We got a very lazy start to the day..beachcombing, reading, and snacking. I took some time to get a shot of Kalalea Mountain, which could be seen from Secret Cove Villa. This mountain bears a striking resemblance to King Kong's profile. Can you see it? He greeted us every morning as we came out to start our day.
"Good Morning, King Kong!" I shouted happily as we piled beach bags and sunscreen into the car, ready to go out and find our next adventure.
Every day on Kauai was an adventure. We'd pile into our Jeep with some general sense of where we were going, pop in some happy sun tunes, and see where the road took us. On this day, it took us to Moloa'a Beach...one that quickly became my favorite beach of the entire trip.
A bit off the beaten path, bordered by the Moloa'a ranch and scattered with just a few private homes, the beach felt like a secret. I know it's in all the guidebooks and on all the maps, but it still had less than a dozen living souls on it (and two of those were coconut chasing dogs). We were lucky enough to hit it on the right day as well, with light winds and calm waves. It was a perfect oasis for a blissful morning.
The shallow, clear waters on the left side of the beach were perfect for swimming or just lounging in the cool water. Near the middle, there was a rock ledge, where the waves would crash and then pour over like a waterfall. This might have been my favorite spot to just sit and enjoy all the beauty around me. The right side of the beach (after walking over some lava rocks) was long and stretched into a delicate curve dotted with a few palms and more of that beautiful azure water.
It truly was paradise.
I could have stayed there all day. We reached that point in the beach day..you know the one..where your belly starts growling..and you have a bit too much sand in your swimsuit..and you can see your arms starting to turn that angry shade of pink no matter how much sunscreen you put on them..but you are so in love with the place you are that you can't decide.go or stay? Go or stay?
We almost stayed, but we'd been there for hours and some serious hunger was setting in, not to mention those angry pink arms. I knew it was probably a good time to pack it in.
We couldn't have timed it more perfectly. After spending four glorious hours in relative solitude, we walked up to the car to see four ..yes FOUR buses of senior citizens unloading.
What the????? Where were that many people even going to go? They were a flurry of sunvisors and bright polyester florals as they climbed out of the buses, Instamatics in hand.
I felt sorry for the people on the beach below as we escaped just in the nick of time.
We were only a few minutes from Kilauea so we headed that way to find the Kilauea Fish Market of ahi tuna fame. We found it easy enough and stepped inside a screen door emblazoned with a sign that read, "We don't have public restrooms, but we have killer food!" I stepped inside a small storefront with a cooler filled with fresh fish, a small service counter, and a menu board loaded with goodies like fresh fish tacos and ahi tuna.
I saw a sign inside that said, "BYOB....we have openers and glasses." I directed Matt to run to the market nearby and grab us something to drink while I placed our order. I handed him $30 and he looked at me like I had come from Mars as he walked away mumbling something about how it wouldn't be that much.
I ordered his fish tacos and my ahi tuna wrap and sat outside to wait for Matt.
He came back empty handed and shrugged, "They don't have sodas," he said.
"Soda?" I asked. "Who wants SODA? I sent you for a bottle of WINE. This is vacation! We need wine for lunch."
Finally figuring out why I had given him $30, he dutifully headed back to the market and returned with a bottle of red wine.
You can too drink wine for lunch on vacation. Can too.
The food was superb. The combination of morning sunshine, yummy food, and wine made me feel all warm and fuzzy. My favorite vacation feeling: Post beach, with a little sand on my feet inside my flip flops, my hair warm and salty from swimming in the ocean, my stomach full of some great after-beach food, and a slight lunchtime buzz. Aaaahhhh...vacation bliss.
We decided to check out the shops in Kilauea and walked around Kong Lung and the other neat places in the shopping center. We stopped to say "hello" to Daphne, who just peeked at us shyly from her perch. If you want, you can be friends with Daphne. Just go to her Facebook page (Daphne Kong Lung). I think she wants more friends.
Everyone should be friends with at least one cockatoo.
Go ahead. Friend her. You know you want to.
With our heads full of sunshine and red wine, we headed back to Secret Cove Villa to CRASH for a while.
That evening, we made our way over to Kapa'a for some shopping and dinner. Kapa'a has a really cool historic district with some very colorful shops like Larry's Music where you can buy your very own ukulele or the Hee Fat General Store filled with puka shell necklaces and sarongs.
I was eyeballing a really expensive dress in the Island Hemp and Cotton store when Matt dragged me away just before I got the "I gotta' have it" gleam in my eye and headed me in the direction of dinner. Man, that guy is smart. And has great timing.
Dinner was at Caffe Coco, which was definitely one of my favorite restaurants of the trip. It was an eclectic little place surrounded by lush tropical foliage, hidden down a little drive at the edge of a cane field near Wailua. Twinkling little lights blinked happily from the open air dining space and soft music drifted through the air, courtesy of the live band on stage. We ordered at the counter and then headed back into the garden where mismatched bamboo tables were set up, surrounded by flowers, pomelo, avocado, mango, tangerine, litchi, and banana trees, all with a view of the Sleeping Giant Mountain in the distance.
The trees apparently provide some of the key ingredients that are used in the delicious food that the kitchen prepares. It was a wonderful, laid back, cool place with a great vibe, terrific music, a tropical atmosphere, and amazing fresh food. We kept laughing as we heard what sounded like an elephant making it's way through the tropical growth behind us, only to realize it was the roosters settling into the trees for the night. Every time we'd think they were finished, one would go crashing and flapping about. It was a nice touch to an already wonderful place.
It's BYOB, so we had brought our favorite wine with us. We sipped on it as we listened to the band and munched on greek salads with house made dressing. For dinner, Matt had a Cajun platter that included gumbo, rice, and a Cajun grilled fresh catch. I had the penne d'alba, which was a pasta with mushrooms, herbs, wine, garlic, roasted tomato and parmesan. For dessert, we shared a black mocha cake that was to die for.
We spent the rest of the fading evening sipping our wine and listening to the sounds of the music, wondering if the roosters had finally found a place to sleep... and thinking about sleep ourselves.