Tag Archives: Kauai

Kauai skies, nene, and a neon green gecko

Sunset in Kekaha
Kekaha shoreline in November

Currently in the chestnut forest. The 35°F cold is absolutely nothing compared to what some U.S. states, no, make that regions, are feeling, but today’s overcast skies are enough to bring on a little bit of wish I was back in Hawaii right now. Well okay, the near 90° heat plus humidity was rough on the days without tradewinds, but watching the sun slowly sink into the ocean with the island of Niihau on the horizon is nothing less than magical. And the golden hour at sunrise holds its own special kind of beauty.

Sunrise in Waipa
Aloha kakahiaka from Waipa, Hanalei

In between the golden hours, the warmth of the sun entice Gold Dust Day Geckos out from their hiding spot. Slighter bigger than the common house geckos, and way cuter than the brown and green anole lizards that look like they’re always giving you the stink eye, the neon green geckos are actually an invasive species to the islands. No one seems to mind though if they decide to become permanent squatters on the property.

Gold dust day gecko

Speaking of squatters, this pair of nene geese act as police radar along the road to Kilauea Lighthouse. They’ve come a long way since being put on the endangered species list, and maybe for that reason is why drivers are cautious where these birds are known to habitate.

Nene geese at Kilauea

The Kauai Bus stops at the neighborhood center in Kilauea, so we walked the 2-mile round trip to the lighthouse entry gate (the lighthouse was closed on Monday).

Nene at Hanalei taro fields
Nene at taro fields in Hanalei

Nene at Kilauea lighthouse
Nene at Kilauea Lighthouse parking

Back in the chestnut forest, it’s still 35°F outdoors with the possible chance of snow this week. If the skies clear at all it’ll be more sunsets like this. Hurry up Christmas!

Somewhere in the world morning begins

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50 shades of poke

Ishihara market poke

An essential, if not fundamental part of Hawaii’s local cuisine, poke (pronounced poh-keh), or seasoned raw fish salad, was all we thought about 24/7 on Kauai. Oh yes, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, it didn’t matter what time of day, we got our fill of seafood and then some if you factor in the sushi and sashimi that we picked up at every opportunity.

Ishihara market pokeIshihara market poke

Now I know this post will sound like I’m playing favorites but the best poke on the westside of Kauai is at Ishihara Market in Waimea. Both raw and cooked, made with ahi tuna, octopus, sea snails, crab, shrimp, mussels, hamachi and baby octopus. And not only poke, but they’re also a one stop shop for ready-to-go, prepackaged meals, fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, a great assortment of single beers and 6-packs, snacks, freshly brewed coffee, and at the time of our visit, a great assortment of Talenti gelato.

Lomi tako and hokkigai poke breakfast w/inarizushi & coffee

Thanksgiving Day: breakfast on the last day. Lomi tako, hokkigai poke, cone sushi, coffee.

Poke lunch w/kalua cabbage, 2-scoops rice, mac salad

Lunch plate: kalua cabbage, 2 scoops rice, mac salad and ahi poke, $15.

Poke dinner pupus

Dinner pupus: ahi, tako, and wasabi poke. Repeat the following day.

Poke Gorilla Bowl

Last but not least, there’s also the option of poke bowls (poke over rice). Just gotta love this Gorilla Poke Bowl ($16) from Makai Sushi in Kukui’ula Market, Koloa. It has ahi, ono, salmon, avocado, cucumber, sweet Maui onion on rice with wasabi aioli, unagi sauce and tobiko.

A drone’s-eye view of Honopu Trail

Honopu trail November 2016
Excuse me while I stay rooted to the ground for this shot.

We’ve done the Honopu Ridge trail before but as it is one of the less popular hikes in Kokee, we did it again because we rarely come across anyone along the way. Located 2 miles north from Kokee Lodge/picnic area (less than 1/2 mile from the Awa’awapuhi trailhead), Honopu is what I would call ‘sketchy’ and not for hikers who rely on well-defined signage. Ribbons, some of which are worn and discolored from the elements, barely identify the winding path through forest before traversing thick patches of scratchy, chest-high, uluhe (false staghorn fern). It isn’t a long walk 2 miles in (she says with a wink), but before seeing anything remotely breathtaking, you curse yourself for not having the smarts to wear long pants (the fern branches are merciless!) and silently pray that a feral pig won’t cross your path. As with all ridge trails in Kokee State Park, please use discretion if the area has seen recent heavy rains.

Drone action with the bro' in November. @kauaiboyy (from @darren2xplore)

Drone action with the bro’ in November. @kauaiboyy (previously @darren2xplore)

Anyway, this post isn’t so much about Honopu as it is about how much fun we had hiking it with my youngest brother. He dabbles in photography as much as I do, but while I focus on edibles, he gets a bird’s-eye view with aerials. Drone photos are a totally different learning curve that I would love to learn if I didn’t have a garden, dogs, and too many foodie thoughts. Check out his images on Instagram @kauaiboyy for an awe-inspiring perspective of the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands.

Honopu trail @ the 2-mile mark?
Two miles into the trail, I think, and the trail opens into a small clearing.