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Monday, January 30, 2012

Off the Beaten Path- part 2

So after multiple flights (with the same airline- only one baggage fee that way!), we finally landed in Kauai.  The first time I stepped foot here, i found it the most magical place I had ever been.  There's just something about traveling a full day and finally landing somewhere that has a whole 6 hours time difference that just screams VACATION!!!  For those adventurous folk like myself, a trip to Kauai is not the same without a hike on the Na pali Coast.  The road trip to the North shore is an event in itself- driving through tree tunnels, roadside waterfalls, cruising through the hippie town of Hanalei - that would be reason enough for a road trip.  However, once you arrive in this area, the mountain scenery is enough to leave you breathless.

Monk seal taking a snooze

Tunnels AKA Makua Beach

Tunnels beach is a snorkelers heaven with a beautiful beach and a massive hook-shaped reef that protects snorkelers from the outer surf.  And yes, this is where the famous surfer Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a tiger shark-which always lurks in the back of my mind when I'm snorkeling- but she was also about 1/4 mile out when the attack occurred- well past the reef.  The reef here is so big, you can actually see it from space- which is insane.

We like to bring our mixed plates here and have lunch after we snorkel- and on this day, this random beach dog followed us from his house down to the beach.  I love this shot.

We call this my drunken vanna pose... "would you like to buy a vowel!?  Me and my fave sister- not the most glamorous shot of us but it doesn't matter at Tunnels... in fact, I don't think we wore makeup all week, it was quite liberating to just roll out of bed and go somewhere for the day.

A shot without the Tunnels dog

So there we are snorkeling in the peaceful waters and all of a sudden, this random needle-like fish appears... then 5 more... then we are surrounded and decided it might be a good idea to take a break on shore...


And another ... weird huh?  These are the only pics we managed to get of these before heading to shore for lunch

check out the big guy- he's totally scoping me out

My mom and sis enjoying some watermelon on our way back to our villa- just another gorgeous day in paradise!

 Na pali Coast

The most strenuous hike I have ever taken was also the most breathtaking.  For our next journey, my sister and I hopped in the car at 6am and headed to the North shore - destination- the Kalalau Trail.

What I had heard and read about this hike didn't even come close to the experience.  They say a picture says a thousand words, I'll let a few of mine speak for themselves.

 Bamboo forest...  if only you could hear the noise they made in the wind

crazy tree roots

Trail is getting rocky....

Me taking a little rest at the waterfall

The best boat cruise in Kauai.... is with Holo Holo Charters
The next time we hit the Na pali Coast, we booked through Holo Holo charters for their sunset cruise.   According to the website, it wasn't just for couples- so we decided to check it out.  Since Andrea and I had hiked the coast the year before, we decided to see it from the water this time with our Mom.  I imagined seeing the cliffs from a distance was a whole different world than hiking them- and as you can see, the experience from afar was totally different.  This was one of our fave parts of our vacation and you're about to see why.

About to board- they collected our shoes and we had to leave them behind until we returned- awesome.

Inside of the catamaran

Keeping Kauai green with my Heineken

As you can see, my sister was really enjoying the ride out to the cliffs.

Me also enjoying the ride- obviously there were free drinks involved

Pilot whale- not the best shot but pretty cool how close we were


Sisters together after too much time apart  :)

Andrea and our Mom enjoying the view

The lady behind us definitely didn't take her Bonine- she looks like she hates us. 
Sun is setting, champagne in hand and starting our journey back to the Holo Holo dock ... sigh.

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