When traveling to Kauai, or any other Hawaiian island, be sure to pack some reef safe sunscreens in your checked luggage. In July, 2018, Hawaii became the first state in the United States to ban the sale of sunscreen containing the coral-harming chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2021, but many residents and visitors alike are already doing their best to be environmentally conscience.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate are not the only ingredients deemed to be potentially harmful to aquatic life, but according to several studies, they do contribute to coral bleaching. When coral bleaches, it is not dead, but under significant stress and subject to increased mortality levels. According to the National Park Service, 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter coral reefs every year. These two chemicals are believed to be one of the contributing factors to the coral reef destruction.
So, what does this mean to visitors?
As of now, the ban affects only the sell and distribution of sunscreens with these ingredients within the state but does not ban visitors from bringing them into the state. Given the reasons behind the law, however, please consider buying some reef safe sunscreens at home to bring with you or wait until you reach the islands to purchase one of these products. Some of the major sunscreen brands are making adjustments to their ingredients list in order to meet the restrictions of the new law. In fact, I was at Walmart the other day and many of the popular sunscreen brands already have “reef safe” on the label.
Of course he/she is “my” albatross chick because, after all, he/she was born on my birthday and I was lucky enough to get to name her. Pela means “soar” in Hawaiian and that is what he/she will do in about four months from now. With in any luck, the fledge will take place off the bluff of Honu Point.
Recently I uploaded two videos of Pela with Larry, his/her dad. The first shows Pela, at five weeks old, greedily asking for some food. Not this time. Lesson: patience is a virtue. Best with volume.
One week later, Pela fares a bit better. This week’s lesson: everything in moderation. Again, don’t miss the communication between these two. Turn up your volume.
Looking for an unusual way to spend the afternoon while tasting some of the best that Kauai has to offer? Try taking a food tour with Tasting Kauai. I knew little about this company until Stephanie Michel (photo above), a fabulous concierge that I recommend to my Honu Point guests, raved about the experience she had while taking each of the five food tours around the island.
This is what stephanie posted on her Facebook page: “This is new FAVORITE TOUR!!! It’s a FOOD TOUR! They have several tours and I DID THEM ALL. They have them Saturdays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays and Fridays. NO EXCUSES! 5 TOURS TO CHOOSE FROM. (FIVE!) This is the best way to meet locals/See places there’s NO WAY you could otherwise see and get an insiders EDUCATION on what is going on here on Kauai. AND THE FOOD IS THE CHERRY ON TOP. IT’S ALL DELICIOUS! Not to mention the sweetest most knowledgeable guides I HAVE EVER MET ON KAUAI. I am going to scream this tour off my roof top!” Yes, Stephanie tends to get very excited about Kauai activities.
I oftentimes get asked the question, “What is the best Kauai helicopter tour company?” I have been hesitant to answer in the past because I have not personally been on a Kauai helicopter tour since the 80s. Last week, however, a good friend of mine who owns a condo in Princeville, went on the Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour out of the Princeville Airport and came back raving about it. “We FINALLY experienced this March 2019 – and WOW! It is by far the BEST way to get a sense of the whole island. It was spectacular!”
Kauai is unique in that there is no road which circles the island. Therefore 70% of the lush interior, along with the Na Pali Coast is inaccessible by car. This is, without question, the most beautiful part of the island. The tropical rain-forests, lush valleys and cascading waterfalls are what dreams are made of. Parts of the Waimea Canyon can be seem by driving to the west side of the island and up to Kokee State Park (about a two hour drive from Princeville). The 17 mile Na Pali Coast, with 3000 foot sea cliffs, is stunning by boat. However, ocean swells often keep boats from touring during winter months. A Kauai helicopter tour, on the other hand, will give you a bird’s eye view of this spectacular scenery and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters fly year-round, weather permitting of course.
If you find yourself falling in love with the albatross in Honu Point’s neighborhood, consider a walk with Cathy Granholm. She lives just down the street and checks on the albatross almost daily. With her computerized list of tag numbers handy, she scouts the neighborhood (and Princeville in general) to see which adults have flown in. She has been following some of these adults for years and has a family tree showing the lineage of many of the birds. She also checks each nest to make sure the chicks are progressing as they should.
Cathy’s walks are fascinating, filled with facts, theories, and lots of stories about birds she has observed over time. Because albatross return to where they are born and where they nest, it is much like a family reunion each year when the birds return from the north. She, like I, and many of the neighbors, feel totally invested in their welfare. Cathy has anecdotes about who has paired up with who (not all mate for life apparently) and about times when she has had to step in and help out a fledgling trying to fly for the first time. There are some funny stories as well as some sad ones. I keep telling her she needs to write a book.
On March 18th, a popular Kauai brewery, Kauai Beer Company, will be hosting “Beers For A Cause.” Not that most people need a reason to have a beer or two, on this day $1.00 spent on every pint or goblet will go to help Kauai’s animals in need. The Kauai Humane Society and Kauai Beer Company have joined forces to support this important cause.
Kauai Beer Company, in Lihue, is a social place to be, with locally made craft brews, good food and friendly people. From the website we learn, “Opened in Fall 2013, the Kauai Beer Company has become a destination for residents and guests. Our neighborhood microbrewery produces artisan batches of high-quality craft beer, served in a relaxed atmosphere, making all our friends feel completely at home. The creative food menu rivals the brew and stands on its own as a reason to visit.” Hear about this family’s passion for making beer directly from the father and son owners:
Daniel Hsu, bronze medal winner at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, will be performing on Kauai, March 8th. Characterized by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “poet…[with] an expressive edge to his playing that charms, questions, and coaxes,” Daniel Hsu is the latest of the exceptionally talented performers the Kauai Concert Association brings to the island each year.
We are lucky to have the Kauai Concert Association on our tiny island of Kauai. A large part of KCA’s mission is to provide music education outreach opportunities to Kauai’s students. The Education Services Committee works with school administrators and visiting artists to deliver live performances and master classes all over the island. KCA’s goal is to make world class music available to everyone on Kauai. Performances are held at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center and parking is easy and free.
I’ve written thirteen blog posts about the Laysan Albatross at our Honu Point Vacation Rental on Kauai, but, by far, this is the one I am most excited about. I have always appreciated these graceful creatures but it was while building our vacation rental that I fell in love with them. Being on the property on a daily basis and watching them soar overhead was magical. Hearing and seeing the mating dances of young birds and eyeing nesting couples snuggling along Kaweonui Road made them even more endearing to me.
Each year I have been jealous when neighbors up and down the street are given the “right” to name a new chick because of it being born on their property. Our bluff property is not safe enough for nests and fledglings wait until they are six months old to waddle down our driveway ready for their first flight.
This year one pair, Larry and Dora, returned and scouted the area for the perfect spot to nest. They eventually decided on the interior of the cul-de-sac at the foot of our driveway. This was my chance! Because the property is not private I asked (okay, begged) our resident albatross historian, Cathy, if I might have the honor of naming this chick. She agreed!
Spending lots of time on Google translator and waiting not so patiently, I searched for the perfect name. An egg was laid and about a month later “my” precious chick started pipping its egg in order to meet his/her surrounding world.
The Spot has been a popular organic frozen yogurt shop in the heart of Kapaa for several years. Recently they opened their second store right in the Princeville Shopping Center! Now visitors to the north shore can treat themselves to this unique twist on a frozen treat. Create your own or choose from a wide variety of Signature Bowls. Following is a short video describing what makes this yogurt shop different from others:
The repercussions of the 2018 Kauai floods are still being felt on the north shore of Kauai. In April of last year torrential rains (50 inches in 24 hours) and landslides washed out roads around the island and the repairs have been extensive and slow coming. The most common question I get asked is, “When will the Kuhio Highway be open to the end of the road (Ke’e Beach).” I wish I knew the answer.
The north shore of Kauai is full of wonder. It is what you think of when you think of a tropical island – lush, green, undeveloped beauty. The stretch of highway between Hanalei Bay and Ke’e has some of the most beautiful scenery and gorgeous beaches on the island. Although you will find plenty of special, scenic places all over Kauai, not being able to go here is a disappointment to many.
In the January 10th addition of The Garden Island (TGI) newspaper, an article entitled, “Kuhio Highway Opening Extended”, suggests that the opening date is still uncertain: