Hawaii Day 7: Surfs Down

From The Top Of Diamond Head

Honolulu From The Top Of Diamond Head

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach On A Calm Day

After checking out of our hotel we went to hike to the top of the infamous Diamond Head. It was actually a pretty vigorous hike but with a great view but it was a little too crowded with tourists for my taste.

After having such a blast at the North Shore yesterday we decided to head back. This time I was determined to rent a boogie board and actually surf those monster waves instead of let them toss me around like a rag doll. I rented a boogie board and grabbed a hamburger from Sharks Cove and went to the beach. The waves were gone. It was flat as can be. Glassy. All day I didn’t catch a single wave. I’m sure the guys who rented the boogie board to me were laughing their asses off. I felt like a real tourist. In fact, I was one. Well sunset beach may not be as fun without the waves but it is just as beautiful. And since the waves were gone, we had the entire place to ourselves. It was a great way to finish off our vacation.

On our way to the airport we stopped and met Swede who just moved out there. He took us out (and paid for! Thanks Swede!) our last sushi dinner. Two hours later we were in a plane coming back to the main land.

Hawaii Day 6: Surfs Up

Surfs Up

Big Waves At Sunset Beach

Surfs Up At Sunset Beach

After a nice long sleep we headed down to Waikiki Beach and signed up for some cheep surf lessons. this consisted of about 10 minutes of beach preparation that went something like this:
1. Lay down on your board. No. Further back. Yeah that’s it. Don’t point your toes.
2. Get up and kneel on one knee.
3. Now stand.
4. Ok, now we’re going to do that in the water.

G kicked ass as she caught, stood up, and rode about 80 percent of the waves she tried for. I was just ok and my arms pooped out early making my paddling weak. I really started to suck during the end. It was a lot of fun though.

Afterwards we headed up to the north-shore to see how it’s really done. Unfortunately we got a little lost on the way and ended up in Hawaii’s sketchy northwest corner. For being such a paradise, Hawaii has a whole host of social problems. The classes are really stratified here, there is tons of racism, a terrible methamphetamine problem, a large number of homeless, and the locals tell us that some what to introduce legalized gambling – yikes. While lost I was able to get my hands on a traditional, drive-thru style loco moco though.

After getting back on track we spent the rest of the afternoon at Sunset Beach – home to the Duke Kahanamoku Classic surfing competition, the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing competition, and occasionally the site of the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational. We body surfed and got pummeled by 4 to 6 foot shore break pounders all afternoon and loved ever minute of it. Two weeks later we are still finding sand thats been wedged into our ears from getting tossed around in the washing machine waves.

That evening we went to eat at Koe’s which was incredible. But I was too tired to enjoy it.

Hawaii: Poipu

Poipu Beach

Moss & Rocks

Poipu Beach Seunset

Poipu Beach Rainbow

Beach Bush

Palm & Rainbows

Poipu Beach Sunset

Monk Seal On Poipu Beach

Poipu Beach Sunset

Just about every single morning and evening G and I would head down to poipu beach park to lunge in the sun, swim in the waves, snorkel, sip mai tais and watch the sunset, read books, people watch, check up on the endangered monk seals, stare at the ocean, explore, or just plain veg out. The place was absolutely magical. These photos do it no justice.

Hawaii Day 5: Kipu Falls / Honolulu

Kipu Falls

Pina Coladas On Waikiki

After a late night we slept in as long as we could. We checked out, did a little shopping (unfortunately I was just a little too early to enjoy one of the famous puka dogs), and then headed straight to Kipu Falls. The falls are off in the country a ways and they take a short hike through some cane fields to get to but they are popular with tourists and locals alike. And rightfully so. Besides the natural beauty of the falls there is a giant rope swing and cliff jumps here too. In addition, the swimming hole is really large, mellow and glassy.

After a few jumps and a quick swim we rushed off to the airport changing out of our swimsuits on the way. We puddlejump over to Oahu and were in Waikiki in about three hours.

While in Waikiki we stayed at the gorgeous Sheraton Moana Surfrider. We immediately hit Waikiki Beach for a quick dip, pina coladas, and people watching.

For dinner that night we went to a hidden gem for dinner and drinks (When I remember the name of it I’ll put it here. It was an izakaya style restaurant located in a strip mall next to a Papa Johns. It was super friendly, had like a 15 page menu and authentic gyoza. It was a lot of fun and had a great atmosphere to boot. Most of the locals we talked to were surprised and a bit disappointed we found out about this place (probably because they wanted to keep it to themselves). Our check-out guy told us it was one of his favorites. Go there if you can.

Hawaii Day 4: Wailua River / Princeville

Wailua River

Kayaking The Wailua River

Swimming Hole In Wailua River

Secret Falls

After another quick swim in the ocean , G and I headed up to Wailua River -Hawaii’s only navigable river. We ate breakfast at some nondescript diner in Wailua that smelled of mildewy carpets and old coffee. The meal was basically choked down but appreciated. We were on a tight schedule cause we had to take G’s parents to the airport in the late afternoon.

We rented a double sea kayak from the Kamokila Village and headed up the river. This is a great way to get a kayak because it saves you about 45 minutes of paddling and allows you to take the trip unguided so you can spend as much or as little time doing as you please.After about a 15 minute paddle up the river we docked our boat and made the 30 minute hike up to Secret Falls which were stunning. We played around in the falls for a while and just kicked back and enjoyed the view before going back to the kayak and going up the river further. After a while we stumbled upon another really fun swimming hole with some large cliffs and a rope swing to jump off of. All of it was a ton of fun.

However, it was here that I somehow managed to get our digital camera so wet that it would no longer turn on. Water in the screen, on the battery, in the lenses. Soaked. Busted.

After our kayaking and swimming hole adventures we took a quick look at Opaeka’a Falls and the Wailua River Lookout. Then we headed to Bubba’s Burgers for some good old rejuvenating grease. We ate on the deck and watched the huge surf on Kapaa beach.

After dropping G’s parents off at the airport we raced up to Princeville to try and visit Queens Bath. Looks beautiful doesn’t it? It can be an uncomfortable place in the middle of the night, empty, with storms brewing. We didn’t make it till late in the evening and the treacherously path down to the shore was pitch dark and slippery from rain. When we reached the bottom we realized we were on a very dangerous rocky outcropping with really strong seas below us. On the horizon lightning storms were brewing and would occasionally light up the precipice we were standing on. After a few minutes we turned back up the trail and G had a full blown panic attack and barely made it back to the top. We headed straight to The Princeville Hotel so G could catch her breath.

After we both calmed down a bit we headed to the Blue Dolphin Restaurant (which also doubles a backdoor fish market) in Hanalei where we had the best sushi of the entire trip (we ate sushi/sashimi whenever we had the chance) which redeemed the evening. It was very late by the time we got back to our room.

Hawaii Day 3: Spouting Horn

Spouting Horn

I couldn’t put it better myself:

Spouting Horn is an alluring natural wonder on Kauai’s south shore. The Horn is actually a lava tube that used to flow into the sea. A hole in the top of the tube sends a spout of water rocketing into the air with each incoming wave as the water is forced into the lava tube by the incoming surf. Near by, another hole in the lava shelf blows only air, which creates an eerie moaning sound that accompanies the firing of Spouting Horn.

Hawaii Day 3: Shave Ice

JoJo's Shave Ice

Shave Ice

After a long day on the boat and in the ocean, nothing sounded better than some cold sweets. We headed over to JoJo’s shaved ice for some of the best Hawaii has to offer (rumor has it that Matsumoto Shave Ice in Haleiwa, Oahu is better and that Shave Ice Paradise is horrible). A lifetime of fairs and carnivals has brought me plenty of opportunities for sno-cones but this was my first proper shave ice. I’m only sorry I have waited this long.

Hawaii: Flowers

Hawaiian Flower






Some Sort Of Wierd Plant




Another thing that makes Hawaii so naturally magnificent is its abundance of colorful flowers. Walking around Kauai is like walking around the worlds largest garden.

Hawaii Day 3: Na Pali Coast

Na Pali Coast

Sea Cave


When people think of Kauai, they often automatically think of the Na Pali Coast. It’s the most dramatic coastline in Kauai, and in my opinion, all of Hawaii, and perhaps the United States. The coastline is so beautifully rugged and majestic that it is a popular location for hollywood – Six Days & Seven Nights with Harrison Ford, King Kong (Both the new and classic), Jurassic Park, and Raiders Of The Lost Ark among others have all been filmed here.

Since this area is only accesible by air, sea, or overnight backpacking trips (which I’d really like to do someday), we book booked a tour with Na Pali Explorers. Our guide was a genuine Hawaiian Spicoli that was surprisingly knowledgeable had just enough new-aginess to pull the vibe off with charm.

The boat ride was a blast. Our group was really small with only nine others. We traveled the length of the coastline seeing waterfalls, dolphins, beaches, and explored sea caves along the way. Most of it all was located within the Na Pali Coast State Park. We stopped at the Nu`alolo park and archaeological site (warning loud music) for an informative nature walk, some lunch, and a bunch of snorkeling.

Hawaii: State Bird


A Rooster Named Ralph

We had a chance to see Hawaiian state bird, the Nene (top photo), in the wild when we visited Waimea Canyon. But I’d have to cast my vote for the wild rooster (bottom photo) as the state bird. These loud crowing cock-a-doodle-doo-ers were everywhere on Kauai, running through parking lots, backyards, roads, jungles and golf courses. Me and G went to a waterfall that was a 15 minute kayak and a 30 minute hike through the woods and sitting at the edge of the waterfall was a rooster. According to Wikipedia:

Some say a chicken farm was destroyed, causing all of the chickens to roam free that one may see today. Others say that sugarcane plantation laborers in the late 1800s and early 1900s brought and raised chickens (for eating and cockfighting) and many got loose over the years and multiplied. Whatever their original source, Kauai is now home to thousands of wild roosters and hens, roaming the island with few natural predators.

I posted a Kauai Wild Chicken Recipe after the jump:

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