Sunday, April 20, 2014

Aloha! - Spring Break on Kauai - part 2

While we were in Hawaii Kate really wanted to take us all to a Luau... I was honestly dreading it as it sounded like a horrible, expensive, tourist trap... but in the end it was a fun experience that we all enjoyed.
  Elizabeth always finds an animal friend whereever she goes.  This one wanted to eat her orchid lei!

The fire dancer is still the topic of discussion, especially among Andrew.  The kids really liked the hula show, especially this guy. The good thing is that both kids mentioned that being a fire dancer was not a career option or aspiration for them.

Our beds had bug nets on them, which turned out to be a good thing.  I am so prone to mosquito bites and I get itchy just thinking about it.  But the bug nets allowed me to sleep in peace. Sleeping in with the roosters was another story!

One morning Jan decided to learn how to surf.  Afterwards, he borrowed the surf board to try out a few tricks on his own.  He took lessons from a guy who lives down the street from our tree house, Brando.  They went out for about 2 hours and Jan did really well!  I think it is a sport that the two of us would really get into if we lived here.  It’s great exercise yet really relaxing at the same time.  It’s been amazing watching all the surfers here.  They range in age and athletic ability from your quitecential surfer dude to mom’s with little 4-5 year old kids to old men out getting a bit of sun and exercise.  While Jan was surfing, we played at the beach, jumping the waves, making sandcastles and eating snacks.  Speaking of snacks, the kids have these little mini camelbacks which have been great on this vacation.  I fill them up with water and snacks in the morning and they last the kids all day.  This way they are not constantly asking me for something to eat and drink and they get to carry the camelback with them wherever they go!  The other great thing is that it is such a novelty to drink out of the tubing/hose for the camelback that they drink all the time.  It’s been really hot some days which is good that they are drinking so much.  The evening we went to Hanali Bay to watch the most beautiful sunset over the pier.

They are amazed by jumping the little waves and did that for over an hour.  Andrew likes to have the waves sweep him into shore a little bit, until the salt water gets in his eyes.  

Oh Coconuts!

The kids founds coconuts all over the beach and made a coconut heart.  So sweet! 

Towards the end of our trip we took a drive around the island to see what all else there is to see.



The kids loved boogie boarding and what great exercise!  Their confidence increased dramatically as the week progressed.  Towards the beginning of the week, they just watched and learned from other kids on what to do.  By the time we handed them boards, they just jumepd in and were doing amazingly well.

Aloha! - Spring Break on Kauai - Part 1

We had been looking forward to this vacation for a very long time!  With Baby #3 on the way shortly we wanted to get one last vacation in as a foursome as we won't get an opportunity to do our usual summer vacation plans this year.
The kids did a great job on the long flight to Hawaii making friends with the pilot and taking some good naps on the plane.  Elizabeth must have played 100 games of hangman between the flights there and back. 

We made it to Kaua’i  in one piece with all of luggage and didn’t miss our connections.  What more can you ask for in travel nowadays. 

While I had visions of  beautiful Hawaiian women welcoming us to the island with colorful leis, it turns out that the official ambassadors of the island are the roosters which are pretty much everywhere on the island. The kids just LOVED the roosters! 
Wake up call = roosters all the time.  When I mean all the time, they cock a doodle doo at 1am.  Their internal clock is messed up.  Anytime we walk outside of the tree house, there are at least 4-5 in the yard.  And it’s not like they are the same ones.  They run around everywhere.  The kids absolutely love them and chase them around on the beach and through the yard.   I’m sure we’ll get used to the roosters!
Our home away from home was this eccentric "Tree House" set along a small river a short walk from the beach up on the north shore, half way between Hanalei Bay and Ke'e Beach at the end of the road.  It was a perfect location as we ended up spending nearly all of our time within a short drive from the house on the various north shore beaches and attractions.


The kids adopted a pet lizard for our 10 day vacation.  He stayed in a bug box in the house and the kids fed and watered him every day.  Turns out that he loved live flies.  The kids learned how to catch the flies, keep them alive and feed them to their lizard.  It was quite the site to see!

The first morning after we arrived, we went for a swim at Anani beach.  The kids found tons of coral to collect on the beach but the water was a bit cold.  This did not bother Andrew at all but not for me and Elizabeth!  We found a really cool crab but he was entirely too fast to capture. 

We went to Tunnels Beach for sunset one evening and found a neat friend resting on the sand.  Monk seals are endangered and enjoy resting on the beach prior to returning to sea.  We enjoyed watching him lounge in the sand.

Andrew is our digger.  At just about every beach, he would dig a hole for some reason or the other.  Many times it was to bury himself inside.  He often commented that it kept him nice and warm, especially when the sun was setting or the wind blowing.  He enjoyed relaxing like this for 20 minutes or so.
Kaua'i is epic for easily finding wildlife.  The kids loved the frogs and lizards which were everywhere (but not quite as abundant as the chickens and roosters!).

We hiked to Queen’s Bath,  a really neat spot.  The kids enjoyed the hike through the rainforest and we even came upon a beautiful waterfall!   When the hike opens up to the shore, it is huge black volcanic cliffs. We could not swim in the Queen's Bath as in the winter, the tide/waves are huge but it was still beautiful to see.

Downtown Hanaeli is about 3-4 blocks of shops and restaurants.  Just enough to find a souvenir and a shaved ice.  My favorite is the shaved ice/ ice cream mix that is popular in Hawaii.  Andrew just likes a basic chocolate ice cream.  Elizabeth likes trying the shaved ice but never seems to really eat it. She couldn't figure out a flavor that she liked.

One morning, we decided to hike the first mile of the Kalalau trail. The trail was very slipery and steep and Andrew whined the entire time so we turned around early.  The trail was beautiful.  My favorite part of the trail was seeing a humpback whale breach in the water.  It was beautiful and mesmorizing to watch.

Kilaueau lighthouse is a national wildlife refuge.  Amazing amount of birds, the main ones being the albatrose.  The lighthouse and seeing all of the birds was really beautiful.  The best part was Andrew.  He found a friend with one of the park rangers who was  a retiree who he really enjoyed talking with. He asked the man all kinds of questions about the light house and the bugs on the island. So cute!

Elizabeth whale watching.

One morning we went to a 'locals' beach i.e. a little bit more off the beaten path.  There was a surfer who was really good and fun to watch.  Jan got some good photos of him.   The people watching at this beach was definitely interesting if not epic.  Anything really went on this beach.  The tides were really different as the waves were so big and the current so strong that the sand broke off to the ocean with a big cliff.  Therefore, everyone sat within a small area where a river met the ocean, allowing for some area for the kids to play in the water.  We had fun watching the surfers here as they were really good (crazy in my opinion but really good).  Elizabeth and I found all kinds of small shells there.  It was probably the best shell beach we’ve found so far.  It helped that we were there at high tide and the waves were washing in fresh choices.  Elizabeth is precious as she has collected tons (and I mean tons) of shells, coral and lava rock.  She has quite the collection and just loves looking for stuff on the beach.  Every day she comes home with a bucket/bag of treasures.  Andrew found a little three year old friend that he played with.  They had crab races through the water which was cute to watch.