Tuesday, March 26 – South San Francisco

PhotoLunch at Sailor Jacks in Benicia.  MS’ quiche was so bad that we mentioned to waiter, who comped her meal.

To avoid the mad morning rush to the airport, we rented a room at La Quinta Inn near the SF airport.  One overnight got us up to 10 days free parking.  We checked into a very nice, large room, and went to Aslam Rasoi on Valencia in SF’s Mission District.  First we walked up and down steep city streets to Dolores Park and back along Valencia.

Before bed, Roger checked email and found that his old subscription to USGS Water Alerts for the Hanalei River was going nuts – before it was over, they sent 20 email reports, about one each hour, reporting gage heights over 7 feet and as high as 9.68 feet!  How ironic, given our experience of flooding when in Kauai in 2011.

Wednesday, March 27 – Travel & Day 1

Up at 6am for 7am shuttle, 9:05 flight.  HUGE security check-in line: young couple in front of us split up to check out the other line, and when the word came back by phone, she shared knowledge with us and we all trooped over to the shorter line.  Kindness and congeniality in the City.

Bumpy flight much of the way!  Devouring novels by Michael Connelly. Arrived in Lihue on time around noon.

At Enterprise, they had no compact cars, so we were upgraded to a huge charcoal gray Dodge Charger.

Lunch: delicious fish tacos at Papaya’s grocery/café in Kapa'a.  Arrived Pali Ke Kua 101 around 3pm, unpacked, went to Foodland in Princeville for groceries.  Dinner was moonfish with tomato sauce, fava beans, cucumbers and strawberries.   Watched Wallander on Netflix.

Thursday, March 28 – Day 2

Woke to traffic, rain.  Breakfast was papaya, eggs, and for R a caramel macadamia bun bought yesterday at Java Kai in Kapa'a.  Sloooow, enjoyable morning, mostly reading novels.  Left for Hanalei around noon, lunch at Bouchon: MS fish tacos, R Ono wrap.  Walked Waioli beach, checked out Barbie’s house, got a little wet in light rain.  Shopped at Big Save in Hanalei and Foodland in Princeville on the way back.  Dinner was chicken cacciatore, rice, salad and pineapple.  Roger returned to Foodland for basil, chatted with the Hawai'ian music guy, and stopped for a bottle of wine at Princeville Wine Market.  Watched Wallander again.

Friday, March 29 – Day 3

Woke to a rainbow, then it rained most all day with offshore breezes from the east, mountains shrouded in heavy clouds.  Another lazy morning reading and learning how to operate Vizio: big discovery of Pandora, setting up stations for slack key guitar, Emmylou Harris, Bob Marley, Ladysmith, and the Slovak Chamber Orchestra.  For lunch, MS made an incredible local greens salad with boiled egg, fava bean and rice, tomato and cucumber.  We drove to Anini Beach in late afternoon, walked through much campfire smoke – holiday vacationers and homeless folks in tents, lots of kids.  Saw a lot of vacation rentals by Serenity Rentals, dreamed of renting here someday.  Stopped back at Foodland on the way home and walked the length of the shopping center – Paradise Bar and Grill is closed – mailman said they closed in February, and are relocating.  Dinner was leftover chicken cacciatore, cucumbers and strawberries.

Saturday, March 30 – Day 4 – Whales!  Nenes!  Tropicbirds!

Up at 6:30am, breakfast of soft-boiled eggs and for MS oatmeal, for R toasted coconut bread with guava-strawberry jam.  Sunny morning!  Observation from the bedroom: “sounds like a washing machine out there!”

Around 7:30, we saw at least 2 or 3 whales spouting and moving NNE.  Like White Pelicans, there is no mistaking the difference between a whitecap and a whale when you actually see them – blowing mists and boiling waters, occasional surfacing of black backbone (but no jumping today).  They moved out deeper quickly when a small boat approached.

Soon – around 7:45 – a family of 5 Nenes waddled up to our door.  One larger one was banded # 702.  I took lots of pics, offered no food.  A long, much interrupted breakfast!

10am – Walk down path to the beach outside our condo.  Gorgeous, huge waves, lots of pics.  We saw dark clouds moving in, so returned, and sure enough, it started pouring and blowing strong wind when we got back.  Commenced reading novels.  Just before lunch, Zannah phoned from Woodstock, NY.

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS6wNHiz7y2Q_Xujoe9RzFszuwKlW09-DwBGq-w5r9iyuVaAQKXJghttps://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQRasli2h-_W4sdSzBGUTlYrvJSgM1zuU08PnwlGsh0SutUQ7rjgQAfter lunch of leftover chicken cacciatore, we read awhile until the rain let up, then went to visit the Kilauea Lighthouse and wildlife sanctuary.  We especially liked the Red-tailed and White-tailed Koa‘e (Tropicbirds) – we saw them fly in place and even backwards in incredible aerial courtship displays.

Then we went to Hanalei, checked out the vacation rental info on Barbie’s cottage, got coffee at Java Kai, stopped for lettuce at the Big Save, and ordered sushi takeout from Buchon.

http://islandbreath.org/2008Year/13-nature/0813-04mourninggecko.jpgJust before dinner (7pm) we saw a Mourning Gecko in our bathroom.  More info: http://islandbreath.org/2008Year/13-nature/0813-04Gecko.html.   Also this from Wikipedia – “The Mourning Gecko or Common Smooth-Scaled Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) is a species of gecko. This small (10.5 cm total length), nocturnal gecko feeds on small insects and flower nectar. This species is notable because it is parthenogenic, and there are no remaining males that have been found. Females engage in pseudocopulation, stimulating both to produce viable eggs. These eggs are adhered to surfaces in protected locations. Most clutches consist of two eggs, and clutches are laid two to three weeks apart.”

Sunday, March 31 – Easter Day

On waking, two picture messages from Matt: Vaughn opening Easter Bunny basket gifts (long-eared bunny and Lego watch). 

10am service at the Wai`oli Hui`ia UCC (green church) in Hanalei.  Packed house, piano and ukulele, a lot of Hawai'ian language songs and liturgy.  Shallow joking pastor whose only gift was probably humility, rambling sermon of cut and paste internet stuff and proofs of the risen Christ, opportunities for worshippers to decide to believe.

After church, a puzzle and coffee at Java Kai, then take-out from Lotus Garden Thai in Princeville: red chicken curry, garlic fish and papaya salad.  Lunch and Mastermind at Pali Ke Kua – R beat MS by 10! 

At 2:15pm, temps are finally up over 75 – I think for the first time!

Around 3pm, we drove west of Hanalei, and walked the BEST beach: Lumaha’I Beach in Wainiha.  Nearly alone on a huge wide expanse of soft sand, R walked along the massive breakers, running away when they threatened to engulf him.  Four hang gliders sailed overhead.  Lots of pictures.  Loooong tiring beachwalk!

On the way back to Princeville, Vaughn phoned and chatted with Grandma for a long time.  He was delighted with the Easter basket we left him – Lego watch, a whole box of licorice and a floppy-eared bunny.  Evidently Matt provided lots of other candies.

Back at Pali Ke Kua, we saw whales again, almost obscured by the palm tree, but not quite.  Lots of spouting and splashing, and we saw a tail slap and a jump half out of the water, nose first!

cid:image001.png@01CE2E49.2B7BD870Dinner at Postcards was incredible.  I had actually forgotten how special Postcards is – prize-winning creativity – and everything home grown and homemade, wholesome, fresh, and highest quality, generous portions.   We shared an appetizer: Seared Polenta Cakes with a Hemp Seed Crust, drizzled with creamy pumpkin seed sauce and a pico de gallo relish.   Entrée for MS: The Tandoori Opah – Indian in Spirit, with a Tangy Curried Coconut Broth … and generous amounts of rice, carrots, onions and green vegetables.  Entrée for Roger: Fresh Island Opah, Grilled and afloat in a peppered pineapple sage sauce – with tonight’s special rice (rice and corn), fresh baby broccoli spears, and a puree of sweet potato.  And we finished with coffee and a shared dessert: Chocolate Silk Pie (Postcards’ most requested recipe) – a creamy chocolate and tofu (!) confection with crushed cashews, dried cherries and a gingery crust, garnished with fresh slices of pineapple, kiwi and sweet black cherries, all drizzled with raspberry sauce and lemon sauce.  Unheardofly delicious!

Back at Pali Ke Kua, we were exhausted – read a bit then early to bed.

Monday, April 1 – Kauai Coffee Plantation & Waimea Canyon

The plan was to get up and leave early for Ele’ele and Waimea, but we took our time over breakfast and some fruitless whale-watching.  We left around 9:30, timing the trip to the airport and making our way through rain most of the way to Lihue.  The coffee plantation was pretty much unchanged, a nice stop.  We had lunch at the Waimea Plantation CottagesGrove Café (formerly the Waimea Brewing Company): shrimp stir-fry for MS, mahi-mahi with sweet potato fries for R.  The Big Swell IPA (Maui Brewing Co.) was pretty good, but I missed the home brews.  After lunch we took a long walk through the plantation and down the brown sand beach.  It was sunny, and finally warm!

The drive up to Waimea Canyon was as endlessly winding as ever, and the view from the lookout as stunning as ever.  MS commented that the colors were more vivid this year – greens and pinks.  We took the road from Waimea (550) up canyon and the newly improved road to Kekaha (552) back down – would recommend the latter!  More rain on the way down, and most of the way back to Princeville.

Coming through Kapa'a, we decided not to stop at the big beach – too tired.  Then Roger said, “”Let’s stop for an ice-cold coconut.”  And MS said, “I was just thinking the same thing!”  So we stopped at a cute little store, Maloaa Sunrise Fruit Stand, north of Anahola and bought a whole coconut, sat on a picnic table and drank the juice with a straw.  Lovely view of the Makaleha mountains.

Back at Pali Ke Kua, it was windy and cold (!) so we dressed in long pants and long sleeves for the evening, and closed the glass sliders!  We ate curried fish and veggies leftover from Postcards – read awhile, and then watched another episode of the Wallander tv series with popcorn and cheese – very cozy.

Tuesday, April 2 – Last Day

Awake around 6am again, another cold morning, around 61 – long pants. Yesterday and today, lots of whale watching but no more whales … so far.

First we went down the steeeeeep descent outside our condo to our own little private beach – gorgeous. At water’s edge was a large washed up float, pink, maybe 2 feet tall and 3 ½ feet long. We wondered if it came from the tsunami in Japan, and so took pictures of it.

Mediterranean Gourmet, Haena, KauaiFor lunch, we decided on the Mediterranean Gourmet in Haena, just west of the little cottage we stayed at in 2010. Excellent entrees – a fish lettuce wrap for MS (make your own lettuce wraps - grilled fresh Ono, hummus, babaganush, tahini sauce, tabouleh and romaine lettuce leaves. gluten free) and an Ono wrap with Moroccan seasoning for R. We had a pineapple upside down cake for desert – ok, but not great: hard little squares of pineapple, soft white cake, nice drizzle of lemon butter and whipped cream.

We went back to our favorite beach: Lumaha’I Beach in Wainiha. MS sat on a big log and read while R walked all the way down into the black rocks at the east end. R had to run from huge breakers twice. Surfers were riding high waves at the west end where the river joins the ocean.

On the way back to town, we stopped at the farmers market in Wainiha, met and chatted with Tracy, who is a friend of Carol Ann Washburn. R gave her a business card and asked her to say hi to Annie. Back in Hanalei, we shopped for tshirts and discovered that I left my credit card at the Mediterranean Gourmet. A phone call confirmed it, and we made our way there and back over all the one-lane bridges, blown away one last time at the turquoise water and white sand beaches along the hairpin turns of the oceanside road.

We stopped at Chicken In A Barrel for carry-out chicken and ribs. Dinner at Pali Ke Kua included a salad and rice. While the rice cooked, we walked down the street toward the St. Regis just as far as the little lookout just past our condo. We hadn’t been there yet this trip, and were graced with a last goodbye from the whales. No jumping or splashing, just some blowing. G’bye.

Mental energies turning to packing and timing for departure in the morning.