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.
Yes, we have been waiting, not so patiently, for Southwest Airlines to start their nonstop flights to Kauai and now the company says they are VERY CLOSE. This is good news for anyone with a Southwest credit card or who is part of their Rapid Rewards program. Because, in some cases, a traveling partner flies free.
Southwest Airlines initially proposed routes to Hawaii way back in October 2017. Southwest will operate to Hawaii from Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Jose, and will serve Honolulu, Lihue, Kona, and Kahului. They also want to run an inter-island service, which would bring some much needed competition to this market.
If you are ready to experience Kauai as the ancient Hawaiians did, be sure to visit Limahuli Valley on the north shore of Kauai. This beautiful valley looks much like it did 1,500 years ago when the Hawaiians called it home. Limahuli Valley is one of of the last easily-accessible valleys with intact archaeological complexes, native forest, pristine stream, and the presence of the descendants of the valley’s original inhabitants caring for it. It is one of the five gardens of the non-profit National Tropical Botanical Garden.
It has been three weeks since the albatross chicks were born on Kaweonui Road, Kauai, and I had to share my latest fix with you. After meeting my guests on Saturday I happened by this nest five houses down from Kauai Vacation Rental at Honu Point. Mom or Dad (not sure which) was sitting next to her/his chick when another albatross happened by. Best with sound.
Soon the parents will be leaving these vulnerable chicks by themselves as they fly off to find food hundreds of miles away to bring back to their baby. When the Mom or Dad returns she/he will regurgitate the eaten food into the baby’s mouth. This will go on for months until the parents feel the baby is ready to fledge. At that time the parents will stop feeding the chick so that it naturally figures out it is time to leave the nest. From a nearby bluff it will take its first giant leap of faith.
This Saturday starts the 41st annual Waimea Town Celebration on the west side of Kauai, Hawaii. The west side is a long drive from Kauai Vacation Rental at Honu Point (1 1/2 to 2 hours), but you are probably planning to see the Waimea Canyon at some point during your stay. Why not coordinate the day and time with a fun event during this week long celebration? You will get to experience a sample of what it means to live on this driest part of the island.
Waimea Town will celebrate its 41st anniversary with 9 days of events that include hula and Hawaiian music; Kaua’i cocktails and cuisine; the largest Hawaiian rodeo in all of the islands; a long-distance canoe race; a film festival; softball and 3-on-3 basketball tournaments; a 10.8 mile cyclist road race; a fun run (10K, 5K, 2K); paniolo hat lei contest, ice cream eating and ‘ukulele contests; and cultural exhibits all culminating in a 2-day ho’olaule’a with continuous LIVE entertainment on a big stage, local food booths, craft vendors, games, rides and a beer garden.
Kauai, Hawaii is such a magical place that often times visitors want to take home a beautiful painting as a reminder of their time in Paradise. Saim Caglayan has been plein air painting the landscapes of Kauai for years. I have personally known Saim for 15 of those years and am proud to call him my friend.
This is an exciting time of year for guests at Kauai Vacation Rental at Honu Point as Laysan Albatross chicks are “pipping” up and down the street. Introducing one such chick that was born within the last two weeks. It sits on a nest four doors down from our home. The mother and father alternate flying 1000 miles away to find food and bring it back to feed their baby. Such dedication and love.
I happened to be driving by on Wednesday when I spotted the adult preening its young. Best with sound. Enjoy!
Feeling guilty about all the hours you will be relaxing on the beach when you come to Kauai? Schedule a class or two at Fit Lab Kauai and work out with the locals. You will have fun and be able to shed some of those Mai Tai calories!
Fit Lab Kauai offers indoor cycling, barre, weight training and kickboxing classes throughout the week. The class levels range from beginner to high preforming athlete and can accommodate any age and skill level. Everyone is welcome!
“We strive to create a workout experience that leaves participants feeling accomplished and empowered. Every workout is designed to deliver the best results and cause an exponential increase in endorphins.”
If you happen to be on island on Thursday, January 11th then why not spend an evening with Judy Collins?
Blues Bear Hawaii presents Singer-Songwriter and Folk Music Icon Judy Collins. Judy is on tour in support of her latest release “Strangers Again” a collection of duets with some of her favorite male artists, including Don Mclean, Michael McDonald, Jeff Bridges, Willie Nelson & Jackson Browne. ”These are guys that I adore & respect. I have dreamed of playing with them.”