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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


Halloween at the Kauai Humane Society 

There is a wonderful non-profit organization on Kauai that is close to the hearts of many islanders: The Kauai Humane Society (KHS). 

"We’re glad you’re here. It’s because of our caring community we are able to provide refuge for Kauai’s neglected, abandoned and abused animals, " says Pam Woolway, Volunteer Coordinator for the organization.

" If it weren’t for compassionate folks like you supporting us since 1952, we wouldn’t be able to achieve our mission to strengthen our bond with our pets as well as provide informed care for all of Kauai’s animals."

As a volunteer cat cuddler and aspiring dog photographer, I see a lot of visitors to Kauai stopping in to the shelter because they miss their pets at home. Visitors to Kauai are welcome and encouraged to visit the shelter pets and spread a little island Aloha.

The shelter also features a lovely dog-walking park called "Freddy's Dog Park" and the KHS is currently letting interested parties buy trees or gazebos to beautify the landscaping of the park.

Information about this program and other ways you can help the shelter -- or just to find out what time visiting hours are -- can be accessed at the Kauai Humane Society's website www.kauaihumane.org 

Although bringing animals to Hawaii requires a strict quarantine time period -- and this service is offered by the Kauai Humane Society -- there are no restrictions on taking a pet back to the Mainland with you as a souvenir of Kauai or a loving, living momento of the island. 

This little fellow at left, "Midnight Juju Jamal" came home with me on August 28, 2011. He is learning to travel places with me on his leash and I have featured him prominently on my Facebook Page on many occasions.

I also just adopted a playmate for Juju named Kumo Kerfluffel, a huge ball of snowy white fur with tabby stripes and a fluffy raccoon-like tail.

He and Juju were cage mates at the Humane Society in the past and they are getting along very well together.

We are going to build a nice backyard cat run for the boys that has a cat door that leads from the outdoor shower area to the bird-filled backyard -- all enclosed for everybody's safety!

I'll keep you posted with photos and blogs.

Until then...



See Kauai by Airplane with Wings Over Kauai

I recently had the opportunity to be a passenger on a photo shoot that Bruce and Ellen Coulombe, the owners of Wings Over Kauai  Air Tours, were commissioned to do of the Pioneer Seed Corn Company's fields on the west side of Kauai.

Taxiing out the runway on this mild tradewind day of crystal clear skies and few cotton ball clouds, my excitement mounted.

It had been at least a year since I was in the air -- way too long for someone who was working on a private pilot's license many years past.

Our view of Nawiliwili Harbor and Carter's Point -- the end of the Ha'upu Mountain Range -- was unrivaled both in the afternoon colors and the clarity of the cooperative weather.

 On board also was Kyle Brown, a local conservationist and  kayak enthusiast, who regaled us with tales of kayaking along this jagged coast, where all forms of radio communication cease to exists at sea level, and where the best spot is to beach a boat at Kipu Kai.

In the distance Waita Resevior glistened  like a large cauldron of green pea soup near the cluster of buildings and houses that comprise Koloa Town.

Having just kayaked a short time before from Koloa Landing to Port Allen Boat Harbor, Ellen, Kyle and I were particularly interested in the Palama's Beach.

This segment of coast and the strange body of water called Nomilo Fishpond that is located smack dab next to the ocean below the McBryde coffee fields that stretch from Port Allen to Lawai Valley.

This geological feature is thought to be a fresh water pond that has occurred in an extinct volcanic crater, and is also believed to be connected to volcanic activity on the Big Island.

Banking over the mist enshrouded canyons of Olokele and Hanapepe, we flew over the prescribed crop fields and whatched a lazy stream of nice sized waves peel onto the break at Pakala's.

This might not have been an official tour, but Wings is standing by to give you the ride of your life. For reservations call (808) 635-0815.

"Bruce and I were just remarking that we have had about one of the most beautiful flying weeks ever here on Kauai, light winds, gorgeous sunny skies, and passing showers that only enhance, rather than inhibit, our flying experience, " said Ellen after the flight.

"Things have slowed down a bit since the Labor Day rush and we have one or two openings just about every day this week.  So if you find yourself on Kauai with some extra time on your hands please just give us a call or text or email - we would love to share this beautiful island with all of you.

"If you are not yet here and planning ahead and have any questions about Kauai, how it all works, what is fun to see and do, just ask, and although we haven't experienced everything yet in our 15 years of living here, we have dabbled a bit.  Anyway, we'd love to try and help."


Sail Kayaking along the South Shore

Ocean kayaking is an exhilarating, challenging endurance sport for the brave at heart. So what were we thinking when we decided to kayak Kauai's south coast from Koloa Landing, Poipu and paddle to the Port Allen Small Boat Harbor, a distance of 7.8 miles?

Kyle Brown would take us. 

Eddie Aikau is turning in his watery grave as he hears us chant "Kyle would go! Kyle would go!" Brown, an avid adventurer and outdoor enthusiast, who volunteers on conservation teams to save the forest, to help archaeologists dig, and to save endangered Monk Seals, had been asking us if we would accompany him on a open ocean paddle somewhere in our neck of the woods, which happens to be close to Poipu.

Logistics are key in a one way sail and we spotted a car at Port Allen then took Kyle's truck with the boats to Koloa Landing - the perfect spot to launch a couple of kayaks. Kyle and I opted for the two man, while Ellen Coulombe (owner of Wings Over Kauai Air Tours) was delegated to a light weight one man kayak with a rudder. She was on her way to Tahiti before we even got launched, remarking how fast and easy the one man kayak was to manoeuvre.

We waited for Ellen to rejoin us closer to shore but far enough out to avoid the backs of some nice sized rollers going humpity bumpity along the reef. With a nice 10 knot trade wind breeze over our right shoulders, we scooted past Spouting Horn and soon arrived just outside the bay that fronts the Allerton area of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. This is the real Lawai Beach.

Several huge Green Sea Turtles popped to the surface to check us out along the way. Sea cliffs below the McBryde coffee fields made up the coast until we came to Palama's Beach.  Here, a fish aggregating buoy is anchored in waters just off Kalanipuao Rock, a point marked by a shrine with an owl statue on it. The Palama's are an old Hawaiian family with ties to Walter McBryde, who owned McBryde Sugar Company, and who granted the family this ocean side parcel.

Behind and west of Palama's Beach an ancient volcanic crater rims the landscape above the ocean with high conical walls that once housed an ancient heiau. Sloping downward into a brackish pond called Nomilo Fish Pond, this geological feature is said to be tied into volcanic activity on the Big Island, possibly by deep tubes running through the tectonic plate near the volcanic hot spot.

Just off the crater our wind was perfect for rigging up the kayak sail that Kyle purchased. I was skeptical at first, but my old windsurfing skills kicked in and soon we were flying along the sea, surfing the backs of the huge rollers with many hoots and hollers. Not wanting to be left behind, Ellen tried out the sail on her one-man kayak and we held on to her for the ride.

All was well until I accidentally let go of Ellen's kayak and she slipped away but only for a few minutes! A nice squall and some rainy gusts gave us further momentum and we soon could make out the cliff faces near Waihiawa Quarry Beach and Glass Beach near the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative's electric generating plant. Please be horrified to note that Kauai's entire electrical grid is run by using diesel fuel. It is one of the most expensive means of generating power known to man.

With only a short way to go, we sailed and paddled around the long jetty that protects Port Allen large boat harbor and headed in to the small boat ramp. It was a glorious trip! Including shuffling cars the entire trip took about 5 hours.

Kyle can assist those interested in ocean kayak trips. Please email ellen.coulombe@gmail.com  for more information and write KYLE KAYAK TRIPS in subject line.



Local Theater Review: The Complete History of America (abridged)

I must admit I was a bit skeptical about the merits of "Complete History" going in to a tiny segmented ballroom at the Aston Beach Hotel to watch this production, which was billed as one of London's longest running comedies.

Well, the laughs began straight away and didn't let up until the curtain closed! Leave it to a London playwright to sterotype Americans as being historically ignorant and herein the humor lies. 

From Washington to Watergate, from the Bering Straits to Baghdad, from New World to New World Order – The Complete History of America (abridged) is a ninety minute rollercoaster ride through the glorious quagmire that is American History, reminding us that it’s not the length of your history that matters – it’s what you’ve done with it!

Originally performed by the Reduced Shakespear Company (RSC), an American acting troupe that writes and performs unsubtle, fast-paced, seemingly improvisational condensations of huge topics and written in the early 1990s by RSC members Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, the play delighted audiences in California before being shipped across the pond to the U.K.

In a stellar Kauai performance by Kauai residents Ross Martineau, Nellie Foster and Jeff Demma,  the simple production depends not on stage sets or props. The magic is in the acting and the seemingly perfect improve which is really the result of hours upon hours of rehersals.

This History offers an unceasing barrage of explosive punch lines, visual and verbal puns and scattershot slapstick. Moreover, the Company hits its targets nearly every time. There is method in the madness of these goofy guys, who have pioneered their own wacky genre while drawing upon such surreal antecedents as Firesign Theatre. 

The play is currently running every Tuesday night at the Austin Beach Hotel. Call (808) 212- 8444 for info, tickets and reservations.


Sorry for a gap in events....it was a sad month

On August 27, 2011 my BFF (Best Furry Friend) passed on to the next realm. Born around September 11, 1998 this beautiful boy, who came to me as a bottle-fed kitten, lived his entire life here on the Nanakai Place Cul de Sac, where the Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast is located.

Sparky was a true gentleman and an accomplished mouser. Here in Hawaii it is common for residents to leave our rubber "slippahs" just outside the front door.  My dear Sparky-cat, saw my slipper as a perfect receptacle for a tiny mouse carcass, so he placed it right in my slipper so I wouldn't miss it. What a treat!

For some reasons cats seem to tune in to me, and I to them, a bit more intimately than I do with some other species. Sparky knew my moods and rejoiced when I was happy, and brought me geckos and live doves when I was upset or sad. He was there for me, day and night, for 13 years, through numerous jobs, 2 marriages, one divorce, the death of both my parents and 9/11.

Each cat has its own personality and Sparky will always be remembered for his adorable and incessant demands to have his whiskers brushed on every possible occasion. In the mornings, as I was rushing to get ready for work, he would stand on his hind legs on the counter, reach both paws up to the hairbrush and grasp it,  and demand a rake of the bristles across his whiskers before I could finish my own hair!

Sparky was a great conversationalist and we had many philosophic discussions over the years. He would greet me in the driveway when I came home, walk with me to pick up the mail, and catch me up on all the neighborhood gossip while I was away.

Because of his love of "nookying", someone eventually bought him a special fur pillow and a fur mat to appease the kittenish instinct of pawing with tiny claws to receive milk from mama-cat. This boy never stopped kneading soft, fluffy objects and body parts from kitten hood on through old age. I often had pin pricks in my skin from his happy claws, and didn't mind it a bit!

Another unique thing was the fact that I never once saw Sparky's tail bushed out when frightened or confronted by a dog. He was hip, slick and cool and bad boys don't get bushy tails. His tail was always beautiful and thick with silver blue fur like his coat.

Some claim that cats are rather useless despite the fact that they catch vermin. All of my cats have had a very important purpose -- one that no other creature on this green earth could fulfill. Unconditional love. Complete acceptance and tolerance. Enduring companionship. Warmth. Friendship. A bit of food and kitty litter is a very small price to pay for the gift of a cat like Sparky.

As much as I loved Sparky-cat throughout his life, I don't think I ever really imagined how much he loved me until he was ready to say goodbye.  Then I realized that Sparky loved me even more than I had loved him -- if that could even be possible. 

I post this final photo of the divine energy that exists in this world, and that is called LOVE. Sparky knew it. I know it. I hope you find it, too.


Hiking the South Coast beyond Shipwreck's Beach

Stepping off the manicured sidewalks of the lush, tropically landscaped Grand Hyatt grounds, and onto the sands of Shipwreck's Beach on Keoneloa Bay is one of the easiest ways to ride a time machine into the ancient past.

Unmarked fishermen’s paths and footprints in the sand along this breath-taking coastline lead to the remote and stunning Mahaulepu Beach near Kawailoa Bay.

Rated ‘easy” and with an elevation gain of only 100 feet, this 4 mile (round trip) trail takes approximately 3 hours to traverse, but allow extra time to swim, sun bathe and enjoy the area’s seclusion.

Keep the camera handy as rugged sea cliffs, secluded coves, dunes, tide pools, sculpted lava formations and native plants embellish the landscape.

Here, Kauai’s natural history is etched in spectacular limestone and lava rock formations, and fossilized treasures can be seen eroding out of ancient lithified sand dunes and ledges.

Green sea turtles, spinner dolphins, monk seals can be viewed along the coast most of the year and humpback whales are visible during winter months.

Evidence of the stages of the island’s volcanic growth over the past 5 million years and several major sea level changes over the past 500,000 years are visible.

 In many places ancient soil horizons associated with the sand dunes contain abundant fossil land snails and the bones of extinct flightless birds and large land crabs.

The shoreline also abundantly sprouts lush native coastal vegetation well adapted to the harsh environment.




From Lihue take Hwy. 50 to Maluhia Rd. (Tree Tunnel Hwy 520) into Koloa and take any of the roads from Koloa to Po’ipu Beach.  Turn left and pass the Grand Hyatt. Shipwreck's Beach, where this hike begins, is in front of the Grand Hyatt Take the last paved road to the right to the public parking lot between the Hyatt and Po’ipu Bay Golf Course.


88 Shrines - Annual Pilgrimage of Compassion Aug. 7 at 1:30pm

It's time for hearts to unite on the sacred grounds of Lawai International Center.

This verdant valley and hillside is one of the most highly acclaimed spiritual energy centers of the modern world. And, while a variety of practitioners (Hawaiian, Buddhist, Hindu and New Age) have benefited from its unique essence over the millenium, 88 Shrines at Lawai International Center has been carefully tended and nurtured so it can greet modern-day pilgrims from far and wide with its own special magic and healing.

The 11th annual Pilgrimage of Compassion to be held this year from 3 to 5 p.m., Sunday August 7, with gates open at 1:30 p.m., celebrates a timeless spiritual vision in a valley long recognized as a healing sanctuary.

On lovingly tended grounds in Lawai Valley, among 88 historic shrines, world-renowned shakuhachi (Japanese flute) Grand Master Riley Lee - the first non-Japanese to attain the rank of shakuhachi Grand Master will issue a call to the pilgrims of the world. Carried by the wind through the trees, the soothing sounds of Lee's shakuhachi are the voice of Lawai International Center.

Built in 1904 by the first generation of Japanese immigrants, the shrines are one of the oldest Buddhist temple sites in the country, replicating the ancient pilgrimage of 88 temples in Shikoku, Japan.

In celebrating this legacy, the annual Pilgrimage adds local treasures to the archaeological and historic wonders: chanting by the rarely seen children of Niihau and the dynamic drumbeats of Taiko Kaua`i.

Riley Lee's Grand Master designation did not come easily. He attained the rank 30 years ago after rigorous training that included practicing barefoot in the snow, blowing his flute while standing under a waterfall, and playing in blizzards until icicles formed at the tip of his flute.

The recipient of a 2009 Na Hoku Hanohano award, he remains one of the few such masters outside of Japan. He has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, including at the Sydney Opera House and Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and has released more than 50 recordings on international labels.

Hawaii elders have described Kaua`i as the crown of the archipelago, anchored to the south by Lawai Valley. Those seeking healing have come to Lawai for centuries.

Drawn by its healing energy, the ancient Hawaiians walked there from far reaches of the island. The Asian immigrants followed, and they too, built their temples: a Taoist temple, a Shinto shrine and Shingon Buddhist temple. Today this site is all that tangibly remains of this legacy.

The photos at right and above  are actual, un-retouched photos taken by pilgrimage participants. The enigma at right occurred when the photographer placed her camera inside of one of the shrines. Although not visible to the human eye, spirits and energy often manifest on film, as these examples demonstrate. There have been numerous occassions of energy spikes or illuminations occurring in photos taken during events at the  88 Shrines. 

Lawai International Center is a non-profit community project driven by its volunteers, whose earnest efforts are bringing the valley back to prominence as an international center of compassion, education, and cultural understanding.

A journey to this site will reveal the thread that unites the Hawaiians, the immigrants, and a dedicated community of modern residents. In the folds of this wondrous valley shines a healing and cultural center for all pilgrims of the world—a beacon of aloha and compassion when the world needs it most.

Please bring an umbrella and wear comfortable shoes for this hillside walk. And if possible, please car pool and arrive early to facilitate parking. The gates open at 1:30 p.m. with booths and exhibits open and the program starts at 3:00 p.m.

Donations will be accepted with gratitude. There will be a bake sale, silent auction, bonsai exhibits, and mochi pounding demonstrations. For more information contact LM@hawaii.rr.com , call 639-3197 or visit www.lawaicenter.org


Koloa Plantation Days July 22-31, 2011 has full schedule

Fabulous Food, Live Music, Hawaiian Products, Keiki Fun!

This nine-day long festival in July is a celebration of plantation life on the island of Kauai. More than 25 family-friendly events include cultural performances, plantation era talks and exhibits, film nights, craft fairs, local food events, outdoor activities exploring the area, sporting events, keiki and family activities, the Plantation Days rodeo, evening Ho'olaulea (street party), and a parade and park celebration.

Founded in 1835, Koloa Plantation was Hawaii’s first sugar plantation where laborers from Asia and Europe lived together sharing traditions of their homelands.  

After the Koloa Town parade on Saturday, July 30, head to Anne Knudsen (Koloa) Park for a full day of festivities from 10 AM to 5 PM. Don’t miss the headline performer, Hawaii's Grammy Nominated & Award Winning, Henry Kapono, appearing at 4 PM at the Anne Knudsen Ball Park.

Henry Kapono and his band cap off the celebration but the line up starts at lunchtime just following the parade with non-stop entertainment – music, dance and comedy all day, representing the diverse cultural mix that started in the sugar era and shapes Hawaii’s local culture today. Local comedy favorites, the beloved Frank DeLima and Augie T have returned this year by popular demand.

American and Hawaiian standards, traditional hula, kachi kachi music, taiko drumming, modern Hawaiian music and rock n roll will all be celebrated. Enjoy food booths with local specialties, 70 craft vendors offering products made in Hawaii, rides, waterslides & activities for children, silent auction for activities, merchandise, accommodations, golf and dining.

 FRIDAY – July 22 

  • Plantation Days Rodeo - Preliminary Roping & American West Barrel Racing  at CJM Stables, 12-5:30pm.
  • Paniolo Cookout & Slack Key music by George & Keoki Kahumoku,   CJM Stables, 5:30-8pm. $10, ages 6 & under free. 

SATURDAY – July 23 

  • Charity Tennis Tournament for United Way at Po‘ipū Kai. $20 entry fee.   8am-4:30pm. Entry deadline: July 15. 634-6050.
  • Historic Hapa Trail Walk & Lunch departing from St. Raphael’s Church,   by Kōloa Community Association. 9am. 652-2063.
  • Preliminary Roping at CJM Stables, 12-5pm.

 SUNDAY – July 24 

  • Family Fun Run/Walk by Kukui‘ula Canoe Club. Race fees apply. 7-10am.
  • Charity Tennis Tournament Semi/Finals for United Way at Po‘ipū Kai.   $20 entry fee. 8am-4:30pm.
  • Miniature Golf Tournament, ages 13 & under, Lāwa‘i Beach Resort, 10am. 240-5179.
  • 12th Annual Plantation Days Rodeo at CJM Stables. Pre-rodeo entertainment,   $2 adults, children free ,11am-3:30pm. 742-6096.

MONDAY – July 25 

  • Makawehi Sand Dune Walk, Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i, Seaview Terrace 9am. 742-1234.
  • Historic Film Night & Exhibit, Kukui‘ula Village. 6pm. 7:30pm movie. 742-9545.

 TUESDAY – July 26 

  •  Kōloa Plantation Days Craft Fair, The Point at Po‘ipū, 9am-1pm. 742-1888.
  • Mixed Plate - Live Music at Old Kōloa Town Courtyard, 3-7pm. 245-7238.
  • Polynesian Revue & Fire Dancer, Po‘ipū Shopping Village 7:30-8:30pm. 742-2831. 

WEDNESDAY – July 27 

  • Māhā‘ulepū Coastal Hike by Mālama Māhā‘ulepū. 9:30-11:30am. 742-2024.
  • Traditional Hawaiian Games, Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation, 10am-12pm. 742-6411.
  • Plantation Treats at Kaua‘i Culinary Market, Kukui‘ula Village, 4-6pm. 742-9545. 

THURSDAY – July 28 

  • Look Back Through the Sugar Era, Old Kōloa Mill, by Grove Farm. 9-11am. 245-3678x222
  • Plantation Days Putting Contest, Po‘ipū Bay Resort Golf Club, 2-4pm. 742-8711.
  • Lū‘au Buffet Dinner & Show, Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i. 6pm. Book directly with   Hyatt concierge. 240-6456. 

FRIDAY – July 29 

  • Māhā‘ulepū Watercolor Class by Mālama Māhā‘ulepū. Fee for supplies or bring   your own. 9am-noon. 742-2024.
  • Talk Story: Sweet Memories of Old Kōloa, Kōloa Union Church, 4:30pm. 332-0303.
  • Old Kōloa Town Historical Walk departing from Kōloa School, 5:30pm. 332-5201.
  • Movies in the Park by Rotary of Po‘ipū Beach, 8pm screening, 652-2136. 

SATURDAY, -July 30  

  • Annual Parade & Park Celebration
  • HISTORIC PARADE – 10am, Kōloa Town.
  • Floats, marching units, riders, classic cars & the Pacific Fleet Band
  • PARK CELEBRATION – 11am-5pm, Anne Knudsen (Kōloa) Park.
  • Food, Crafts, Keiki fun, plus Live Entertainment featuring Henry Kapono &
  • Band, Frank DeLima, Augie T, and more! $2 admission. 652-3217.

SUNDAY – July 31

  • Paddle Fest at Po‘ipū Beach Park by Kukui‘ula Canoe Club. 10am-2pm. 635-0165



"Te Mana O Te Mauna" historic Voyaging Canoes visit Kauai

 “The Spirit of the Sea” crew arrived in Hanalei Bay on Wednesday, July 5th in seven double-hulled voyaging canoes from a large smattering of South Pacific locations.  They are voyaging throughout the Pacific Ocean using only the stars, the ocean, and the surrounding wildlife to navigate. 

Each canoe sailed with 16 crew members. Chiefs and crew members  on board the seven canoes arrived  in Hanalei Bay from Tahiti, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. They brought with them one important one message:

 “We are all family in the vast ocean of the Pacific.”

“Sailing together, we seek the wisdom of our ancestors and the knowledge of scientists to keep the Pacific healthy and give our grandchildren a future,” explained one voyager about the purpose of the voyage.  The purpose is to bring awareness to the plight of the ocean, and to renew each crew member’s ties to the sea and its life-sustaining strength. “This voyage represents a sustainable way of living and a respectful treatment of the ocean,” he added.  

This is the first time that these island nations have sailed in unison; an epic journey of thousands of miles.

Te Mana O Te Moana pays homage to ancient voyagers and their modern counterparts.

Following in the salty wake of their ancestors, the canoes are part of a resurgence of Polynesian culture initiated by the voyages of the original Hōkūlea.

 Hōkūle‘a is a performance-accurate full-scale replica of a Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe which was initially launched on  March  8, 1975 by thePolynesian Voyaging Society. 

Hōkūle‘a gained fame in 1976 by sailing to Tahiti with only Polynesian navigation techniques, essentially without modern navigational instruments.

The goal of the voyage was to support the anthropological theory of the Asiatic origin of native Oceanic people of Polynesia and Hawaii in particular, as the result of purposeful trips through the Pacific, as opposed to passive drifting on currents, or sailing from the Americas.

 A secondary goal of the project was to have the canoe and voyage "serve as vehicles for the cultural revitalization of Hawaiians and other Polynesians."

Since the 1976 voyage to Tahiti and back, Hōkūle‘a has completed nine more voyages to destinations in Micronesia, Polynesia, Japan, Canada, and the United States, all using ancient way finding techniques of celestial navigation 

 Her last completed voyage began 19 January 2007, when Hōkūle‘a left Hawaii with the voyaging canoe Alingano Maisu on a voyage through Micronesia and ports in southern Japan. The voyage was expected to take five months. On 9 June 2007 Hōkūle‘a completed the "One Ocean, One People" voyage to Yokohama, Japan.

On April 5, 2009, Hōkūle‘a returned to Honolulu following a roundtrip training sail to Palmyra Atoll, undertaken to develop skills of potential crewmembers for Hōkūle‘a's eventual circumnavigation, currently planned to commence in 2012.

Story by Sheila Heathcote                                                                     Photos by Ronald Adams


Ocean Safety -- More Important than Sunscreen

Kauai is truly an island paradise with emerald mountains, shimmering white sand beaches, swaying palms and crystalline, turquoise ocean waters. Kauai is also known for having some of the largest ocean waves on the planet and is home to the top watersport athletes in the world. Local kids learn to surf about the same time they learn to walk, many islanders earn their living or feed their families from the sea, and all others use the beaches for recreation and enjoyment every chance they get. Kauai’s people are a true “ocean culture” and they would like to share some really valuable information with you about local coastal conditions and seasonal wave patterns.

Kauai's shoreline and reef systems are exposed to the raw power of the open ocean, where storm systems in the vast North and South  Pacific Ocean, above and below the Equator, generate some massive swells that pummel the coastlines each year. Combined with the howling tradewinds and the shape of the shore, dangerous and often invisible currents result.

For this reason it is highly recommended that visitors swim at beaches where lifeguards are stationed. These include KEKAHA, SALT POND, POIPU, LYDGATE, KEALIA, HANALEI AND HAENA.

These guys and girls are a wealth of information about local conditions, they have immediate updates when high surf advisories are issued by the National Weather Service, they are VERY highly trained and skilled watermen in their own right, and they posses state of the art rescue equipment– God forbid it should be needed.  

Depending on the season -- there's only two in Hawaii: Winter or Summer --, high surf advisories may be posted for any of kauai four coasts - specifically the North Shore, the East Side, the South Shore and the West Side. 

During the SUMMER months (May through September), cyclones and hurricanes in the Southern Hemisphere -- between Hawaii and New Zealand or Australia -- cause waves to increase along Kauai's South and East Shores.

During WINTER months (October through April/May), gigantic surf generated from huge winter storms in the North Pacific Ocean -- can hammer the North and West Shores, often without warning and in the deceptively sunny conditions that precede a storm front.

A High Surf Advisory is a condition dangerous to swimmers and beachgoers, and is officially issued when breaking wave action poses a threat to life and property within the surf zone.

Never turn your back on a wave.

Never swim alone.

If caught in a rip current, signal for help.


Some of the conditions to be aware of include STRONG CURRENTS, the main cause of drowning; DANGEROUS SHOREBREAK - forceful waves breaking on the beach; HIGH SURF - big waves; SLIPPERY ROCKS; SHARP CORAL - cuts and scrapes can lead to serious infections; SUDDEN DROP OFF - no gradual entry into the water, returning to shore impossible; WAVES ON LEDGE - chance to get knocked of ledge into the ocean by breaking waves.




In Celebration of Aloha Shirts!

 On July 1, Hawaii will celebrate the birthday of a very special American icon who was born and raised in the Hawaiian Islands - despite the fact that the state cannot turn up a birth certificate as proof of citizenship.

No, it's not President Obama.

It is in fact the equally well-known Hawaii icon - the aloha shirt.

For three-quarters of a century, the aloha shirt has been Hawaii's most enduring symbol of the relaxed, laid-back, and tropical lifestyle of the Islands.

Different tales have circulated for decades about the origins of Hawaii's aloha shirt. Some say its roots can be traced to the kapa cloth found throughout the Pacific, made from pounding and dyeing tree bark. Others claim it was inspired by the tail-out shirts of Filipino immigrants, or elegant kimono cloth from Japan, or the vivid floral prints of Tahiti. No one is absolutely sure and the origin of the aloha shirt has many parents.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the tradition of beautifully sewn printed shirts spread from the Asian dry-goods merchants and home-sewers in Honolulu to the tailors and dress-makers, creating a new style of colorful clothing. Hawaii was emerging as a paradise for tourists and visitors arriving by ship were charmed by hula dancers swaying to the rhythm of the ukulele, boys riding the waves on their great wooden surfboards, and the colorful open-necked loose fitting aloha shirts.

In 1946, the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce appropriated $1,000 to study suitable designs for clothing businessmen could more comfortably wear in Hawaii's tropical climate. A resolution was passed to allow open-necked sports shirts during the hottest months from June through October. The aloha shirt was specifically excluded because of loud patterns. The following year during the annual Aloha Week celebration, an exception was made to allow the wearing of casual aloha attire - the more colorful the better - for the entire week. With this breakthrough, the trend would continue to expand.

Soon, visitors and locals alike were donning these wearable postcards awash with coconut trees, surfers, outrigger canoes, hula girls, and endless varieties of colorful tropical flowers, birds, and fish.

Duke Kahanamoku, (photo at left) Hawaii's most beloved surfer and Olympic swimming champion, was the earliest and greatest promoter of the aloha shirt. Duke even had his own line of shirts that are widely coveted by collectors today. Many other celebrities from Bing Crosby to Elvis Presley and Tom Selleck of Magnum P.I. were widely photographed wearing the shirts.

The modern era of the aloha shirt began in the 1960s. In 1962, the Hawaiian Fashion Guild staged "Operation Liberation," presenting two aloha shirts to each male legislator in the State House and Senate. The Senate passed a resolution urging the regular wearing of aloha attire from Lei Day, May 1, and throughout the summer months. In 1966, Aloha Friday - the precursor to casual Fridays - came into being and businessmen began the trend of wearing aloha shirts to work. By the end of the 1960s, the wearing of aloha shirts for business dress any day of the week was accepted.  

Today, there are aloha shirts for every occasion and fancy - staid button down shirts for businessmen; elegant shirts for weddings and nights out on the town; sporty shirts for surfers and beach bums; and extra vibrant shirts often preferred by tourists.

Whether you fancy a collectible from the 1930s or a modern style of today, the aloha shirt remains a symbol of the casual, carefree, and graceful Hawaii lifestyle. It's caught on everywhere - from Los Angeles to Australia - and every tropical destination in the world has adopted the born-in-Hawaii aloha shirt - even that guy Tommy in the Bahamas!


Kauai King Kamehameha I Parade Celebration June 18

Recognize the statue from Hawaii 5-0? Who is this person? Well you will probably find out later this week when you see that all state and county offices are closed. Friday, June 10 is a statewide Hawaii holiday honoring great King Kamehameha I.  King Kamehameha Day was proclaimed in 1871 by King Kamehameha V, to honor his great grandfather, King Kamehameha I.

A parade and other events will be held on Kauai on June 18.

Kamehameha the Great was born somewhere between 1748 and 1761 in North Kohala on the island of Hawaii. Although the exact date is unknown, by royal Proclamation in 1871 of King Kamehameha V in honor of his grandfather, June 11 of each year was designated as a holiday to honor the life and times of Hawai`i's greatest statesman, warrior and king.

Hawaiians believe that the birth of Paiea Kamehameha fulfilled their traditional prophecy of a birth of a male who would vanquish all other chiefs to become the greatest of all chiefs in Hawai`i. His childhood was spent in seclusion with foster parents who would train him in the skills of warfare and prepare him for his role as warrior-king of the island nation. Following a period of civil war and dissension, by 1791 the island of Hawai`i was again under unified rule, and by 1810, the last of the chiefs of the islands of Maui, O`ahu and Kaua`i relinquished sovereignty to Kamehameha.

Please note that King Kaumuali’i, Kauai’s King did not relinquish sovereignty – he was kidnapped by Kamehameha and taken to Oahu where he died. Only then did Kauai become part of the unified Hawaiian Islands. To this day Kauai still considers itself “A Separate Kingdom”.

The Kingdom of Hawai`i was born. For the rest of his life, Kamehameha I ruled in peace. He established trade with foreign countries, introduced new animal and plant life, promoted agriculture and fostered industry. A contemporary of Napoleon and George Washington, Kamehameha I accomplished all that he did without the aid of a written language and while the religion of the Hawaiian Islands was still that of ancient Polynesia. This "Napoleon of the Pacific" died in Kailua Kona on the island of Hawai`i in 1819.

The first commemoration day was held June 11, 1872, and was filled with horse races and other sporting events such as Velocipede races, sack races, wheelbarrow and foot races. In 1901 a group of "old Hawaiians" decorated with leis a statue of Paiea Kamehameha which had been erected in 1883. Today the statue decoration is an integral part of the King Kamehameha Celebration.

A King Kamehameha Celebration Commission was established in 1939 and charged with the responsibility of planning and managing all festival activities, which today include parades on every island, arts and crafts fairs, sports challenges, pageantry, and an international hula competition. The year 2000 marks the 128th anniversary of the only holiday in the United States created to honor a once-reigning monarch in the only state that was once a kingdom, the Kingdom of Hawai`i.

Watch our local newspaper, The Garden Island for more information about Kamehameha celebrations on Kauai


Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides showcases beautiful Kauai


Kauai is back in the movies with Walt Disney’s latest blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides, the fourth movie in Disney’s hugely successful franchise, which opened to $35 million on Friday (May 20, 2011) according to early estimates.

Filmed along the breathtaking Na Pali Coastline on Kauai and at the ruggedly stunning Maha’ulepu area on the South Shore, the movie is sure to send both visitors and locals hunting for the locations it features.

In the On Stranger Tides sequel, Captain Jack Sparrow ( Johnny Depp) crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), and he's not sure if it's love -- or if she's a ruthless con artist who's using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn't know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past.

After months of behind the scenes pre-production work, and on-site location work from  June through August of 2010, the fourth film in Disney's blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, On Stranger Tides, was a boon to Kauai’s film industry and the local economy, as the island hosted the cast and crew of this huge production.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer scouted and found the best movie locations Kauai had to offer, saying on his Twitter account that he had to use a special satellite phone due to the remoteness of many locations, and the fact that Kauai’s cell phone reception is sketchy even in populated areas.

Director Rob Marshall and screenwriter Terry Rossio arrived on the production’s remote Kalalau Valley location by jet ski. On the south shore some hiking and crawling on all fours was required to film at the Makauwahi Cave, the largest limestone cave complex in the Hawaiian Islands, which has s yielded an unprecedented look into Hawaii’s history, with a record of life that dates back 10,000 years.

At the Maha’ulepu location, the director took advantage of the cave and sinkhole, excavated by noted paleoecologist, Dr. David Burney and his wife Lida Pigott Burney, who restored the sinkhole and surrounding area to its original pre- human contact vegetation.

In one scene where Johnny Depp jumps from the top of the sinkhole and into a waterfall, the location is at Valley House (also prominent in Jurassic Park and George of the Jungle), located in Kealia on Kauai’s east side. 


Hiking Koke'e: Awa'awa'puhi Trail has spectacular scenery

The Awa'awa'puhi Trail in Koke'e State Park above the Waimea Canyon is an excellent "moderate" trail that takes 2 to 4 hours to complete depending on your fitness level. The rewards are spectacular views from the coastal end of the trail, where the famed Awa'awa'puhi Valley (pictured at left) greets hikers in all its splendor and glory.

If you have traveled by boat for a Na Pali coast excursion, chances are you have seen Nu'alolo  Kai -- a popular snorkeling spot where the cliffs above the site are marked with an enormous "X". The ancient Hawaiians traveled from Nu'alolo Kai, a habitation and fishing area with a sacred heiau or temple, up to the fertile hanging valley of Awa'awa'puhi using a rope ladder that hung over the cliff face. There are actual photos at the Bishop Museum showing a Hawaiian man climbing this 60 foot ladder.

Awa'awa'puhi was where the Nu'alolo Kai residents farmed the fertile soil with taro and other crops. Awa'awa'puhi Valley does not have a beach -- it has only rocky cliffs stretching about 100 fee above the sea and into the valley floor. 

The trail starts at 4120 fee above sea level on Kaunuohua Ridge, where approximately 75 inches of annual rainfall fosters the growth of the native ohia - lehua trees(photo at right), and causes the forest canopy to be thick and green.

Hawaiians came into the forest to collect plants fro medicines, lei-making and wood for building with. Pigs and chickens, two animals brought by the ancient Hawaiians on their canoes as a food source in the new land, still live along the upper trail.

The trail descends gradually, and by the two mile mark, the vegetation changes with the drop in elevation and rainfall. Koa trees and scrubby a'ali'i and pukiawe predominate. Koa was used for canoes; a'ali'i was woven into leis, and the smoke from the pukiwae was used as a smudge for removing the kapu from royalty.

Before the junction with the Nu'alolo Cliff (Bench) Trail at the 3-mile mark, two weedy imports, lantana and guava, crowd the trail. One quarter mile past the trail junction the trail ends on the ridge dividing Awa'awa'puhi and Nu'alolo Aina Valleys 2500 miles below.



East Kauai's Rugged Coastline beckons the Adventurer

The spectacular east coast near Kealia up toward Anahola shows Kauai in all of its rugged splendor.

This time, ditch the bike and hoof it. Park at the marked parking area just off Highway 56 past the entrances to the zillion dollar Kealia Kai development where you will see a  green and white hiking and parking sign.

Follow the bike path to the left. Where the bike path ends, several dirt paths lead toward a northerly hillside. Take the one closest to the tiny cove and you will traverse through long cane grass until you come to a very old gate.

This was the old road to Anahola – once part of the Kealia Plantation’s road and railway system.  Since the Kealia Kai development, there are no longer roads to access the coastline. However, there are roads that begin in Anahola in the hawaiian Homelands district. When you pop out of the overgrowth a dirt road leads to the right.

This is a spectacular secret and secluded cove, excellent for snorkeling and viewing wildlife – including this young monk seal (pictured at right). This bay lies between Ahihi and Anapalau Points and were the Kamalomaloo Stream once drained.

Snorkeling from the small sandy side of the cove to the northern side is the best bet as currents tend to run strongly from north to south. There are numerous gigantic coral heads and ancient, rusty railroad ties, whispering from the watery depths about the history of the area. The southern side of the cove has poor visibility due to sediment degradation, but it is an excellent swimming spot.

Traversing the dirt road further north there is another bay where the beach meets steep walls of sand and red dirt, almost as if it has been scoured out. Could this be the work of our recent tsunami?

Return to the bike path along ancient Hawaiian coastal trails and drink in many beautiful viewpoints all along the coast back toward Donkey Beach and Paliku Point.

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