Here I am on the "Garden Isle" of Kauai, Hawaii. Actually, this island has many faces with different parts getting tremendously differing amounts of rain and thus having different climates. One part only gets 10-15 inches of rain per year and is arid while Mt. Waialeale is allegedly the wettest place on earth getting more than 460 inches of rain each year. We landed at the port of Nawiliwili, and the ventriloquist of yesterday evening's entertainment had fun with that name. Rather, his dummy, Mr. Long Nose, did. Nawiliwili harbor is the port for the state capital of Lihue, which is immediately adjacent to the port.
My tour excursion took us along the North Coast, which had many pretty sights and areas. Coupled with an absolutely gorgeous day, this proved to be an enjoyable day. Two things somewhat marred the day. First, the Fern Grotto wound up being a huge disappointment. I would not even give it a passing mark. In fact, I scored it down with the alleged Fijian firewalkers. I have several pictures from that part of the trip, including one of the grotto and one of a guy who clearly was exercising by forcefully rowing his outrigger canoe on the Wailau River. This guy was almost racing the diesel powered boat in which we sat on our way to the Fern Grotto (pretty impressive to those of us on the boat). Second was TBA (or what I called Tuberculosis Annie). This was a woman passenger who unfortunately for her and anyone within any reasonable distance had the respiratory illness going throughout the ship. Initially, I tried to be no where near her, but as luck would sometimes have it, she sat next to me in a small, crowded van for the entire trip of 5+ hours. Her coughing was frequent, but her coughing up hairballs as big as your fist (okay, I exaggerate somewhat) was a proverbial "corker."
Nonetheless, I enjoyed seeing lots of Kauai, including a picnic gazebo that Sylvester Stallone helped build when he had a home on Kauai. The tour group had a picnic lunch at this picturesque beach called Anini Beach. You will see in the update some pictures of that area. Apparently, Stallone owned a home in that area for some years and wanted to help establish the small beach area as a park for residents. Nice gesture.
We next saw (front a distance) the Kilauea Lighthouse, which was closed on Sundays since it is a state park. I have a photo included. It's too bad we could not get closer and/or inspect the place because it was pretty. A curious thing for me is that this area of Kauai has the same name as the much more famous volcano on the big island, Hawaii. The guide said that happens frequently in Hawaii, but not as frequently as watching tourists try to figure out where they are on a map and/or pronounce the Hawaiian names. That seems to provide amusement to the locals.
A place called Hanalei proved to be our outward point of the trip. This is a relatively small town, but it has attracted some rather well known actors. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore owned a home there before they divorced, Pierce Brosnan owns one, and can be seen walking the streets, some movie producer has a place, etc. I have a picture of the Hanalei River valley and part of its bay, but I did not take any in the town because we parked near a pier, and how many of you have already seen piers? Lots was my guess.
Finishing up about stars, Bette Midler owns a lot of property near a town called Kapa'a, which is just north of Lihue. She has a ranch that raises some kind of specialized beef, and apparently has endeared herself to the locals by building and maintaining a bypass road through her own property around the center of Kapa'a.
Finishing up for the day, we stopped at a waterfall, and the picture I took was of a hen and three chicks running around this small park area. Speaking of chickens, did you know that the most available animal protein to people living on Kauai is chicken? They are literally everywhere! I even saw the suckers in the outfield while a baseball game was in progress! It's one of those situations where they were imported for sugar cane workers and some escaped after storms. Since they have no natural predators, save humans and cars, voilà they have proliferated in vast numbers. Given the amount I saw, I would call them a nuisance.
Our final stop was to walk over to the Marriott Resort at Kauai to explore the facility. You'll see some photos of the gardens (quite impressive), the hotel entrance, lobby, and pool area with Kalapaki Bay in the background. Overall, I was impressed with the resort, but thought it might be pretty limited being in such a small place as Lihue.
I did take advantage of stopping at a bar/restaurant called Duke's, which is part of the Marriott presence. I had a Mai Tail. I also had some delicious coconut shrimp as an "appie" as my Canadian friends call appetizers.
My overall impression of Kauai is that it is nice, but I would not consider moving there. With only one main road around most of the periphery of the island, traffic is heavy. I'm glad I had the chance to see the place, but I say the Fern Grotto is way, way overrated as a tourist attraction.
As I finish, we are in the process of docking at Honolulu. So, more from there later. Thanks for reading.