Aloha!  Shane and I landed back in Seattle last night after a few days in Kauai, and oh em geeeeeee…  It was nothing short of paradise.  I had hoped to “live blog” while we were there, but I was too drunk with sunshine and Hawaiian shave ice at the end of each day to even consider opening the laptop.  So, a flashback:

We arrived in Kauai Thursday afternoon, and from the moment we stepped into the lobby of our hotel, with its tropical gardens and glistening ocean view, I knew we were in for something special.

20130530 kauai1 sm

We were in our bathing suits and down at the pool within minutes of checking into our room – we would log some serious hours here over the next few days.  I loved the long,meandering swimming pool, with it’s mini waterfalls and multiple seating niches.

20130530 kauai2 sm

Shane favored the huge man-made saltwater “lagoon”, with it’s sandy bottom and shallow spots, perfect for lazily bobbing around.

20130530 kauai3 sm

The small beach just beyond the lagoon was beautiful as well, but not so ideal for a couple of bobbers like ourselves – those waves were rough, and the ocean floor was fairly rocky.  Shane has the bruised shin to prove it!

20130530 kauai4 sm

After successfully rinsing ourselves of any travel fatigue, we got dressed and drove over to Keiko’s Paradise for a dinner of fresh fish and (virgin) mango margaritas. We dined outside, reveling in the feeling of being in tank tops at 9 pm.  We were coming off a fairly cold week in Seattle, and I was determined to soak up every last bit of island warmth.  Everything else was just icing on the cake.

Our first big adventure came early Friday, when we boarded a helicopter for a tour of the island.  We had opted for the “doors-off” package, so the sides of the helicopter were totally open to the outside – gotta have a lot of faith in that seat belt to hold you in place!  My stomach fluttered with butterflies when we first took off, but any nervousness quickly faded away as the beauty of Kauai rolled out below us.  There are not words to describe how incredible this hour was.  Shoot – photos don’t even do it justice.  Easily one of the most memorable travel moments of my life…

20130531 kauai1 sm

20130531 kauai2 sm

20130531 kauai3 sm

20130531 kauai4 sm

The flight over the Waimea Canyon took my breath away:

20130531 kauai5 sm

20130531 kauai6 sm

20130531 kauai7 sm

20130531 kauai8 sm

And just as I started to catch that breath, we took a turn toward the Na Pali Coast, and I was again left gasping:

20130531 kauai9 sm

20130531 kauai11 sm

20130531 kauai12 sm

20130531 kauai13 sm

20130531 kauai14 sm

20130531 kauai15 sm

From there, we swooped along the North Shore, checking out its blue waters and sandy beaches:

20130531 kauai16 sm

20130531 kauai17 sm

20130531 kauai18 sm

20130531 kauai19 sm

20130531 kauai20 sm

20130531 kauai21 sm

And then we headed inland again, for more of those verdant, green-carpeted mountains.  I couldn’t get over how lush it all was, every surface covered in dense layers of dark green and light green and bright, glowing chartreuse.  I suppose I can’t begrudge those rain clouds for blocking my shots – they’ve made for some pretty rich landscapes:

20130531 kauai22 sm

20130531 kauai23 sm

20130531 kauai24 sm

20130531 kauai25 sm

20130531 kauai26 sm

20130531 kauai27 sm

20130531 kauai28 sm

20130531 kauai29 sm

20130531 kauai30 sm

20130531 kauai31 sm

20130531 kauai32 sm

Eventually it was time to make our way back to Lihue.  Too soon, too soon!  I could have floated up in that sky all day.

20130531 kauai33 sm

Post-flight, giddy with adrenaline, we drove over to the nearby K-Mart for breakfast.  Yup, read that right – there’s a woman with a little booth out front, where she makes and serves fresh malasadas.  These fluffy, fried, sugared dough balls were so, so good. So bad, but still, sooooo good.  We scarfed down our breakfast and then cruised back to the hotel for another afternoon at the pool, again bouncing from pool to lagoon to lounge chair, repeating the rotation when the sun got too hot.  Pretty grand.

I was determined to find the best shave ice on the island during our stay, so we headed over to Waimea that evening to visit Jo Jo’s.  And dang, it puts sno-cones to shame.  Fluffy ice, fruity-but-not-too-sweet syrup, and a scoop of macadamia nut ice at the bottom for an extra treat.  Shane gave me a Hawaiian ice machine for Mother’s Day, and now I have something to aspire to!

20130531 kauai34 sm

Refreshed by our icy snack, we drove up Waimea Canyon Road to check out the views.  We had upgraded our economy rental car for the first time ever and splurged on a Mustang convertible, and let me tell you, there are few things more fun than cruising through the Hawaiian mountains with the wind in your hair and the guy you love at your side while Macklemore and Jack Johnson and Taylor Swift pipe through the stereo (we have very eclectic taste).

20130531 kauai35 sm

We took the windy road to the very end and arrived at Pu’u o Kila lookout, taking in the stunning view of the Na Pali Coast and the great Pacific. It was so quiet up there – just us, a few stray chickens (they’re all over the island), and the Big Guy that put this all in place.  Praise be to God.

20130531 kauai36 sm

The sun was setting as we made our way back down the mountain, and we pulled over so I could snap a quick pic of the gorgeous sky – thus began our 4-night stint of sunset-chasing (more on that later).

20130531 kauai38 sm

We ended the day with a simple cafe meal and fell into bed sleepy and slightly sunburned.  But also so, so excited to see what else Kauai had in store for us.


  1. steve says:

    ha! What great photos. Thanks for sharing. Looks like a perfect ‘babyvacation’ or whatever you guys called it. 🙂

  2. la v says:

    gorgeous photos! looks like an amazing trip!

  3. americantaitai says:

    LOVE your photos, especially the ones from the helicopter ride. Ours came out all blurry, but yours are aaaamaaazing! 🙂 Looks like you guys had a wonderful trip! Welcome back from paradise, and now that you’ve been there once, I guess it only gives you another reason to go back.