Hawaii: Part Four, Kauai

After all, Hawaii is the best land.
O Hawaii no ka aina maikai.
//Hawaiian Proverb

Starting this post is kind of bittersweet because it will be my last installment of our Hawaii adventure. I have been able to string it out for almost two months now! It has been really nice to look back over all the photos and have the details of our trip written down. After our tiring Thanksgiving Day, I still managed to wake up at the butt-crack of dawn on Friday. Sleeping in was not my strong point in Hawaii. I wake up every day at about 6:30am EST, so sleeping until even 8am in Hawaii was like staying in bed until 1pm. Needless to say my eyes were wide open every morning around 4am, listening to the roosters crow and praying to the sleep Gods to let me fall back asleep at least until the sun came up. I couldn't lay there any longer so I decided to just get up and let Nick sleep in without being disrupted. I took the jeep for a drive into Kilauea Center and went back to the Kilauea Bakery that we had eaten at two nights prior. They had excellent iced coffee, so I got one of those and paired it with a really yummy bakery treat- a chocolate chip coconut layer bar. VERY good!
I loved the early-morning scene of the bakery. Slow-moving, groggy looking folks still wiping away the crust from their eyes. No one was really talking.. at least until they got their coffee. But I just sat there for awhile eating my treat and taking it all in. I could see myself going there every single day if I lived nearby. It was my kind of spot.
After a bit I headed back to the cottage and decided to make a nice breakfast for Nick to wake up to. I had already had my chocolate coconut bar so I wasn't overly hungry but I still managed to eat some eggs, bacon and sliced avocado. Again, very delicious.
We had no real agenda for Friday but decided to start checking some of the other sights and places we wanted to see off of our list that we had made since the sad realization that we only had 2 and a half days left on the island was setting in. One of those spots was right in Kilauea so we decided to start there and make the Kilauea Lighthouse our first stop for the day. It was only about a 5 minute drive from the cottage and was set beautifully on a small peninsula jutting off the coast. The entire property was protected and preserved land, and also served as a bird sanctuary. I was able to get some really pretty pictures of the lighthouse and the surrounding landscape.

It was really neat to have this practically right in our backyard. The amazing views in Kauai just never end!

You can see all of those white dots on this Cliffside are actually birds nesting and hanging out. As I said before all of this land is protected by the State so no one is allowed to build or trespass on it. Many different species of bird have made it their home.
You can see the birds a little more clearly in these photos, along with some pretty sea caves against the shoreline.

Looking out towards the left you can see some of the beaches and homes along the North Shore coastline. It was a little cloudy this particular morning but you could still see for miles.

It was SOOO windy once your actually got out to the point. What a difference a few hundred yards makes. I was actually scared of blowing over a few times!
The lighthouse was a really pretty building and I liked the white color with the reddish/copper color accents. The glass at the top was also really intricate and I am sure the light looks really cool shining through it at night.

The lighthouse is actually the Western most lighthouse in the United States, as Kauai is the furthest West habitable US Island/State in the country. Hawaii is actually also the most remote island chain the world as it is more than 2,000 miles off the shore of North America, and 1,000 miles from the nearest country of Kiribati.
A large Asian family was looking for someone to take photos of them by the lighthouse so I offered to take some of them if they did the same for us, so it worked out nicely! Nick actually took these first ones of me but the ones of the two of us were taken by the woman.

She was actually very into it and got some nice angles!

We took one last lap around the property and then decided it was time to head out and start exploring some more.

Driving back through Kilauea town we finally spotted one of our favorite cars- a Jeep Grand Wagoneer! I will definitely own one of these bad boys some day- mark my word! I absolutely love them, 6mpg and all.

The next spot we wanted to see was called Queen's Bath, located in the neighboring North Shore town of Princeville about 10-15 minutes away. Queens Bath is a really unique set of tide pools and sink holes surrounded by igneous rock along the shoreline. During the summer the water is really calm and is a great and famous spot for swimming and jumping off. We happened to be there during the winter though, so it was way too rough for anyone to swim or jump. It still ended up being really neat to see, and gives us even more of a reason to go back someday!
The entry is a rather random dirt pathway in a very suburban neighborhood. Parking is limited to a few spots, but we were able to snag one luckily.

Then you begin a 10-15 minute journey down a winding and slippery dirt path. That seems to be the common theme to get to a lot of the Kauai sights and beaches! You have to work for it! I think that's what maybe keeps a lot of the beaches less crowded is that you have to basically get a workout in just to get to the spot.
I just love how Jungle-y (not a word) it looks!

Always let the man lead the way!

After a good ten minute trek we finally saw the ocean ahead and knew we were almost there.
And then we get down to the entrance of Queen's Bath and we see this lovely warning sign! Really makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside...NOT.
Only 30 so far!....
There were caution signs and danger signs posted everywhere. Especially during these winter months, huge rogue waves can come out of no where and rip you right off the rocks. You really have to be aware of your surroundings and constantly watch the ocean.
Water rushes in to these pools with huge force, and the waves splash right up the sides and onto the rocks. I really want to go back in the summer when they are super calm and you can just swim around and float in them all day with your friends. I looked at other peoples photos on Instagram and it looks so nice and fun!

Being a little dare devil and getting somewhat close to the edge! The rocks were very porous and actually pretty sharp to stand on with bare feet, so I kept my sandals on even though they were slippery.

I kind of liked this accidental photo of a close up of my pineapple shirt. Gotta love J. Crew!
Windy day! Had to hold my hat on to be safe. And thanks to my Auntie for my Hawaiian sash that she got for me on her trip to Maui earlier last year, I loved it!

All the shoes and sandals I had brought were nicer ones that couldn't really get dirty, so I bought these babies at the general store in Hanalei for $3.
Worrywart Girlfriend: "Nick, you probably shouldn't go that close to the edge, it's dangerous."
Evil Knievel Boyfriend: ...No response...

Worrywart Girlfriend: "Babe! No!"
Evil Knievel Boyfriend: ...No response...

This is funny, but not funny. I am standing here reading this large warning sign about this ledge that Nick just hadddd to go out on to get photos with the GoPro. Nick is in the background, on said dangerous ledge, fiddling with the camera settings not paying attention to the ocean.
And then, without warning a HUGE heavy wave crashed right in front of him and shot water right up onto him and he nearly missed the current. I screamed and had put my camera down. As soon as it subsided, I took this photo....
Let's get a close up on that..... The face of a man who was just nearly swept out to sea, and knows it. Girlfriend screaming "GET BACK HEREEEEE!!!! GET AWAY FROM THERE, NOT FUNNY!!!"
Here are Nick's prize-winning, near death GoPro photos he had to have! Nice work hunny :-). I like how you can see the curvature of the Earth. I don't like how you nearly died taking them.

I felt very Hawaiian this day!

We kept walking down Queen's Bath to where some of the larger swimming pools and jumping cliffs were. There were actually some other people down there checking it out. A few girls had their bikinis on like they were going to go in, but I think they quickly realized they would not be able to.

Once over to the far side of Queen's Bath, we came across this sign! Apparently it's OK to go naked here! Probably because half the time your suit would just get ripped off anyways from jumping in or from the currents. Not sure what I would have done if it was nice out and calm, it may have just been one of those "YOLO" moments in life where you had to do it just to say you did!

What a gentleman. He claims the GoPro got on the timer setting again and just randomly took this picture, but I think he just wanted to show the world how gentlemanly he is helping me up.

You can kind of see the surface of the rocks here- it's really sharp and hard to walk on barefoot! It would take a lot of getting used to to toughen up your feet.
I love the water dripping down over the rocks here!

Ouchy porous surface!

Most times of the year this is a nice, calm, fun swimming hole... but this particular day it was a death trap!

Some of the inner pools were actually a lot more calm, but the current was still really strong and would pull you out if you tried to swim. I had really wanted to be able to go swimming in Queen's Bath, but it just wasn't in the cards... I didn't want to end up as number 31!

It even has it's own lazy-river around this huge rock!

One of my favorite pictures of us!

Nick again being such a gentleman and carrying all of my cameras and bags! Thanks Stud!
We decided it was time to head out from Queen's Bath, and started our trek back UPHILL to the car through the jungle forest. It was a lot more tiring then coming down, especially with wet slippery feet and hold all of the cameras and bags.

Back to cruising the North Shore in the Jeep!
Passing over our favorite bridge again, with the Acacia trees lining either side.

It was about mid-day at this point, so we had decided to use our Thanksgiving day leftovers to make some Turkey Day sandwiches for lunch. We loved Hanalei Bay so we decided to go back there for a bit to soak up some sun and eat our sammies. They were DELICIOUS! And I think it's safe to say this is by far the nicest place we have ever enjoyed Thanksgiving day leftovers!

We spent the next hour or two just relaxing on Hanalei Beach and soaking up some sun.

A group of artists were creating a pretty big sand sculpture in order to promote a local bank. It was pretty neat! I don't get how they get the sand to stay so perfectly.

We took another nice long walk down Hanalei beach. The cloud coverage was really cool, and the sun was shining down perfectly through one little hole in the sky causing some really cool sun rays.

I have always said the only way to know the weather in New England is to look outside, because it changes so often. I can now officially say that the weather in Kauai changes MORE than New England Weather. Literally within seconds it can go from bright sunny to cloudy to stormy to raining to a rainbow and back to sunny all within 5 minutes! If the weather gets bad, just hold out, it will be nice out again by the time you pack up your belongings.

Some sand art to commemorate our trip!

Getting fancy!

Hanalei has some great little waves for body boarding and beginner surfing! It was fun to watch people learning and the body boarders getting pummeled and tossed around.
By the time we got back from our walk, the sand sculpture was almost complete! It was all Hawaiian themed and looked pretty neat. I am sure many a little boy was just dying to knock it down once they left, though!

Debating where we should head to next!
And then within another 5 minutes it was almost pitch black out and looked like a huge storm! But the way the sun was shining through the dark clouds was really pretty.

It didn't look like it was going to be clearing up, so we decided to pack up and head into Hanalei Town to walk around a little bit more. Unlucky for our wallets, it happened to actually be Black Friday, and the big town surf shop had a huge tent clearance sale out on the grassy square. I scored a cute Billabong Bikini for $28 and Nick got a RVCA t-shirt for like $10! They had some great deals, I could have bought a ton more but my bikini obsession/collection is already at insane heights and I made Nick promise to only allow me to buy one.

Next, we stopped in at Kalypso for happy hour! We each had a beer and shared some of the Hawaiian calamari that we loved so much. It was a cute little spot and we had a great little seat right by the window.
After Happy Hour we decided to head back to the cottage to make dinner and shower and get ready. We were planning to go out again for drinks after dinner.
We made a nice dinner of steak, mashed Japanese sweet potato, and asparagus. We kind of ruined the steak because we didn't have a grill or grilling pan, so we broiled it. Bad idea. It lost all of it's flavor and was just pretty blah. Next time we will just pan fry it with whatever we have. Lesson learned!
Our last dinner home together at the cottage in Kauai! We had planned to eat out on our last night, so this was the last dinner we made together. So sad!
After a nice hot shower and quick wardrobe change, we were ready for Friday night out in Kauai!
We headed back to Tiki Iniki, as it is really the only bar open past 9pm on the North Shore, with the exception of one in Hanalei which is a bit further of a drive.

It ended up being really fun though, we sat next to two ladies who lived in Michigan but were originally from Mass, as well as a group of about 5 local Kauai boys in their early twenties. The ladies bought the whole bar a round of shots, and they were really tasty. We did a big cheers as well! I then ordered a drink that was called "The Iniki", and it ended up being my favorite drink of the trip! It was SO yummy and I really want to re-create it back home.

I got a photo of the menu that shows what is in the drink I ordered, so I will have to try and make it soon. Nick tried a Mai Tai!
We ended up having a great time and got to talking a lot to one of the Kauai locals named Noah, who gave us some really good info. He said we HAD to go to Secrets Beach before we left. I had read about it in my Guidebook but hadn't really made a plan to go as it seemed like kind of a trek to get there. Noah INSISTED that we had to go, so we definitely were going to take the advice from someone who had grown up there. We eventually headed back to the cottage when it got late and headed to bed. I didn't want the night to end as Saturday was going to be our last full day in Kauai! I was trying so hard not to think about it, but it was always in the back of my mind... we did not want to have to leave paradise! We woke up and got ready for another adventurous Kauai Day- we had a lot we still had to see! I got into my all-pink outfit, with another sea-turtle print sash Nick had gotten me from his trip to Cancun. I loved it- so cute and comfy!
We were determined to have a better snorkeling experience so we headed back to Anini Beach first thing- this time with the RIGHT SIZE flippers on our feet! I also got to wear my brand new gold/silver reversible Billabong bikini I had gotten at the Black Friday sale the day before.

Nick having a MUCH better time now that his feet were not bleeding in discomfort!

We really wanted to see Sea Turtles as our trip was coming to an end and we hadn't seen any up to that point, I was starting to think they didn't exist! We saw lots of corals and fish... but no turtles.
It started to drizzle a little at one point (crazy Kauai weather), but it was actually really cool to be in and under the water when it was raining.

My little Merman! Look at that form.

A little finding Nemo Dory was following me around.

The water was more clear this day as well! Still, no sight or sign of turtles.

Exploring the deep. Nick is actually very good at holding his breath!

Coming up for some air.
Crazy weather! Sunny one second, dark and raining the next.
I like this picture of us also, we both look funny.
We had a different set of flippers all together that were way more comfortable!
Fingernail photobomb.

LOTS of coral... some fish..... no turtles.

So attractive... but I love all of the underwater colors.
Let's just say that there were many other photos from this snorkel trip, as well as some videos that will never be able to be shown due to a certain strapless bathing suit incident that had gone unnoticed up to this point. #nipslipfail
We got to one section of Anini that was all sandy bottom, which was really nice. We were hoping for a big rock on the ocean floor so we could take one of those cool "running underwater with a rock" photos that you see on Instagram. No rocks were to be found...

He was hard to keep up with! Nicholas Phelps over here. Maybe he should have done swimming instead of Crew.
Some uber attractive post-snorkel selfies.
1-10 how hot are these mask indentations?!

We had a lot of fun this time around and were sad for it to be over and to still have not seen any turtles! Couldn't get out of the water without some smooching tough. This would be the last time we would be at Anini. It was the spot we visited most on our trip, the first beach we went to on Kauai, and we will miss it so!

Next, we knew we had to heed Noah's advice from the night before and make it to Secrets Beach. We looked it up on the map and turns out it was really close to Anini! We had probably driven by it 15 times thus far and didn't even realize. We headed down the suburban side road and parked in a small dirt lot at the end of a cul-de-sac. Again, the first thing we see is this giant warning sign! No idea what we were in for at this point, and there were no other cars in the lot and no cell service. Kind of scary!

At first, the path looked pretty worn, well marked, and relatively flat.
We soon realized by peeking through some of the fences and trees that we were in a very affluent neighborhood. Big gates and barriers everywhere, there was no getting through. We were able to get a look at this gorgeous house through a gap in the trees- yes please! I'll take it! It looked like a million dollar tree house, gorgeous wood everywhere.
So then, the path starts getting a bit more winding and the incline starts to get steeper and steeper as we go.
Until soon enough we are practically going straight down for as far as the eyes could see. It was killer on the knees!! We had no idea how high we were initially, as it seemed to never end.
Slow girlfriend ended up getting pretty far behind fast boyfriend...
Finally! After a good 15-20 minutes of steep downhill hike, I could see the beach!
Nick's photo from the GoPro. Beautiful, secluded, expansive Secrets beach.
Nick had gotten ahead so I was able to get these cool shots of him off in the distance on my D300. I love them!
The beach was so wide, and so long, and there was not a single soul it sight. How could this be!?

We could even see a perfect view of Kilauea Lighthouse from the beach! We had originally thought when we were at the lighthouse that the beach we could see was Anini, but it turns out it was actually Secrets all along!
This beach was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful! Well worth the tiring hike down. I just could not believe that there was not a single other person on this huge pristine beach on a sunny Saturday. It really lives up to it's name of 'Secret'! We were so thankful for meeting and talking to Noah the night before, because we likely would have never come here otherwise. It ended up being the prettiest beach I ever did see.

Sun started shining down on us!
All to ourselves! Kauai is the best!

I like this photo Nick took of me taking a photo... it looks very Nat Geo.

From the beach we could see some HUGE mansions along the cliffs above the beach, each with private stairs and access paths down to the beach. Must be nice! Ben Stiller apparently is one of the home owners.

NOT FOR SALE! Sorry ladies.
The landscape of Secrets was really interesting, with portions that had the igneous rock poking up through the sand.
Other parts were entirely smooth, soft sand.

It was very long and had a nice 'S' curvature to it.
And the waves crashing into shore created some steep sand cliffs at the oceans edge that you can see behind me.
Getting ready to nail my jumping photo!

GO!!!!!!!!! Looking up with my tongue out was not ideal... so I tried one more time.
And nailed it!

Nick's attempt #1... eh... a little "misshapen".
Attempt #2.. Nailed it! GoPro and all!
You can see more of the unique landscape of Secrets in these next photos. It was fun to break your ankle "fall" down the sand cliffs.

Next, we decided to try something new and stick the GoPro in the sand on the timer setting. The lens was a little foggy but other than that we got some cool pictures of the two of us jumping.

First a smooch! (One of my favorite photos from the trip, taken by Gus the GoPro himself)
....and then the jump!!
Woo woo!
Secrets kept on going for what seemed like forever, around every curve it just kept going on and on. We took a long walk down to explore as much as we could.

It was just such a pretty and unique, unspoiled beach. And we were going on about an hour at this point without seeing a single other person.

Loved this little natural rock channel.

The below photo is a picture of me taking the above photo!
SO gorgeous!

You can see how Secrets continued on even past this little Jetty.
A nice view of the lighthouse point in the background.
Love this picture Nick took of me in my element! Look out weddings... I could get used to this travel/nature photography thing!
This photo is the photo I was taking in the above picture.

We walked until we could walk no more. The beach continued on after this even, but involved some climbing over a rocky jetty. It was a bit rough and we didn't want to spend the whole day here as we had more to still see, so we made this our turn around point. However, not before noticing some fresh water streaming down over the rock ledge. Nick went over to take a look.
Love these photos of him with his trail of footsteps in the sand behind him. Just goes to prove no one else had been here in awhile!

Footprints in the sand.
Nick started to take an "au natural" shower from the fresh water!
It was really cool coming down off the cliffside. Like a little mini waterfall all to ourselves.

Shower time.
Again, not for sale.
Our turnaround point to start heading back the other way.

A look back down the beach from the way we came.
Another photo that I love that shows how cool the landscape at Secrets was.
Secret Selfies! I was feeling very beachy and sunkissed and happy!

We headed back down Secrets to make our way to the car. Here is the best view I could get of some of the mansions up on the cliff. Ben Stiller where are you!!??

We then had to make the grueling, 20 minute hike STRAIGHT uphill back to the car. Definitely worked up a sweat and burned off some calories on that one. It was 110% worth it though. Thank you Noah for sharing your 'Secret' with us! Next up, we decided to take a drive to the always-sunny South Side of the island to do a bit more exploring of some sights down there. We had only been down to the South Shore on the day of the helicopter ride, so we decided to make another trip to check out a few more things on our last full day. I had heard of this so called "Glass Beach" from a few Kauai and seaglass forums, as well as reading about it a little bit in my guidebook. My family is BIG on seaglass. We have loved and collected it our whole lives. This beach supposedly gave promises of sand purely made from glass. I was skeptical at first but we drove down to the oddly located beach behind a giant abandoned factory and this was the first sight I saw... Looked like a normal beach to me at first. But then, once we took a few more steps we realized it was in fact very different...!
The sand was all glass! Albeit most were small pieces, but it was purely smooth broken seaglass!
The I bent down and got closer to the sand... Look at it!! SO COOL! A seglass lovers dream.

There were some bigger pieces here and there as well, but it was mostly small bits of glass that looked like sand.

I was OBSESSED! And couldn't wait to show my Mom and Aunts the photos.

Down towards the shoreline the pieces got a lot bigger as well. I  may or may not have broken the rules and took a *small* sampling back home via a sandwich baggie.

So amazing.. I just couldn't get over it. It was also the hottest sand we felt the whole time. Scorching!

It looks so much more unassuming from far away. You would never rally know it's all glass unless you got close up.
It also happened to be a pretty beach as well, despite being in an industrial area behind a factory. You couldn't' see the factory from the beach, and it had some cool caves and a small cliff.

My name was even written in one of the caves with a heart next to it- it was meant to be!

We only stayed about 20 minutes, but it was WELL worth the short pitstop! I will cherish my Kauai glass forever! We actually ended up taking sand from almost every beach we went to. I think we had 12 small bags in all at the end of the trip. We are going to make a little display with different shaped glass vials!
After Glass Beach we headed 20 minutes East to the town of Po'ipu to see the famous Shipwreck Beach. There was at one point a famous shipwreck on shore there but it has since deteriorated and washed away. Now it is mostly famous for being a notorious Cliff Jumping spot for the 35-40 foot jump off the ledge you can see in the background.
Doesn't look as high from shore but trust me, once you're up there.. its high!

Really nice piece of driftwood had washed ashore. This would make a lovely mantle if I do say so myself!
Looking down the beach the other way you can see part of the Grand Hyatt resort that is just behind it.
Getting ready to go up to the top and mayyybe jump off...maybe.

Yet another small hike to the top of the ledge.
The views from the top were spectacular! But the jump looked so high...!

Nick went down to the edge to check out where you would jump from. No one else was up there with us, so we had no idea where the best/safe jumping spot was. Also, it was a pretty rough day for the South Shore and the currents were pretty strong. We really weren't sure if we should jump because we really knew nothing about it. If other people were up there doing it and/or could have told us where to jump from- we probably would have done it. But again, we just didn't feel like risking it and getting seriously injured or killed 6,000 miles from home.

It was such a nice day out! The weather is so different on the South Shore than on the North Shore. It is almost always bright and sunny.

Would you jump...????

I was taking these pictures of Nick sitting on the ledge when all of the sudden he yelled "Turtle!! Oh my God, Look! A Turtle!!"
I turned my camera just in time to see a big turtle at the surface for air! I was so happy to finally see one! They do exist! It was only up for a few seconds before taking another dive down under water, not to be seen again. SO glad I had my camera ready and got these photos.

What's not funny is that the exact spot the turtle surfaced is where Nick would have jumped in. He could have landed ON the turtle! They are huge, with hard shells... it really could have caused some damage! We were really glad neither of us had jumped at that point. (Although we were really secretly embarrassed that Justin Bieber had done it on his trip a few months prior and had jumped... Don't tell anyone that though.)
Taking one last look off into the distance. Such a pretty spot.

Finally, some other people had joined us at the top... but they weren't jumping either, so we made the right choice!

Below is another fave photo of us from the trip!
Back down on the beach some girls had made this rock heart! S'Cute!
Goodbye Shipwreck!

Before leaving we spotted another too-scared-to-jump couple at the top!
After Shipwreck we decided to drive just a few minutes down the road to P'oipu Beach, the most popular/crowded beach on the South Shore. And that's when I saw this.... A chicken.... running... with a friend chicken wing in it's mouth. Wrong.... just so wrong. The poor thing.... he has no idea. Cannibalism at it's finest.

After a good twenty minutes laying in the hot sun on Po'ipu, we saw a small crowd gathering to our left. Sooner or later I realized they were all gathered around a huge Sea Turtle on the beach! We had not see one all week and then sure enough we get two in one day, and our last day at that! I was so happy and excited and got my camera to take some photos. Luckily I had a zoom lens so I didn't even have to get too close to him.
Such a cutie!

He looks so old! I wish I knew how old it actually was. They are so cool and prehistoric looking. Sometimes I actually think I would get scared if I saw on swimming near me in the water. I know they are mostly harmless, but their size is so big!

A crowd starting forming around him but most people were respectful and kept their distance.

 Po'ipu was definitely the most crowded beach we had been on thus far in kauai, and it still wasn't even that crowded.

 There was a small sandbar about 50 yards offshore that you could walk to. The water was really calm and warm, so we brought the Gopro along.

 Here are some underwater shots from Po'ipu. The bottom was really sandy for the most part, with some areas of rock and/or coral.

 Just about at the sandbar, looking back towards the beach. 
 And a few more cool shots of the coral.

 It looks like a giant cauliflower or brain or something!

 We made it to the sandbar! A lot more footsteps here than on Secret beach, thats for sure.
 The sandbar was full of small tide pools, so we did some exploring and walked around the warm shallow waters.
 Lots of dark rock and coral.

 Apparently the sea turtles like to hang on the sandbar too, because they had signs posted to take caution as they are protected by law.

 Some more GoPro underwater photos from the walk back from the sandbar. I love all of these cool ocean colors!
 Little fishies!

 Back on the beach, our turtle friend was still hanging out in the sun. Most of his crowd had dwindled by now and he was just resting up with a nice beach nap.

 He looks like such an old man!
 Random photo of someone who we thought looked like Nick's Cousin Dan...
 On our drive back to the North Shore, we made another pass through the Maluhia Road Tunnel. A mile-long stretch of Eucalyptus trees that were planted on either side of the road that have created a literal tree-tunnel. It is so cool to drive through, especially in the Jeep with the top down! It feels like you are driving under a giant canopy. We got some great video on the GoPro, as well as a few photos!

 Love driving in the sunshine with the top down!
 On the way back to the North Shore we decided to made one more stop along the eastern coast at an oceanside restaurant/bar called Oasis On The Beach in the town of Kapaa. It was happy hour time, so we were each able to get a nice drink for a good price. I had a vodka soda with a small splash of cranberry and lime, they made it perfectly! Not too dark. The view from the bar was gorgeous and right on the ocean.

 Here is a look at the bar from the outside. Very tropical feeling!

 After Oasis we finally made our way back to Kilauea. The sun was just about to set, so we figured why not take one last stop at the Jurassic Ranch to get a few last photos of the beautiful landscape in the golden sun.
 It is such a gorgeous ranch, it's hard to take a bad photo of it! How awesome of a wedding location would this make? Imagine a big tent out in that field... perfect!

 I was still just expecting to see a Brontosaurus or T-rex pop out at any moment and start eating from the trees!

 Love the mountains off in the distance. And the flat topped Acacia Trees lining the forest.

 Goodbye Jurassic Ranch- we will miss your beauty!
 We also had to make a stop at the end of our road to get a photo of our street sign- Waiakalua Street. Our dirt-road home for the week. We will always remember it fondly!

 Our street was also home to Kilauea Farms.
Oh, thats just Nick being a wise-guy and driving away from me while I am taking photos. Funny guy he is...reallllll funny.
 We got back to the cottage and the realization of leaving really started to hit us. We did some packing and then decided to write our note in the guestbook for Allan and Catherine. They had years and years worth of guestbooks lining the shelves, all with glowing remarks about the cottage and the gracious hosts. We can't thank them enough for an amazing trip and a wonderful stay on their property.

 For our last night we decided to head back to Hanalei one last time for sushi at a restaurant called Buchons. It was a little wet out but nothing could stop us from having a great last night's dinner in kauai.

 Nick got the Poke (ahi) bowl appetizer and it was delicious! SO fresh and tasty, and loaded with tuna.
 I had a nice soup as an appetizer.
 And then failed to take a photo before devouring my coconut chrimp. Nick got a couple sushi rolls and everything was really good. A greta last meal!
 We spotted an Ulu on the shelf! You may remember the Ulu from my Moosehead post last year, but mostly it is an inside joke between Nick, my brother and his girlfriend, and myself. Either way, we were really surprised to see one and it gave us a good laugh.
 Buchons had some really cool decor! It was a second level open-air restaurant, so it had nice views of all of Hanalei town center.

 After dinner we headed across the street to where we had eaten lunch earlier in the week, Hanalei Gourmet. They have a small bar and were having live music that night. 

 We each had a drink and listened to a woman play acoustic guitar and sing the night away. She didn't have much of a song repertoire, but it was fun nonetheless. After Hanalei Gourmet we tried to go to one other spot called Iti Wine Bar within a restaurant called Tahiti Nui, but they wanted a cover charge and we had no cash on us... Boo!! So instead we just headed back to the cottage to have another drink before heading to bed. We had a long day of travel home ahead of us.
 We woke up and hit up the bakery one last time for coffee and treats. 

 This was the little center in Kilauea where the bakery and the bistro were both located. A great little spot!
 We got back to the cottage and packed up the rest of our stuff. It was time to say the final goodbyes to our cottage, and to the cat Snowy. I was so sad, I teared up a bit, and took some last few photos of the morning sun on the property. I also did a little cottage video tour on the GoPro that I will hopefully be able to figure out how to upload soon. 

 I don't know how we got so lucky in picking the PERFECT place to stay! It was truly a blessing.

 Sweet Snowy Cat was no where to be seen, but it was probably for the better because I likely would have had crocodile tears if I had to say goodbye. 

 Goodbye Aloha Sunset Cottage!!

 Goodbye kitchen!
 Goodbye living room!
 Goodbye bedroom!

 Goodbye bathroom!
 We gave our thanks and said goodbye to Allan and Catherine, and then got on our way. Here is a photo of the fruit stand leaving our cottage.
 We made a pit stop on the way to Lihue at a beach called Kealia Beach for one last walk on the Kauai sand. It was a gorgeous day, and we were so sad to be leaving.

 Kauai was the home to Andy Irons, one of the best surfers in the world, who passed away tragically a few years ago. He really is a hero to the people of Kauai, and there are signs in his memory all over the island. His wife and son still live on the island in Hanalei, and can be seen on the beaches all the time.

 We ended up having extra time before having to return the Jeep and head to the airport, so we made a last stop at the Marriott Resort in Lihue. Sure enough, they had a Duke's restaurant there, which was the very first spot we ate dinner on our first night back in Oahu. We decided it was the perfect sign, and ended the trip the exact same way we started it- at Dukes.
 Not a bad view from the table! We had the calamari, again! I think we had it at least 4 times throughout the vacation. They need to bring the Hawaiian style to the east coast!

 The Marriott looked like a nice resort, but we were so happy with our choice to go the cottage route.
 And that's that folks... after Duke's we returned the Jeep and headed to the airport. The agricultural police held us up for a good 20 minutes investigating every bag of sand we took, but we made our flight with plenty of time. I decided to take my anxiety pill for flying that I had been given from my Doctor and sure enough- it worked wonders! The plane ride home I felt much better, and was kicking myself for not taking it on the way there. Lesson learned. Hawaii was nothing short of amazing, it was the trip of a lifetime. I am so glad I was able to spend it with Nick. We have so many laughs and fond memories (and photos!) of the adventure. I hope to always continue to adventure, and see more and do more, and to always want more out of life. Mahalo Hawaii, we love you!
Embrace the beauty of Aloha. Until next time...

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