We woke up at 5am, and began to prepare for another all day adventure in Kauai. Today we were hoping to see dolphins, and boy were we in for a treat! It was day 6 of our familymoon, and we were going on a 6 hour trip on a raft along the Na Pali coast. First order of business after checking in was buying Dramamine for Jessica. She gets sea sick, so ginger gum and Dramamine were in order. After that, we put our belongings in a waterproof bag, met some of the other people that would be on the raft with us and met our Captain and tour guide.
The tour guide was super friendly, energetic, enthusiastic, and very passionate about Hawaii, and her culture and hawaiian history. We loved listening to her talk to us about the ancient fishing villages along this coastline, stories about the Polynesian triangle, and Pele, the goddess of fire and the Polynesian triangle. At the beginning of the tour, maybe about a half hour out on the ocean, we came upon a very large pod of Spinner Dolphins. Some of them swam right alongside our raft! It was fun to hear everyone on the raft oohing and awwing, and especially to hear William. It's very sweet to hear a kid excited about something so precious. The water is so clear and turquoise, so it was easy to see them swimming around us. It was definitely a highlight of the trip.
We also went to the cave where Robin Williams was filmed in the movie Popeye, and many other films and music videos have been filmed at. This coastline is also the coast that was used for the movie Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean. It is a famous place, an ancient place, gorgeous, and only accessible by boat or looking down on from a helicopter.
The raft was fun to ride on, but scary too, at least to Jessica. You are on an inflatable raft, sitting on the edge, with only a rope to hang onto. It is a fast, bumpy ride along the waves, and only recommended for people that are physically fit, no heart problems, pregnancy, etc. The afternoon ride back was rough. A small rain had started, and the waves were higher and rougher, and there was no way to film anything on the way back as all of us were hanging on tight. Jessica was really seasick on the way back, but the beauty and wild ride was still fun. We sat towards the back so we got pretty wet on the ride back, which wasn't bad, considering all of us were wet already from snorkeling.
Before snorkeling we went on a hike through a beautiful area off the beach that had many Noni trees, and if you haven't smelled fresh Noni before, well it is quite an acquired smell and taste. we walked past an ancient burial ground, and the place where Pele was supposedly buried, as well as pondering on the giant X on the side of a mountain that is taller than the Empire state building. Hawaiians believe that Pele marked her favorite places on Earth, and formed the Polynesian triangle, this place was marked with one of the 3 X's found in this triangle. It's a really interesting story. After the hike, it was time for lunch. The crew had made a delicious deli sandwich and cookies, paired with guava and passionfruit juice. After that it was time to snorkel in one of the most pristine and gorgeous places on Earth.
Jack didn't snorkel, as he cannot swim, and it took Jessica some time to get over her fear of being in the open ocean, in deep water. William was really excited and wanted to snorkel with everyone right away. Jessica swam out a few times with William, not far from the raft, but no where near out where everyone else was, but when she saw how badly William wanted to go explore with everyone, she worked up the courage to swim out further and deeper than any other time during this trip. Although we had visited Anini beach to try and snorkel, we never went where we couldn't touch, so this was a big hoop to jump through for Jessica. She quickly became comfortable, as she always says when she has her camera and is doing something that pushes her outside of her comfort zone, as she says, " my camera is my super power."
William and her had a blast swimming around seeing a vast variety of fish. William was overjoyed to spot a "Dori" and a "Nemo" fish. After this snorkeling adventure, both William and Jessica were excited to do more snorkeling, so when the raft trip was over, we headed out looking for more beaches and adventures!
Jessica didn't bring her good Nikon gear for this trip, but instead used an Olympus Tough, which held up nicely, and took quite a beating throughout the whole Kauai vacation, and still works well.
Salt Pond Beach, Kauai
Aug 12, 2015 Waimea Lookout
It's been just about a month since we were married on August 11, 2015. I finally have the photos from the wedding sorted and edited. Whew! We had a really friendly photographer for the ceremony. He shot most of these photos and worked with me on some the poses I wanted to squeeze in before we hit our time limit with him, and then gave me the SD card, so I could go home and edit/own the rights to all of them. Which I think is pretty neat, because I love editing, but also, that is typically unheard of from wedding photographers. Some photos I took, some Jack took with his cell.
Our photographer took some relaxed, fun photos of us, took some detailed shots of the ceremony, and we are so happy with the photos. I could love on my boys, and be the bride, on a beach, on the gorgeous island of Kauai. I seriously envy our photographer. A wedding photographer on Kauai, how incredible is that?! Plus, both him and the Reverend know of Sue Bryce, and the reverend is acquaintances with her, so that was fun to chat about, as she is one of my favorite photographers, plus, he said I look like her, and well, she is gorgeous, so I will take that as a compliment. ;)
Working on these images, editing, picking out favorites, remembering how I felt, sharing the finished photos with Jack, and talking about how fun HI was, and how amazing it is to finally be married, and having these beautiful photos, it just makes our hearts so happy. We hope you enjoy these photos too, and we couldn't be more thankful to Dave (photographer) and Todd (reverend). It was a beautiful ceremony, and we are grateful you were a part of it.
To see the video of the ceremony, click here.
Polihale Beach is a state park. It is a 7 mile-long beach and over 100 acres. You have to drive to the end of the road on the island, aka HWY 50, then get on a dirt road, and although four wheel drive is recommended, we got by on it, but then again we are use to going off the beaten path. The dirt road is around 5 miles distance to the beach, and also has very sandy spots, we about got stuck twice, and didn't have 4WD....make a note, some rental car companies have made it illegal to drive a rental car on the rutted road, and it floods, so at times you may not be lucky enough to get on the dirt road to it.
By remote, we mean vast, no tourists, and so dang hot that you better keep your toes close to the water, but be careful even then, because the water is deep from the get go, and the current is for the brave and experienced (or maybe dumb, by your viewpoint, either way the water is known to be treacherous), even then it didn't feel right to just jump in. This is a sacred place in Kauai. If we hadn't known that, the energy was there, it was strong enough to feel, probably as much as the deep waves crashing at our feet, which by the time Jessica had walked barefoot a quarter mile across the sand from where we parked, her poor feet were red and blistered, so the (warm) turquoise water was soothing.
*** Watch to the end, it's not easy learning hawaiian words. ;)
This beach has gold sand, it is smooth and soft, if it wasn't so hot, you would want to just lay on it. The view is stunning and mystical. You feel like a spec on this beach, like a grain of sand, alone, small, and yet so embraced in the wild. This is the kinda beach that gets deep down in your soul, and doesn't leave. We can say it is lasting impression, but truly this is a place on the planet that if you want to do some soul searching, relax, connect, and be at the end of Earth, this is where you go. This is where you find wild inside of you, and the wild between sand, sun, and sea.
This beach is majestic with ancient ties to Hawaiian history. It has sand dunes, some reaching 100ft. The water is clear, and crashes against the Na Pali cliffs. Kauai is paradise, but if you want more than paradise, get inspired to take the road to the end of not only Kauai, but what feels like the end of the planet.
We are in love with Polihale.
More from day5: Salt POnd Beach and Waimea Canyon
To see more of our trip check out this category: http://www.allisonattitude.com/blog/category/boise-to-kauai
Day 4: August 11, 2015. Our wedding day! We celebrated that evening by attending a luau. It was super fun! The Smith's Family Garden Luau has been around for four generations, and you certainly feel welcomed into their traditions and family, or ohana. As we entered the garden we were greeted with smiles, hula dancers, fire dancers, puka shell necklaces, and a photo of our family with a male and female dancer.
Then, we board a tour train that took us around the gardens as the guide shared his knowledge of Hawaiian trees, flowers, and history. There are peacocks, and beauty everywhere.
As the pig is raised from the earthen imu (a pit in the ground), men in hula skirts sound off with blowing through conch shells (Pu). These shells are considered a gift from life giving waters, and can make a sound across the land to begin a ceremony/event/ tradition.
From there we went into a shaded area to sit and eat. There is plenty of food to go around for every guest, as well as Hawaiian juice for the kiddos, and mai tai's for the adults. On stage are ukelele players, singers, and hula dancers. They teach about the hula dance, and what the movements mean. We sat at a large table with other guests, sometimes it was awkward, but mostly everyone was smiling, talking about their vacation, and introducing themselves. The pork was incredible! Never have we tasted pork cooked so well. There was also mahi, which you can get all over Kauai, but their mahi, and chicken too was all very delicious. We tried the poi, but unless you grow up eating poi, it is definitely an acquired taste.
Next it was off to the show. It began with an impressive and stunning event. A beautiful woman rising up out of a volcano, Pele, the goddess, and there was fire, a waterfall, and a story. The show covered dances and traditions from Hawaii, but also Tahiti, Samoan, New Zealand, China, and Japan. It truly was a feast for the eyes and ears. The music, colors, light effects, costumes, stories, it was all done so well. Most of the show was very captivating. The men were powerful and loud both on drums, dance, and chants. All of the women were enchanting and graceful. The energy during the show presenting ancient tradition, and between male and female dance and communication was astounding. You see in each segment the beauty of each culture, and the divine within each. All of this while sitting outside under the stars and palm trees. It feels magical.
If you ever go to Kauai, the Smith's Family Garden Luau is an event you will want to book!
Day 3 was August 10, 2015. We started the day out exploring Tunnels Beach, where we would be married the following day. Jessica spent time teaching William some pointers about photography, and we walked the beach for an hour. We drove back towards Hanalei and stopped at Blue Dolphin for some lunch. It was yummy, but a bit overpriced, we think, and the burgers didn't even come with fries or chips, but the ambiance was nice, and we got to sit on the patio in shade and listen to Hawaiian music while we ate. Jessica tried a Mai Tai for the first time.
We then went to drive around Lihue for a bit, which took a while. We hunted down a Radio Shack for Jessica to replace the cell phone she dropped and broke the night before. Even at Radio Shack the people working there had a laid back and friendly attitude, and aloha spirit. It turned out to be a nice surprise, the camera is better on her new phone, which makes her photographer's heart happy for snapshots, and she chose a white pearl/pink hibiscus cover to protect it. A few days later, we found a cute hula girl to place on the back of her phone.
After that we drove to Shipwreck Beach and Poipu. We watched the surfers for a while at Shipwreck, while William played in the huge waves that crashed on shore. He got knocked down just about every time. Shipwreck was a hoppin beach, lots of surfers, photographers, and dogs. Speaking of dogs, one of them killed a chicken, which there are chickens all over Kauai. Have we mentioned that? Chickens everywhere! Well, sadly, the rooster that was with the rest of the chickens was crying out over and over for about a half hour or so, it was pretty heartbreaking to see actually. We aren't vegetarians by any means, but respect that animals also feel, and it was quite a sad affair for the handful of people that witnessed it.
Last stop was Poipu beach. We all got in the water there. It was just about dark by the time we got there, so the three of us sat on the sand, and let the warm waves swish us around, often strong enough to actually suck us out, then push as back up on shore, just sitting there. Strong current for sure at night, but many people were doing the same thing, because why not? It was fun, warm, and a perfect view of the sun going down.
At the end of the night we capped it off with a peanut butter sandwich, dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts, guava juice for William, and an Allison special Mai Tai, made with coconut and dark rum made on Kauai at the Koloa estate, mixed with pineapple, guava, and passion fruit juice made right in HI with real cane sugar. So yummy! Then we walked down to the hot tub to soak, talk about our day, and what we would do the next day..... GET MARRIED! ;)
Day 2 (Sunday, August 9th), in Kauai was filled with exploration, adventure, and silliness. We started out with Princeville Ranch Adventures ( North Shore, Kauai), then headed off to Anini Beach for a swim, then back to the hotel for a bit to get some pineapple, then off again to explore Hanalei Beach at sunset (see pics below). The colors that changed from gold, grey, turquoise, pinks, at sunset on Hanalei were stunning. We ended the day totally exhausted, but exhausted in a super good way, and hit the whirlpool to soak our bodies, and gaze at the stars. In Kauai, it feels like you can reach up and touch the stars at night, and there are so many of them! We didn't carve out enough time to linger for starry night time shots, considering most days we were up by 4:30 to 5:30 am, and wanted to hit the hot tub by 9/10pm, then get ready for bed. but we sure enjoyed looking at all the bright stars.
Shaved Ice Paradise
We had some shaved ice and macadamia milkshakes in Hanalei at Shaved Ice Paradise. After ordering we took a stroll behind the building to find this amazing view!
Hanalei Beach, North Shore at Sunset
Time at the Hotel: Day 2
Princeville Ranch Adventures tour was a blast! 5 hours of scenic ATV riding and getting muddy, hiking, crossing streams, riding two ziplines, and jumping into a swimming hole with a double waterfall. Day 2 started at 4:30am, and went into the night. From the adventurous time with awesome tour guides Matt and Seth of Princeville Ranch Adventures, we then headed off to Anini Beach ( click the link to see those pics).
Jack was fretting for at least a month prior to heading out on this adventure. He was nervous to ride the ziplines. It took some encouragement, but he conquered his fear. Although I still couldn't get him talked into to King Kong zipline! Maybe next time ;) William was fearless. He was the first to raise his hand and jump up and down to go first, when everyone else was hesitant to go first, he didn't waste a second to take the plunge first. It's William, he is the same way with auditions. I love his ability to just do it, and go for it. I was so excited for my turn. I had an opportunity to zipline when I was back in jr. high, 13, I think, and I got halfway up climbing a tall pine tree, and got scared, and bullied by the other kids, so I climbed back down the tree, and never went. The only kid not to do it. I regretted it for so many years, so this was my chance to make up for that. Boy did it! It was so fun! Now we all want to do the zip lines in Idaho.
It was also the first time William and I had ever ridden in an ATV. We loved the bumpy, muddy ride. The first mud puddle Jack hit, he really gave it some gas. We were covered. At that moment I was so thankful I had my Olympus Tough and a rented Gopro for this adventure. I would have been devastated to soak my good Nikon gear in mud and water. Whew! The scenic drive was incredible, and just so gorgeous. Truly, there aren't any photos that can do justice to any of Kauai. Kauai needs to be experienced, and this whole vacation, we did just that, as much as we could, wringing out every drop of every day and night.
Anini beach is considered to be one of the safer beaches on Kauai’s North Shore. It has the longest and widest fringing reef in the Hawaiian Islands. It was the first beach we checked out while visiting Kauai, on day 2 of the trip after our adventure at Princeville Ranch. It was our first snorkel experience outside of the training at Dive Magic pool in Boise. Quite the difference..lol. We didn't see any fish, and it rained on us while we swam, but it was fun. Typically the water is calm from what we heard from other snorkelers, but the water was bit rougher than normal from some storms, however still warm, with soft sand under our toes. We enjoyed it a lot.
P.S. See our wedding on Tunnels Beach!