Friday, March 2, 2018

Beyond the Reef

Here's a quick post about a recent trip the family took to the Hawaiian island of Kauai! Olivia likes to refer to it as "the Beautiful Island" and I couldn't agree more :)

We were lucky enough to be joined by my parents, so the kids got some great time in with Grandma Sherry and Papa Mike. There were several highly contested chess matches involved as well!

We stayed on the North end of the island in Princeville which tends to get more rain than the rest of the island. That definitely was our experience! It rained most of the time we were there... almost 7 out of 10 days. But the rain didn't put too much of a damper on things, as the kids still enjoyed the pool and swimming in the rain.

Here is a shot of sunrise on one of the clear mornings that we enjoyed.

In the picture below you'll see in the foreground a sea turtle that the kids are respectfully giving some 'personal space'. In the other picture, you'll see the island chickens and chicks that the kids would feed outside our door. Also, the national bird of Hawaii is the Nene and it is a protected species with only like 2,000 remaining in the world. You wouldn't know it by the presence of them at our resort because the place was crawling with them!

We had a fun yet fairly rough and nauseating passage one of the days on a catamaran boat to "The Forbidden Island" of Niihau. We didn't get to set foot on the island but we did get to snorkel in the water that was just near a huge underwater ledge. We were hoping to see whales pass by and you could hear them but not quite see them. When I first got in the water, I looked down and immediately saw a 6-8 foot reef shark passing just beneath me (yikes!). The kids and I were a bit freaked out at first but we all settled down after awhile. On the passage back, we saw a sea turtle swimming alongside the boat until a tiger shark leaped up and ate it (!). It was quite a National Geographic experience!

The Napali Coast was absolutely stunning. It is used in the filming of the opening shot in the Jurassic Park movies and also the backdrop for several other movies such as Indiana Jones. It was neat to see my cousin Brion Coughlin and his wife Dana in Kauai on this trip as they are spending their first year of marriage in Kauai before settling down in Chicago. On the day we did this tour, Brion and Dana and friends went to Polihale Beach to camp and hike up the coast. Kauai in general is an outdoor adventurer's paradise. There were so many things that we didn't get around to doing which makes it a place that for sure keeps calling you back!

Not shown here but very worth noting is that Quinn learned to snorkel on this trip! We were at the pool one day and he came over and asked for help putting his mask on. Previously he had been too timid to try it, but in typical Quinn-fashion, when he's ready for something he just does it! I got him geared up and then Olivia gave him some pointers in the pool. We got video of his 'maiden snorkel' in the pool and later that day he was snorkeling in the ocean! The water was a bit rough this time of year so, again, coming back in the Summer when the weather is more reliable and the snorkeling is better is definitely on the bucket list.

There are lots of plantations in Kauai which is a place that I think most anything will grow and thrive. Here's Quinn feeding the pigs. Speaking of that QUINN grew on the trip almost an inch. When we got home, I found that he'd outgrown lots of his clothes!

What we love most about beach vacations is the laid back way that days unfold.. exploring the coastline, catching crabs, digging in the sand and so forth. Olivia was actually digging in the sand at Poipu Beach when she picked up what she thought was a black rock.. until it reached out and pinched her on her finger! I was opening coconuts for her and accidentally opened one that was NOT good. My hands were stinking like rotten coconut (not a good smell!) for a few days!

I always come away from trips wishing we had gotten more pictures, but the ones we do capture sure take me back to our lazy days of Kauai in February. In case you wondered, "beyond the reef" refers to a line in the movie Moana. The kids often refer to a place far or dangerous or scary as WAAYYYY beyond the reef.

Signing off now with some tired travelers. Dreaming of new adventures beyond the reef!

Love always, Claire

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