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Hawaii Circle Cruise, January 2009, Part Five

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The 2009 Circle Hawaii Cruise - Holland America Zaandam, January 5-21, 2009

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Five

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January 12 (Monday, Day 8, Nawiliwili, Kauai)

Today dawned bright and sunny and a perfect day for using the minivan we rented. Filbert and I took the rental car shuttle from the pier to the airport and got the car and then came back to the pier and picked up the other three. Everyone had their bottles of water bottles and Dad had his black coffee from McDonald’s so the adventure could start. It was 9:30 AM.

The plan was to drive north on 56 and then west on 560 until it dead-ended at pretty much due north Kauai. Yep, you can not drive around the island of Kauai because there are no roads on the Na Pali coast. Our first “detour” was Lydgate State Park. We didn’t get out but drove around its small parking area and two roads and saw a nice beach with people camping on it.

Our first real stop was at the Kealia Scenic Overlook. We stayed there for a good thirty minutes and not only enjoyed the great ocean view, but managed to see several pods of whales in the distance as well as a pod of 20 or 30 dolphins feeding on a huge school of fish. The dolphins were so busy eating that they didn’t bother performing any dolphin “tricks” for us, but it was still a neat thing to see. We also saw four Hawaiian monk seals swimming very close to the edge of the water. It was a beautiful place to spend some time in the sun and after this stop, everyone put sunscreen on for the rest of the day.

At the scenic overlook

More after the jump . . .

Pod of dolphins

Putting the “scenic” into scenic overlook

Snookums has been to Kauai several times before but never remembered seeing wild roosters roaming all over the place. It’s just like Key West, but the Kauaian roosters are much larger (and quite pretty). She tried not to kill any with the minivan (and succeeded).

Rooster

Hawaiian monk seal

We got back in the minivan and kept driving north until Filbert said that he wanted to stop at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse. We weren’t sure how accessible it was, but were pleasantly surprised to find that not only did they have a golf cart to take people up the hill, but that since it was a national wildlife refuge, Dad was entitled to a free disabled lifetime pass and Mom was entitled to buy a $10 senior citizen lifetime pass. Each pass allows four people entry and the regular charge was $5 per person. We had Mom buy the $10 pass rather than just having one of us buy a $5 entry since the woman said it would work at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that we plan on visiting in Hilo on January 15. Kilauea Point is the northern-most point of land on the inhabited Hawaiian Islands, the first landfall seen by ships arriving from the Orient. The inside of the lighthouse was off-limits, but the area around it was beautiful and we saw another seal and some humpback whale spouts and birds (Laysan albatross, red-footed boobies, great frigatebirds, nenes – a Hawaiian goose). Filbert bought two maps at the gift store and then we continued our journey.

At the lighthouse

Frigate bird

Crashing waves on the North Shore

Nenes

Whale offshore

We decided we were hungry and stopped at a fish restaurant near the lighthouse but it was full so we continued driving to Hanalei. We finally found a restaurant that worked for us and ate things like mahi mahi tacos, mahi mahi burgers and ahi tacos. Filbert, Mom and Judy drank local beer (Keoki) and really enjoyed its unique flavor. We hit the road again and continued west. We drove over at least six one-lane bridges and after seeing breathtaking scenery and signs of falling rocks, finally came to the end of the road at Kee Beach. We turned around and headed back through all of the twists and turns. On the way back we stopped at the Hanalei Valley Overlook to see the patchwork of neat taro farms with the mountains in the background. We stopped at Opaekaa Falls before turning the car in at the airport and being shuttled back to the ship. We got back onboard at 4 PM and everyone was pooped from the long day, but everyone was happy with the great sightseeing (and awesome chauffeur!). No one went to our 8 PM dinner seating but instead did room service or Lido. We were pooped!