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Friday, November 09, 2012

Our Long, Last Lovely Day

Jeannie, Steph & Ron heading to the sheltered cove for some snorkeling
 It was our last full day on Kaua'i, today, so we had to squeeze in some extra fun. First up, we headed south to Lydgate Beach. There are some wild waters off the coast of Kaua'i and we decided we'd like a tame snorkeling experience. Happily, ages ago, some smarty put in a rock wall - seen in the photo above. The wall keeps the ocean waves from battering swimmers. The lagoon is split in two actually, with v. protected shallow 'baby' lagoon on the left, where tots can safely paddle about, and for the tougher of us - ok, maybe not that tough - there's a larger and deeper lagoon on the right.

There were plenty of fish, most, hanging along the distant rock wall. The striped fish here are Convict Tangs, and the yellow fish is a Milletseed Butterflyfish.

Blackspot Sargent Damselfish

Yellowfin Sturgeonfish.

A Pacific Chub. Not commenting on this fishies' waistline. Chub means it is a carp, in the goldfish family. This little fishie was not so little - it was about a foot long.

These little guys, of which there were hundreds & hundreds are Hawaiian Flagtails 

Post snorkeling, we went to a local mini-mall for lunch & a big of light souvineer shopping for Jeannie & Ron. This super short clip is of some Surfin' pups that were anxious to sing us a little Kauai' tune.

Now, all week long, we drove up and down the coast, passing the once upon a time, very happening place, the Coco Palms Resort. Conversation about the ruins ranged from "Why is it still standing?" and "Do developers have any plans for it?" to my usual "Duh.. is dat place haunted?"

Jeannie, tired of listening to the inane and never-ending blather about Coco Palms, decided there was only one
way to shut us up. So, this afternoon around 2:00 we lined up at the Coco Palms entrance, each with a 20 dollar bill, tight in hand, ready for our tour.

The hey day of the Coco Palms was in the 1950s
I must say I was impressed with what once was the place to vacation. It hosted loads of celebrities, from the entire cast of South Pacific, Bing Crosby, and most famously perhaps Elvis Presley.  The Van Trapp family singers - think Sound of Music - sang at the Palms.  Near countless movies were and still are, filmed at the palms, mostly on it's 16 acre coconut grove.  Recently, the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movies shot scenes at the there.

Johnny Depp, as Captain Jack Sparrow, was tied to this coconut tree, I kid you not!
Ready to enter 'The King's Cottage'
Tourists posing with Elvis, in the King's Cottage
Another post ruins use of the Coco Palms, amazingly, is people like to get married on the lagoon behind the main building. That is rather crazy and hard to believe, but true. I mean, the place is a ruins... yet, brides go all wibbly wobbly over the idea of saying 'I do' over what amounts to an abandoned pit.

Stephanie & Jeannie at the 'Wedding' Lagoon
More flattering view of the Wedding Lagoon

The now wholly holey, yet unholy Wedding Chapel.

The tour guide told us he once, with great trepidation, gave permission for someone to put their loved one's ashes in the Lagoon.

Interior of the Wedding Chapel
... but when his back was turned they ran over and dumped their dearly departed's pile of ash & bone in the Chapel. He said it was the last time he honored that sort of request. Hum... it was pretty dusty in that chapel, I wonder...?

In addition to South Pacific's cast being housed at the Palms, a 1953 movie, Miss Sady Thompson, which I saw a couple of weeks ago for the first time was filmed at the Palms.The Wedding Chapel is actually a relic of the movie.

Ron enjoying first hand look at a dilapidated section of the hotel

Lots of Mai Tais were once served here to Hollywood elite

All in all, it was a good tour, the guide was super knowledgeable with enough history and stories about the Coco Palms to keep everyone entertained. Mostly we were on the grounds and in the coconut grove, but we did venture into one of the buildings for a bit. Old - decrepit - interesting.

Check out the giant sea shell sink in one of the hotel's upscale suites.

A chilling fact was when the hotel was built, loads of bones were discovered and turned over to officials for analysis. In the long run, the bones were given a burial, and we were shown the spot where the remains of the ancients are now laid to rest. Haunted... uh... I'm guessing yep.

This is the grand lobby where the who's who of Kaua'i tourists checked in
We all enjoyed the tour, which was around 2 hours long - frankly it near wore me out tromping up and down and trying to remember not to stand under any coconut trees. When the tropical breezes blow, you can be killed standing under a coconut tree.

Post Coco Palms tour, we headed back up the coast, bee-lining to a spot I was insistant on visiting, but only around sunset. Turns out that was good - and it was bad. Oh what am I talking about? Why, the Kilauea Lighthouse and National Wildlife Refuge!  Whooo hooo! 

Now, an hour before sunset was bad, because, unbenownst to me, the lighthouse closes at 4 PM, so we couldn't go down to the lighthouse. There are cool birds to see at the lighthouse, like shearwaters that nest in the nooks and crannies of the hillside. I was bummed my timing was so bad.

 On the bright side of being at the lighthouse late in the day was, that's when the Boobies come home to roost!

Red-footed Booby coming in for a landing
The photo below was taken from an overlook. Down below on the right the boobies roost. They were arriving when we got there - flying in from the ocean, landing in the trees.

Overview of the Wildlife Refuge/Lighthouse
It was so fun watching the Boobies flying in high & low over the ocean

The Red-footed Booby is a new bird for me
Roosting, bird at a time, on the far side of the hill

This silly bird was in the trees below the overlook. Those feet are crayon red & priceless!

Booby all settled down for the night
So, as the boobies tucked their heads under their wings for the night, we headed back to the time share for several hours of wild-arsed packing and fretting over luggage weights because tomorrow we head home, back over the Pacific.

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