Saturday, July 7, 2007

7-July 07

In the tropics at 22 degrees latitude, Kauai receives direct sunlight twice a year: 3 weeks before and 3 weeks after summer solstice--you know, right about now. I suppose it's no wonder a few of the Ikedas are nursing minor sunburns from yesterday's snorkeling despite sunscreen vigilance. But no one has it very badly, so we're counting our blessings and continuing to lather it up thick and often.

Early this morning, we bid goodbye to Bali Hai (and promised to return one day) and made our way to Nawiliwili for our next adventure. Since arriving in Kauai, we'd been listening to "Island Radio" (KITH 98.9 FM; they call it "contemporary island music" and "today's Hawaiian hits," but I call it a poor substitute for good reggae), so I decided it was time to plug in the iPod and enjoy my "Hawaiian Holiday" playlist instead. It was the perfect soundtrack for the scenic drive, where bright blue skies and extra-puffy clouds punctuated the lush green vegetation (and this is a dry year, they keep telling us?!).

We arrived at the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor and met Anna (she is super funny and energetic and great with the kids--reminded me a bit of our very own Auntie Kimbo) and Ben (laid back, friendly, and informative), our tour guides for kayaking and hiking to Hidden Valley Falls with Outfitters Kauai. Scarlett let it be known that she wasn't at all pleased with her life vest, but she soon reverted to her usual trooper self (if only she'd do the same in her carseat; in the last few days, she's decided she's not a fan). We teamed up into tandem kayaks--Granddad and Sawyer, Grandma and Sadie (with guide Anna), and Mike, me, and Scarlett (she got me out of paddling!)--and made our way up the scenic Hule'ia River (where they filmed "Raiders of the Lost Ark"--remember the scene where Indiana Jones is chased by the natives and jumps into the river to board the sea plane that whisks him away?). We saw competitive canoe teams in training (whoa--what power!) and even maneuvered ourselves through mangroves (you gotta limbo!).

(Sadie and Grandma don't mind letting Anna pick up their slack.)

Then we left the kayaks behind and took a rainforest nature walk, where we were invited to rope swing into a swimming hole (Mike was game, as was Sawyer after some coaxing and cajoling) before reaching the waterfalls (pretty but not terribly impressive--okay, so maybe it is a dry year!). Then we hiked back to the river and enjoyed a return trip via powered canoe, where we were given drinks (I'm officially hooked on guava juice) and serenaded by a cool guy on ukulele. Sawyer proved to be a hit with all the pretty girls.

Anna steered us right when she recommended Sushi Bushido in Kalapaki for lunch. The maguro and hamachi rivaled the best we've ever had (in Vancouver, BC, nearly a decade ago--and yes, we're still talking about it). We also loved the house favorite Golden Roll (fresh salmon, tuna, crab, and avocado in panko and served on avocado unagi aioli). Our waiter apparently took a liking to the Ikedas (what's not to like?)--we got nori salad and edamame, sakis for Granddad and Grandma, and green tea ice cream for the kids all on the house!

We arrived at the Sheraton in Poipu late this afternoon. They greeted us with orchid leis for the girls (even Scarlett, who took great pleasure in littering the lobby floor with individually drooled upon purple petals) and kukui nut leis for the boys. Our room overlooks the pool (with waterslide taunting the kiddos already) and beach (just a stones throw from the pool) and offers up gorgeous views. It's incredibly peaceful...that is, until you open the sliding glass door and hear the roaring ocean and shrieks of wet, sandy glee below!

Dinner was at Brick Oven Pizza in Kalaheo, which came highly recommended by several folks. It was delicious (we love the garlic-brushed, twist-edged crust), though both girls were so overtired that we rushed through the meal to get them "home" to bed. (Perhaps I'm wearing the family out with all this fun in the sun!)

(For the historians among us: last spring in Kalaheo, archeologists unearthed remnants of what is believed to be the Kalaheo Blockade, a lost World War II Japanese-American internment camp. Further information can be found in this article from Kauai's newspaper, The Garden Island.)


At July 9, 2007 2:21 PM , Melissa Marsh said...

Alisa, I am SO JEALOUS! Wow, you look like you're having a divine time. And that pizza looks DELICIOUS. After all the crappy hospital food I've had lately (believe it or not, my husband is still in the hospital!!!) I could devour that entire thing. :-)

Glad you're having fun and I'm really enjoying the pics!

BTW - ADORABLE kids!!!

At July 10, 2007 9:56 AM , Jessica said...

I am SO thrilled at the wonderful time you are having--what an incredible memory for you and the kids to cherish--a trip like this with the grandp[arents!!!! Looks so lush and idyllic, such awesome photos and adventures--so PERFECT!!!!

At July 10, 2007 2:43 PM , Kimbocita said...

I especially love that it looks like Scarlett's face is about to explode in her life jacket! XOXO Auntie Muscles

PS - Thanks for the mention in the blog. I printed, highlighted, and posted it for all to see


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