McBride-Allerton Botanical Gardens is on the Southern side of Kauai and is on an old sugar cane field bought in 1937. Allerton planted the area in ‘rooms’ with nearly all plants imported from other locales.
Our guide, Bob, did not initially appear promising but as we rode around the grounds and then walked amongst the plants, he proved to have a dry wit and provided a running commentary on both the plants, their historical uses, and the history of the facility and the islands. It was a tremendous variety of plants with many in flowers including birds of paradise cousins, gingers, orchids, palms, and so forth. I lost track of the names of the flowers and plants.
We finished our day with a burger and fries at the poolside grill–watching doves chasing away sparrows and gobbling up tiny ants foraging for bits of food. Tomorrow on to Hilo.
Lots more photos of this beautiful place at :http://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/TripsandEvents/Hawaii/Hawaii-Allerton-Garden-2012/22545606_jVXDDx#!i=1804486277&k=XHTGVFt
original lighthouse with new light beacon in front
After class today we ate a quick lunch and headed to the north side of the island. Road construction seems to be everywhere but there were no workers out—I suppose they do not work on the weekends here. The drive north was as spectacular as the drive westward. Large expanses of sandy beaches with large waves rolling in are interspersed with rocky cliffs with the surf splashing upwards of 40 feet in the air.
Coconut trees lined the beach in one area and I spied a huge pile of coconuts in someone’s backyard. Glen wanted to find a cold coconut so he could drink the juice/milk from it–but alas we did not find any. Lots of aloha wear stores, soap and candle makers, huli-huli chicken and Hawaiaan barbeque vendors, coffee shops, shell hangings, and dirt t-shirts.(who knew that dirt-stained clothing would be a fad?)
The lighthouse near Princeville is now part of the National Parks System. We breezed through with Glen’s retired person’s lifetime National park pass that we bought one year in Big Bend. We both feel almost guilty about it as the cost was minimal and we have enjoyed that pass many times over. But now for the lighthouse.
The lighthouse was commissioned in 1916 with a luau for the city celebrating its opening. It was turned ‘off’ during World War Two and was the site of a secret microwave transmission; in 1976 it was de-commissioned with the replacement of an electric beacon. The old lighthouse features a clamshell lens which is huge and required cleaning of the glass around it.
A small hunk of rock in the ocean near the base is a rookery for assorted seabirds including frigates, red-footed boobies, and several other birds.
Home to a dinner of the remains of mussel poke, a kumquat and half a boiled egg and then to lectures.
More photos at http://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/TripsandEvents/Hawaii/lighthouse/22553570_xqsg3B#!i=1804953069&k=R6Tnsbd
Napali Coast is on the western side of Kauai and is absolutely spectacular.
We boarded the Alaikola–a catamaran named after a bird thought to be extinct in the rain forests of the island. Captain Pat and his crew ably guided us over flat waters–we were ‘snailing’ for the entire voyage–the sail was hoisted for a short time for photo opps only. Wave action was nearly non-existent rendering sea-sickness remedies unnecessary. I had on those pressure point bands–so I’m not sure they work as it wasn’t a good test of their effectiveness.
History of this island includes the landing of Captain Cook in Waimea, sugar cane and sugar mills and the growing of corn by MonteSanto. Barking Sands includes a missile base and an atomic clock–one of the seven in the world. Further up the coast is the Napali Coast State Park with waterfalls, sea caves, and towering cliffs covered with vegetation and shrouded in mists. One of the waterfalls was included in the Jurassic Park movie–and the helicopter used is now owned by the Smith family who uses it for tours to the Forbidden Island–Lihauei–on the northwest side of Kauai. Here live about 200 native Hawaiian’s who speak Hawaiian as their first language and live without electricity or running water.
Spinner dolphins accompanied us for a short time on our way north and a flying fish sailed for dozens of yards in front of us. On the way back we were priviledged to see whales spouting and then the baby whale breaching.
Photos of rainbows and then of the sunset were taken and too soon we were back in the harbor, collecting our shoes and heading home.
As always, more photos are seen at my smugmug site at
If you feel overwhelmed by the landscapes, I included only about a third of those that I took.
Waimea Canyon ins absolutely spectacular. It is billed as the Pacific’s Grand Canyon and it is every bit as scenic. The canyon is lined with colorful cliffs of alternating orangey-red and green. Multiple scenic lookouts provide good vantage points for photos and are lined with tourists all taking photos.
I always like to look at the license plates at parks and was surprised to see only Hawaii plates–until I realized that there aren’t any bridges or roads to the other states. I hear a few people speaking French but surprisingly no Japanese or Korean although there are several groups that look like likely prospects.
A large group of school children are gathered around a guide at one scenic overlook and we eavesdrop as he explains the legend of the origin of the canyon and lectures on the importance of staying in school. Dropout rates here are high and many feel tourism will be their job and why study hard to be a gardner or hotel maid or waitress. I can see why as the atmosphere here is almost soporific—every day pretty much the same as the last with little variation in temperature. Perhaps since I hail from Northern climes, I am much more like a squirrel needing to scurry about to put away things for the winter ahead.
Speaking of food stores, wee stop at a Big Save market and buy fixings for breakfasts and lunch and go rather crazy—looking for local produce and products. Glen bought some pickled radishes—they STINK! and I bought some locally baked animal crackers and shortbread. And of course, we got some Spam–for our breakfast along with pineapple rum raisin bread.
More photos of this spectacular place are on smugmug at