down and almost immediately, got bumped off my feet.

A sea turtle! This one was not quite as big as my first encounter, but it had to be at least 3 1/4 feet long and 2 1/2 feet wide. I was literally right on top of him. Good thing fat boy here is really, really buoyant. When he bumped me, I lost my footing and I was face down no more than 18 inches above him. You're not supposed to touch the turtles. They're protected, an endangered species and there's a hefty fine for molesting them. I resisted temptation to just reach down, satisfying myself with his initial contact with my thigh. I grabbed my camera and started shooting. I spent about 5 minutes watching and swimming with him, just in awe.





Kaua'i....

Nov. 1st, 2011 12:23 am
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The four of us arrived mid-day on Friday. We had stayed at the no-tell motel, near Oakland Internat'l Thursday night, thinking we'd get a decent night's sleep, as well getting a free parking space for the duration of our trip, all for the price of the room. Sadly, none of us slept well that night. The combo of the strange bed in a strange room, and the local noice made sleep elusive at best.

We were at the terminal at 6:45am and the flight departed more or less on time. After a non-stop flight direct to Lihue we rented vehicles, hit the market for some grub, made our way to the rental house near Waimea and collapsed. The 4 of us slept the sleep of the dead, I think. It did help us get somewhat acclimated to the local time. Other than a fast hike on the beach I really remember very little of the day, other than my amazement at folks who're actually able to sleep when they fly.




This is the beachfront in front of our rental.


Saturday, we frittered. We hung near the house in the morning and after lunch, hit the hay for a siesta mid-afternoon, something I'm rarely capable of. After tossing and turning for 30 minutes, I headed back to Lihue to find some water sandals. The beaches here tend to be small and rocky. I found a pair at Payless for under $30. When I got back to the house Dan was making dinner. He took some of the poke (Hawai'ian raw marinated ahi) we had gotten for supper the night before and decided to flash cook it, to add to some gorgeously sauteed prawns he'd prepared to toss onto a spinach salad. That with a nice glass of wine made for a flawless meal. Then it was off to bed, for a good night's sleep..... or so I thought. Unfortunately, it was interrupted by the nearly incessant nocturnal cries of the bird of paradise.

Who knew that the bird of paradise is a chicken?



I had not expected to find feral chickens are bloody everywhere, here on Kaua'i.

Literally.

EVERYWHERE.


In town. In the countryside, In the mountains. In the canyons. Today, I saw them on the beach in Poipu, walking around the people enjoying the surf. Hens nest almost anywhere they choose and broods of chicks following their mothers are easy to find. The cocks crow at any hour. At night they argue with one another. I found myself dreaming about smothered chicken last night, smothering that involved a pillow and not gravy.

Yesterday, we drove up into Waimea Canyon. There's an 18 mile road that winds it's way into the mountains that ring the canyon. The views are breathtaking. The road ends in a look out vista above the Na Pali coast. I don't have enough superlatives, so I'll let the photos speak for themselves.



This is the first major vista point of Waimea Canyon. There is a reason they refer to it as the Grand Canyom of the Pacific.


The Na Pali coast from above.


Time for bed; in the morning we're off to an all day trip to snorkel of off Ni'ihau, Lehua and the Na Pali coast.

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