22.04.2011 - 22.04.2011
This was our 11th anniversary and what better way to celebrate than waking up in Kauai? Happy, happy day to us.
The day stretched out before us…a blank canvas …..no plans, no itinerary, no schedule….just an endless ribbon of highway dotted with sandy beaches and waves. The day was wide open and limitless, just as a perfect vacation day should be.
We decided to see if we could find Secret Beach. Another Kauai “secret” that’s in all the guidebooks, the sketchy directions and steep walk down assured me that even though others could find it, they might choose not to, affording us some privacy for the day.
The directions to the beach were something like this: Drive north to the first Kalihiwai Road. If you get to the second Kalihiwai Road you missed it. Look for the unmarked, unpaved road on the right and drive until it dead ends. Park somewhere that looks legal and take a big guess which direction to walk, because there are no signs or markers. Good luck.
We saw some surfers heading down, which was lucky, because I am not 100% sure we would have headed that way. The walk was steep and down, down, down. Lazy girl that I am, I couldn’t help but think about the trip back up all the way down to the beach.
Apparently, despite the fact that public nudity is illegal on Kauai, this beach is the one nudists often try to get away with “doing their thing” on. We did not, however, encounter any nakedness. We did not encounter much of anyone, to be quite honest. The beach was enormous and there were less than a handful of people on it, so spread out that once you settled in, you couldn’t see anyone else.
We blissed out for a while with books and sun, listening to the roar of the waves and digging our feet into the cool, soft sand. As the sun rose higher and higher, and it got hotter and hotter, we decided to see if we could find a place to swim. The ocean at Secret Beach is not very swimmable and on this day, the waves were pounding ferociously, so that even when I just tried to splash my legs at the water’s edge, I was nearly knocked over by the crashing waves.
I had read that one could find tidal pools in the lava rock on the northern side of the beach, and it was low tide, so away we went. We were up for a little adventure. We did a barefoot rock scramble along the lava shelves and boulders and not only was it a fascinating walk, we did, indeed, find swimmable lava pools! The water was incredibly clear and cool and not a soul could be seen.
Our very best discovery, however, was on the walk back to the beach. As the tide had gone out in our absence, it had created the most perfect swimming lagoon against the rocks.
Try to picture it: the waves are crashing out in the ocean, but between two towering sets of lava shelves and backed by a lava cliff with a cave, a little sandbar rises up defiantly, daring the sea to come any farther. Behind this little sandbar, enclosed on three sides by smooth black rock, is a perfectly clear, perfectly beautiful swimming lagoon. The sides of the lagoon rose up, soft and sandy, and we simply lay in the cool water, looking out at the crashing waves beyond the sandbar. I could have spent the rest of the day right there in that spot.
We stayed until we pruned and then had to force ourselves away from this absolutely dreamy little oasis.
Sunned, salted, and now pruned, we decided to go in search of food, what had become our standard post-beach activity. I wanted Mexican food, so we decided to head back down to Kapa’a to find Verde for lunch.
To ensure that we didn’t pass out from post-beach-hunger, we made a quick pit stop at Banana Joe’s for a banana smoothie. It looks like ice cream, it tastes like ice cream, but it’s nothing more than blended frozen bananas. I don’t know how they do it, but it’s phenomenal.
Frozen banana smoothie in hand, we made our way to Kapa’a town. We stopped on the way as we passed the Anahola Farmer's Market. We could see the smoke and could smell the BBQ and knew they were cooking up some wild boar today. We had wanted to try it but hadn't caught them out cooking yet. Seemed like a good time to give it a shot.
It was good, but not good enough to deter me from my original craving: Mexican. We passed on the BBQ but did pick up some incredible banana bread and some delicious dried mangoes.
Verde was easy to find, but it’s not a place you might go into if you just happened upon it. It just doesn’t look like much. Located in a simple strip mall, with no fancy décor and an order-at-the-counter set up, it looked way more fast food than fine food. However, I wanted Mexican and I had heard good things about this little place.
I ordered a margarita and she asked me if Patron was okay. For a $6 margarita? Um…yeah. At home, a $6 margarita means you’re going to be lucky to get some Sauza Gold. Score one for Verde.
After we ordered, she told us we could help ourselves to salsa and directed us to a condiment counter. I found not one, but two delicious homemade salsas there to go with the house made chips. Self serve house made chips and salsa. Score two for Verde.
Our food arrived incredibly fast and didn’t look a thing like fast food. Didn’t taste a thing like fast food either. It was incredibly good and the portions were huge. Score three for Verde.
Ding, ding, ding. We had a winner.
Bellies full, we headed back to the villa and decided to take our villa kayak out for a spin around the bay before heading in for some down time. The bay the house sat on was wonderfully protected by a reef and the water was fairly calm almost all the time. We paddled to our hearts’ content in the clear calm waters before the sun, fun, and food finally took its toll and we had to call it a day.
Naps were in order, since we had an anniversary dinner that night at Makana Terrace at the St. Regis Princeville.
We could not have chosen a more perfect location for our anniversary dinner. Arriving just before sunset, the views from the terrace where we were seated were so picture perfect they simply didn’t seem real. It was difficult to concentrate on the menu with those views before us.
We had a bottle of wine as the sun settled lower and lower in the sky. Just as the sun was setting, literally everyone in the restaurant was up taking photos. It was just too beautiful for words. When the sun finally ended it’s slow journey, sinking into a blaze of red into the ocean, we were able to fully concentrate on our meals: Scallops for him and a risotto with crabcake for me. We followed it with dessert and rolled ourselves on out of there.
Happy Eleven to my dear, dear husband.