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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

About The Author

Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

Kauai's Sights, Activities, & Events


The Waimea Town Celebration: Rodeo, Races, Music, Crafts & Beer

Waimea Town, Kauai is the island's most ancient settlement and a capital from ancient Hawaiian days. Its history encompasses the turbulence of post European contact starting with the first landing in Hawaii of Captain James Cook on his extraordinary voyages of discovery in the Pacific, fur and sandalwood traders, to a dramatic stand-off of King Kamehameha superior forces by Kauai's King Kaumualii that lasted decades, Russian empire builders, to whalers and missionaries, and then to the growth of 19th century agricultural pursuits in rice, cattle and sugarcane bringing people from many nations … Asia, Europe and the United States. They all passed through and made Waimea a port-of-call. 

34th Annual Waimea Town Celebration happens on Friday & Saturday, February 25 & 26, 2011

 Continuous island entertainment with loads of food, craft & game booths, beer garden, contests and lots of sporting events. At the Old Waimea Sugar Mill, the fun starts on Friday at 4:30pm and on Saturday at 10 am. Free entertainment until 11 pm, both nights. Saturday events include a fun run, canoe race, rodeo, ukulele contest, ice cream eating contest. Check out the lei contest and cultural demonstrations at the West Kaua'i Visitor Center Friday & Saturday. More information can be obtained by calling the Waimea Visitor Center at (808) 338-1332 or PR Chris Faye (808) 337-1005. 

Mountain Ball Tournament Friday, Saturday & Sunday February 25-27

Great play starting at 6pm Friday at the Waimea Athletic Field on the corner of Huakai and Hwy 50. Action resumes at 8am on Saturday & Sunday at Waimea Athletic Field and H.P. Faye Park in Kekaha. No admission for spectators.

 34th Annual Captain Cook Caper Fun Run Saturday, Feb 2610, 5, & 2k Run with a start time of 7am, Saturday morning. (Pre-Registration available at information booth near the stage area Friday night between 4:30 & 10:00 pm. ~ Late registration at 5:30am Saturday at the Waimea Plantation Cottages) Shuttle service to start lines from Waimea Plantation Cottages. Last bus leaves at 6:15 am so be there well in advance to check-in/or register for the race. Race takes place on the Hwy with the start line for 10k race at the Navy Housing Gate, 5k at Kekaha Neighborhood Center, and the 2k at Kikiaola Boat Harbor entrance. Entry fee includes t-shirt. Hosted by the Waimea High School Track Team. Free for spectators.

 Kilohana Long Distance Canoe Race - Due to scheduling problems, the Kilohana Canoe Race is being held one week early this year, on Sat, Feb 19th

 Traditional Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Racing along the Waimea shoreline. One of the signature events of the WTC and the first event of the Garden Island Canoe Racing Association season. Start times for the races Saturday morning - 9am for women, 10:30 am for men. Finished around 11:30. Visible from the shore at Waimea near the Pier. Race course determined by ocean conditions that morning. 

14th Annual Ukulele Contest Saturday, Feb 26, 2011

Amateur strummers show their stuff with Hawai'i's favorite stringed instrument on the main stage at the Waimea Town Celebration. Starts at 1 pm. Grand Prize includes a brand new Ukulele! Sign up at the information booth Saturday. Sponsored by Scotty's Music.

12th Annual First Hawaiian Bank Hat Lei Contest Friday & Saturday, Feb 25 & 26, 2011

Creativity reigns as children and adults show off their lei contest entries exhibited Friday from noon to 9pm and Saturday, 9am-3:30pm at the West Kaua'i Technology & Visitor Center. Awards ceremony at 3:30pm Saturday.  Entry forms for lei contest available at the Visitor Center. Event sponsored by First Hawaiian Bank, Kaua'i Economic Development Board, County of Kaua'i and the West Kaua'i Business & Professional Association.

11th Annual Waimea Round-Up Rodeo Friday & Saturday February 25 & 26, 2011

Events take place behind the old Waimea Dairy (between Waimea & Kekaha, look for signs makai off the highway). Friday Slack / Elimination Roping from 2pm (no admission this day only) until dark.

Saturday Grand entry and flag ceremony with recognition of the Hall of Fame Cowboys starts at noon and features many of our revered paniolo. Fun events from Steer Roping and Po'owaiu to Barrel Racing. Refreshments available. Bring sunscreens, hats and enjoy the family fun for the afternoon. Admission is $3.00 / under 12 free to benefit the Kaua'i Keiki & High School Rodeo Association.

12th Annual Lappert's Ice Cream Eating Contest Saturday, Feb 26, 2011

  Age groups from young to old compete vie for the title of the fastest ice cream eaters in the west in front of the Waimea Town Celebration Stage starting at noon. Sign up at 11:00 am next to WKBPA Stage on Saturday. Limited seating in each category. Contest starts about noon

 For more info contact: Mark Nellis Phone: (808) 651-3368, or go to: http://www.wkbpa.org/events.html


Monk Seals and Turtles and Whales, Oh my!

Kauai is called Paradise, and we often have a yellow brick road of sunshine that glides across the ocean waves. Unlike the "lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" of OZ, Kauai is home to some exquisite sea creatures!

The Hawaiian Humpback Whale

Humpback whales are known for their magical songs, which travel for great distances through the world's oceans. These sequences of moans, howls, cries, and other noises are quite complex and often continue for hours on end. Scientists are studying these sounds to decipher their meaning. It is most likely that humpbacks sing to communicate with others and to attract potential mates.

These whales are found near coastlines, feeding on tiny shrimp-like krill, plankton, and small fish. Humpbacks migrate annually from summer feeding grounds near the poles to warmer winter breeding waters closer to the Equator. Mothers and their young swim close together, often touching one another with their flippers with what appear to be gestures of affection.

Females nurse their calves for almost a year, though it takes far longer than that for a humpback whale to reach full adulthood. Calves do not stop growing until they are ten years old.

Humpbacks are powerful swimmers, and they use their massive tail fin, called a fluke, to propel themselves through the water and sometimes completely out of it. These whales, like others, regularly leap from the water, landing with a tremendous splash. Scientists aren't sure if this breaching behavior serves some purpose, such as cleaning pests from the whale's skin, or whether whales simply do it for fun.

Hawaii's humpback whale season technically begins in November when the gargantuan mammals make the long journey from cold north Pacific Ocean seas to calve in Hawaii’s famously warm waters. But January marks the start of the peak season. As many as 10,000 whales winter in Island waters, a good number of them visible from our state’s many coastal scenic lookouts.

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

The green turtle is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In 1978, the Hawaiian population of the green turtle was listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Green turtles were a source of food, tools, and ornamentation for early Hawaiians. With the arrival of western culture, however, the level of exploitation of this resource increased dramatically. Large numbers of green turtles were harvested throughout the Hawaiian Islands through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1974, the State of Hawaii finally passed a regulation providing some protection, but this was virtually ignored until 1978, when the Hawaiian green turtle was placed on the list of threatened species.

In other parts of the world, green turtles face a serious threat from the destruction and loss of nesting sites. Fortunately, over 90% of nesting activity for the Hawaiian green turtle population occurs at the French Frigate Shoals, inside a National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This, combined with its threatened status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, has created an environment in which the Hawaiian green turtle should prosper. Unfortunately, the Hawaian green still faces severe threats, most notably fibropapilloma tumors and degradation of foraging habitat. Current Hawaiian green turtle population levels are still thought to be below pre-western contact, and probably pre-World War II levels as well. In 1992, the estimate of mature female green turtles associated with the French Frigate Shoals was set at roughly 750.

The Hawaiian Monk Seal

Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua is the name used to describe the Hawaiian monk seal. Literally it means, "the dog that runs in the rough (seas)." These seals get their common name "monk seals" because of their bald appearance, solitary habits and a fold of skin behind their heads which resembles a monk's hood.

In recorded history there have only been four seals born on the main Hawaiian islands. Two of those births occurred in 1991 on the North shores of Oahu and Kauai. In both cases, volunteers from the community guarded the mother and pup from a distance to ensure that they would not be disturbed.

A newborn pup is jet black in color and weighs about 30 pounds. Its loose, velvety skin cloaks its body like an over sized coat. A mother seal will nurse her pup for a period of five or six weeks. During that time she is constantly at her pup's side and does not go off to feed herself. At the end of the nursing period the depleted mother will leave her pup to tend to her own nutritional needs.The newly weaned pup, called a weaner, is by then fat with blubber. It can live off of its stored fat for a while but must soon learn to catch food on its own.

Monk seals feed largely on fish, eels, octopus, and lobster that they usually catch at night. In the daylight hours, the seals spend much of their time sleeping. When on land, they may look lethargic, sick or even dead. Actually, the seals come ashore to get their much needed rest and should not be disturbed or approached.


NTBG's Allerton Garden hosts Visiting Artists Workshop

 Plant-lovers and artists on Kaua‘i will soon have a unique opportunity to broaden their understanding of tropical flora and plant illustration by studying with two of America’s most respected botanical artists.

Alice Tangerini, a veteran staff illustrator with the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Botany, and Wendy Hollender, an instructor at The New York Botanical Garden, are jointly leading an illustration workshop at National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) headquarters in Kalaheo from Feb. 24 to March 6.

Hollender specializes in colored and watercolor pencil drawings while Tangerini’s expertise is using graphite and ink with pens and brushes. Hollender calls the chance to use different media with varying techniques in one workshop “extraordinary.”

“I travel around the world studying and drawing plants,” Hollender said. “NTBG is an ideal place to work and teach because of the numerous settings, availability of staff botanists and resources like microscopes, herbarium specimens and collection of rare botanical books and art.”

Recalling her first NTBG botanical illustration workshop last year, Hollender explains how students can move freely between the library, classroom and garden. “We collect specimens in the garden daily, drawing on location and from cuttings in the classroom.”

Tangerini, whose highly-detailed work is regularly used by scientists and as a permanent record of plant characteristics, has visited NTBG three times previously to collaborate on illustrated flora projects. She points to NTBG’s plant diversity and knowledgeable staff as key assets for experienced and aspiring botanical illustrators.

“Drawing from live fruits and flowers here helps me capture the look of plants in their natural habitat,” Tangerini said.

With eight instruction days and field trips to NTBG’s Limahuli Garden and the Makauwahi Cave Reserve on the South Shore, people on Kaua‘i can experience the Garden Island in a way like never before, even as they learn how to appreciate and share the beauty and fragility of Kaua‘i and the plant life it supports.


Kauai's West Side - A Rich Historical & Cultural Tradition

 Imagine a time when the foothills of Koke'e ended abruptly at the ocean, and Barking Sands did not exist. And, Hanapepe, the second largest community on Kauai, was known predominately for its hula dancing and taro growing, in that order. Based on excavations, archeological digs and extensive research of  old land records, an interesting history of the West Side emerges..

            The density of population and settlement of Waimea to Mana in the mid-19th century was the the most populous area of Kauai during the period.  "A row of  grass houses extended all the way along the foothills from Waimea to Mana. Every house site had a name. To find a man, you had to find a house name. The native seemed to know every name and would keep sending you along until you finally came to the spot you were looking for," one archaeologist wrote.

            "Inside, the women beat the tapa cloth. As they beat their tapa, they talked to one another in the tapa beater's code. They could send a message with great speed from Waimea to Mana. When the men returned from the  mountains with firewood or canoes, the women who saw them coming, at once tapped out the news and it flew from house to house, with the result that every man found his house in order and no surprise visitors hanging around. The men had tried for years to learn the secret of the tapa code but were never able to do so."

Today, the land of Kekaha and the Mana Plain has been so dramatically altered that it makes it hard to imagine how it once looked.

            The settlement pattern of Waimea, Kekaha, Polihale and Mana was based upon various ecological zones. Originally, the ocean came up to the foothills of Kokee. AS time and elements worked on the geology of the area many changes came about including the formation of the Mana Plain. 

            The formation of the Mana Plain occurred over millions of years as run off from Waimea River that was spread westward by the ocean currents. Pleistocene sand dunes, dating back 12,000 to 25,000 years have been found.

            "Through time the sand bar grew and grew, but it didn't connect with the land.  This delta built up into a sand bar upon which the ocean was on one side and fresh water lay at the base of the mountains. The dunes, of which Nohili Dune is an original developed from sand shifting and blowing about in the steady trade winds

 Waimea is the classic valley ahupua'a House sites and taro patches were found as far up into the back of Koaie Canyon, a valley that lies in the far reaches at the back of Waimea Canyon. Here lived the back country people, Hawaiians who rarely saw the ocean because of the severity of the hike out of the valley. Settlement patterns and taro terraces have been found as far as 12 miles into the valley. It is thought that these back country people in the far reaches of Waimea Valley had more contact with villagers on the North Shore.

"They traveled up through the Alakai Swamp and down into Hanalei and Wainiha Valleys and traded with the people there. People who lived closer to the ocean in Waimea Valley traded with people who lived near the shoreline and Waimea Bay.


Kauai's History: Part 1 Mythology, Pre-Contact & Meneheunes

Wākea and Hāloa

Polynesian legends describe how kalo (taro) existed even before the first humans. An ancient chant recounts how Wākea, the god of the sky, had to bury his first son because the child was born as a shapeless mass. The next day a taro plant grew up from the location and Wākea named the plant-child Hāloa-naka (“Long, trembling stem”).

Wākea’s second son was a boy that Wākea named Hāloa-naka-lau-kapalili (“Long-stalk-quaking-trembling-leaf stem”). Hāloa was considered to be the first human, thus the taro plant was considered the oldest ancestor of all humans.


The Menehune

The legend of the Menehune describes an ancient race of Kauaians who were very small, but very skilled, and with a supernatural strength. The Menehune were said to have built many structures, including roads, dams, ‘auwai (irrigation canals), and heiau (sacred places of worship)—and everything they built was constructed in a single night.

Each Menehune was a master of a certain craft and had one special function they accomplished with great precision and expertise. The Menehune would set out at dark to build something, and if they failed to complete the project in one night it would be abandoned.

There remains some mystery surrounding the exact origin of the stories about Menehune. Some speculate the word Menehune comes from the word “manahune,” or “common people” (common laborers), referring to the early Marquesan[i] settlers of Hawai‘i who were later dominated by Tahitian settlers, and made to perform the hardest work, including stonework.

The term “Menehune” may have been a reference not to the Marquesan settlers’ small size but instead to their lower status in the social system, leading to a myth about a small race of people. This is just one possible explanation of the still very mysterious story of the Menehune.

Alekoko (Menehune) Fishpond

The ‘Alekoko Fishpond, commonly called Menehune Fishpond, is located along a bend in the Hulē‘ia Stream just above Nāwiliwili Harbor. Constructed of earth and faced with stone, the 900-foot levee was built for the purpose of trapping and raising fish.

Building the massive ‘Alekoko Fishpond was a remarkable engineering feat that is attributed to the legendary ancient race of Menehune. The huge aquaculture facility is said to have been built in a single moonlit night by a 25-mile-long, double row of Menehune who passed rocks to each other all the way from the Makaweli Quarry in Waimea.

According to legend, the chief ‘Alekoko requested that two ponds be constructed—one for him and one for his sister Hāhālua. The Menehune agreed to build the ponds but told ‘Alekoko that no one must look while the work was being completed.

When ‘Alekoko could not resist the urge to look out during the night, the Menehune immediately stopped their work and washed their bloody hands in the river, giving the fishpond the name ‘Alekoko, which means “Bloody ripples.”[xviii]

The walls of ‘Alekoko Fishpond are about four feet thick and five feet high. In the 1800’s, two of the three gaps in the levee were filled in by rice farmers. Makaweli means “Fearful features.”[xix]


Stay tuned for the next installment. Part Two of Kauai Hisotry will cover Hula and Heiau


The Geologic History of Kauai

Kauai is 5.5-6 million years old. During that time, wind and water have carved away the original volcano to reveal layers of old eruptions – it’s like looking back in time. The brilliant red earth tones of the cliffs, softened by the greens and golds of plants, change as the sun moves over the gorge.

The name Waimea refers to the reddish water (wai = fresh water, mea = red) that floods from the canyon after heavy rains. Think about the forces of nature working over eons of time, building then carving away layer upon layer of lava to expose the interior of Kauai’s original volcano.

Kauai is the high-island stage of an eroding volcano. After this stage, the Hawaiian islands erode down to the Northwest Islands, which are uninhabited low islands and shoals extending 1500 miles beyond Kauai. These are now part of a newly designated wildlife preserve.

Erosion of the canyon walls has been accelerated by goats, now wild in Waimea Canyon. Goats were introduced to Kauai in 1792 by English sea captain George Vancouver. Hawaiian island ecosystems evolved without any four-footed mammals which have been extremely destructive since their introduction.

One of the best resources for understanding the geology of Kauai is Kauai's Geologic History by Dr. Chuck Blay.


Wake Up and Smell the Coffee - Kauai Coffee Company

Looking South from Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast are vast coastal acres blanketed with dark green coffee plants. The largest coffee plantation in the United States, McBryde coffee plantation, is home of world famous Kauai Coffee.  Kauai Coffee fields now cover 3.400 acres where where sugar cane was once grown. 

The Kauai Coffee Visitor's Center, located on Numila Road (Route 50, just past Kalaheo heading west on Hwy 56) is a treat for locals and visitors alike. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, visitors may sample the many varities of Kauai coffee in the tasting room where complimentary coffee beverages can be coupled with tasty snacks. 

The visitor center houses a growing collection of coffee mills, tins, and other coffee paraphernalia. And a video explains modern coffee production. There is a small coffee roaster on site, which produces freshly roasted coffee, a large gift shop and a Coffee Bar that provides an assortment of beverages, pastries and sandwiches.

Guests are welcome to walk through the "coffee gardens" on a 20-minute walk along a twisty, turny path spiked with informational signs.  Kauai Coffee trees begin to bloom in February or March and by May, the fruit or coffee cherry starts to form. The fruit usually ripens by late September when harvesting begins. It is the seeds of the fruit, usually two to a cherry, that become the coffee bean. Nearly 4,000 coffee beans must be harvested to produce a single pound of coffee. 


Travel into Kauai's History - Kilohana, Grove Farm & Kauai Museums

Wondering what there is to do on Kauai on a rainy day? Plenty! Believe it or not -- there is rich island history and culture to be explored and several excellent locations to learn more about this beautiful island, its first inhabitants and the "newcomers" who changed the shape and history of the island of Kauai over the years.



 One of Lihue's most splendid structures, Kilohana -- the former plantation home of the Wilcox Family -- is a mecca of activity and points of interest all situated in one convenient location. A Rum Factory, an old plantation train tour through this working farm -- complete with picnic and fruit picking -- a five-star restaurant, a spectacular weekly luau, and shops galore can all be found at Kilohana. Call 245-5608 or visit the website at http://www.kilohanakauai.com/  Kilohana is located on Route 50 next to Kauai Community College.

Grove Farm Museum

The 100-acre Grove Farm site preserves the earliest surviving set of domestic,  agricultural, and sugar plantation buildings, furnishings and collections, surrounding orchards and pasturelands in Hawaii. This homestead was the center of operations for the developing sugar plantation and involved the relationship of family life, plantation activity, household work, gardening and farming which continue as a part of the experience of visiting Grove Farm today.

As the American Civil War was raging between the North and the South, young George Wilcox took a lease on a struggling farm located on the outskirts of Lihue, on the island of Kauai, in what was then the kingdom of Hawaii. The farm had been chopped out of a large grove of kukui trees and was therefore called Grove Farm. His vision combined with his education resulted in his ability to change this arid farm into a thriving sugar plantation. As the Civil War destroyed the agriculture in the South, it helped sugar become a successful venture in Hawaii. Sugar’s success was also favored by the Hawaiian monarchy as it was an additional source of income for it’s kingdom.

For a tour of Grove Farm or more info see their website at http://www.grovefarm.net/ or call 245-3202

Kauai Museum



 Located on Rice Street in Lihue across from the bank of Hawaii is one of Kauai's best cultural and historical treasures -- The Kauai Museum. Here, exhibits of all things Hawaiiana and historical are presented in aesthetic surroundings.


The primary exhibit of interest to those seeking an better understanding of Kauai’s history is called “The Story of Kauai”( two floors of exhibits in the Rice Building)
On the first floor, walk through a passage highlighting geological wonders of the island, its natural history, and the coming of the Hawaiian people. Portraits of famous chiefs from ancient times overlook beautiful examples of Hawaiian culture. Captain James Cook, traders, and whalers lead up to the second floor and the sugar plantation exhibits. Walk through our life-size camp house exhibit and discover the many people from many nations that came to make Hawai‘i their home. Kauai’s missionaries, sugar barons, schools, politicians and more make up the remaining exhibits finishing with Territorial Period and World War II. Videos about the island can be viewed in the Ruth Knudsen Hanner Media Room.

The Kauai Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM - 5 PM. For more information call 245 - 6931,


A Year 'Round Guide to Hawaii's Weather and Ocean Conditions

,What is Hawaii’s weather like in the winter? Not much different than in the summer! Year ‘round our daily temperatures – especially on Kauai – run in the low to mid 80s (F.) in the day time, and drop to the low and mid 60s at night. There are, however, subtle differences in seasons that local folks will tell you about, including “Kona” conditions, trade winds (also known as “natural air conditioning)”, cold fronts, and episodes of high and dangerous surf.

The most remarkable difference in seasons is marked by huge storms at sea that cause gigantic surf and huge waves in winter months on the north shores, and moderate to large swells on the south shores in the summer. 

One thing is for sure – and very different from most other places – is that a bit of rain will only last for a brief spell, or you can drive to another part of the island where it is completely dry! These localized weather patterns are hard to get used to, but  have faith! You may be driving along the island in a downpour one minute and in bright sun the next.

The southern coasts of each island are the driest parts year round. Also, consider that Hawai'i is geographically and topographically one of the most diverse places you'll ever find. The weather from one side of an island to the other varies greatly over distance and the topography present. Out of approximately 28 different climactic zones in the world, Hawaii boasts 23 of them!

“Lee ward” and “Windward” weather conditions can be as different as day and night. Windward means the side of the island that the trade winds buffet first. Leeward is the dry side of the island where wind and rain rarely makes it across the central mountains to drop precipitation. Honolulu, for example, is on the leeward side of Oahu – thus weather broadcasts from Honolulu TV stations rarely apply to the rest of the island chain! While on Kauai the best bet is to call the National Weather Service at 245-6001. Very accurate.

Trade winds blow in from the NE and can occur all year long. They winds bring refreshing air and clouds to the islands from cool ocean waters to the northeast, and the clouds that build from this activity deposit their precipitation against the east facing high interior mountains. Generally, starting in September and October and throughout the winter months, large weather systems form close to the equator and approach the islands from the south. When this happens, trades die out and winds can be calm or begin to build from the humid southerly direction, resulting in very hot and muggy daytime conditions. These are called Kona conditions, and the crystal clear evenings during a Kona spell can bring some of the coolest nights and best star-gazing of the year.


Kauai Does Christmas with Lighted Parades in Lihue and Waimea

LIHUE, KAUAI --The 2010 FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS at the Kauai Historic County Building Park on Rice Street will begin on Friday, December 3rd and run through New Years! There is a fantastic Opening Ceremony from 6-6:30pm on the front steps of the Historic County Building featuring the Kauai Chorale and Santa leading a spectacular "Lighting Countdown" followed by the wonderful Lights on Rice parade at 6:30. The parade can be viewed from the Historic County Building Park.

This year the interior of the Historic County Building is under renovation so we will not be putting out our display inside but, with hundreds of thousands of mini-lights on the gorgeous Monkeypod Trees and the giant Royal Palms, the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS in the Historic County Building Park will be dazzling! AND it is FREE!

WAIMEA, KAUAI- Visit Kauai's most historic town has been hosting Christmas events since 1786. British Captain George Dixon anchored off at Waimea aboard the "Charlotte" during Christmas. He ordered a Christmas dinner and a bowl of punch prepared in honor of the occasion. A pig was brought from shore and roasted. The day's ration of grog was mixed with coconut milk and the crew toasted friends and family at home in England.

In Hawaii, we celebrate Christmas with "Mele Kalikimaka", carols sung in Hawaiian, light displays, and Norfolk Island pines. We think it is nippy outside at 75 degrees, but it is all relative.

A brilliant wonderland of color and the spirit of fellowship are the hallmark of the annual Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade starting at 6pm, Saturday, December 18th. Come and spend the day. Visit our parks, beaches and hiking trails; browse through Waimea's shops, eat dinner and stay for the entertainment following the parade at Hofgaard Park. The event is free and visitors are welcome to join in this colorful community event. Waimea Town, dripping with lights, a brilliant wonderland of color serves as a backdrop to its annual Lighted Christmas Parade. After parade festivities include live, on-stage free music at Hofgaard Park, with free beverages, baked goods and treats provided by our many WKBPA member businesses. 

The parade, held since 1994, begins at Waimea Canyon Park and goes down Kaumualii Hwy to Ala Wai Road, it then turns mauka (towards the mountains) to Waimea Road, then back west to end at Hofgaard Park in the center of town. For everyone's safety, no parking will be allowed along the Parade Route and we do expect traffic into Waimea to be extremely slow. Organizers suggest finding a spot for parade viewing by 4:00pm. Parking is easier on the Kekaha side of town, so arrive early, relax and enjoy the fun. Many businesses and organizations offer food booth items for purchase along the parade route. Please keep children on the sidewalks during the parade.

Sponsored by West Kauai Professional and Business Association along with area merchants and businesses. 

 Note: Our original parade of 1994 consisted of a small collection of lighted fishing boats from Kekaha and Waimea, bicycles, a red tractor and a few walking units, and was led by our County Mayor and a fire truck. In 2009 there were 35 floats, boats, bands, and walking units, and our Mayor and fire truck still led the parade, as it passed through our fully lit "main street" of Waimea Town.

 Even if you can't make the parade don't forget to drive through town at this time of year to enjoy the Christmas lights. Waimea Town is the most decorated town on the island and every night brings additional delights. Stroll along Main Street and Waimea Canyon Drive to enjoy the spirit of the season offered by residents and businesses from dark until 9pm

Waimea Town Christmas Lights From December 5 - 25, 2010


Bambulei Vintage Christmas Event - Dec 4-6, Wailua Kauai


Hidden away off the main highway in Kapaa, is a fantastic vintage and modern day clothing and accessory shop called Bambulei. 

In addition to a variety of vintage items to wear, hang on the wall or feature prominently on a shelf, Bambulei is adding vintage Christmas to its repertoire and turning the shop into a Christmas Cottage for three days -- Dec. 4, 5, and 6, from 10 am - 5 pm. Located at 43-369D Kuhio Highway -- across from Kintaro's Restaurant in Wailua, Bambulei is set back in a tropical coconut grove.

The Grand Opening of this event will be hosted by antique specialist and interior designer, Liane Carter, who has scoured Kauai for vintage Christmas decorations and gift items. Adding her own special, personalized touches to these items, Liane breathes life and beauty into unique items for every home and gift list. 

Bambulei has been selling quality vintage and original clothing along with Hawaiiana and furniture, since 1996. Currently owned and operated by Valerie Ray, the inventory is constantly changing with unique and one-of-a-kind items. "I want our customers to look & feel good in our clothes & to experience an adventure in shopping at Bambulei," says Valarie. A favorite of locals and visitors alike, there is something for everyone at Bambulei.

For more information call (808) 823-8641 and check out the website at www.bambulei.com



A Birds Eye View of Kauai that makes Economic Sense

When I was growing up, my father, who was an avid adventurer, bought a Piper Cub and earned his instructor's license. In addition to many exciting family trips in our "puddle jumper" -- to the Bahamas and Nova Scotia, Ottawa and Quebec -- I also began logging flight hours as a private pilot. (Our second plane was a Cherokee 180 -- I loved the low wings!)

Dad would spend every Sunday at the Butler (Pa.) airport teaching for the Charlie Brown Flying School. When he wasn't instructing, he would pile the family in the plane and off we would go for the weekend or family vacation. What a great way to see the country! The time we went to the Bahamas, weather closed in near Great Abaco Island, and Dad had to do some low flying under the clouds to determine where we were!

It is no wonder that I recommend to my guests the lovely airplane tour offered by Bruce and Ellen Coulombe, who run Wings Over Kauai. In addition to a variety of flights, Bruce also gives lessons to aspiring pilots, including locals and visitors.

While helicopter tours are exciting, I have always preferred the feeling I get from riding in (and flying) a light plane. Views of the island are unrivaled, and you can see every part of Kauai that is visible from a helicopter.

Looking for something a little different than a standard Kauai flight tour? Bruce, a former executive at one of Kauai's seed companies, and Ellen, a naturalist and botanical expert, are the ideal folks to help you orient to the beauty of Kauai.

Wings Over Kauai tours invite you to experience a safe and comfortable airplane tour of one of the most beautiful Islands in the world. Choose from either one of our eco-freindly aircraft, the Cessna 172 or the GA-8 Airvan.

Their office is easy to find and located near the Lihue Airport's main terminal in the heart of Lihue. Bruce commences the tour over Ha'upu Mountain and the Kipu Kai region of the South Shore, zips up to and across Waimea Canyon, traverses the stunning Na Pali, then shoots through the center of the island -- so you can see places no one has ever stepped foot! The tour concludes over Kauai's stunning Wailua Falls then back to the airport.

For more information call Ellen at 808 635-0815. Enjoy!


Kauai's History in a Sink Hole -- Makauwahi Cave

The Makauwahi Sinkhole, the largest limestone cave complex in the Hawaiian Islands, is yielding an unprecedented look into Hawai'i's history, with a record of life that dates back 10,000 years.

The findings from a multiyear archaeological dig at the sinkhole have profound implications for proposals to reforest parts of the archipelago with native vegetation, since it shows that coastal forests included a wide range of plants long thought to be limited to upland habitats.

The site also reveals a rich array of bird life, and has changed the current understanding of what pre-human Hawai'i looked like.

Several previously unknown bird species have been identified from fossil bones. The complex coastal forest of the region has been intricately described from seed and pollen remains. Two species of plants — kou and hala — that were once believed to be Polynesian introductions have been proven to predate human arrival. There are signs of ancient snails, extinct land crabs and much more.

The impact from the arrival of the first humans in the Islands also is immediately visible in the cave's sediments. There are the bones of rats, which traveled with voyaging Polynesians, and evidence of the immediate collapse of plant species on which rats fed, such as loulu palms. Later there are fishhooks, pieces of outrigger canoes, charcoal from early imu, and other artifacts such as stone tools and a round basalt mirror. And there are human burials, which are being carefully preserved in place.

"You've got this continuous record, like a slow movie through the 10,000 years," said David Burney, a Fordham University professor and director of conservation at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kaua'i. Burney, an ecologist and archaeologist, and his wife, Lida Pigott Burney, also are overseeing the reforestation of the cave and its environment with the plants that the evidence proves once forested the region. A partner from the earliest days of the project was the late Kaua'i archaeologist Bill "Pila" Kikuchi.

Charcoal remnants of an ancient Hawaiian seer’s fire can still be found in Makauwahi Cave on the island of Kaua’i. The work this diviner did, telling the future from curls of smoke, inspired the cave’s name. Makauwahi, you see, means eye smoke. And Makauwahi Cave, it turns out, is still informing the future of life on Kaua’i – at least botanically speaking.

Some 16 years ago, paleoecologists Lida Pigott Burney and David Burney began studying fragments of the past they discovered within the confines of the cave’s 400,000-year-old walls. David Burney is also the director of conservation, and the director of living collections, at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kaua’i.

During their excavations, the Burneys found seeds and pollen from a rich array of plants that once lived on southern Kaua’i around Makauwahi Cave. Some of these species still survive on the island, but are vanishing as invasive plants take over their habitats.

In an attempt to restore the many different types of native vegetation that once thrived in the area around Makauwahi Cave, Lida Burney has commenced to re-introduce the plants to their former home. Seventeen acres surrounding the cave have been dedicated to this purpose. They make up the Makauwahi Cave Reserve.


Short Hikes from Hale O Nanakai B&B: The Coffee Fields

Walk to the end of Nanakai Road and take a left on Waha. Continue to the end where you will see a soccer field on the left. Just in front of a "Neighborhood Watch" sign there is a path through the tall cane grass. On the other side of the grass you will step back into time and view Kauai as it once appeared in the plantation days.

Follow the dusty road toward the ocean past neat rows of coffee plants, noted by their glossy green leaves and fat yellow to red berries. Wildlife abounds -- watch for ring-necked pheasant in the underbrush. At the first intersection continue down along a row of Cook Island pines but take the second dirt road to the left. It will dead end into a beautiful pond where ducks, (specifically native Hawaiian "coot" ducks), bull frogs, and snowy egret, proliferate. Follow the dirt road to either the right or the left and you will come to the other side of the reservoir.

These fields, owned and farmed by Kauai Coffee, follow environmentally friendly agricultural practices, and is the largest drip irrigation coffee estate in the world with 2,500 miles of drip tubing. This efficient drip irrigation system applies water and fertilizers directly to the roots of the trees, so there is no spraying or dusting of fertilizer.

During the harvest period, water from the drip irrigation system is used to wet the plant, where it is used in processing. Because the water is used only once in processing, it can easily be cleaned using a filter system and reapplied to the coffee fields. The cherry pulp and the mulch from pruning are put back into the land as soil amendments. In addition to adding nutrients to the soil, this mulch also serves to reduce weeds in the fields.

The company plants contoured plantings, hedgerows and diversions to mitigate runoff and soil erosion. The native forests and plants in the estate’s valleys and ravines are protected. The coffee crop is not subject to disease and insect problems that other crops experience.  Herbicide use has been cut down by 75% through cultivation practices, and this 3,100 acres of coffee is GMO free.



Tales of the Tempests - The Hurricanes of Kauai

Written in the wake of Hurricane Iniki, Tales of the Tempests, The Hurricanes of Kauai is an insightful look at the numerous hurricanes and gales that have assaulted the island of Kauai.

Kauai has been pummeled by four powerful tempests in the past 50 years. Each successive hurricane has increased in intensity. These hurricanes have affected Kauai's economy, its people and the future of the island.

Tales of the Tempests is a gripping account of man's attempt to cope with dangerous natural phenomena.

Like a tapestry, colorful stories and island residents' oral narratives are balanced with information about hurricane formation and meteorology, detailed history of hurricanes in Hawaiian waters, and local and national defense agencies that deal with wind driven disasters. 

Written by Sheila Heathcote, who is also the owner/manager of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast, Tales of the Tempests , The Hurricanes of Kauai is available by mail order at $12.95 + tax per copy.

To order please send an email request to sheila.heathcote@hawaiiantel.net