Gettin’ In the Groove

What a great day it's been! To top it off I'm now sitting at the bar counter in the kitchen of our rental house in Hanalei Bay, Kauai. The tantalizing smells of garlic and onion sauteeing are the prelude to one of Machelle's authentic Italian spaghetti dinners. Watching great friends cook dinner and my husband making fruity rum drinks while good music plays on our speaker in the background is what it's all about.

Machelle gives a toast with the bottle of Balsamic!

We started the day in Poipu by packing up the groceries and our belongings and loading the car. It was pretty full when all was said and done!

It was a gorgeous sunny day – the perfect weather for a trip up Waimea Canyon. This was sweet validation for our decision to wait the day before. Heading south on the highway, our first stop was for sustenance. We had a nice breakfast at a lovely place called the Kalaheo Café.

Suitably fortified, we drove to Waimea and turned up the hill toward the canyon. The road was well maintained and pretty soon we were treated to some spectacular views. We drove all the way to the end of the road and looked over to the other side of the island. All along the way we kept remarking on what a beautiful day it was. Here are some photos of the incredible views.


After the canyon we made our way north to Hanalei. It didn't take us too long really, so we arrived around 3:30pm and found our house – Ileina's House. After all the research I did looking for a house to rent, it was gratifying to be pleased with the results and my choice. It's beautiful! Our first order of business after unloading was to make ourselves a fruity rum drink and breathe a huge sigh on the second floor lanai while enjoying the view of the mountains. Next, Michael and I took a walk to the beach – always our first order of business! Bill and Machelle took a walk to the village, an equally short distance. Here are some shots of our first views of Hanalei Bay. The sun was shooting through the clouds making a spectacular sight.

Now we are ensconced in our own little piece of heaven and it looks like dinner is just about ready. Tomorrow our other friends arrive and more adventure awaits.


Agenda? What agenda?

So far we have had a pretty relaxing and leisurely time on Kauai. Yesterday we whiled away the afternoon sitting on our lanai (the hawaiian term for a porch), sipping wine or beer and playing dominos. We play a game called Mexican Train and it is a lot of fun with from 3 to 8 people. 8 is a lot and makes it a little slow, but still works. We have often played with our good friends the Richburgs, so the four of us have a strong tradition, especially on vacation. As we played we enjoyed watching local birds flit by to entertain us. We saw a beautiful red crested cardinal and a tropic bird that had a split tail. 


The cardinal

In the early evening we rallied and freshened up, then headed out to go to a Friday evening Art Walk in Hanapepe, a town just down the coast. We arrived just as things were getting set up. There were numerous art galleries, a few boutiques and gift shops, and various food trucks. Pretty soon there were many other people strolling the street, enjoying the evening, perusing the art, and finding some supper. It was a pleasant evening and felt like we were seeing a bit of the real Hawaii. There were a lot of different one or two person musical offerings in front of the stores. It seemed that most stores of any size hired someone to entertain for the evening, or at least welcomed them. It made for some competing sounds along the street. Nevertheless, we had a good time and enjoyed ourselves. Afterwards, back at our condo, we enjoyed seeing shooting stars and some unfamiliar constellations in the night sky before turning in.

This morning Michael and I woke fairly early – a somewhat happy side effect of the time change – and went out for a walk to explore the beach in the direction we hadn’t yet been. We made our way to Shipwreck Beach where we found the surf had drawn some people into the water to boogie board, surf, and body surf, all of which was of interest top Michael. It was a cloudy morning with occasional spitting sprinkles of rain, but that didn’t stop any of the folks enjoying the beach or out for a walk, including us. The conditions were such that only an experienced surfer or swimmer would want to go in the water. Any others would be foolhardy. Nevertheless, we saw a man take a swan dive off the big rock at the end of the beach (without incident) and swim along the bay. We deemed him a very strong swimmer, even if the currents were in his favor. 


Shipwreck Beach


After a nice invigorating outing we returned to our condo and cooked a nice breakfast with the Richburgs, who had since woken up. Since the weather was not looking great, we postponed our trip up Waimea Canyon and rearranged our intentions for the day. Instead, Michael explored the beach a bit more, checking out the snorkeling, and Bill, Machelle, and I toured the shops in the local area. We were forced to indulge in some island ice cream in order to avoid a deluge – a rough job, but somebody’s got to do it, right? Later in the afternoon, Machelle and I drove up to Lihue to do the major grocery shopping for the week. We took one for the team while Michael and Bill went to the local Happy Hour and made us some dinner reservations. Our chores accomplished, dinner was a short stroll away at Brenneke’s Beach Grill. The Macadamia Nut crusted Mahi Mahi was delicious! 

Tommorrow we hope to drive up Waimea Canyon to enjoy the views before heading North to our next home base, Hanalei Bay. 

Down the Coast to Plettenberg Bay

The day before we left Jeffrey's Bay we thought we would go and do a little shopping and browsing at the local outlets. To our surprise we found them all closed on a Saturday afternoon. Thus we learned of one of South Africa's local traditions; shops close up at about 3 p.m. on a Saturday. Fortunately they were open for a few hours on Sunday morning so we stopped in before we hit the road.

Our next destination was a town called Plettenberg Bay down the coast about two hours or so. The sun was out, which pleased us after a couple of windy, rainy days. The drive wasn't too bad and the coastal scenery started to improve with mountains coming closer to the sea making for more drama. There are a lot of small rivers that come out of the mountains and empty into the sea creating great cracks in the landscape. We stopped at the Storms River to admire one such gully.

About half way along to Plett we made a detour to check out Nature's Valley. This is a nature preserve at a river mouth which has a big sand beach and a lagoon. It was quite windy but we wandered out to the beach and admired the views. There were a few families having a Sunday afternoon braai. Braai is the South African term for a barbeque. It's also a favorite national pastime, to which we can easily relate!

The lagoon



Sea snails devouring a blue bottle jelly

We arrived in Plettenberg Bay in mid-afternoon and found Bayside Lodge, our B & B. Our room was delightful with lots of natural light and the gardens were fragrant with jasmine and roses. Adrienne and Bernie, our hosts, purchased Bayside Lodge about 7 months ago having moved back to South Africa from Botswana where they managed several safari lodges. We got a nice orientation from Adrienne, decided on a venue for dinner which she booked for us, and settled in for a sundowner on the patio, where I did some writing.

Our dinner at The Fat Fish was good with the atmosphere quite busy and boisterous. I enjoyed a local fish called Kingclip. We have found the quality of the food to be very high in South Africa. In addition it is also quite reasonably priced. Of course it helps that the dollar is pretty strong right now, but in general, food is cheap and drink is cheaper! A glass of wine is about $3 and a beer $2.