Kauai's North Shore

Trip Start Feb 28, 2008
Trip End Mar 16, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Monday, March 3, 2008

Today we decided to drive up the north shore to Hanalei, my favorite little town on Kauai. There is a fish market there that makes really good sushi rolls that we like to get for lunches. On our way we stopped at the Kilauea Lighthouse.

We went to this lighthouse the last time we were here and saw the shearwaters nesting. They nest in holes in the ground along the path to the lighthouse. We could see the babies in the holes since they don't go that deep in the ground. Alas, this is the wrong season for the shearwaters. At this time of year the Laysan Albatross are nesting. They nest on a hill across from the lighthouse where they have room to get a running start to launch themselves for flight. You could actually see where they have warn out a path for their launch site. They had a camera set up so you could see some of the babies on the hillside, you aren't allowed to walk over there. You could see a number of the babies sitting around waiting to be fed. No albatross landed while we were there. It would have been fun to see them land. They kind of crash land. We did see a few of them flying overhead though.

We also saw Red-footed Booby here. They have a nest site on the hillside on the other side of the lighthouse from where the albatross nest. This nest area is in trees growing along a cliff and their nests are in the trees. Quite different from the albatross. You could see the babies sitting in the trees.

We also saw an occasional shearwater, one great Frigate Bird, White-tailed Tropicbird and Red-tailed Tropicbird. All of these were flying overhead.

We bought a couple sushi rolls at the fish market in Hanalei and continued north to check out Tunnels beach. The last time we were here, this was our favorite place to snorkel and we wanted to see what the ocean was doing there. If the water is too ruff it can be hard to see anything, but we found that in the morning it was usually calm and the water is clear and teaming with life. There is a reef that goes quite a ways from the shore here and there are literally tunnels where people like to scuba dive. But the snorkeling is also really good.

It was so crowded when we got to the beach that we had to park at the next beach over, Ha'ena. It's an easy walk on the beach because they are essentially the same long beach. After we had lunch we headed back to check out the Hideaways beach below the Princeville Hotel in Princeville. Princeville is this large community of houses and condos and huge hotels that reeks of upper-middle-class snobbery, but there are a number of good beaches in the area that have public access. We missed Hideaway beach the last time we were here and I had remembered my friend Tracy telling me that this was their favorite beach to snorkel because they tended to snorkel later in the day and Tunnels was too choppy by that time.

We found the small public parking lot for the beaches in this area, but we took the wrong trail to the left of the lot the first time and came to a beach sprawling with hotel guests lounging on hotel reclining beach chairs. We knew we were in the wrong place. We went back up to the car and found the correct trail between two fences one for the parking lot and the other for the tennis court with just enough room for one person to walk between the fences down to the beach. This trail was pretty sketchy and steep so we figured that meant we wouldn't see many people there. We weren't disappointed. This is a great beach and we could see that the water was calmer than Tunnels even though it was now 3:00 PM there was a good reef system here also. So, hopefully there would be lots of life to view. We'll have to come back here to snorkel. We tried to find one other beach before we headed back, but we couldn't seem to find where to park. So, we gave up for the day and headed back to town so we could pick up more groceries. We stopped at the fish market and bought some Opah (moonfish) our favorite fish to eat in Hawaii, then headed to Foodland to get some groceries that we forgot to buy the day before. We needed to do laundry and we had forgotten to buy detergent. The cottage has a washer and dryer too. We spent the rest of the evening at the cottage, me catching up on my journal and Dave playing with his ham radio. He finally got one contact and it was someone in Woodinville, WA, located not far from where we used to live in Kirkland. Too funny.
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