Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day Seven

For our final day in Hawaii, we did a paddle/hike to Secret Falls and Fern Grotto.  In exchange for a good deal of cash, they rented us a canoe and a really pathetic map.  Since there was an outside possibility that we would get wet, Diana took all these pictures with her nifty underwater camera.

Here come the intrepid explorers.  Interesting that they give you kayak paddles with the canoe.

After a false start, we managed to find the trail.

The section of the trail along the river was very well defined.

In other places, it was pretty rough.

And there were a few water crossings.  The first one was at least 30 feet across in rushing knee-deep water, but we were too busy staying upright to take pictures.

This is the King's or Queen's Bath - Diana probably knows which one.

After about a mile, we arrived at pretty Secret Falls.  (Shh, it's a secret.)

With all its resident Kauai chickens.

Chickens?  What chickens?

The hard part came when we tried to find the other half of the loop trail back.  We were lucky to come across the trail we had taken out, but not where the loop was supposed to meet it.

Next we canoed to Fern Grotto where we had to get out of (and back into) the canoe as it sat next to a rather high dock.  I'm glad nobody was taking a movie of that!

After a short walk, there was lush Fern Grotto.

Those are Boston Sword Ferns that give the grotto its unusual look.

All that hiking was done in our water shoes.  I had just bought mine at Walmart for the unbelievable clearance price of $3!  I can't imagine why they would be so cheap.  LOL

And I did finally go snorkeling.  We went to Lydgate Park where there is a section of the water blocked off with a rock wall.  (See above)  Just right for me.

Here I am all ready to take the plunge.

Diana was supposed to take a picture of me in the act, but she was distracted by some pigeons and by the time she looked again I was done.  But I  saw little blue fish, big blue fish, and little striped yellow fish.

This concludes our wonderful week on Kauai.  It was all I could have hoped for - a true tropical paradise.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Day Six

When Diana first suggested we take a helicopter ride, I said, "No way!"  I just don't trust them.  But after thinking about it, I realized that is really the best way to see all the beauty of Kauai and, after all, you only live once.

We researched all the many companies who offer this service and picked Mauna Loa Helicopters.  When we saw their office, we just hoped they put all their profits into the helicopters.

We chose this company for two reasons - they use small four-seater helicopters, so nobody gets stuck in the center and they give the option to fly with the doors off!

I was quick to say, "Doors off!".  After all if the thing crashes, that flimsy door certainly isn't going to save me.

But when our pilot Guy began explaining how the controls worked, I started to worry that he expected me to fly the thing.

We had chosen our seats ahead of time - me in the front and Diana in the back.  I'm ready to go!

And so is Diana.  The fourth seat was empty.

We took off and passed over Lihue and the bay where our cruise ship docked last year.

Then we crested the old crater surrounding Lihue . . .

And flew over the southern part of the island.

Soon we headed up one of the many canyons

To the famous Jurassic Falls, technically Manawaiopuna Falls, featured in the movie Jurassic Park.

I think Guy would have taken us down lower, but there was another helicopter in the way.  That's okay, I liked this unusual view.

I also was fascinated to see how one waterfall flows into the next.  Not something you can see from the ground.

Then we headed up colorful Waimea Canyon. According to Wikipedia, waimea is Hawaiian for red water.  Guy was very informative throughout the trip, but I'm afraid I don't remember much of what he said.  I was too busy gawking.
(Nasty reflections out the front windshield)

We recognized the waterfall we had seen from the viewpoint when we drove up the canyon rim.

Diana even caught part of a rainbow as we passed.

At the top of the canyon, we hopped over the viewpoint.

And admired the view from the air. (See how much better the pictures are without that nasty window in the way?)

I guess the Na Pali coast is hazy, even on the clearest days.

Other direction.

Guy took us up another valley . . .

And back out again.

We had a lot of similar pictures.  At one point, Diana took a picture of me taking the same one.

We caught a view of the northern end of the island, before turning inland again.

I had trouble taking vertical pictures without getting the helicopter frame in the shot, but I thought this interesting waterfall was worth posting.

And I don't know if you can tell, but my head is lifted in this picture.  I think I was helping the helicopter to get over that ridge.
Diana's picture

Guy took us into the Mt. Waialeale crater which he said is usually inaccessible due to clouds.  We certainly picked the right day.

We needed even more than Diana's wide-angle lens to capture the whole side of the caldera.

All too soon, we headed over the eastern side of the island and back to the airport.  That's Sleeping Giant in the distance.   Personally, I don't get it.

And you can see how the Wailua River and falls cut into the farmland.

We couldn't have been happier with our trip, our pilot Guy, and Mauna Loa Helicopters.  It was truly an experience of a lifetime.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Day Five

It was another gorgeous day as we headed out to hike the Kalalau Trail at the end of the road along the North Shore.

Are you sure about this, Diana?  What's with all the signs?


The trail seems a little rocky, but Diana was off and running.

Once past the rocky beginning, we were thrilled with this trail.  There were gorgeous views . . .

And tropical vegetation,

And what's more Hawaiian than a scene like this?

We loved this view of the coastline.

After about 5/8 mile, we turned around.  I know, pathetic.  But we were happy.  So back down we went.

The beach near the trailhead looked very picturesque.

Down the road, we stopped to check out another beach.  Nope, I won't be snorkeling there either.

But I thought the equine scene across the road was pretty cool.

We stopped at this pretty little church . . .

And Kilauea lighthouse.

And we found an interesting older church.

Although we usually just cooked for ourselves, we ended the day by going into Lihue and having dinner at a restaurant overlooking the bay.

Diana took this selfie, but she did it the hard way.  Instead of using her phone, she used a camera.  She's so talented that she doesn't even need to see what she's taking.