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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


Monday
May172010

Nounou Mountan - Kauai's Sleeping Giant

Above the fallow cane fields on Kauai's East Side Kapa'a area, a massive mountain of lava rock shaped like a reclining giant overlooks one of the most breath-taking vistas on the Garden Island. "Sleeping Giant" (Nounou in Hawaiian) is one of Kauai's most accessible and least difficult hiking trails.

The trail can be accessed from three different locations. The East Trail starts at the end of Halelilo Road in the Kapa'a House Lots (behind Brick Oven Pizza's Kuhio Hwy - Rte 56 location). This is the quickest way to the top, at 1.75 miles of switchbacks both exposed and shaded by ironwood, guava and silk oak -- and the steepest!

The three mile Kuamo'o - Nounou Trail is marked by a trailhead sign on the right side of Kuamo'o Rd. past Opaeka Falls. It might be a bit longer, but the ascent is more gentle.

The West Trail (1.5 miles) originates along Kamalu Road (Route 581) and rises moderately. The rewards at the top of the Giant are well worth whatever trail one has taken to the top. Wear hiking boots and sun screen, bring plenty of water and don't forget the camera!

This hike is a great way to orient one's self to the layout of Kauai: to the south the dragon-backed sculpture of the Ha'upu Range (aka Black Mountain) guards Kipu Kai and Po'ipu; to the north, the Anahola Needle -- so named because it once had a hole in the tip of the peak -- overlooks the gateway to some of the best beaches in the world; and to the island's center, Mt. Wai'ale'ale, the wettest place on earth, and Kawaikini -- Kauai's tallest ancient volcano.

Take a swim at Lydgate Park to cool off after your trek!

Wednesday
May052010

Kauai's Hindu Monestary

Below the etheral mists of Mt. Wai'ale'ale,the wettest spot on earth, located on Kauai, Hawaii, rests a sancturay unlike any other. This Hindu Monestary of the Tamil Saiva tradition of Sri Lanka and South India lies at the foot of an extinct volcano and encompases 376 acres of gardens, groves , glens, pools and waterfalls.

 In addition to being a cloistered home and theological seminary for two dozen monks from six different parts of the globe, there is a Kadavul Temple, guarded by a 16-ton granite statue of Nandi the Bull. This temple currently houses the world's largest Sivalingam crystal, which will be placed in the Iraivan Temple currently under construction further down in the valley. The stones of the new white granite Iraivan Temple, massive in size and topped by gold-leafed domes, sre individually being carved by hand 10,000 miles away in India and shipped to Kauai, where Indian workers are constructing the building.

Formal guided tours of the temples and sacred grounds are conducted once per week. Call 1-888-735-1619 for reservations, or for self-guided daily tours, the upper grounds are open daily from 9 am to noon. Link to

 http://www.himalayanacademy.com/ssc/hawaii/visiting.shtml

Wednesday
Apr282010

Kauai and the Western-most white sand beach in the USA -- Polihale

 

Located in a remote and wild area on the western side of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai,  that can only be reached by a bumpy, dirt sugarcane road, stretches Polihale State Park, thirteen miles of wide, white sand with undulating waves and crashing surf. Don't be fooled by locals who drive their four-wheel monster trucks on the sand, or who surf the waves -- the elements here are treacherous and unforgiving. Lifeguards don't guard this place, and luxuries such as cell phones and "OnStar" do not work here!

Hawaiian myths and legends about the area are as numerous as grains of sands. Polihale means "House of  Po", the Hawaiian afterworld. A Spirit path runs from the Pu'u Ka Pele area of Koke'e to the cliffs overlooking Polihale Beach, where departed souls  fling themselves into the sea in order to reach the sanctuary of the underworld.  So strong was this belief that all the homes built in the vicinity of Polihale would have no east facing doors, so that no traveling spirit could become trapped within.

 

Sunday
Apr252010

Kauai's Endangered Monk Seals

The Hawaiian Monk Seal is the most endangered marine mammal located entirely within U.S. waters.   On Kauai a network of volunteers help guard and protect these seals, while providing information to beach goers and visitors. To learn more see http://www.kauaimonkseal.com

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, sealers, shipwrecked crews, feather hunters and guano diggers killed or so disturbed Hawaiian Monk Seals that their numbers greatly diminished. Military activity during and after World War II disturbed the seals once again. By the mid-1970s, beach counts indicated that there were less than half the number of Hawaiian Monk Seals than were counted in 1957 and 1958.

At birth, the Hawaiian Monk Seals pup is approximately  3 feet long and weighs between 25 and 30 pounds. In the ensuing six weeks, it will grow close to 200 pounds. A pup usually begins swimming with its mother from day one. In larger breeding populations, pups may be exchanged between nursing mothers, where more than one mom/pup pair are in close proximity.

After the six-week nursing period, the mother weans the pup abruptly, abandoning it to resume her own feeding. The weanling pup will generally remain at its birth beach for a month or two. It will slowly begin to range farther out to sea and eventually learn to feed on its own.


FEEDING
Eels, lobsters, octopi, small reef and bottom fish are prey for the Hawaiian Monk Seal. Most of their feeding occurs at depths between 245-300 ft. These seals have occasionally been known to dive as deep as 1640 ft. Newborn seals, or pups, feed only on mother’s milk from birth to about six weeks of age. Nursing mothers do not usually eat during the six-week period.

Thursday
Apr222010

A National Tropical Botanical Garden in Kauai, Hawaii 

      National Tropical Botanical Gardens(NTBG) is located in a verdant valley on the South Shore of Kauai. Riots of colorful heliconias, ginger and other colorful tropical flowers aremingled with some of the world's most exotic trees and plants. The original owners of the Allerton Garden section of NTBG consisted of an architect and an artist. Together they fashioned entire outdoor "rooms" with flowers, plants and trees.    nother section of NTBG is dedicated to Native Hawaiian "canoe plants" or items that the first Hawaiian settlers brought from the Marquesa Islands aboard their huge outrigger canoes. Coconut palms, taro, banana and mango plants are remmnants of the first Hawaiian's food stuffs.

Several daily tours are available by contacting the NTBG visitor's center at Spouting Horn, Poipu, including self-guided, walking and guided tram excursions. Be sure to check out Lawai Beach, where Fantasy Island was filmed, and the massive banyan tree used as a prop by Steven Speilberg in the hit movie "Jurrasic Park".

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