Thursday, February 17, 2011

Weather Forecast: Rain [Saturday February 5, 2011]

So, it’s a beautiful day on Kauai.

According to the weather reports, today was supposed to be rainy.  I would call it partly cloudy.  The sun is shining, its warm, and I didn’t see any raindrops until later in the afternoon.  Maybe the weather is really tricky to forecast on the islands???? (although, to be fair, every single place I’ve ever lived has had some sort of something that makes that place “particularly tricky to forecast”.  Be it a lake, mountains, a river, the convergence of the jet stream, whatever.  I think that’s just a line they tell weathermen in weather reporting school to trot out when they just have no flippin idea…)

Either way, we had lovely weather today.  So we took advantage and explored the East and North shores of Kauai.  We grabbed our snorkeling gear and headed to Anini Beach, which had been recommended by the lady that runs the inn we’re staying at.

Normally, during the winter months, the surf on the north shore is too rough to allow for snorkeling (or sometimes even swimming or surfing), but Anini Beach is protected by a large reef which causes the waves to break far off the beach and creates almost a lagoon where you can walk very far out in waist-deep water and snorkel. 

The "welcoming committee" at Anini Beach

Hubs is out snorkeling at Anini Beach

When we arrived, after being greeted by the local roosters, we plunked down underneath 2 trees right on the beach.  Hubs went straight in the water, while I opted to sit in the sun for a few minutes to warm up a bit before heading in. 

Because we have a history of getting fantastically sunburned while on vacation, I took some precautions and got both of us some SPF 50+ rashguard shirts to wear.  I also felt like it gave me a “surfer-girl” vibe. J

Now, I will admit that I am a big baby when it comes to water temperature.  Most of the time when I go to the beach, I am in the water of the Caribbean in the summer.  (I really don’t mean for that to sound snotty or like I’m gwyneth platrow; I just don’t really go to the beach that much but when I do, it’s usually in the Caribbean…)  Hubs used to go to the beaches in Maine in the summer, where the water temp might get up to 60 in late August.  (60 degrees, as in, one degree above 59…  I can’t even move in water that cold!  I took 2 steps in and then froze until my legs went numb and I couldn’t feel the pain anymore…) so his take on “cold water” is a little different than mine, although he has been spoiled by the warm bathtub water like temps of the Caribbean.

So, when he got out of the water and mentioned it was “a little chilly” and said that “the shirt actually makes it a little colder…” I seriously weighed the pain of sunburn with the idea of shivering in the water.  But, I figured we came all this way (did I mention it was a 13+ hour trip?) and since all my friends back in DC were currently (literally) freezing, I sucked it up and went in the water.

And once I just dove in, it really wasn’t that bad. And I (finally) got to snorkel and see turtles and clown fish and all sorts of creatures.  And, I still felt like a bad-ass surfer girl in my rashguard, which was now wet which I felt like gave me some street cred.  (or would that be beach cred?) J

We spent about another hour at Anini Beach and then continued our trip up the north shore.  We wanted to go all the way to “the end of the road”, and we did, passing through little towns here and there.  We made it to “the end of the road” (literally, there is not a road that goes all around the island of Kauai, because they cannot put a road along the Na Pali coast; it’s too rugged) where the road really does just end in a parking lot of a beach.  So, we parked and spent some time hanging out at Tunnels Beach, so called because there are several large tunnels in the rocks and mountains behind the beach. 

While we enjoyed nice calm conditions at Anini, the conditions at Tunnels beach were the exact opposite.  As we walked up to the beach, the lifeguards had posted all sorts of signs (that looked semi-permanent) saying “No Swimming”, “Strong Currents”, “No Snorkeling”, “Shorebreak” and other ominous warnings.  The waves were huge.  And strong.  It was exactly what I pictured from seeing surfing movies on the north shore of Oahu.  But, the sun was still shining and there were still only a few clouds in the sky, so we plunked our little bamboo mats down and enjoyed a shave ice right there on the beach.

Which brings me to my new love: Shave Ice.
If you’ve never had a shave ice, oh, you are so missing out.  It’s like a snowcone, but so much better because it’s not as granular since they literally shave the ice off of a big block.  Then, you can add all different flavors of syrup on top of the ice.  My favorite was pineapple, but passion fruit, guava and something called “tiger’s blood” are also very tasty! Ohhh, I cannot wait to have shave ice again!!!!!

Soooo good!  Shave ice with tiger's blood and pineapple and a small coconut creme ice cream.

After a few hours chillaxin at Tunnels Beach, we headed back down the north shore.  Somebody we met on the rental car bus recommended that we check out the Kilauea Lighthouse on the north shore, but by the time we got there, it had already closed for the day.  We got to see it off in the distance.  But, we also got another fantastic vista out over the ocean where we got to see more whales!

As we headed along the north shore, I kept seeing signs for someone named “Andy Irons.”  LOTS of signs; “Thanks Andy Irons.” “Kauai loves Andy Irons.” “RIP AI”, lots and lots of signs.  And I had no idea who Andy Irons was, but he sure was important to and loved by Kauai.  A quick google search informed me that he was a professional surfer, who was born in Kauai, who died last November.  It’s pretty sad and it was apparent from all the signs I saw everywhere that he was a beloved native son of Kauai.

Later that afternoon, as we made our way back south and west, we stopped off in the town of Kapa’a, which hubs and I kept asking “is it Kapa’a or Kapa’a’a???” J  I must say, after attempting to pronounce the names of the various towns and villages that we traveled through or tell hubs the name of a particular road that we were looking for, I have real empathy with Nicholas Cage’s character from “Honeymoon in Vegas.”
And, for the record, it’s Kapa’a.  just one extra “a.”
Welcome to Kapa'a...a

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