San Jose -> Lihue, October 23, 2013 - I had arranged for a town car and driver to collect David and Kay at home at the dark hour of 0500. They then came by my house to collect me and we were all whisked to San Jose International for our 0715 flight to Lihue. Check-in went smoothly, and we had arrived early enough to get three exit row seats together for a bit more leg room.
As we took off the sun was just starting to rise over the hills to the east. I could make out several mountains poking above the fog that otherwise covered the area: Mission Peak, Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tampalais, and Montara Mountain.
We arrived in Lihue late morning local time. The sky was overcast and temperature was almost cool. We had to queue for a while at the rental car desk, but otherwise the trip went smoothly.
Shopping for Groceries, October 2013 - After we arrived in Lihue we stopped at WalMart and Times Marketplace in Lihue for groceries and other incidentals before heading straight to the rental house in Po'ipu. On most days of our week on Kaua'i we stopped at least once at a grocery store. With four fussy eaters in the house, there was always something that had to be bought or found, and this was our excuse for exploring each market or grocery store we found on the south shore and elsewhere.
The best all-around market was Times Marketplace in Lihue. They had both produce, vegan, and gluten-free food. The most common and convenient market was the Big Save, what we called the "Big Spend" due to the high prices for food items, even produce that was grown on the islands, which we were told was often shipped to Los Angeles and then shipped back to Hawaii. Supply chain optimization at work.
In Koloa near Po'ipu aside from the Big Save was the Kukui'ula Market and Living Foods. The former had a pretty good selection of packaged foods and felt like a market intended for the locals. Living Foods in the twee Kukui'ula Village was more cafe than market and had few grocery items.
On our first day we visited the farmers market at Kukui'ula Village and picked up a few items, including some ripe papayas, tangelos, and bok choy.
About the House, October 2013 - After we arrived at the house in Po'ipu we relaxed and unwound from our travel. We prepared all of our meals at the house, including packed lunches. This saved a huge amount since food is expensive on Kaua'i. Overall we spent about $100 per person for the week. We could have easily spent that much on a meal at a nice or even OK restaurant.
We tended to gather in the living/dining room area upstairs most of the time. Laura had to work some of the weekday mornings, and when she wanted a bit of privacy she went downstairs to the table in the family room. David preferred the easy chair next to the dining room table, often retreating to it at the end of the day or early in the morning. And, sometimes in the mornings he could be seen bundled up with coat and cap. Not even a balmy 23C was warm enough for him while he was sitting still.
One evening we left the front door open and a large cane spider found its way into the house and was climbing the stairway wall. Laura discovered to her shock that it moved quickly when disturbed, unlike the lethargic and relatively docile California tarantula. Allowing it free roam of the house was not an option. We thought of trying to catch it in a glass to put it outside, but it wouldn't let us near and would suddenly scoot away from us if we approached it. I was only able to catch it with the vacuum cleaner.
On our third morning the entire island of Kaua'i was inundated by a storm front from the south. We had hard rain, thunder, and lightning for about an hour. After the storm passed and the sun came out the air became hot and muggy.
Shipwreck Beach and the Grand Hyatt, October 24, 2013 - On our first morning David, Kay, and Bill walked down to Shipwreck Beach along the paths in front of the Grand Hyatt. At the far end of the beach we hiked up the short trail to the end of the cliff overlooking the beach where we enjoyed the clear view of the beach and the surrounding area.
After taking in the view and speaking to a honeymooning couple we returned to the beach to find a shady spot under the ironwood trees to sit and enjoy the birds and surf while we awaited the arrival of Laura, who was due to arrive around mid-day.
Sure enough, right on schedule, she came walking up the beach to find us.
After we all four sat for a while, we returned to the house. This time we detoured through the Grand Hyatt to see the gardens and to rest in the enormous loggia on seats upholstered with a pattern similar to that of David's shirt.
|Cumulative climbing:||230 feet|
Makawehi and Maha'ulepu, October 24, 2013 - Late in the day Laura and I decided to head out for a hike along the lithified cliffs of Makawehi and beyond, perhaps as far as Ha'ula Beach. I packed my light, just in case.
I met Laura at the parking lot for Shipwreck Beach at the eastern end of the Grand Hyatt, and we started our hike by retracing our steps to the top of the cliff east of the beach as David, Kay, and I had done earlier in the day.
After taking a few photos we pressed on, northeast along the coast, pushing through overgrowth, walking on the edge of the Po'ipu Bay Resort Golf Course, around an unnamed point and down to Gillin's Beach.
The only development at Gillin's Beach is one vacation beach house at the end of a long dirt road on which two or three gates are locked at night. The house was rebuilt after Hurricane Iniki in 1992, but the rent is very high, understandable since residents have the beach to themselves.
We continued across the outlet of Mill Ditch without getting our feet wet and continued along the surf line around Kamala Point. After rounding the point we encountered a couple of small groups of people heading in the other direction.
At the eastern end of the beach the trail climbed up more lithified cliffs, passing a couple of dry blow-holes where wave action under the cliffs (which were undercut by many feet) sends compressed air gasping and moaning through fissures in the rock. The largest of these dry blow holes passes enough air to do more than make noise.
We continued around Pao'o Point where the short-cropped grass looked like it had been mowed and tended by gardeners daily. But this couldn't have been as we were far from developed areas.
A small unnamed beach was before us as the sun was getting ready to set. Yet, we decided to press on to find a way to Ha'ula Beach.
We found a trail higher on the bluff that we took along a barbed wire fence. The trail continued past an opening in the fence for a short distance to a bluff on the south side of Ha'ula Beach.
For several minutes we enjoyed the surf and the balmy evening air as the orange glow of the setting sun reflected off the impassable cliffs and mountains to the northeast, arresting further progress along the coast in that direction.
As we returned to the barbed-wire fence, the sun set, making for some colorful sunset photos.
In the tropics the sky gets dark quickly after sunset. We managed without a light for about 20 minutes before I had to stop and put it on my head so I could see well enough to avoid tripping.
We decided not to hike back along the shorter cliff trail that could be treacherous in the dark but to take the dirt road from Gillin's Beach that would take us back to the Grand Hyatt. The "Old Hawaii" dirt road, one of the service roads of the old Koloa sugarcane plantation, was hedged on both sides, so not much view could be enjoyed. But, since it was dark, it didn't matter much.
Eventually, after what felt like a long trek with Laura always 20 yards ahead of me, we arrived on a newly-paved road adjacent to the Po'ipu Bay Resort Golf Course.
From here it was a short walk down to the Shipwreck Beach parking area. I gave Laura my headlamp so she could walk back to the house while I drove. We arrived home at about the same time.
Spouting Horn, October 25, 2013 - This morning Kay, David, and I drove down Poipu and Lawai Roads to Spouting Horn, a wet blow-hole. This blow hole is fenced off for some distance as the force of the water is enough to catch the unwary and drag them into the churning sea.
We shared the observation area with a bus load of Japanese tourists who appeared to enjoy the spectacle.
National Tropical Botanical Garden, October 25, 2013 - On our brief visit to the Botanical Garden we checked the price of a walking tour, $18/person. Too high, we decided. Aside from that the tour would have taken the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon. We were able to enjoy at no cost the small representative garden between the parking area and the ticket booth.
Po'ipu Beach Park, October 25, 2013 - We stopped at Po'ipu Beach Park on our way back from the botanical garden where Kay discovered a baby chick that she thought had been abandoned by its mother due to a non-functioning leg. She briefly assumed mothering duties until it was decided that the young bird's leg was in fact functioning normally, at which time the chick was released into the bushes near where mom had last been seen.
Feral chickens that had many generations ago been domesticated are everywhere on Kaua'i. They are smart birds and know where to find food, which means they tend to hang around spots where tourists and others throw them scraps. Although the do appear to move slowly for birds and look easy to catch, they somehow avoid getting trampled underfoot or car, and cannot be caught easily.
Even near the house we saw and heard chickens. Our first morning we awoke to roosters crowing in the distance. And, during one meal we were startled by a hen cackling on the side fence, perhaps after laying an egg.
East and North Shore Sights, October 25, 2013 - Kay, David, and I took an afternoon drive up to the north shore of Kaua'i.
Our first sight was 'Opeaka'a Falls in Wailua. I had hoped to drive close to the crater below Mt. Wai'ale'ale. But, the road forded a tributary of the Wailua River and continued as a dirt road, so we turned around here as we were driving a low-clearance sedan. The mountain and its crater were in the clouds, so we wouldn't have seen much in any case.
We took HI581 around the west side of Sleeping Giant (Mt. Nounou) to Kapa'a, then continued north on HI56, stopping at a lookout near Kealia Beach, where as we exited the car chickens (roosters, hens, pullets, and chicks) came running toward us looking for food, and then west on HI560 all the way to Ke'e Beach.
After our hike along the Kalalau Trail and on Ke'e Beach we retraced our route, stopping at the Hanalei Valley Lookout, where we were again besieged by chickens, and again at the Kilauea Lighthouse Lookout where we saw several nene.
From here we headed straight back to Po'ipu, a trip that took over an hour due to traffic in Kapa'a and Lihue.
The island doesn't feel as crowded as O'ahu, but the road system on Kaua'i has bottlenecks on the main encircling two-lane highway and is operating at capacity much of the time. Bumper-to-bumper traffic jams are common.
|Cumulative climbing:||820 feet|
Kalalau Trail, October 25, 2013 - While we (David, Kay, and I) were on our East and North Shore Sights tour, we stopped to hike a short distance of the Kalalau Trail, one of the most popular hikes in the world along the Napali Coast. Due to the late hour we didn't have time to hike to Hanakapi'ai Valley and Falls and back, so we settled on hiking to the first viewpoint from where we could see the Napali Coast marching off to the southwest.
Kay and David started up the trail ahead of me while I returned to get my walking sticks. As I started up the trail I discovered that this was not an easy trail to hike, at least not this initial section. It was like hiking up a wet creek bed. Large rocks, roots, and mud were unavoidable. I was wondering how Kay, who doesn't like to hike, was managing on this. And, David who refused to bring his walking sticks, must have been regretting his decision.
It didn't take me long to catch up to them, and it was clear we weren't going to get very far before we'd be turning back. It was not long before we reached the first viewpoint of Ke'e Beach, and Kay decided she had had enough and would wait for us to return should we continue.
David was game to go further, so after giving Kay one of my hand-talkies (HTs) we pressed on. The trail got easier, although it was still muddy in parts. I was surprised to see young women wearing bikinis and flip-flops and carrying beach towels both coming and going along the trail, as if out for a short stroll from car to beach and back. I can't think of a less-appropriate trail for wearing flip-flops. It seems that people acquire a beach mind-set in Kaua'i where it is acceptable to be clad thus anywhere on the island no matter the activity. I did notice that the legs of some of the bikini-clad women were smeared with dark mud, as if they might have slipped on a muddy rock or tromped through a swamp.
David and I got to the Napali Coast viewpoint and took our photos, then headed back down the trail. As the three of us descended the section closest to the trailhead, I gave my walking sticks to Kay who made good progress, while David tottered his way down the slippery rocks, admitting regret at this point that he hadn't brought his sticks. Fortunately neither of them slipped or fell.
When we got back to the trailhead we stopped to read some of the warning and information signs before exploring Ke'e Beach.
Ke'e Beach, October 25, 2013 - After our hike on the Kalalau Trail we walked along Ke'e Beach to enjoy the classic view of the Napali Coast. We also saw some interesting ironwood trees whose exposed roots looked like tentacles upon which the tree could walk away while no one was watching.
West Shore Drive, October 26, 2013 - After the morning rains cleared, all four of us, David, Kay, Laura, and Bill, headed out for a tour of the west shore and other destinations. We headed to Waimea and then up Waimea Canyon Road into Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Parks.
After seeing an overcast, drizzly Koke'e State Park, we descended Koke'e Road and then proceeded to Polihale Beach, passing near Kaboom Mountain on the way.
After visiting Polihale Beach we drove HI50 and HI530 back to Po'ipu.
Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Parks in the Rain, October 26, 2013 - Driving up Waimea Canyon Road we could occasionally glimpse Waimea Canyon off to the right. But, as we climbed into the clouds, our view of the canyon was obscured.
We stopped at several lookouts only to see clouds and mist, although at Pu'u Hinahina we did get a brief glimpse of the upper canyon.
We stopped at the Koke'e Museum and at Kalalau and Pu'u o Kila Lookouts, the latter two at which we saw only clouds.
At this point Laura and Kay had had enough mucking around in the fog and drizzle, so we drove down Koke'e Road (HI552) and then out to Polihale Beach, where we enjoyed much better weather.
|Cumulative climbing:||40 feet|
Polihale Beach, October 26, 2013 - Polihale Beach reminded me much of our local coast beaches, Pescadero Beach, in particular, with its high dunes and remote, undeveloped feel.
To get to Polihale Beach we had to drive for several miles on a dirt/sand road that lead right onto the beach. Laura did not want to drive her 4wd rental car onto the beach and was even a bit nervous about getting stuck in the sand atop a large dune where we opted to park the car.
We all walked out to the beach, then Laura and I hiked a mile north along the beach toward the southern end of the Napali Coast and back again while David and Kay returned to the car to rest in the shade.
|Cumulative climbing:||1270 feet|
The Sleeping Giant, October 27, 2013 - Since Laura was working this morning and Kay wasn't interested in hiking, David and I left early-morning with the goal of returning by mid-afternoon.
On our drive up to Wailua we could briefly glimpse the summit of Kawaikini, the highest point on Kaua'i that is normally in the clouds 24/7 and is near the wettest spot on the planet.
The Sleeping Giant (Mt. Nounou) is the distinctive mountain that rises above Wailua on the east side of the island. The trail up the east side climbs through forest up the length of the ridge of the mountain, and is not a difficult hike except for one spot where a washout has been left unrepaired, requiring some difficult moves to traverse. I would not would not want to negotiate the washout on a wet day.
From the washout to the picnic tables at the north summit, the trail is straightforward. We paused for a few minutes at a bench short of the summit to enjoy the view to the south and west and of the eastern face of the mountain. The air was hot and still from the southerly flow that was visiting the island over the last few days, and we were both sweating beads that dripped into our eyes.
At the picnic tables we stopped and chatted with a couple from Whitehorse, Yukon who were vacationing on Kaua'i and were traveling in a few days to their new retirement home in Costa Rica.
After our break we pressed on up the use trail that the state discourages people from taking to the south summit, the high point on Sleeping Giant.
This use trail is broad and easy until it requires a short steep stair-step climb up some muddy stones, which probably explains why the state discourages travel on this trail, especially given that some tourists prefer to hike in bikinis and flip-flops. I found the travel over this hazard slightly easier than traversing the washout on the official trail that we encountered lower on the mountain. Unlike rocky climbs in the Sierra on rough granite, the stones here are smooth, damp, and slippery. I had to use care to avoid slipping. It was here that David prudently decided to return to the picnic tables and to await my return.
I reached the summit in short order, took a bunch of photos including a few panoramas, then returned to the picnic tables where a new group of hikers had arrived and were preparing to make their final assault on the summit.
While we sat again at the tables we discovered that mice were everywhere in the undergrowth around the tables, and they were rather tame, willing to pose for a photo. We did not feed them.
Our hike down went quickly, and after we got past the washout safely we breathed a sigh of relief. Clouds were gathering to the north and west, and it looked likely that rain would arrive in the area soon and that the trail would be wet and slick.
A short hike by our usual standards, the Sleeping Giant Trail held enough challenges and hazards to give us the feeling of accomplishment after we arrived back at the trailhead.
Po'ipu Beach Park, October 27, 2013 - While David and I hiked up Sleeping Giant, Laura and Kay spent some time at Po'ipu Beach Park. In addition to taking a dip into the water, they saw a monk seal resting on the sandy peninsula at the center of Po'ipu Beach.
|Cumulative climbing:||80 feet|
Makahuena Point, October 28, 2013 - I went out alone for a late-morning walk around Makahuena Point near our rental house. I started by heading through the western side of the Grand Hyatt, then out along the lava benches above the surf to watch a few sea turtles bobbing the rough sea. I continued out around the Point itself before being forced back onto the road at The Makahuena, whereupon I continued to Po'ipu Beach Park.
Realizing I would have to take a more direct way home, I turned around and as I was passing Brennecke Beach, Laura came running up the road and took a quick dip in the surf. Before she finished her dip I pressed on back to the house on the roads because I was short on time, and I wasn't planning to run back.
Laura, on the other hand, had no qualms about running back to the house in her bikini and bare feet.
|Cumulative climbing:||30 feet|
Napali Coast Catamaran Tour, October 28, 2013 - We (David, Kay, Laura, and I) arrived in Port Allen neither too early nor too late to take our afternoon catamaran cruise along the Napali Coast. Other than the trip itself this was our single tourist extravagance, and it was worth doing. In hindsight it was the highlight of the trip.
While we were checking in and paying our fees we learned that the tour had a "bare feet only" policy while on the boat. This concerned Kay as she didn't want to be walking around without her orthotics. We also learned that the boat captain could make exceptions and usually did when a customer had an extenuating circumstance.
During the orientation meeting at the HoloHolo office, one of the boat crewmen gave a short speech and asked if anyone was pregnant or suffered any number of a surprisingly long and diverse list of ailments or conditions that would bar them from proceeding (and entitle them to a refund), none of which applied to us. But neither Kay nor David could hear the speech.
"What did he just say?", she hissed into my ear. "I can't hear him at all."
"Don't worry, it doesn't apply to you," I replied.
As we walked to the boat, she and David both peppered him with questions about the tour and the "no shoes" policy. I could tell they harbored some anxiety over their imminent adventure.
When we got to the boat, we all removed our shoes and socks, except Kay who was granted an exception. A hose with running water was placed near the gangway where we rinsed our feet before boarding the sleek catamaran.
After we were all aboard, the captain gave a short speech about safety: "Always hold onto something when walking around on the boat.", and "If you get queasy, it's not cool to vomit on another passenger.", and how to don a life preserver, although we were told it was unlikely this would be necessary.
Shortly after that we pulled slowly out of the harbor. When we passed the breakwater the catamaran's engines roared to life and pushed us along the water at a speedy clip.
We passed the old sugar mill near Kaumakani, Waimea, Kekahe, and finally we were alongside Polihale Beach. We continued north of Polihale at a slower pace where we enjoyed the dramatic view of the valleys and ridges of Napali dropping precipitously from 1500 feet into the sea.
We proceeded northeast almost as far as Puhakukumano before pausing and turning back to cruise slowly southeast and closer to shore. The captain navigated close to shore at Honopu Beach and Honopu Ridge where the water was safely deep and clear enough to avoid rocks and reefs. We got close to the lava tubes and caves at Honopu Beach and at the foot of Honopu Ridge before heading back out to sea near Puanaiea Point.
From here south to Polihale our speed was moderate so we could sit up front without getting sprayed too much, and we enjoyed a catered supper of hors d'oeuvres.
When our speed increased to take us back past the "boring parts" around the western end of Kaua'i we took refuge in the stern from the sea spray.
Finally, just before sunset, the captain hovered off-shore from Port Allen where we all toasted the sunset. Although we were only ten to fifteen minutes from port, from the time of sunset to when we found ourselves on the dock, the sky went from day to night.
Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Parks in Sun, October 29, 2013 - On our last full day on Kaua'i the winds shifted back to the usual tradewinds blowing from the east and a morning lifting of the semi-permanent cloud over Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Parks. It was decided that Kay and Laura would spend the day taking a Kaua'i Humane Society shelter dog on a field trip while David and Bill revisited Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Parks to do some hiking.
David and I left as early as we could manage and headed west to Waimea Canyon Road. We drove the road all the way to Kalalau Lookout before stopping. This morning we had a magnificently clear view of Kalalau Valley and the ocean beyond.
We drove on a short distance to Pu'u o Kila Lookout at the end of the road and found a similar view, although a few wisps of cloud were already starting to appear over Ka'a'alahina Ridge to the east.
|Cumulative climbing:||200 feet|
I had researched a few hikes that gave lots of bang for the buck. The first hike was along Honopu Ridge. Distance was about 4 miles round-trip with 1000 feet of climbing, something that should be well within our capabilities. What makes this hike difficult is that it is on an abandoned trail that is un-signed, so good route-finding skills might be needed.
We parked the car at a turnout unlikely to become a mudbath should the weather turn wet and walked down to the trailhead. The old trail itself was fairly easy to follow. Occasionally a choice had to be made, but someone had tied pink ribbons to trees to mark the correct trail.
We started through forest where the trail seemed to wind its way around more than I thought necessary, then began to descend along the ridge, pushing through ferns and overgrowth in a few places.
We got to one such steep descent that David found difficult. We went a bit further to enjoy a distant view of our goal at the end of Honopu Ridge, but we decided to turn back as we could not be sure the trail would be dry upon our return. The steep section we had just descended would be a difficult climb for both of us, perhaps impossible for David if it should become slick from rain. And, while being on an unofficial trail gave us a treat of having the ridge to ourselves—we saw no one else on the entire hike—, we would have explaining to do should one of us require rescue.
|Cumulative climbing:||510 feet|
It didn't take long for us to get back to the trailhead. We got into the car and drove back to Pu'u o Kila Lookout and started down the Pihea Trail. Our goal was to hike through the Alaka'i Swamp to Kilohana Lookout that has a view into Hanalei Valley on the north shore. Surely a broad official trail that saw lots of traffic such as this one along the ridge and that later is built on a wooden boardwalk would be an easy stroll in comparison to an unmaintained trail.
For starters this trail was much more crowded. We rarely had the trail to ourselves. And, as on Kalalau Trail, many other hikers wore inappropriate gear: flip-flops, sandals, bathing suits, etc.
The Pihea Trail rolls along the ridge at the top of Kalalau Valley between Pu'u o Kila Lookout and Pihea Lookout. The ridge undulates more than it appears to from Pu'u o Kila, and the difficulty of walking it varies from easy and flat, to slippery, muddy, and steep.
Just before we got to the fork to Pihea Lookout itself, David struggled with climbing a muddy wall—yes, the trail actually became a wall. At this point we decided we'd had enough of climbing up and down steep, muddy walls, and we turned back.
On the way back down David practiced his one-foot skating skills when he slipped but didn't go down. By the time we arrived back at Pu'u o Kila clouds had moved in and obscured Kalalau Valley.
|Cumulative climbing:||560 feet|
We got into the car and drove down to Pu'u Hinahina Lookout where after glimpsing a view of the upper canyon through the clouds, we started down the Canyon Trail. Our goal was an observation point a short distance from the trailhead.
The Canyon Trail descends to the north of Pu'u Hinahina Lookout down to Halemanu Stream. The trail near the stream crossing was a mud bath. The stream itself must have been hidden under the mud. Other hikers we saw, and there were many, were again inappropriately dressed in flip-flops and bathing suits and were sliding and skidding all over the place as they pressed through the muddy section.
Fortunately, we pushed through wearing decent hiking shoes and walking sticks, and as we climbed up the eastern side of Halemanu the mud disappeared.
We passed a trailhead along Halemanu Road and continued out to the Observation Point, where we stopped to enjoy the view for several minutes before retracing our steps.
When we got to the Halemanu trailhead, we decided to take the longer walk back on Halemanu Road and walk the final 3/4-mile on the main road rather than pass again through the mud bath where the Canyon Trail crosses Halemanu Stream.
Our last adventure of the day was the easiest. We drove down Makaha Ridge as far as we could, to the gate of the US Air Force Missle Tracking Station. The road itself is marked on maps but is un-signed from Waimea Canyon Road, and I suspect this omission is purposeful to discourage tourist traffic on narrow Makaha Ridge Road.
The guard at the gate of the station would not allow us to continue further inside the compound to see the view of the ocean from the top of the bluffs that we had seen from below the day before on our catamaran trip, but he did suggest a view spot just uphill from the gate that turned out to be one of the dramatic views of the day. Even better was that except for the sentry patrolling the road, we had the place to ourselves.
After taking our photos atop Makaha Ridge we drove back up Makaha Ridge Road and then descended Waimea Canyon Road, stopping at Waimea Canyon Lookout and again further down the road to enjoy the view to the southwest of Kekaha and Ni'ihau Island.
Even though the hikes were short, all together they added to one decent outing. And, in spite of the slick mud we encountered we both kept the mud below our ankles. Only our shoes and lower pant cuffs got muddy.
Field Trip for a Shelter Dog, October 29, 2013 - While David and I (Bill) were hiking in Koke'e Park, Kay and Laura had visited the Kaua'i Humane Society shelter to adopt a dog for the day, to take one of the shelter dogs on a field trip in the open air and perhaps to find someone to adopt it permanently.
Po'ipu -> San Jose, October 30, 2013 - Not wanting to miss another day of work, Laura had returned home the evening before, leaving just Kay, David, and Bill to check-out on our last day.
After enjoying a lazy morning—I had arranged for a noon check-out—we loaded up the car, did our clean-up chores around the house, and departed Po'ipu for the last time.
We stopped at the Po'ipu Recycling Center near Po'ipu Beach to drop off our recycleables, then proceeded to return some Goof Off to the Ace Hardware and Crafts in Lihue before heading to the airport.
At the airport we discovered after following signs for rental car drop-off that Enterprise Rental Car was located off the airport property and was not near the other rental agencies' drop-off areas. We dropped off the car and waited for the airport shuttle that arrived after a few minutes.
I had forgotten how many inspections were required for air travel to the mainland, four altogether. We first had to get our checked bags inspected for produce, to make sure we weren't carrying any seed-carrying fruit or vegetables.
Then after getting the appropriate sticker applied to our bags we had to schlepp them over to the airline check-in counter where although we were first in line for the Economy passengers, we had to wait another 20 minutes while First Class passengers were being served, until their queue was exhausted.
After getting our baggage tagged, we learned that exit row seats were assigned at the gate, not at the ticket counter. So, then we schlepped our bags to the checked baggage security checkpoint and proceeded to the passenger security checkpoint. I opted out of a full-body x-ray scan, and that took extra time. Then, on our way to the gate we had to submit to a carry-on bag agricultural inspection.
By the time we arrived at the gate there were no longer three unclaimed adjacent exit row seats, so we decided not to change our seats. We waited another 15 minutes before the plane started boarding.
As we took off I could see that the runway was short as the moment after we left the ground, we were over rocks, then surf and ocean, all in short order. Our flight path took us indirectly over O'ahu before turning to the northeast and toward home. This must have been the assigned flight path from this Islands.
We arrived in San Jose a bit later than expected, around 2230, but Alvaro was waiting patiently for us by the baggage claim as we descended the escalator. After helping us with our bags, he whisked us home, dropping me off first, then dropping off Kay and David.
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