Wednesday, September 30, 2009

La Mer

So, it was Monday, and we had arrived in Waikiki. We didn't get to the hotel until about 3PM, as I recall, so we just relaxed and checked out the beach, picked up a few items for the room, and got ready for dinner. We had reservations at La Mer, the ultra-lux French restaurant in the Halekulani hotel.

First, you have to know, I made Todd schlepp a jacket all over Hawaii just for this. La Mer requires gentlemen to wear jackets and dress shoes to dinner, no jeans, no sandals. I brought dressy clothes too, but you know, womens dress clothes are much easier to pack than mens. He actually carried or wore the jacket on the plane, as the easiest way to keep it from getting wrinkled. It was a royal PITA, but he did it, all because I wanted to eat here. The punchline is, however, we walked to the restaurant, sat down at the table, and the hostess came over and said "It's very warm this evening Mr Dutton, would you like to take off your jacket?" So he carried it on 7 airplanes, for 4 weeks, in order to wear it for about 10 seconds...great, huh?

I made the reservation for 7PM, but we wanted to watch the sunset from the hotel, so we went early with the idea of having a pre-dinner cocktail at the hotel's well known bar, House without a Key. We arrived at 6:15, only to find there was a 25 minute wait for a seat for a drink! So we decided to head up to the dining room early. Fortunately, they didn't bat an eye and just led us right to our table. And what a table it was! We had a fantastic view looking out over the Pacific. The waiter comes over and pours us some complimentary champagne, and offers to take a picture of us, as we toast:

(omigosh...I just posted a picture of me....I think that's breaking the fourth wall or something, isn't it?)

Okay, at this point, I'd like to invite those of you who are bored with food descriptions and food pictures to stop reading. What follows now is pure food porn. So if you don't like reading about what we ate, move on to my next post, its probably going to be about Pearl Harbor.

We decided to go with the Chef's 9 course tasting menu. This is because we're insane. The courses are really small, of course, tasting menus are supposed to just be tastes. But they always have more courses than the menu says, and they are very rich, so its a ridiculous amount of food. And of course, we have a ridiculous amount of wine to go with it. The fun thing is you get to try all kinds of different things, and try some items you probably wouldn't order by themselves. Its an adventure. Fortunately, the staff did give us a copy of the menu, which I require to remind myself of all the different things we ate, so I can write them down for you (and for myself to remember in the future, of course).

We started with the champagne, and an amuse bouche of caramelized onions in puff pastry. Then folllowed a second amuse bouche which was a small cup of yellow tomato vichyssoise. This was particularly tasty, very light and slightly frothy. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term, and amuse bouche is a very small appetizer that is served to all guests. its not on the menu, and its not counted as part of the 9 courses. its a little unusual to get 2 of them).

So now the lighter courses begin. The first one is Spiny lobster in aspic with gold leaf, with something called Salade "Victoria", which is a lobster salad. I like the flavors, but I have to say, aspic is more about looks than taste. And gold leaf is definitely more about presentation than flavor. It IS a very pretty dish:

Next, sweetbread a la king with rice pilaf. I actually like sweetbreads when they are well prepared, though I never order them. Too rich to eat a full plate of them. This is a tiny plate, just a few bites, with some mushroom sauce. Its good, but I've had better. They don't have quite the sweet, nutty flavor I expected.

Next is a fish corse, Dorade Meuniere and Oyster in thermidor sauce. I tasted the oyster, but Todd loves them so I let him finish it. The fish is terrific though. This is really, really good:

My favorite course of the whole meal follows: its filet of sole with tomato and mushroom hollandaise.

The fifth course is fois gras poached with vegetables and duck consomme. Like the sweetbreads, this is something I like in small courses but rarely order. Its just 2 bites of fois gras, but its wonderfully creamy. The duck consomme is a little bit salty, but I like it a lot.

We switched from white wine to red about now. I shall have to ask Todd to remind me what wines we drank so I can add it to this description.

Course # 6 is squab on braised cabbage with pork belly. This sounds weird, but its really good. The pork belly is just tiny bits of what seems to be bacon. The squab is boneless, and served quite rare:

Next up, Tournedos of beef "Arlesienne style with classic Chateaubriand sauce. This is my 2nd favorite course, although I'm getting very full at this point. But the meat is so tender, and flavorful. There is just a touch of sauce, but it doesn't need more than this.

Next up, the cheese course. We select several cheeses from the cart, generally the most interesting and stinky cheeses they have :) There's a very ripe triple creme, a blue of some sort, a goat cheese, and one more I can't rememeber. It's a nice selection.

Now, course number 8 is dessert. This is actually 2 desserts, since it comes on 2 plates. One of them (on the left in the picture) is a poached peach on pistachio ice cream with rose syrup, and spun sugar on top. On the right is a small pastry, with a bit of vanilla gelato and basil foam. The peach is much better.

Then, another extra course, they bring us a small piece of a chocolate pastry, with a candle in it. We've told them it is our anniversary, and this is too celebrate.

The final course is just some sweets, a couple of small candies or cookies,
"Frivolitees" according to the menu. As if we needed more sweets at this point...

Of course, we top this all off with a bit of brandy for Todd, and port for me. It was a fantastic meal.

As good as the food was, I want to say the ambiance and the service was even better. The service was nearly perfect....they were very attentive, friendly without being obsequious, professional without being pretentious. It was remarkable really. I think its hard to be omnipresent, and yet still let the diners feel like they are alone, and yet the staff did this beautifully. They really should be commended for how well they work together.

All in all, it was a fabulous evening.

Hanalei Beach house -- review

So several folks have asked me about the house, and I want to review it here. In thinking about this, I'm afraid it will come across as more negative than it should. There were some drawbacks to the house, but for the most part we really liked it, and I would recommend it to someone. Its just good to know some of the issues. They really are minor.

The house's website is here. Funny, I never took any pictures of it myself, so you have to go the site to see what it looks like. Not sure why I didn't take any...just didn't find the time somehow.

Anyways, first the good stuff...

The location was excellent. We loved being right on Hanalei Beach. It was a short walk down a path to the beach, so it was easy to go for a swim first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. We also liked stargazing on the beach, its quite dark and the sky was gorgeous. Its also close to town. Probably about a mile from the main road. One could walk it in 20 minutes, I imagine, although we didn't try. It was really hot and humid, and not nice walking weather. We never had trouble finding a parking place in the shopping plazas, so it was no problem to drive into Hanalei.

The master bedroom was very comfortable, and had high quality linens. The porch off of the master bedroom (on the upper level) had a nice view of the water and the pier. Bathrooms were fine, the master bath was actually quite spacious and had a big walk-in shower and a small tub. The outdoor shower was even better, as no one had ever put a flow restrictor on it, so we had much better water pressure outside.

Kitchen was small, but well equipped. We had everything we needed, even a coffee grinder (something or previous rentals were missing). There was a charcoal grill outside which we used often.

The house seemed very private, although I think if the main house on the lot were occupied, I might have felt differently. I believe the owners have a rental permit for the main house, which is directly between this smaller house and the beach, but I do not know if they rent it out. I believe they keep it for their own use, but they were not there when we were.

So what were the drawbacks? The first one is the noise. Okay, I knew about the feral chickens on Kauai. I knew there would be roosters early in the morning. its pretty bad though. But they weren't the bigger problem (although perhaps Todd will disagree with me). The house is very close to the road, and this road is just a few feet from the public boat access. Also there is a speed bump right out side the house. So in the wee hours of the morning, when the fisherman are driving in to put their boats in the water, they would hit that bump and it was VERY loud. That would wake up the roosters, who would start to crow. This could sometimes go on for hours, from about 3AM till 7AM, easy. It could be very hard to sleep at times. Now, we kept the windows open for the breezes. There was an air conditioner in the bedroom, and perhaps we could have shut the house up and used it. Certainly the noise was less with the windows closed. But it seemed much worse early in the week, and by mid week it bothered us less.

The second issue is the size. The house is really tiny. It was not practical to make this a 2 bedroom house, in my opinion. You'd be crazy to stay there with 4 people, even if your kids were pretty little. With just 2 of us, we were tripping over each other. There is nowhere to put stuff, so we used the 2nd bedroom for storage. There was not enough room to unpack our clothes, or put away our suitcases (the master closet is small, and thats where the single dresser is located, with not enough space for MY clothes, much less 2 persons). The living area has a big screen TV, but the seating is much too close for the size of the television. The seating is also uncomfortable for anyone taller than about 5'4". The only place to set up my laptop was at the dining table, and if I sat at the end of the table to work, one couldn't open the door to the house. get the's really very small. I think I would have been fine with it, if there was one comfortable place in the whole house to sit up and read a book...there wasn't, at least not for me.

One more thing, and this isn't really a problem so much as a slight disappointment. There is a lovely sitting area at the end of the beach path, with adirondack chairs, and shade from some palm trees. This really is a nice place to sit, and one can easily pull a chair down onto the beach. But the time I most expected to use this area is in the late afternoon. We generally sightsee during the day, and try to get home 3-4PM, so we have a couple of hours to relax before dinner. This is when I wanted to sit down there. Only the angle of the property, this time of year, means from about 3PM until the sun sets at 6:30, there is direct sun and glare through the trees on that spot, as well as on the upper porch on the house. It was too hot to sit there, and too much glare to use either spot as my reading spot. So we ended up not taking advantage of either of these features as much as I thought we would. I really thought those were the best spots in the house, so to be unable to use them at my favorite time of day was a bummer.

So like I said, overall we did like the house, but no it wasn't perfect. I might stay there again, but I'd probably look at other properties as well, I didn't fall in love with the place, as I had expected to.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Traveling from Kauai to Oahu

Monday (we're up to September 21st now) is a travel day. But Todd gets up early, and since its clear, he goes to take a few final pictures of Hanalei beach at sunrise. It's really gorgeous:

It also turns into a very hot, very humid day. We have to do the usual things, aside from packing and loading the car, to get ready to check out of the house...strip the beds, start the laundry, finish the dishes, take out the trash and recycling. By the time we're ready to go, we're already dripping from the humidity. Its really uncomfortable. Oh well, at least we get to sit in the air conditioned car for a while.

And we have to leave early...who knows how much backup there will be on the way to the airport? Turns out, there is not much and we get to Lihue with plenty of time to spare. Fortunately, our first class tickets mean Hawaiian will let us sit in their small lounge, with airconditioning and free drinks. We'll buy some airport lunch, and hang out here for a while. There is not much interesting to get for lunch in the Lihue airport though, I have to say.

The flight is uneventful, and we get to Honolulu right on time. We pick up our rental car (a fire engine red mustang convertible) and head in to Waikiki. It's a pretty easy drive, and we get ourselves checked in at the Outrigger Waikiki. Its right in the middle of the busiest part of the beach, and its really hopping. Lots of people, lots of shops, lots of annoying "activity" desks where salesman try to trick you into listening to timeshare presentations in exchange for free dinners, or discounts on luaus and the like. We learn not to make eye contact with these Amway salesmen after a while, or they will try to make friends first, and talk, and then draw you in.

Sunset in Hanalei, dinner at Bar Acuda

It's our last night in Kauai, Monday will be another travel day. So we spend a bit of time down on Hanalei beach to watch the sunset.

Lots of places are closed in this area on Sunday nights, but don't feel like cooking and don't feel like eating a lot. We'd debated going to Bar Acuda earlier in the week, but had declined because the menu didn't look that interesting. But tapas is really the perfect thing for the mood we are in, so we decide to try it anyways. I'm so glad we did, it was wonderful. (Do I say that about all the meals? they really aren't all great, but we try hard to pick good places, and I may have left out some places we didn't care for).

Anyways, we have a couple rounds of tapas, maybe 6 small plates in all. My favorites surprise me...we have a roasted tomato bruschetta, where they actually bring out the WHOLE roasted tomato, dressed with some balsamic, along with some garlic toast. This is amazingly good, and is on the right side of the picture. On the left is a seafood stew with shrimp and clams in it, that is reminiscint of cioppino. The other great dish, not pictured, is a local goat cheese, served with local honey, and sliced apples. Very simple, and very good.

Tunnels...Yay, more fish!

After the Pats finished losing, and the rain finished falling, it was time to go out. The weather had really cleared up nicely, and I'd been wanting to go snorkel at Tunnels all week and finally had time.

Tunnels is a small area of the beach in Haena. It's not far from Ke'e, which I mentioned previously. It gets its name, I believe, because of the formations of coral, which have rifts and tunnels in them. This beach is at the end of a short dead end road, off the main road. There's only room for about a half dozen cars, and sure enough, when we arrive, its completely full. Todd drops me off with our snorkel gear, towels, and other beach stuff, and he drives another 1/4 mile or so down the road to Haena Beach Park. There is plenty of parking there, but its a bit of walk to get back. You can do it on the road or on the beach. Todd chose to walk on the beach, which may have been a's slightly shorter than the road, but its miserably hot, and difficult to walk in soft sand. When he reaches the spot I've been waiting, we go together a couple hundred feet further down, to the area inside the coral reef. There are quite a few people here, but the beach is lovely. There's even some shade under the trees.

This is what the beach looks like:

We leave our towels and things under the trees, and take our snorkel gear and the camera down to the water. (See, this is one of many places we were told to leave nothing of value on the beach. So we have a little waterproof neck wallet for the car key and drivers licenses, and I have the waterproof housing for the camera. We leave nothing behind but the towels, and the cooler with cold drinks for after).

The snorkeling here is fantastic. THe water is clear, and the coral is not very deep, so we can see a lot. The current is a little bit strong, though, so its hard to get many pictures. EIther the fish swims out of the frame, or the current pushes me out of the way. Still, I have a few more fish for you (and these are the last ones... we didn't snorkel again this trip)

After we leave, we head into Hanalei to grab a couple of burgers for lunch at Bubba's Burgers. I highly recommend the "Bubba's Burgers" outlet in Hanalei. Not only do they make a fine burger and good fries, the manager (or perhaps owner) is a big Red Sox fan. There's Sox memorabia hanging on the walls, and they have the Sox-Angels showing on the TV during the week. I believe I met the manager (or maybe he just works there, I'm not sure) one afternoon when I was walking by, and poked my head in to check the score. Ortiz had just hit a homer and he was cheering, and we struck up a conversations. Sox fans are EVERYwhere.

No rain, no rainbows...

Sunday morning would be our last day in Kauai, and our plan was to go snorkeling at Tunnels beach. Ideally, we'd get up early, and try to be there by 8AM so we could get a good parking spot. But when we woke up, it was raining hard. We would have to wait a couple of hours.

However, as it turns out, there is football on TV in Hawaii at 7AM...Patriots-Jets with my coffee! Well, that didn't turn out so well.

The other good news, is that rainy days bring rainbows. This is the pier at Hanalei beach

Lunch and a swim

After visiting the garden, we went to Mediterranean Gourmet in Haena for lunch. What a terrific restaurant this is! I'd had a craving for Greek food ever since Kona, when we found the Greek restaurant in town was closed. While Mediterranean gourmet is more middle eastern than Greek, it is close enough, and the food was outstanding. We shared a Lebanese version of spanokopita, where the phyllo is rolled up in a cylindrical shape around spinach and feta. These were delicious. Todd had the vegetarian plate, with felafel, hummus, cheese, olives and other tasty things. I had a gyro, which might be the best one I've tasted since Mykonos. The tzatziki had almost as much garlic as my mothers.

After lunch, we wanted to go for a quick swim at Ke'e beach, which is the very end of the road in Kauai (as I mentioned in an earlier post, the road around the island only goes about 3/4 of the way around: from 12 o'clock to 9 o'clock, so to speak. Ke'e is at 12 o'clock, and the Napali coastline goes on from here). It's a gorgeous beach, with nice swimming and good snorkelling, though we didn't pack our snorkle gear today. It also tends to be crowded and a little bit difficult to park, although we did manage to find a parking space since it was later in the afternoon, someone had just left.
From Kauai

Limahuli Garden

Saturday morning, we tried to get an early start. Our plan was to visit Limahuli gardens, which is on the north shore, close to the end of the road, in Haena.

Limahuli is a terrific botanical garden, set on a hillside overlooking the ocean. Its not quite as full of flowers as some of the others. The first half of the garden is organized into 3 sections. The first section is called the "Canoe Garden", and it showcases the plants that the early Polynesian settlers would have brought on their canoes when they migrated from Tahiti or thereabouts. They brought staples like taro and breadfruit, and planted them into terraces with irrigation. Here are some pictures of the canoe garden:

The second section is a plantation garden, which are the types of plants grown by the European settlers, the children of the missionaries. These gardens tended to be more decorative, full of flowers, and also tropical fruits and trees. This is the plantation garden:

The third section was the native forest, which highlighted the native species that arrived on Hawaii before any people came, a diverse set of plants and trees. Also much harder to photograph, I don't have a good picture of this section.

There was a portion of the landscape that showed what the "natural" forest is like on Hawaii today, how much of it has been overrun by invasive species that have been imported for houseplants or landscaping. In particular the scheflera, or umbrella trees, have choked out much of the native forest. These are attractive trees, but they don't allow much else to grow beneath their canopy, so they ultimately spoil the landscape.
You can see a couple of the umbrella trees in this picture, they are on the right side of the photo, and they have the long red stems sticking out of the top

After walking up the hillside of the garden, and through the native forest, there is a section which shows how native plants can be attractive in landscaping. Here's a view down the hillside towards the ocean, where they have a lawn, and some native trees and plants used in decorative fashion:

Dinner at Hukilau Lanai

Friday night we drove into Kapa'a to meet a friend from Travelers To Go for dinner. Our friend was making almost the same trip as us, he had 5 weeks in Hawaii in September, and was doing the islands in the exact opposite order. So we overlapped in Kauai, and decided to meet up and compare notes.

Hukilau Lanai is a very nice restaurant. Its a large open air dining area, near the shore. There may have been a view, but as we arrived after dark, I don't actually know if there is. But its a comfortable, fairly upscale place. Todd and I both tried the ginger martini, which was quite good. Dinner included a cup of the lobster curry bisque or a salad. The bisque was amazingly good. Slightly coconut and curry flavored, but still with a touch of sherry like bisque should taste. We all had different appetizers, my sweet potato ravioli with feta in a light cream sauce was fantastic. I also taste the lobster rangoon and the calamari and all were very good, and very nicely presented.

All 3 of us could not resist the grilled ono with polenta and brown butter mac nut sauce. It did not disappoint, so of course, I have a picture:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Heading for home

Well, we're at the airport now, in San Francisco, waiting for our
last flight to take us home. I'm behind on posting now, so I will
have to finish this blog/travelogue after I get home. I'll just say
Waikiki was a lot of fun, and we had a great day in San Francisco
yesterday. Still, I'll be glad to get home and see our kitties.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Friday was a mostly quiet day. We had plans for dinner, so we decided to keep the driving to a minimum. We spent the morning around the house, catching up on the photos, going for a swim at Hanalei, just lazing around a bit.

Lunchtime, we headed out for Kilauea. First stop was the Lighthouse Bistro for lunch. They have a fairly limited menu at lunchtime, fish tacos, burgers sandwiches. The fish tacos were good but not the best we had. It looked like they had a much more interesting dinner menu. The restaurant is in a small shopping mall, so we walked around the shops a bit after lunch.

Then we headed to Kilauea lighthouse and bird sanctuary. I was disappointed to discover that there aren't albatrosses around in the summer, they wouldn't get back until November. I had been hoping to see one. I did, however, see nene geese for the first time. They are all over the place here:

the lighthouse itself is quite pretty. Made me feel like I was in New England (well, except for the 90 degree heat and 100% humidity)

But the real attraction here is all the beautiful scenery and all the birds. There is a small island, just a short distance offshore that is the actual sanctuary:

We saw quite a few of the large frigate birds

We also so red-footed boobies, white tailed tropic birds, and a number of different terns and gulls. This is a booby

by the way, photographing birds in flight is a lot like skeet shooting. You try to lead the bird, and hope the autofocus is fast enough to grab it. I got a few good shots, but there were dozens of fuzzy empty sky pictures. It was almost worse than trying to get fish...the birds are faster.

More South Shore

After we left Waimea Canyon, we spent a bit of time exploring the south shore of Kauai. It's a lovely area, and I hope we'll get back that way some time. The horrid traffic on the east side stopped us from making any more daytrips in the south during our remaining time on the island. For people considering the trip, if you are spending more than a week I would recommend trying to spend a few days on each side. I don't think I would change what we did, spending a full week on the north.

Anyways, after we left Waimea, we made a quick stop at Hanapepe for shopping. There is not much town here, but there are several very nice galleries. Expensive though. I was very tempted to buy a Ni'ihau shell lei, they are beautiful, but very pricey.

Our next stop was Kauai Coffee. You drive a long road through coffee orchards on the coast to get to their visitor center. They have a tasting room and gift shop. There wasn't much to see here though, and it didn't seem like they offered any tours (though we didn't look very hard, we were mostly interested in trying the coffee). We bought a bit of their estate grown peaberry, which was excellent.

Having tried a selection of coffees from all 3 islands, we rank them this way:
Maui Coffee Growers Peaberry
Kauai Coffee, Estate Reserve Peaberry
Kona coffees

We tried at least 3 different Kona coffees (brewed at home, not just tasted), and found while they were good, they weren't great. The Maui coffee is outstanding. A lot of the Kauai coffees we tried we thought were just okay, but the one we bought was excellent. But if we decide to mailorder Hawaiian coffee, it would be from Maui.

Next stop, Spouting Horn. This took us through Poipu, which looks like a nice place to stay. Here are a couple of pics of the horn spouting:

After that, it was getting late so we headed for home. Our route took us through a section of the road that was labelled "Tree Tunnel Road" in our guidebook. This cracked us up. It's a stretch of road with large trees, where the canopy covers the road. Todd says "in New England, we call this a 'road' ". But this is something special in Kauai.

It's late enough that the construction workers have all gone home, so we were not stuck in too much traffic this time. We would cook dinner at home that evening after our long days drive.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Waimea Canyon

Thursday was our day to drive all the way around Kauai. The weather report for the weekend was a bit iffy, and I didn't want to miss out on seeing the Canyon and Kalalau overlooks when it was clear.

If you are not familiar with Kauai, where we are staying is on the north side, at roughly 12 o-clock, if you look at the island as a clock. Hanalei is only a 15 minutes or so from where the road around the island ends AT Ke'e beach on the north side. You can't drive counter clockwise from 12 to 9 because that's where the Napali coastline is, and there is no road through those cliffs. To get to the overlooks on the west side of Kauai you have to drive clockwise all the way around. The end of the road on the west side is actually at Barking Sands beach, but before you get there, the road forks up into the hills, past Waimea Canyon, and up to the top of the Napali cliffs.

Our plan was to leave fairly early in the morning, and drive straight through, around the island, to get to the top of Koke'e State park as early as we could. Then we would take our time working our way back down and around the island again. So we started out around 8AM. It takes about 90 minutes to get as far as the town of Waimea. Then another 45 minutes to go up the winding Waimea road to the final overlook, the Pu'u o Kila overlook. When we get to the top the weather is gorgeous. Hardly any clouds at all. We can see down across the Kalalau valley and out to sea.
From Kauai

We've really lucked out on the weather today. It can be very cloudy and rainy up here, and its spectacular.
The slightly lower overlook of the Kalalau valley is even more gorgeous

A little lower down you can see Waimea Canyon, carved by the heavy rains and streams in this area. It's been called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and it is not unlike the one in Arizona

By the way...there are chickens here. People told me this, they are EVERYwhere. But they only were kind enough to pose for me in Koke'e, when we stopped at a picnic table to have our sandwiches

Here's Todd at the Waimea Canyon overlook

After leaving the state park, driving along Waimea Canyon road, there are great views of the ocean, and in the distance the island of Ni'ihau. It's called the "Forbidden Island" because its privately owned, and the public is not allowed to even land there on the beaches.

[Once again, I do recommend taking a look at the Kauai album for more photos from this region.]

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Napali by boat

We are not planning to hike the Kalalau, and we are not going to be doing any helicopter tours. So our only way to see the Napali coastline is by boat. I booked us on the Napali Sea Breeze which leaves from Anini Beach, about 10 minutes from us. We wanted one of the motorized catamarans, which is more comfortable than the zodiacs, and more readily able to get into the sea caves, conditions permitting. Although it is drizzling in the morning, it promises to be a nice day, and there aren't too many swells. It can get rough in September, so I think we are lucky, this should be a smooth trip.

The drizzle does provide us with a farewell rainbow:

We comment that the house at the end of the rainbow is probably worth several pots of gold.

Right away the scenery gets interesting.

We can see waterfalls

Sometimes the waterfall runs right over the mouth of a cave:

After a while we start to see the jagged ridges of the Pali. This is fantastic:

Further along the coast, it gets less green, and more brown and red. Its dryer over here, so there isn't so much vegetation

Of course, this trip is also going to have snorkeling. Its fun to get in the water here, and its not too rough. I did see another turtle right after I got off the boat. But overall the snorkeling isn't as good as other places we've been. Still, here's another fish picture:

Someone said there aren't enough pictures of me. Of course, I'm always holding the camera. However, just to prove I'm really here...these are my fins :)

And here's a picture of our boat. Most of us are in the water, but somebody headed up to get lunch:

There are more pictures of Napali in my album, check out the link in the sidebar "My Kauai Album", I recommend it because you can see the pictures a little bigger than they are here, and they are shown to better advantage.

Farmers Market

Later on Tuesday afternoon, we would go to the Hanalei Farmers Market. It's held at a small field a little bit west of town. We've read that everyone gets there right before 2PM, so they can be there when it opens, and dash for the freshest and best produce. We decide to join in the fun, but really it doesn't seem necessary. There is plenty of nice local produce. We get loaded down with apple bananas, pineapple, local heirloom tomatoes, banana bread, star fruit, a papaya, local salad greens, arugula...all kinds of good stuff.

Here's the market, before the "hounds" are released:

Dinner that evening will be all local foods. We bought ono from the Hanalei dolphin, orzo salad from the Princeville Foodland store, greens made with our purchases from the market. Oh, and we repeat the lime-scallion butter to put on the fish. good as any restaurant:


Tuesday we planned for a quiet day. We didn't want to drive real far, and we wanted to get settled in our place. Besides, we have Hanalei beach out our front door, how far do we have to go?

So we got up in the morning, had some nice Kona coffee, and went to spend some time relaxing on the beach. Here's the view from the end of the path in front of our house:

The water is especially calm in the mornings, and the swimming is excellent.

Its also fun to people watch. There are joggers, walkers, swimmers, surfers. A couple of folks are doing Tai Chai on the beach one day. A few people trying to fish off the end of the pier. One morning I would see a lifesaving class going on. It's a huge beach so even with all these activities it is never crowded. I love being able to jump in for a quick swim in the morning before sightseeing, or late in the day.