Our third trip to the Hawaiian Islands in a year.  Kauai-Maui-Kauai.  Tough life, I know..  More importantly, this would be our last trip together as a childless couple.  I’m excited for the arrival of our little one, but it was nice to make one more carefree trip before such a major life change.  I’m not sure if Jasmine would agree with the childless part – there were times when she probably felt like she had a child in tow.  She’s 29 weeks pregnant, and during our hike down Waimea Canyon, she remarked that she was sick of carrying such an awkward fanny pack.  Fanny packs are pretty ridiculous, and I am glad that she didn’t decide to jettison the bulky thing right there on the trail; that would have made an awful mess.  And I would have gotten stuck carrying it back to the car.

Waimea Canyon to Waipoo Falls


Sandy near Waimea Canyon

We rented a small 2-bedroom condo (Hale O’ Kapeka) in Poipu, on the south shore.  Just a couple of minutes to the beach and within walking distance to the fun reef break outside the Marriot Hotel.  Our friends TJ and Sandy joined us.  With baggage fees as outrageous as they’ve become, TJ and I rented boards from the Nukumoi Surf Shop for $20/day.  I surfed a 6’0″ modern fish that was actually a lot of fun, much to my surprise.

We would surf the reef in the mornings, and then head a few minutes south to Shipwreck Beach in the afternoons, after the tourists had cleared out.  Shipwrecks is a fun body boarding wave that heaves up just before breaking onto the sand.  Steep, fast drop and a quick bottom turn, and then you’re diving into the face or risk getting pummeled onto the sand. The old shipwreck that this beach was named for is long gone.

Jason on a closeout


TJ on an open right

Jasmine and TJ

There’s a tall cliff on the south end of the beach (40 feet?) and TJ told me that he had watched some local kids jump off the day before.  Looks like fun, what can go wrong?  TJ went first, and I admired his effortless, controlled jump.  He entered the water like an arrow and popped up smiling.  A short swim back to the beach, and he nodded at me.  Yep, it was my turn.

TJ making it look easy

I walked up the back of the cliff, wondering what the hell I was getting myself into.  Looking down from above, it was hard to get a sense of the true height.  It just looked like a whole lot of ocean below.  I walked out to the very edge and stood on the 12″ lip.  And stood there.  And looked around.  And contemplated turning around.  Ah, this sucks.

View from above

After a minute of hemming and hawing, I raised my arms towards the sky and gave the universal signal that means “I am going to dive”.  I knew that, by doing this, I would simply have to jump.  The act of raising my arms set my body into motion, despite the fact that my brain was still shouting, “Hell no!  You are not doing this!”  I don’t remember the sensation of falling, but I could tell that I was rotating backwards, and I tried wind-milling my arms to stay upright.  As I got closer to the water, I knew that I was going to backslap into the ocean, and I thought to myself, “Oh, this is going to suck.”  SMACK!  And then my head snapped back and hit the water, and it felt like I had been hit by a truck.  I had a headache the rest of the day.

Poorly executed cliff jump


Most mornings, we dragged ourselves out of bed before dawn, and hiked out to the lithified cliffs that overlook Makawehi Point (just south of Poipu).  We spent some memorable sunrise sessions shooting the dramatic coast, and it felt like we had the entire coastline to ourselves.  It rained one morning, and we escaped the weather by hiding out inside a little sandy alcove.

Rainy day hideway


Makawehi Point at Sunrise

Kauapea Beach (Secrets)

We surfed every day, but there was plenty of time for other activities.  We sampled the best ahi poke (Pono Market in Kapa’a beats out Fish Express).  We visited Aaron Feinberg’s photography gallery in downtown Hanalei, and we snorkeled with the turtles at Makua Beach (Tunnels).  We stopped by Kipu Falls for some more cliff-jumping and we consumed as many tropical drinks as we could find.  TJ always seemed disappointed that he couldn’t find a cocktail made with fresh juice.  Myself, I am happy with a little umbrella in a pint of beer.  On our last day, Jasmine and I returned to Brennecke’s in Poipu for some delicious Ono fish and chips, and I was ecstatic when the server gave me an unsolicited “kamaaina discount” (10%).  She thought I was local, and let me tell you, that just made my day.

TJ pointing to unknown object


Jasmine and her rainbow


Kauai Point at Sunrise


Please browse the rest of the photos below.  Most of the landscapes were shot along the cliffs near Poipu, but I spent one evening at Kauapea Beach on the north shore.







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