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Huge and modern Prague Train Station For the second time this trip, we caught a train. This time we headed for Zagreb in Croatia.  W...

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Unexpected Treasures on Kaua'i

Eureka! I found it! Sort of...
 Today was a day for cruising the island. Early in the day as we were driving, not too far from Princeville, I spotted a sign just off the little Kuhio highway, and shrieked for a stop. Turns out, it was the overlook for the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, I had unsuccessfully searched for last Sunday. There it was - a HUMONGOUS valley - hidden in plain sight!


Sadly, as thrilled as I was to at last discover the refuge, I must say, there was not a beast nor fowl visible in the great expanses below us in the valley. Of course, had there been a thousand birds down there, for the distance, I doubt I would have known what I was looking at anyway.

 
The refuge is full of endangered plants and wildlife, so is closed to the public, and so I was happy to at least get a grand view of the operations. The ponds are great habitat for birds I saw earlier in the week, like the Hawaiian Gallinules, Coots and Koloa (Hawaiian Duck).

The refuge has around 180 acres of Taro fields
We decided to drive around down by the ocean so we took the serpentine roads down to the beach.

There was a little riverlet that ran down to the ocean, and we spotted some interesting little critters along its shores.

You can't see it from this photo, but on the far shore...
baseball sized gray crabs wandered around the shore


There were lots of Hawaiian orb spiders on the shore too... they were about the span of ping-pong balls







We headed off, along the shore near Anini Beach, and I happened to look up and I went ballistic! A Great Frigatebird was soaring along overhead. Miracaulously I managed to get several good shots of the huge pelagic bird, all the more miraculous as I got my shots through the car windshield and the moon roof. Talk about your dumb luck.

Great Frigate bird, or 'Iwa, as seen through the moon roof
After much sight seeing, we stopped for lunch at the Pono Market in Kapaa. It was a wonderland of local Hawaiian chow, and a nightmare for the 'I like my food plain' folk. Here's my lunch, below. Yummy comes to mind. Really. It does.

Clockwise from white rice, Spicy Korean Clam Poke, Kimchee
(spicy/fermented cabbage) and Pork Laulau (Pork steamed in taro leaves)
Afterwards we walked off lunch at the open air market of Kapaa.

colorful cloth homages to the sea
I didn't get much at the market at all - GOOD CLAIRE!  I try keep souvineer buying to a bare minimum. I only bought a v. inexpensive shell lei at the market, which only put me back $6. But, a little later we visited a couple of waterfalls, the most impressive being the double, Wailua Falls.

Wailua Falls
There was a cool Moke there, selling baskets he made of coconut leaves and I was SOLD.  Had to buy this one, with a cunning little coconut leaf grasshopper on it.

Coconut Leaf Art

Is that cool or what? No clue how I'm going to get it home, but get it home I will!  I would have bought it without the grasshopper, but the guy added a second freebee, a cute, woven rose, which you can see on the side of the basket in the photo below.

The basket man and his pooch are not flipping the bird, they're giving me the 'Shaka'
The falls were really pretty, and they rained into a deep pool in a bowl-like pool. They used the falls back in the day, for the TV show, Fantasy Island. The Plane! The Plane!  But you know my favorite thing about the falls was the White-tailed Tropicbirds that flew up from the valley bottoms. Oooo! Yet another blown chance to get photos of those streamer-tailed beauties.

Steve with a coconut Butterfly fish over Wailua Falls
I am proud that I managed to control my shop-till-you-drop impulses, because tonight was our big 'buy up all the chocolate and nuts on the island' extravaganza. I think when we leave there won't be a chocolate covered macadamia nut on the island. Really.  After the shoping we dropped Steve off at the airport. Instead of going out for dinner tonight, we finished off our ample quantities of left overs accumulated the past few days. Know what? We still ate like Hawaiian royalty. *burp*

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