Kauai, Hawaii – Part 3: Days 6 & 7

Day 6 was a bit of a wash. We rented full-face snorkel masks in the morning and went to check out a snorkel spot the rental dude recommended on the south shore of Kauai called Lawai Beach.  On our way to the beach we stopped at Kauai’s other easily accessible waterfall:  ‘Ōpaeka’a Falls.  The morning was really overcast and a bit misty-rainy so we didn’t stay long:

       

Then it was off to the south shore.  On the way we drove through the famous Kauai tree tunnel:

       

Once we arrived at the beaches we decided to have lunch at Brennecke’s, a beach front restaurant across from Poʻipū Beach [where we saw the monk seals and turtle].  The restaurant had beautiful views:

       

We had a delicious lunch, too many Mai Tai’s [that might have just been me…], and a $13 slice of Kona Coffee Ice Cream Pie [worth every penny, although that could have been the Mai Tai’s talking, because I’m pretty sure I can buy a whole pie for that price]:

       

After lunch we walked across to Poʻipū Beach to see if we could spot any more seals or turtles, but didn’t see any.  So it was back to the car & a short drive up the road to Lawai Beach to try snorkeling.  In hindsight we should have maybe snorkeled first & ate lunch afterwards, because snorkeling on a full belly with 2 Mai Tais in my system was less than desirable… but, moving on.  We lost the charger for our underwater camera at some point between last year & this year, so I don’t have any pics of us wearing the full-face snorkel masks.  Here are some stock photos to show you what they look like [alien heads?]:

      

I actually really liked it!  You breathe normally through your mouth, have a wider field of vision, and if a wave crashes over you, you don’t get a mouthful of water because the unicorn horns are self clearing.  I have no idea how it works, but it’s amazing!  Jim kept diving down to the bottom and when he came back to the surface he didn’t need to clear his snorkel.  We didn’t really see many fish because the water was pretty churned up from the big waves offshore.  The beach was really rocky, too, with lots of slippery rocks in the shallows, and choppy waves crashing onshore in rapid succession, making it very hard to stand, balance, get in, & get out.  We spent about half an hour on the beach after snorkeling just watching people heave themselves out of the water and onto the beach like sea mammals, or crawling out on their hands and knees like shipwreck survivors *snort*.  No graceful walking in and out at this beach!

After snorkeling we decided to head back to the room and relax for the rest of the afternoon.  While sitting on our hotel balcony, feeding pigeons and checking email, hubby whispered “there’s pigeons IN the room!”.  We never closed our screen door because there aren’t really any bugs in Hawaii [thanks to the constant trade winds]* and the pigeons decided to wander right in:

       

The pigeons begged for food any time they saw us on our balcony – it was very cute!:

       

I was watching some chickens below our balcony and noticed the momma chicken fanning her tail feathers repeatedly.  Jim said she was signaling to her babies to line up behind her.  That seems to be exactly what was going on:

       

As soon as she fanned her tail, her brood lined up very fast and they all marched off in an orderly fashion.  I noticed that some momma chickens seemed to be very good at their job, like the one in the above pics.  But others seemed to be clueless and would wander into traffic with their chicks following *face palm* or just run off all willy nilly while their chicks weren’t paying attention.  I think a lot of chicks get lost or dead, because the ratio of chicks to mom got smaller & smaller as the chicks got bigger.

As we were getting back into the car on Day 5 after seeing the caves, I noticed 2 small chicks calling for their mom.  She didn’t seem to be around.  Listening to their high-pitched distress calls was heartbreaking.  They were about this big:

There was a field on the left, and a large, mostly empty parking lot on the right, where our car was.  I checked the field and didn’t see any momma chickens, so I called to the chicks and after about 30 seconds of making kissy sounds and calling to them in a high pitched baby voice they ran over to me.  I told them I’d help them find their mom *nods*.

I walked slowly into the parking lot, with them right at my heels.  We walked about 20 feet and I could see 2 groups of moms with babies about 100 feet further away.  One chick immediately took off after the closest mom and I was like “PHEW!” but then I noticed that mom pecking at my wayward chick as in “Go away!  You’re not mine!”.  Wrong mom.  Thankfully the chick came running right back to me and it’s sibling.  I started walking towards the other mom and the 2nd chick took off this time, running full tilt towards her.  Same thing happened – wrong mom.  I was so depressed!  I didn’t see any other moms anywhere.  So I kept making kissy sounds and the chicks followed me, right at my heels.  I decided to walk them back to the field and look for the mom over there again.

There was no mom in the field, but there were 2 more chicks about the same size, and the 2 that had been following me ran over to the other 2 and all 4 started pecking for bugs in the grass [*OK maybe there are bugs in Hawaii, but they’re not the flying kind that bite you when you’re sleeping], so I ran back to the car and thankfully they didn’t follow me.  I can only hope their mom was in the underbrush along the edge of the field and they were all reunited!  *sigh*.

On Day 7 I asked hubby if we could go back to Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge, and he said sure!  This time we saw different stuff, like a giant Laysan albatross flying in large arcs around the lighthouse and surrounding areas.  They have 8-9 foot wingspans and don’t flap their wings when they fly.  The guide said it was a young male flying above us, and when he was a bit older he’d head out to sea and wouldn’t be back for 4 years:

       

The view from the lighthouse peninsula is gorgeous no matter which way you look:

My favorite part was when we were walking back to the car and I whispered to hubby “look!  Nene!!!” and there was a lone Nene in the underbrush behind the shoulder-height wall that runs along the walkway, feeding on shrubbery.  They’re such gorgeous and elegant birds.  We stood and watched her for about 10 minutes.  I didn’t need my zoom lens for these shots – she was about 2 feet away from our faces:

       

       

       

As we were leaving the refuge I asked hubby to stop the car so I could hop out and check for the Red-Footed Boobie on her nest, the one I’d seen from the lookout on Day 5.  She was still there, grooming and sitting on her egg:

       

While I was watching her, I noticed a man with a fancy DSLR camera standing about 5 feet away, taking zoom shots of the nesting Boobies in the opposite direction.  I went over and asked him if he’d seen the Red-Footed Boobie sitting on her nest right down below the lookout, and he hadn’t.  I showed him where she was and he had a complete happy meltdown because he’d been looking for just such a thing.  Apparently he’d studied Blue-Footed Boobies in their natural nesting habitats in the Galapogos, but hadn’t yet seen a nearby Red-Footed Boobie nest, despite much searching.  While he was excitedly taking shots, his wife came over and told me I’d just made his entire trip.  Yay!

We drove around the north shore of Kauai for about an hour, taking pics:

       

       

Beach chicken:

       

Then had lunch in Princeville again [takeout from the same deli, at the same picnic table as Day 5, but this time there were no cardinals or sparrows or even chickens begging for scraps.  It must be a timing thing].  Then it was back to our hotel beach for some r & r:

       

Stay tuned for Day 8, the most exciting day of our whole trip!

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10 Comments

  1. Yes, you’re right – I had missed this day. When we’re on the road, I don’t seem to keep up with FB as well as I’d like.
    Your experiences and your photos are amazing. What a wonderful trip for both
    of you.
    And regarding pigeons in your hotel room – I’m speechless! Pigeons???! omg!

  2. For animal lovers , a paradis.
    Für Tierfreunde , ein Paradis.
    Liebe Grüsse

  3. A friend of mine has a mask like that … must be a new design?
    Your wildlife photos are amazing! A vacation full of critters! 🙂 and beautiful scenery.

    • Yes, that type of mask is new – I’d never heard of them before hubby mentioned renting some. And thanks! I love finding and photographing as many critters as possible!

  4. Wow, you are seeing some great birds. I am totally envious. Luv, Dad

    • It was amazing watching the albatross gliding by – he was coming in so low – there was a pro photog there (like what you see at DD) just living it up!

  5. That snorkel mask seems awesome. I want to try it. For a moment, I thought you were going to end up being a chicken mom and taking those babies home with you.

    • You have no idea how much I wanted to!!! If I lived in Kauai, I totally would have. You should totally try one of those snorkel masks. I have never heard of them before, but hubby knew all about them. Unfortunately it didn’t work out so well for him – his nose was too big for the mask and he had a bruised bump on it for a week after.

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