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12 nights in Kauai

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by ken2v, Sep 16, 2013.

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  1. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    My Trip Report

    Here’s a brief bit on our just-concluded getaway.

    We got back to the Bay Area late on Saturday night and drove home the next day. Flying out of SJC, particularly to the islands, has become a no-brainer natural for us. Better direct flights than out of LAX, cheaper than LAX, and of course we’re not flying out of LAX, which is a treat in and of itself. This was our second trip over this year, following a short excursion to Hana in the spring. Funny, but I think I’ve been to the islands four, maybe five times since my last overnighter in Vegas. How things change.

    We spent the first five nights in a flat in Hanalei, a block off the sand. Then we moved to Poipu for seven nights, in a 3/3.5 house near Spouting Horn with the Pacific literally crashing on the seawall in our backyard. Nice. Terri’s folks and sister/b-i-l joined us in Poipu.

    Golf, food and snorkeling were the Big 3 this time. No, wait, I think we do that stuff every time. Anyway, I scored a gig with the Los Angeles Times to write about the anti-big-ticket “side” of Kauai golf, so we teed it up at Kukuiolono, Wailua GC, the Woods nine at Makai (Princeville), Puakea, Kiahuna and just for good measure added the mini-golf joint in Kilauea. (We also played Kauai Lagoons, which is a repeat for me from last year.) Now I’m not as enamored as some of my peers with the Prince Course, so giving it a pass this time wasn’t a problem; I do think highly of Makai. With Poipu Bay ticked off the list when we were on the island three or four years ago I’ve tagged every base in Kauai golf, I think. (Kukui’ulu is tres private, though I had a chance to play it through a friend but passed since half was down for aeration.)

    Puakea is the winner play. Huge value. Great variety of holes. Conditioning where it should be. Awesome views. Put it on the water and they’d triple the fee. Kukuiolono is a 9-holer in Kalaheo left to the citizens of the island by a sugar magnate way back when. Nature waters the course (if/when it rains), man waters the greens, they charge 9 bucks and you get faraway vistas down to the west shore and off to Niihau. Quirky and loaded with local color. In a sense, golf as it should be. Check out the Japanese garden on site. Makai should be embarrassed charging 50 bucks for Woods.

    We grabbed snorkel gear for the duration so we could stop as we pleased. We did Tunnels twice, Ke’e, offshore along the Na Pali Coast, and Poipu, Sheraton and Lawai beaches down south. I don’t know of any beaches in the states that compare with Tunnels and Ke’e for sheer spectacle. But the most populated reef was down at Lawai. For other grins we did one of the inner-tube excursions along the old plantation flume/canal – done it once now, never have to do that again – and an a.m. cruise from ‘Anini to Na Pali; we’ll do that again any time you let us. Highlight was encountering a huge pod of spinner dolphins – four or five dozen – with a bunch of babies. And honu, of course.

    Food … winner. We had cow one night, lamb another, but everything else came off a hook, the bottom of the sea or from something growing in the ground. Sushi, poke, grilled whatever; I think I now have gills. Just no way to overstate how great is the bounty out in that big pool of deep blue. We found a great wine shop in Koloa.

    I got a late start in life to Hawaii, not getting over until the mid-late ‘00s. I’m making up for all that wasted time now. Still need to experience Lanai and Molokai, but we’re settling in nicely with a Kauai love affair. Then again, Maui and the Big Island don’t exactly suck. Not sure when/where we’ll go in ’14. We’re hoping to get a group together for a week then again get away by ourselves for a week.

    Flights were the usual sub-$400 we usually catch. Costco did us well on the rental car at $250 for 13 days. Upgraded to first class going over; a nominal cost on Alaska when you figure in the free bags, entertainment, food and drinks, let alone the comfort. Came back in steerage ‘cause only one seat was available at the 24-hour mark (and, yes, I offered it to Terri).

    I know some of you tracked our exploits and photos on Facebook. I’ll get an album together here after I knock out a few deadline items and get back from our Sacto/Sierra excursion later this week.
     
  2. buomalley

    buomalley Tourist

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    Sounds wonderful! Glad you had a great trip.

    Will you please give me some more info about your morning cruise? Which company did you book with? Do they offer dinner cruises as well?

    Thanks!
     
  3. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Na Pali Sea Breeze, Barb: Captain Bob

    When you going? They don't run in the fall/winter owing to the increased seas on the north shore. Avoid the trips out of Port Allen, unless you want to spend the majority of your time cruising along the west coast, though most outfitters go out of Port Allen. Saw an ad for a dinner cruise somewhere but not sure where exactly they start filling up the plates and glasses en route.

    The morning tour left at 7:30 from 'Anini (they shuttle you down from Banana Joe's stand in Kilauea, or you just drive yourself down to the county park). We got back about 11:30. The Zodiac tours also leave from 'Anini. We'll try that next time as we loved the Zodiac experience on the Big Island.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  4. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    Ken,

    sounds like a great time! I have had the chance to golf a handful of the courses you listed, and agree with the comments you gave for those courses. Also, as you mentioned, Kauai does have great snorkeling.

    I didn't hear you mention any hiking?? Lots of great trails off both ends of the island, especially since you were already in Hanalei, the very nice and picturesque Kalalau trail is just down the highway at road's end near the cave.

    All in all, sounds like you had a wonderful 12 days in Kauai!! I am jealous! Making me feel we have to get back there as it has been a few years as our last two trips were to Maui and the big island.
     
  5. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    We were going to do Alakai Swamp but never made it all the around to WC, beej. Did Waipo'o Falls and the Sleeping Giant on the previous trip. Did it help that we at least waved at people up on the Kalaulau Trail when we were down at Ke'e being lazy water dogs???

    Oh, the Hamura's Saimin tip we got here was pretty spot on. In return, let us suggest The Right Slice in Puhi.
     
  6. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    Yeah, the Alakai swamp is interesting as it has all the wooden planks to get you over the nasty stuff. Never done the sleeping giant. The kids did the inner tube thing through the tunnels while we motored around on some ATV's.

    I guess waving counts!! I like the little "private" beach about halfway on the Kalalau hike, and if you can make it back to the waterfall, that is a full day of hiking, especially if it is humid that day!! Bring LOTS of water............
     
  7. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I think we need to "accidentally" find ourselves on Kauai at the same time. How's next September looking? Or May? Don't know if we can wait a year.
     
  8. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    May would be better as we have a cruise around the British Isles planned for late August. St. Andrews is on the itinerary!!

    We were just talking last week that we haven't been back to Kauai in a while, so we are definitely due!!
     
  9. buomalley

    buomalley Tourist

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    Thanks, Ken. We will be there Oct. 18-22.
     
  10. weluvvegas

    weluvvegas Vegas Slot Junkie

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    I'm so jealous! We are planning on Kauai next summer. I'll be getting in touch with you for tips!
     
    40th Birthday Bash!
  11. shokhead

    shokhead I'm no big spender!

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    Started late also, first time I was 54 and have been back every year since. This will be my 7th year at Maui, Kaanapali beach.
     
    Here we go again!
  12. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Late bloomers rock! lol

    I was in my later 40s. Missed a year or two after the first trip, but catching up. Twice this year, three times last year, twice in 2011, think we missed '10 for New Zealand. I think the tally is now eight. I guess for Left Coasters it's a bit like the Carib for the Atlanticans.
     
  13. Kainoa

    Kainoa Tourist

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    Don't mean to be a downer or to take away from Ken's post, but please be aware when you're getting into the ocean, especially on Kauai. As of right now 16 people have drowned on Kauai alone this year. Many of Kauai's beaches have no lifeguard and the water can be very dangerous.
     
  14. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    So true, we are planning our Jamaica trip for next year, somebody mentioned Hawaii and everybody said they would love to go, but no one wanted to do the long flight. So easy to short hop to Montego Bay. I guess I will just vacation vicariously through you Ken!
     
  15. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    this is true as this island has very dangerous rip currents. Poipu is not so bad, as it is gently down there, but on the Kapaa and Hanalei sides, the currents are very strong.
     
  16. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    Dude, no pig in nearly two weeks! I'm having carnitas with ranchero sauce tonight to help make up your deficit.

    Seriously, I envy your fish fix.
     
  17. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    No rain on my parade. Just a good reminder, Kainoa. Some travel destinations have particularly unique challenges and dangers; aren't a lot of avalanches in Phoenix.

    The water always needs to be respected. Understand the seasonal variations, always go with a water buddy, read or ask about local peculiarities, know your abilities and limits, and above all else, it you ain't certain, don't do it.
     
  18. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Since I finally have cameras, laptops and pads in harmony I thought I'd put up some shots from this trip.

    Bouchon in Hanalei
    The view mauka from our first place (Hanalei)
    Tunnels Beach
    I even find hazards in mini-golf
     

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  19. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Wailua's 17th. Good par 3 this one is. Drops way more than it looks.
    Bouchon, again. Hey, we go there a lot when we're in Hanalei.
    Our backyard in Poipu, about 100 yards down from Spouting Horn.
    The downstairs lanai.
     

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  20. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    Nice trip. Great pics. on a side note, you and your wife look so in love. Magical!
     
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