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It’s a rainy, windy 44 degrees outside here in Portland Oregon. Streets are flooding and the sun hasn’t shown in weeks. You know what that means? It’s time for another LDD travelogue, this time of my October trip to Kauai, Hawaii.

I won’t belabor the point (as I’ve written about it before), suffice to say 2015 has been the worst year of my life. But, I am learning that sometimes, particularly when I fear it, the thing I need most is change.

As easy as "Hawaii" sounds, in a certain way, it was a challenge in its own way. Kauai holds a special form of trepidation to me--memory. It was the place where my wife and I had our honeymoon, twelve years ago and, with the exception of the last few years, we’ve gone back almost every year since. But I am someone who wants to face his fears head-on. So I resolved that I would go to Kauai, and I would try to make new memories. I would not let this place that I loved become a hostage to ugly remembrances or a broken relationship. It would have been easy to say "I'll never go there again, because we used to…” It would have been easy. But it wouldn't have been right.

I resolved that I would return to the same island, the same hotel, the same beach, do the same helicopter flight, the same paddle, eat at the same restaurants that we used to enjoy so much, etc. But I would also value my freedom. I would go where I wanted to, stop when I wanted to, take the time and visit where I wanted to--and I did things that I would never have been able to do with her.

Shots in and around the hotel (taken morning of my first day)

Lucky to catch this guy jumping right in the middle of Nawiliwili Bay.

Day One

If you want to see Kauai, there’s no better way to do it than from the air. Normally I’d save the best for last, but that’s not a good idea with Kauai’s fickle weather pattern. If you book a flight on the last day you’re on the island, and the flight gets rained out, well, game over man. I’d also recommend an early “aerial survey” for first time visitors to the island. It’ll give you an idea of where on the island you’ll want to spend the rest of your time.

I'd done a helicopter tour with my wife before. This time I was going on the adrenaline junkie's version--not only was it a helicopter tour, but this tour was doors-off in a Hughes 500. I call it the “Photographer’s Little Bird.” Besides my two DSLRs, I also had a GoPro running on an OpsCore Fast Base Jump helmet. It was great even though some of our views were rained out (that's just how it is in the rainiest place on earth—can’t complain, just part of the island's character).

"All photographers: 'Irene,' I say again 'Irene.'"

I’ll try to show the notable sites (that I was able to capture well enough) in order, although you’re not going to see everything and I certainly can’t do the 180 degree views justice. Figure it like a trailer—I won’t be spoiling everything for you.

Manawaiopuna Falls, a.k.a. “Jurassic Park Falls” (the falls are real, the background was CGI’d in).

Note the Island Helicopter Tours ASTAR in the bottom left corner. Island Helicopters is the only tour that stops at Manawaiopuna, by private agreement with the property owners. Everyone else gets the drive-by treatment. Unfortunately Island Helicopters does not offer a doors-off option. It would have been nice to see these falls up close—maybe next time.

Just some falls/pools on the way. Don’t know if they have a name. These remind me of photos I’ve seen of Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. Never been there yet, but definitely a location on LDD’s bucket list.

Waipoo Waterfall in the Waimea Valley.

The Waimea Valley is called “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and with views like these, you might be able to see why.

There’s hike you can go on to see these falls, but unfortunately, it stops above the falls so you’re basically looking straight down as the water goes over the edge. I’ve also heard it’s a real butt-burner on your way back up and there’s no shade. I think I like this view better.

From the Waimea Valley, it’s short hop over to the Western edge of the Napali Coast. Most of this area of the island can only be see on foot (11 mile hike), by boat, or by air. It’s beautiful, fantastically rugged, and dynamic.

I don’t really like this shot from an aesthetic point-of-view, but it does give you an idea of the geographic and weather conditions we’re about to fly into. We must have been in a slight roll because it looks like I caught a rotor blade in-frame. It got much darker on this side of the island and a lot of my photos didn’t turn out (noob mistake—should have cranked the ISOs instead of slowing down the shutter speed).

Razor cliffs.

When describing them without any visual aides, I just ask folks to imagine falling out of the sky, landing on a ridge and having half of themselves slide down one side, and the other half sliding down the other side.

“Bali Hai” formation and Ke’e Beach, looking east toward Princeville.

Ke’e Beach is the start of the world famous Kaululau Trail, which you’ll get to see in a more intimate fashion, coming up. But for now, we’ll just keep on fly’n.

Lumahai Beach.

Wailua Falls, a.k.a Fantasy Island Falls.


Cute young French woman, Laura, who shared the back seat with me.

Felt really bad that she didn’t get to see as much of the island as I did. I encountered way more German and French citizens on this trip than any other to the Islands. Not sure why that is, Hawaii is a long flight from Europe. I guess whoever is running international ads for the Islands is doing a good job where Europe is concerned.

This also brings up the “what should I wear?” question. The inside of a doors-off helicopter is obviously not air conditioned in any way. Temps can get down into the low 60s when the rain starts falling and the sun gets blocked out. I would have taken off my jacket and given it to Laura if I was not strapped in under an H-harness and two sets of MS3 slings (two cameras). Don’t let the ambient temp at sea level fool you, it can get cold up there.

On Heli-tours in general: Heli-tours travel clockwise around the island, usually starting at Lihue airport (though one or two companies do start at Princeville heliport). This means that your seating arrangement matters because if you wind up sitting on the port side of the helicopter you’re basically going to be looking at the ocean for 30+% of your ride and given that you’re probably paying $300+ for this hop, it’s worth it to not be on the wrong side of the chopper. And a big part of that 30% is going to be the part you paid to see (the Napali coast).

No heli-tour company ever advertises a seating chart for their helicopters. It’s almost like they all got together in some seedy bar in downtown Lihue’s industrial block and agreed “Rule number one of flight club is: you do not talk about seating; Rule number two of flight club is: you do not talk about seating; Rule number three of flight club is: you do not talk about seating!” And you’re about to see why.

The most popular model of helicopter operated by heli-tour agencies, across the board, is the Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil “Astar.” This helicopter features a three-seat front row, four-seat back row arrangement. The pilot will always be up front on the left. (Please ignore the wings on the ASTAR & seating platforms on the Hughes 500 in the drawings: I grabbed the closest photos that I could off the intarwebs)

If you are a couple, you want the front-middle and front-right seats (1&2) on the ASTAR. Barring that you want the back right and back middle (5&6). If a tour company tries to put you in the back left and back left/middle (3&4), I would request a different flight (you may not be able to fix your seats when you book for reasons that will be discussed later, but I would at least let them know what you want). You’ll also want to make sure that you get a floor-ceiling window arrangement, which will allow you to look down (which is half the fun). Almost all ASTARs in service should have floor-to-ceiling, but it doesn’t hurt to verify this before booking because the alternative will cost just as much and be decidedly unpleasant. Some companies may fly both types of ASTAR so you want to ask about the specific aircraft you’re booking on. The small portholes on some helicopters (particularly for the back row) not only limit your viewing enjoyment but can also contribute to motion sickness. This is especially the case for the two people in seats 4 & 5 since they, hands down, have the worst viewing positions.

Tour agencies will usually try to balance the flight weight-wise. On a flight of six, this usually means that the lightest couple sits up front with the lighter of the two on the starboard side in seat 2. The heavier pairings will sit in the back with the heaviest individuals in seats 4 & 5. And yes, they do know your weight because they weigh you before the flight (no DMV ~30lb fudging). This is why they may not commit to giving you the seats you want, but as I mentioned before, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Letting them know that you know exactly where you want to sit will help your case since they won’t be able to assume that you don’t care. If you politely let them know that you are, let’s say, a more educated and discriminating customer? They’re likely to put more ignorant passengers in the less desirable seats. Squeaky wheel and all.

Jack Harter is the only company that flies the Hughes 500s and one of only two companies that offers a doors-off tour on Kauai. The seating arrangement on the 500s is different from the ASTAR and is shown below:

Similarly to the ASTAR, as a couple you’ll want the front two seats, 1 & 2. If you are party of one, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will get put in the back. If that happens, you want the back right seat, #4. Jack Harter’s tours (60 min) are shorter than the longest doors-on-tours (90 min) which means you spend less time in each location. Each helicopter company tries to get into the sights and do a 360 so everyone in the copter can get a view, but travelling around the island is a big part of the ride and there’s plenty to see between the main attractions (which is why you want to be on the side where the island is, not looking out to sea). This is particularly the case when flying along the Napali Coast, since it’s a one-way trip and all the views are on the right side of the helicopter. I found myself leaning way back and missing shots so that Laura, in the left seat, could shoot past me. It worked out ok for me, because I had the go-pro on my helmet, but it definitely wasn’t optimal for her.

I would highly recommend Jack Harter if you want a doors-off experience (best for photos) and I’d also recommend booking the last slot in the day (afternoon) for most dramatic lighting. In other places you might be taking a risk with the clouds moving in, but in Kauai, there can be squalls at any time so flying late in the afternoon isn’t any riskier than any other timeslot in terms of being rained out.

The other tour company that flies doors-off is Mauna Loa. They fly a Robinson R44 which is even smaller than the Hughes 500s Jack Harter takes up and features a two-seat front, two-seat back scheme (so I guess if you’re a couple, you’ll be in back). Maybe a good way for a single pax to guarantee himself/herself the best seat in the chopper since there’s only one seat up front next to the pilot?

Day Two

The second day was a "take it easy" day, with a trip south and west to the resort town of Piopu and the little fishing village of Waimea.

For those who have never been, Poipu is filled with the rich, young, and beautiful (Princeville is rich, old and stately). We’re talking $8-12 for an average sized-single-patty burger for lunch (not including fries or drinks) and easily $40-60 for a nice dinner entrée. LDD don’t got that kind of dosh.

But it's also one of the best places to see monk seals, in my experience. Poipu Beach is relatively accessible and as far as popular beaches go, there’s plenty of public parking (no resort stay necessary). Also, you can pretty easily look down the beach and see if there’s any yellow caution tape up—this indicates that volunteers have set up a cordon around at least one sleeping monk seal.

This is K90, a four year old female.

Monk seals used to be plentiful around the islands until whalers started clubbing them as a side business. While they look cute, they can and do bite so don't try to pet. I'm not sure if they've got enough bite pressure to cost you a digit, but having to tell the story of how you got that scar might be more painful than the injury itself.

I was very lucky this time to see not one, but two monk seals. I love the fat rolls on W07 in the second photo. I like to think it’s nature’s way of saying that fat is healthy Big Grin . Monk seals are both rare and not particularly social animals (they come up on the beach to sleep, not meet) so it's very unusual to see two in the same place, much less interactions between two seals.

K90 is in the foreground, W07 (7 year old female) is the seal who is arching her back and has her orange tag displaying. I was told by the volunteer who was manning the cordon that W07 is the most well-traveled monk seal in their database.

When monk seals beach, they like to stick their heads in the sand (the volunteer thought it was a way to cool off), but then their nostrils get plugged up and they sneeze—as soon as W07 started sneezing, so did K90. They, in fact, sneezed at each other. In human culture, this is considered a dick move, but for these two, it might simply have been a sympathetic reaction (just like humans have when yawning).

Spouting Horn.

Everyone takes a picture of this thing, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it because I always had other places to go my wife wasn’t that interested in seeing water squirt out of a collapsed lava tube. Well, not this time—I stop for what I want and take the pictures of what I want. So what if it’s a picture that everyone else takes? At least I’m not doing it with a Go-Pro or iphone on the end of a selfie-stick. Hipster bastages!

A Brown Anole, a non-native reptile.

He popped his bright orange throat fin for me once, but I wasn’t fast enough to catch it—spent the next ten minutes clicking away hoping he’d do it again, but apparently he was not impressed enough by my effusive masculinity to toss up another challenge.

The town of Waimea is a sleepy, mostly local establishment with a few retail shops and restaurants on the main strip. Waimea and Kekaha are the last towns before the end of the Kaumaulii Highway @ Polehale beach. The town doesn’t get much tourist play like Princeville/Hanalei and Poipu, but I think that adds to its small-town charm. And it’s here that I made a satisfying discovery:

One of the many bungalows on the property of Waimea Plantation.

It has a very old-school 1950s Hawaiian feel to it. Bungalows vary in size and not all are ocean front, but they all feature this open-air type construction. You could easily imagine Elvis on an oceanfront porch strumming his guitar, or following the clink of four ice cubes in a glass of Jack Daniels, and find yourself looking up to at Ol’ Blue Eyes smiling back at you.

Hibiscus @ Waimea Plantaion.

The beach at Waimea isn’t the prettiest—for that you have to go to Hanalei or Poipu, but it has its angles.

I love this picture because of the symmetry and sense of community.

The family that fishes together stays together? I also love how the pier has no “safety/ugly” railings—there’s just something raw and unsophisticated about it. Life is risky, life is dangerous, life expects you to watch yourself, but life is also rewarding, and beautiful.

Long exposure of Waimea Pier with the island of Niihau in the background.

There are only two Hawaiian islands that I’ve yet to visit and I’m not likely to make it to either in this life. One is Kahoolawe which used to be a US Navy bombing range and has no facilities (not even a boat dock). The other is Niihau, which is privately owned by the Robinson family (who run it like a cultural reserve for Native Hawaiians). There is a small population of native Hawaiians who live there under the family’s protection—and I do mean protection: stories are that trespassers are greeted at gunpoint. It really is the forbidden island.

Day Three

Day three was a challenge day. My plan was to hike two miles on the Kalalau trail to Hanakapiai Beach, then two miles into the Island's interior to Hanakapiai Falls. Eight miles round-trip shouldn't have been that difficult, but I also packed in 35 lbs of gear (mostly camera stuff). I met backpackers who were doing the full 11 mile hike in who had packs that weighed less than mine. I sort of kicked my own but with that mistake. Sometimes life is about avoiding mistakes, and sometimes life is about surviving your own stupidity Wink

The first half-mile of the hike is a moderately-steep rising grade, with a very rewarding view of the Ke’e beach looking one way, and the Napali Cliffs looking the other way:

I was there before the sun came up, so the lighting is still a bit dark, but you can see how beautiful the scenery would be if the sun came out. Unfortunately, due to the time of year, I never really got the direct sun that I was hoping for. A lot more mist and mysterious than in-your-face popping colors.

If you want see the cliffs, this is as far as you need to go, any further, and you’re just going to see the same thing until you get down to Hanakapiai Beach.

At the end of first two miles of the trail is a moderately steep descent and stream fording, after which you will arrive at Hanakapiai Beach. It’s mostly rocks, and with no facilities, no life guards, and a frequently deadly rip current, there isn’t much to do there, so people pile rocks. Lots and lots of rocks. It’s actually kind of eerie, particularly when the beach is foggy like when I first got there.

Additionally, the constant moisture in the air makes scrambling on the boulders hostile duty. The slimy algae that grows on them is near invisible, but you can definitely feel it, even with your hands: Don’t respect the environment and you could easily give yourself a lava-rock facilitated uppercut.

As is typical in Hawaii, the sun made a brief appearance and I was lucky to be there because that was the last time I’d get that kind of light on that day.

Smaller rapids on the way to the falls.

This is pretty typical of the trail on the valley floor, when not negotiating huge, slimy boulders, or fast-flowing stream fords.

Kauai mud is the color of Thai iced tea and the consistency of sticky rice. I call it “mud with a shoe fetish:” step in the right place, hear that slurping squish--you’ll get your foot back, but all bets are off when it comes to footwear.

Hanakapiai Falls is over 300 feet high, and the water is icy cold.

It might seem surprising for a warm place like Hawaii, but it flows straight down from the island’s mountainous interior. It also contains Leptosporidium which can make you very sick if ingested or if it penetrates through an open wound. People will swim in the pool below, but it’s definitely “at your own risk.”

Lunch: Peel back the wrapper and these things look like 2.4 oz of mashed dog shit, but by the time I got to Hanakapiai, I didn’t care anymore.

On the way back, the light changed again and I thought the silver and black was worth a shot:

‘Took my time, got passed by everyone. But I completed it. It took me most of the day, but I didn't give up--which was me facing another fear. I wanted to prove to myself that I would not toss in the towel, even if things got really tough.

My reward to myself was a treat from the Wishing Well Shave Ice cart, passion-fruit and guava syrup drizzled over a shave ice, with a scoop of macadamia nut ice cream at the center.

Day Four

I slept in the next day and did some bird and sunset watching.

Just a beautiful start to a lazy morning.

This tough customer likes to hang out by the BBQ grills at the resort. Rough-&-Tumble Kitty knows what’s up and if you don’t, you better figure out the gig real fast like, see?

Red Crested Cardinal, with breakfast.

Tropic Bird. These guys are always moving and usually really far away. This was the best I could do with my 7D + 100-400 f4.5-5.6L USM.

From there it was out to Kilauea Light House and finally to Hanalei:

Everybody loves pictures of Boobies!

Shearwater chick. Unintentionally good timing on my part. These guys had hatched and had matured to that point where they were moving around a little: just enough to add some character to their otherwise downy dust-bunny appearance.

Female Frigate Bird. Didn’t see any males, which have the really bright red throat pouches.

I finished the day watching the sun go down from Hanalei Bay.

Found these two wreaths drifting in the surf and posed them up for this shot. Normally I’m not big on manipulating the environment, but I figured that I needed a set piece to give a little more interest to the foreground.

It was right about this time that I had my only really negative experience on this week-long vacation. Some tourist dipshit was probably trying to impress his girl and said “I think you’ve taken your hobby to an unhealthy level” as he walked by. He initiated the “conversation,” I wasn’t even looking at him when he offered his unsolicited opinion.
To which I replied: “you can’t be healthy at everything.”

Later I thought “What you should have said was ‘When people see my photos they no one will give a shit what you think.’” Always smart enough 30 seconds too late: the story of my life Big Grin. But I finally resolved that what I said first was the correct and truest response. For me, “Healthy” has often meant being safe, only doing things I knew I could succeed at, i.e. not taking risks and not living life to its fullest. Healthy meant fearing failure more than I desired success. I have come to the conclusion that being “healthy” at everything is inherently unhealthy. So I will take paths and risks of my own choosing and boldly reap the rewards, or the consequences.

Day Five

For some reason, the Northwest part of the island kept calling me back, so I was basically in the same location the next morning for sunrise:

From the other side of Hanalei:

From the bridge over Lumahai River (same bridge as in the photo from the helicopter ride):

Not being satisfied with my performance on Day 2, I went back and did the first ½ mile of the Kalalau Trail with just a water bottle and my 5D. I wanted to prove to myself that it wasn't 100% me being out of shape, but that carrying ~25lbs of extra gear mattered. It did: I covered the first 1/2 mile in about 1/4 of the time I did on day three.

I should mention that I was very fortunate to get a parking spot at Ke’e after sunrise. If you want to do the Kalalau Trail and don’t want to add extra distance from Haena State Park or the overflow lot that is even farther away, you need to get to Ke’e before sunrise.

One scoop of “Hanalei Sunset” (Orange & Pineapple) ice cream, no excuse necessary, as served up by Pink’s Creamery. This is a small ice-creamery & grilled cheese joint tucked away behind the main drag of Kuhio Highway. I would never have found this place if I hadn’t gotten turned away from another eatery I was actually looking for.

Kalo patches (Taro)—this is the plant whose root is used to Hawaii’s infamous “poi,” which is actually very healthy if not particularly flavorful. It’s a starch, so basically purple mashed potatoes, but without the chives, the butter, the cheese, the bacon, the cream, the salt—you know, all the things that make mashed potatoes instantly rewarding.

Sunset at the Beach House Restaurant.

That night I tried to reserve a table at the Beach House restaurant. They were understandably reluctant to take a reservation for one. It was our favorite restaurant on Kauai, not just for the food (which is easily $40 a plate) but also for its views of the sunset. The restaurant staff seated me in the bar--not great, but it was something I felt I needed to do: I was just supposed to be there at that time.

I left my seat at the bar to wander outside and take pictures, because that's just what I do. Near the seawall, I met an older couple who wanted me to take their photo and again (you walk around with a Canon 5D and people automatically assume you know how to take pictures, the nerve!) I shared a little of my story and they asked if they could pray for me which I accepted. They invited me to sit with them at their table and at sunset I wound up taking their photo and posing them (they were really happy with the pictures). At the end of the night, they picked up the tab despite my objections. The least I could do for them was pray for them. I can’t explain it, but I needed that.

I’ve paid for the meals of soldiers and police officers and never given it a second thought. For me the lesson wasn’t in learning how to give but how to receive. And I received a lot during this trip, from Creator, from the island, from the people who live there, and from the people who, like me, were just visiting.

Day Six

My last full day in Kauai was spent on the Wailua River doing a kayak and hike to Secret Falls and later, going to a concert (Keola Beamer of “Honolulu City Lights” fame). It’s a short paddle-&-hike trip my wife and I had made on our honeymoon. We’d never done it again and to be quite honest, I didn’t really remember that much from our first time except that paddling against the onshore breeze on the way back sucked. I signed up for it on this trip more as a way of taking back ground, possibly even out of self-imposed obligation than really knowing there was something at the end of the journey for me. And I’m glad I did because I got what I think is my best photo out of this pilgrimage.
I don’t have too many photos from the river because I was fighting my seat the whole way. It wasn’t buckled in and kept sliding out from underneath me.

This is a small pool on the way to the “Secret Falls.” It’s referred to as the “Queen’s Bath.” The original “Queen’s Bath” was on the Big Island. When that location was destroyed by a lava flow, people started calling a tidepool near Princeville, Kauai by the same name. I can’t say that the contemporary name is either functionally or historically accurate but it’s a neat side-location just off the main trail:

This is Secret Falls:

I wasn’t overawed when we got there. The lighting wasn’t great angle-wise, there wasn’t that much volume in the flow, people kept getting in my shot (they have as much right as I do to be there, but it makes taking a clean shot difficult when people are cannon-balling into frame), and I also knew I had a limited amount of time to be there. We were the last slot that day—tour groups have to be off the river at a certain time as the paddle permits are only good for specific windows.

Changing angles trying to get the whole falls in just wasn’t working. And there wasn’t anything interesting in the foreground. That’s when I gave up trying to get the whole falls in and this scene caught my eye:

I didn’t alter any scenery or props for this shot. As near as I can tell, the little bamboo boat and flower arrangement is a prayer, left by a local. As I would later learn, someone in the community had just died and this trinket may have been left in honor of remembrance of him.

Concluding Thoughts

This was definitely a trip I needed to go on. Other things happened which I don’t have photos of, but overall it was an extremely welcome and positive experience. I learned a lot about myself and made peace with some memories that otherwise would probably have come to haunt me. You can never run far enough or fast enough to escape yourself; it’s something that I refuse to try. I’ll always be someone who has fears (show me someone with no fear and I’ll show you someone with no intelligence); I cannot banish them, so instead I chose to face them. The fastest way to the dawn is through the night and though I am not there yet, I continue to stay that course.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the read as much as I enjoyed the ride and maybe you’ll learn something of use if you ever find yourself on the Garden Isle. Mahalo for coming along.
Posts: 17733 | Registered: August 12, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Shoots Flies
at Fifty Yards!
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Posts: 3024 | Location: Hit the ground running in Moultrie, GA | Registered: July 06, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
so sexy it hurts
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Thanks for the wonderful post.
Kauai is my most favorite place I've ever visited on earth, but unlike you, I haven't built up the bravery to return since this is where I honeymooned with my ex-wife. The memories were tremendous, and I almost don't want to spoil them.

Eventually, I'll go back.

"You have the right not to be killed..."

The Clash, "Know Your Rights"
Posts: 26978 | Location: Westizzle Virgizzle | Registered: December 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for sharing your photos and your thoughts LDD. I hope you found what you were looking for Smile.


You can run, but you cannot hide.

If you won't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.

Posts: 4602 | Location: Southern Colorado | Registered: January 01, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We did many of the same things, doors off on the 500, secret falls etc.

Awesome, awesome trip.

Glad you were able to return and enjoy. I went a few years ago, haven't done much with the photos, but yours are better.

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Posts: 7805 | Location: West | Registered: November 26, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ice age heat wave,
cant complain.
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Wonderful photos. I love Kaua'i. The Napali coast is the most beautiful piece of scenery my relatively inexperienced eyes have seen. My photos are very modest compared to yours, I envy your photographic talents.

From Ke'e beach.

From my old front Lanai in Princeville.

The hike.

Napali Coast

Wailua Falls

NRA Life Member
Steak: Rare. Coffee: Black. Scotch: Neat.
Posts: 9104 | Location: Orlando, Florida | Registered: July 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just what I needed this morning! We are headed back to Kauai in a few months. We went last year for the first time and are hooked for a while! After just finalizing a few more details on the credit cards last night, I was looking for reminders of why (the price of just my wife and I, vs both kids and a couple inlaws makes you start second guessing)....your post brought it all back!

Fantastic photos and write up - thank you!
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Great photos. The shots of the razor cliffs from the top side probably my favorite.
Posts: 3119 | Location: San Marcos,Tx. | Registered: July 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks guys, there really isn't any place like it. But each of the islands has its own character.
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I used to live on Oahu and I too have been to all the islands you have. Kauai is my favorite. I have one four word suggestion for you: Na Pali Zodiac Tour. It'll change your life. Thanks for the photos to jog the memories!

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Mistake not my current state of joshing gentle peevishness for the awesome and terrible majesty of the towering seas of ire that are themselves the milquetoast shallows fringing my vast oceans of wrath.
Posts: 1192 | Location: T-town in the 253 | Registered: January 16, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
You have cow?
I lift cow!
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What a beautiful place. Thanks for the great pics.

Posts: 6260 | Location: Bay Area | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
King of Goodness
Picture of varoadking
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Is the "Tahiti Nui" restaurant and bar still there? I know Coco Palms Resort was destroyed in a storm...not sure what may have replaced it...they used to have a pretty neat zoo on the property.

I lived in Honolulu and worked on Maui...haven't been to Kauai in about 30 years, but the natural beauty hasn't changed a bit.

Thanks for this...
Posts: 6693 | Location: Dixie | Registered: February 10, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by varoadking:
Is the "Tahiti Nui" restaurant and bar still there?

Is it in Hanalei? If so, yes, it's still there. Haven't ever eaten in Hanalei (except ice cream), so I don't know if it's good or not.
Posts: 17733 | Registered: August 12, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Muzzle flash
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Beautiful photos! And a nice narrative to go with them.

I've been to Kauai twice, in 2008 and 2012. I also took some photos both times and they can be seen on Flickr® (I won't post any here because I don't want to distract from the OP's--anyone who wants to see them can go to the following links.)
2012: and


Texan by choice, not accident of birth
Posts: 25470 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: May 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Those really are beautiful images. We spent ten days on Kauai and Maui about 25 years ago. You captured some of the same places we visited.

Regarding foreigners and helicopters. We started off in one of the larger helicopters with a group of foreign women. We were no more than twenty feet off the tarmac when one of the woman decided to puke...on the floor of the aircraft. It wasn't the most memorable event of our trip. Roll Eyes

I know a little about a lot, but I don't know everything. Unlike to many others these days.
Posts: 11181 | Location: Somewhere north of a hot humid hell in the summer. | Registered: January 09, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Amazing pics and great narrative.
I grew up on Oahu and visited Kauai just once on a high school band trip. Glad to see it's still gorgeous, will definitely give it the camera tour next time I visit.
Posts: 41 | Registered: March 26, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great story!! Great Photos!! AMAZING! Eek

Train how you intend to Fight

Remember - Training is not sparring. Sparring is not fighting. Fighting is not combat.
Posts: 8270 | Location: Alpharetta, GA | Registered: August 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Telling cops where to go for over 25 years
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Been to Hawaii several times. Kauai is my favorite. Weren't able to get any pictures of the elusive wild chickens?

What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???

Posts: 9847 | Location: Western WA state for just a few more years... | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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LDD, thank you so much for taking the time to share your trip. From someone who has never been there it was quite breathtaking. Also thank you for your transparency to share your heartache. If we live long enough pain and loss become a part of our journey and realizing that we are not alone in that is very helpful to others. I am sorry for your loss and pray that God restore you fully.

Posts: 193 | Registered: February 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by 911Boss:
Been to Hawaii several times. Kauai is my favorite. Weren't able to get any pictures of the elusive wild chickens?

I did, but none of them turned out particularly well.

Originally by Rembart: LDD, thank you so much for taking the time to share your trip. From someone who has never been there it was quite breathtaking. Also thank you for your transparency to share your heartache. If we live long enough pain and loss become a part of our journey and realizing that we are not alone in that is very helpful to others. I am sorry for your loss and pray that God restore you fully.

Thanks Rembart, things have progressed (negatively) since this post, perhaps in time there will be a chance for me to share properly.
Posts: 17733 | Registered: August 12, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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