Posts Tagged With: Nature

Beaches of Kauai

Once again, I am reposting a blog that I did on my other account some time ago. I wanted my blogs altogether in one place so I apologize if you were one of the few who saw this post.

Beaches of Kauai

The Island of Kauai is known for many beaches. Since it is the oldest of the Hawaiian Island it has more sand beaches per mile of shoreline than any other island. I am going to highlight a few of these beaches. Please keep in mind, since Hawaii is located in the open ocean, Hawaii’s beaches are more dangerous than most of the beaches in the Caribbean. Rip tides and rouge waves can form without warning so be careful if you are going to swim while you are on your Hawaiian vacation.

  1. Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay, located near the north shore town of Hanalei, consists of four beaches. They are Waikoko Beach, Wai”oli Beach Park, Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park, and Black Pot Beach. Hanalei Bay is not a great swimming destination but it is great to look at.  Hanalei Beach Pavilion Park offers facilities and a lifeguard, as well as a pier to walk out on to.

Photos of Hanalei Bay, Kauai
This photo of Hanalei Bay is courtesy of TripAdvisor

  1. Moloa’a Bay

Moloa’a Bay is off the main road and can be accessed by taking Moloa’a Rd. of Ko’olua Rd. This beach is a beach not to well known so it shouldn’t be crowed. Parking is limited here, but it is worth the extra walk to get there. The better part of this beach is on the south east side. There is also a lot of shade here.

Moloa'a Bay

Moloa’a Bay

  1. Donkey Beach

Donkey Beach can be accessed from a parking area between the 11 and 12 mile marker on the main rd. From there it is about a 10 min walk down to the beach. It will seem a lot farther on the way back since it is uphill. A sidewalk that goes most of the way down to the beach makes it a little easier though. Donkey Beach has been known to be a nudist’s beach but new multi-million dollar houses here have put a stop to that (not saying that you still won’t see some nudity. Swimming is not great here, because of the current, and shade is limited.

Donkey Beach

Donkey Beach

  1. Lydgate State Park

Probably the best place to swim and snorkel, Lydgate State Park, is located just south of the Wailua River.  Protected from the surf and the facilities located here, makes this park popular with families and also makes it crowded sometimes. OK, most of the time. Still I highly recommend checking this park out, maybe for a little picnic.

Lydgate Beach Park, Kauai - Picture of Anini Beach, Kauai
This photo of Anini Beach is courtesy of TripAdvisor

  1. Kalapaki Beach

Popular with both visitors and locals, this beach is a great place to learn to surf and boogie board. With a shopping center and restaurants (Dukes Canoe Club is one of my favorite) nearby, there is something always going on at Kalapaki Beach. You can also check out the Cruise ships coming into Nawiliwili Harbor here.

Photo courtesy of Duke's Kauai

Photo courtesy of Duke’s Kauai

  1. Glass Beach

Glass beach is located behind an industrial area in Ele’ele; this beach is made up of broken glass washed up from an old dump nearby. As you may expect, this is not a good beach to swim at or even walk barefoot on. It is however very colorful.

Hawaiian Monk Seal on Glass Sands beach

Hawaiian Monk Seal on Glass Sands beach

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Categories: Beaches, Hawaii, Kauai, Uncategorized, vacation | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Traveling With Friends

How many of you have travel with friend or family before? It can be great sharing a vacation with other people. It can help just having other people to be around and talk to when there isn’t as much going on. Another couple people to play games with when the sun goes down, if you’re staying in a place with not much nightlife. Yes traveling with friends and family is fun and rewarding. Even good things, however, can cave some downfalls.

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On a recent trip, my wife and I traveled with another couple to Hawaii. We had a great vacation and were happy to share “Paradise” with other people.  There were a few things we did learn about traveling with friends though. These are not what I would call huge issues but more like small things that would make a difference in how well you enjoy your vacation.

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  1. Spend the money for a second car.  There will be times when you want to do something different from the other couple.  Maybe you will want to take your significant other out for a romantic dinner or maybe you want to spend a day at the beach while the other couple wants to go hiking. Those are great times to have a second car.
  2. If you plan on sitting around at the pool the whole day, make sure you communicate that to the others and that they are on board with it. If you let them know this, they can make plans to do other stuff while you sit at the pool
  3. Make sure you let the others know what to expect when they get there. Everything from climate to how much everything will cost. You don’t want to spend a week with someone who has just freaked out about how expensive everything is and wants to save money on everything.
  4. Have a good time and keep an open head about things. Don’t get frustrated by all the little things. You are going on vacation to relax and have a good time, don’t let the small things ruin your vacation.

While we did have those times that the little annoyances got to us, we loved traveling with another couple. You don’t realize how nice it is to have another set of people to talk to or run ideas by.  The trip we took was to the Big Island of Hawaii, a place known to be in bed soon after the sunsets, so it was great being able to share a place we love with friends. Is there anything you have learned about traveling with friends or family? Please share what you learned in the comments to this post.

This July we will be traveling with friends again. This time we will be cruising, which is a perfect way to travel with friends. With so much to do aboard the ship, you can do as much or as little with them as you want. We will be taking part in the Cruise Family Reunion, a cruise organized by the cruise family, a group of cruise experts and writers that met on twitter.  The cruise family would love for you to join them on this exciting and sure to be the social cruise of the year. Visit the Cruise Family Reunion website for more details.

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Categories: Air Travel, Cruise, Hawaii, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Welcome to Alaska – Ketchikan

Map from nps.gov

Map from nps.gov

On our Alaska Cruise Tour 2013, after we Vancouver and spending a day at sea, we will spend the day in Ketchikan, Alaska. The town of Ketchikan is the southeastern most town in Alaska and has a population of around 14,000.  Ketchikan is known as Alaska’s “First City,” because it is the initial port for cruise ships coming up from the south. For most visitors stepping ashore, this is their first view of Alaska. The economy for Ketchikan relies heavily on tourism with the cruise industry gracing its harbors during the summer months. On certain days, there could even be 6 cruise ships in Ketchikan at the same time.

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Ketchikan is also well known as the salmon capital of the world. Fishing is king here. In fact the city of Ketchikan was founded as a fishing outpost. Later the mining industry exploded and so did the population of Ketchikan.  With the mining boom came a new industry for Ketchikan that since has disappeared with mining history. Creek Street was bustling with bars and brothels that miners frequented when they came into town.

Ketchikan, Alaska, Creek Street

Creek Street; Photo courtesy of Princess Cruise Line

Ketchikan’s weather is affected by the being on the cost. While it is pretty far north, the Low temperatures do not dip as far as you would think. January has the lowest average low temperature at almost 29 0F .  When talking about the cruising season, the average high temperatures range from 50 0F – 65 0F with July being the warmest.  June and July are also the driest averaging about 7.5 inches of rain per month.

Ketchikan, Alaska's "Liquid Sunshine Gauge." * Photograph by Robert A. Estremo, copyright 2002.

Ketchikan, Alaska’s “Liquid Sunshine Gauge.” * Photograph by Robert A. Estremo, copyright 2002.

My next post will dive into the activities to do when you arrive in Ketchikan. There are many of them ranging from easy to more adventurous. We will talk more about Creek Street and Totem Bight State Park.

By Jim Nista (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jim Nista (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Categories: Alaska, Cruise, Princess Cruise Line, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alaska Wilderness by Sea

I wanted make time to write a series of blogs talking about the spectacular region of the Alaska Inside Passage. Taking in the Alaska wilderness is something that is best done by a cruise. Many areas along the coast can only be seen from the water or by air.

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The Denali Explorer cruisetour starts off with a 7 day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise on the Coral Princess. This is a northbound cruise leaving from Vancouver and visits the towns of Ketchikan, AK; Juneau, AK; and Skagway, AK before arriving in Whittier, AK. The cruise will also visit Glacier Bay National park and College Fjord where you will get an up close look at some of the most breathtaking sights in the world. After arriving in Whittier and disembark the ship, we will be whisked away by rail to explore the amazing wilderness of Denali National Park.

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I am going to go into more details of this unspoiled land in my next few blogs in this series but for this post I want to talk about the Inside Passage. The Inside Passage is a network of passages, used by ocean going vessels, which weave through the islands of the Pacific coast of northwest North America. Some of the passages get pretty narrow so this is the chance for you to see natures best right up close. Bears coming down to catch fish, moose getting a dink on the shore, and not to mention the whales that spend the summer in the Alaskan waters.

Map from nps.gov

Map from nps.gov

This is one destination that you would want to upgrade to a balcony. Imagine sitting on your private balcony enjoying your coffee in the morning and seeing a bear catching a fish at the edge of the water. Or eating a private lobster dinner while a pod of whales play just off the ship. The balcony really adds to what already is your trip of a lifetime.

Mt. McKinley, Alaska

 

Categories: Alaska, blogs, Cruise, Princess Cruise Line | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Falling From Heaven

The East side of the Big Island seems like you are on a totally different island compared to the west side. You leave the bare, black lava rocks behind and find yourself driving along dense green vegetation. The slope is much steeper down to the ocean, and you are much higher in elevation. There is not many places along this drive that you can not see the ocean. This is truly a beautifully scenic drive.
If your driving south, before you get to Hilo, you will see a turnoff to go to Akaka Falls. This is a little side trip you won’t want to miss. About 4 or 5 miles into the countryside, be careful there is a one lane bridge on this narrow road, you will come to the Akaka Falls State Park. Since the first time I was there they set up a pay station, the cost is $5 if you park in the parking lot or $1 per/person if you park on the road. Even though it is an automated pay station, they have someone there watching.
This is a short “hike” to see two sets of falls. I put hike in quotations because it is really just a walk on sidewalk with lots of stairs. the path makes a loop and visits Kahuna Falls and the real attraction Akaka Falls.

The smaller Kahuna Falls
When you start out down the steps I suggest to go to Kahuna Falls. This way you are able to save the larger falls for last. Kahuna Falls is around 100 ft. If you think this is amazing go back to the loop and continue on.
As you continue through the dense tropical vegetation you can start to hear the thunder of the falls. Then you get over a slight hill and you catch a glimpse of an amazing sight. Right there in front of you is Akaka Falls, at 492 feet it is really a stunning sight. Just for comparison Niagara Falls is around 175 feet high.

429 ft. Akaka Falls
There is a zip line company that offers a zip line tour that takes you over the falls. I would have loved to do this, but we didn’t. Oh well, there’s always NEXT time.

Categories: Hawaii, waterfalls | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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