Thoughts on the ocean, the environment, the universe and everything from nearly a mile high.

Panorama of The Grand Tetons From the top of Table Mountain, Wyoming © Alan Holyoak, 2011

Friday, February 10, 2012

What makes Hawaiian vacations so great? Kauai

What makes Hawaiian vacations so great?  For one thing, the days seem to last forever!  When you fly to Hawaii from the American mainland you move into a time zone that is always at least 3 hours different than the one you came from.  In our case, Hawaii is 4 hours behind mountain daylight time.

This means that by the end of your first day there you are completely wiped out.  E.g., 8pm in Hawaii is midnight in Idaho.  For me, I find it impossible to stay awake later than about 8 or 9pm on my first night in Hawaii.  On the other hand, you are wide awake before 6am!  So what do you do at 6am?  You get up and go on a nice, long walk on the beach and watch the sun rise.  You can also look for shells or coral that washed up onto the beach during the night, or even take an early snorkeling outing.

Every day we were on Kauai Kat and I went on early morning beach walks.  And the sunrises were spectacular.  Kat couldn't get enough of them, and here is some evidence of that:

The photo above shows the sunrise on our first morning on Kauai.  The lower photo was taken by Kat a day or two later.  We were treated to sunburst sunrises like these just about every day.  The low-angle light of the sunrise also painted the water and waves in wonderfully beautiful ways, as shown in this photo by Kat.

Most days we were among the first people on the beach.  We would usually be up and out of the house by 6am.  The beach close to our house was made of fairly coarse sand.  The first evening we were on Kauai Kat and I went on a beach walk, and the sand was so abrasive on my feet that I had to wear water socks for all of our other beach walks.  The sand is made mostly of small coral fragments, snail shell fragments, and micro-snail shells.  Another nice thing about being up early is that we were able to find some sweet shells that had been tossed up during the night.

Morning walks can be a tiny bit brisk.  The combination of a sea breeze and temperatures in the upper 60soF make you think about wearing a sweatshirt, but NOTHING can make you think about wearing long pants.  Here I am on one of our morning outings.  Once the sun comes up, however, you are soon ready to shed the sweatshirt, though a t-shirt is quite comfortable.

The first few days we were there the surf was quite rough along the north shore.  The day before we arrived it was forecast to be 18-24', though it had dropped from that to only 6-8' by the time we arrived.  Later in the week the north shore surf was "flat."  That is somewhat unusual for this time of year, but it was perfect for our snorkeling expeditions!

On Thurs-Sat the morning low tides were lowest they would be for the entire month of April.  When you combine low tides with flat surf, you can get in some great tide-pooling on the reef flats of Kauai's fringing reefs.  Here I am poking around a reef flat during a -0.4' tide aruond 6:30am.

One of my prize spottings during this low tide expedition was this octopus.  It was probably about the size of a dinner plate.  Once it realized that it had been found it started digging sand out from under this rock ledge and slid back to safety.  I was completely stoked about the sighting.  Kat spotted an octopus out in the open while snorkeling the next day!  I also saw many different kinds of sea cucumbers, some neat cone shell snails, other snails, anemones, coral, fishes in tide pools, and all kinds of algae.  It was a fantastic experience!

Here are some shots of Kat on the way back from our morning outings.  We would take anywhere from 1-2.5 hours on these walks.  A really nice thing about this is that even after being out for a couple of hours, we still got home in plently of time to catch some breakfast aound 8am!  And we were then ready for whatever we wanted to do for the rest of the day.

By the end of a typical day we had taken an early morning beach outing, had breakfast, wne on a midday beach outing including plenty of snorkeling, munched on snacks, spent time relaxing back at the house, and a then went on a mid to late afternoon beach outing with more snorkeling or reading, basking, and relaxing on the beach!  Ah, paradise!  If this isn't close to what it's like in Heaven, I don't know what is!what

No comments:

Post a Comment