On Wednesday we got up early and made the drive to Waimea Canyon. We made a couple stops along the way for some pictures and I think we finally made it to the top by about 10:30 am. The drive up was beautiful. We went up via Waimea Canyon Road. We went all the way to the end of the road to Puu O Kila Lookout and Kalalau lookout, stopping many, many times on the way for pictures. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon before, but I was pretty impressed with Waimea Canyon. The views at the lookouts did not disappoint. It was a long drive but it was worth it.
That night we decided to grill our dinner instead of going out to eat. We made New York strip steaks, baked potatoes, grilled corn on the cob and grilled portabello mushrooms. It was really good. Its amazing what you can do with a microwave and a grill.
Thursday was probably my favorite day of the whole trip. We went to the St. Regis to rent snorkel gear. It was supposed to be $8 per hour to rent snorkel gear but he gave us a deal; $8 for the whole day. They were supposed to charge it to our room at the Westin but the charges weren’t on our bill when we checked out. Thanks St. Regis, we had a great time snorkeling! We took our gear and walked to Hideaways beach again. The first time I ever snorkeled was about 3 years ago. And now I LOVE to snorkel. Cooking and snorkeling are probable my top two favorite things to do. Cliff is not such a big fan of snorkeling. The water is too cold, the waves are too rough. Whatever. But just to make me happy he rented gear as well and we snorkeled together. Now, I am not the most experienced snorkeler ever. Far from it. But I thought that the snorkeling at Hideaways was amazing. We saw a Moray Eel, and a ton of other different fish. I really liked that you could just walk about 2 feet into the water from the beach and you could immediately see fish. I just loved it! I think Cliff secretly loved it too.
After Hideaways beach we went to Queen’s bath. Our guidebook said that there was a natural pool that you could snorkel in. But it also said that it was a very dangerous place. If the water was rough you could get carried out to sea. We hiked down the trail, I *may* have fallen, and there was a sign with tally marks of all the people that died there. I think there were 29 tally marks. Kind of scary. The first “pool” we saw looked super rough. I couldn’t imagine anyone swimming in there. But there were lots of sea turtles in there. They were getting tossed around like crazy though. We found another “pool” where some people were swimming. But it looked very dangerous. Finally, we saw the pool that I think the book was talking about. It looked really pretty, but we didn’t see any fish so we didn’t even go in. I wouldn’t recommend swimming or snorkeling in these pools but they were nice to look at.
On Friday we drove to Ke’e Beach and walked the beginning of the Kalalau trail. I had originally intended to do the 8 mile hike. Ha! What a joke! Obviously I’ve been eating too many cupcakes because we only made it about 1.5 miles before we decided to turn back. I was a sweaty mess. I was expecting a nice leisurely walk along the trail. Not so much. It was tough! The beginning portion was all uphill. But the hill was made of rocks. I don’t even think it could be called a trail. It was really hard. We saw the beach and I was like, ok we’ve seen enough, let’s go eat lunch!
Saturday I talked Cliff into going snorkeling again. This time we rented gear from a place in Hanalei. It was about $5 each, for the whole day. I had heard that Tunnels beach on the North Shore was the best place to snorkel. Everything I read said how there would be a ton of people and really hard to find parking. Of course the day we went it rained. We found what we thought was the parking lot but the beach did not look like it did in pictures. I was like, this can’t be it. There were barely any people and the water was not the color I expected. So we walked and walked some more. We never found anything that resembled the pictures I saw. We walked back to the beach nearest to where we parked and there were a few people snorkeling. At this point it was pouring rain and we were soaking wet. So we decided to give it a try. We saw some fish but it was nowhere near as good as Hideaways beach. When we got home I looked at some pictures and we were definitely in the right place. I guess cause of the rain the water just didn’t look as pretty. It was kind of a disappointment. But we still saw a lot of fish. Thankfully, no sharks, which I heard was possible.
Sunday was our last day. We spent the morning sitting by the pool. All week I had been wanting to order a virgin strawberry daiquiri, my favorite poolside drink. On the last day I finally decided to do it. Actually I ended up ordering a strawberry/passion fruit smoothie. It was super good. I’m glad I didn’t order one on the first day or I would have gotten one every day after that. 1- I paid $11, including tip and 2- I’m sure it was not a low cal smoothie! After that we left the hotel for the last time and went back to the Princeville Market for some lunch. Cliff got Pad Thai, his fave, and I got a brownie, my fave. I think that brownie was the best deal I got on the whole trip. It was $2 for a huge brownie. It was one of the best brownies I have EVER had too. I was going to get one to bring home for Kelly but I knew it wouldn’t make it!
After lunch we decided to finally visit the South shore. We drove through the East shore and the West shore but we hadn’t made it to the south shore. We first visited the lithified cliffs near the Hyatt. After that we did a little souvenir shopping and went to see spouting horn. Spouting horn is a rock formation on the beach that has a hole in it. So when the water comes rushing up it sprays out the hole. Kind of like the blowhole of a whale. Right next to the spout there was another hole that some kind of moaning sound came out of. It kind of sounded like there was a monster living there or something. Overall, I much preferred the North shore over the South shore. I’m sure we missed a lot but the North shore was just soooooooo beautiful. The beaches on the South shore may have been more swimmable though. The beaches on the North shore are pretty rocky. The beach near the Hyatt where we parked to see the lithified cliffs looked like a really great swimming beach.
After visiting the South shore we headed to the East shore for one last dinner. I had read really great things about this restaurant on Trip Advisor, my source for all things vacation. The name of the restaurant was Hukilau Lanai. I had made a reservation the day before because I had heard it was a very popular place. Ha! The place was empty when we got there. It was located in the Kauai Coast hotel. We were not impressed with that hotel. The lobby was very outdated. We were early for our reservation and the restaurant was actually not even open yet, so we walked around the grounds for awhile. Nothing special. Our hotel was waaaaay better. I just couldn’t imagine such a good restaurant being at such a crummy hotel. Our meal turned out to be excellent though. From the bread to the dessert everything was perfect. I had the mahi mahi and Cliff had the prime rib. We enjoyed our final meal and headed to the airport.