Day 3 promised a lot of rain in the forecast, so that made it rather difficult to plan specific activities. As I mentioned in Part 2, shuttle services had canceled their routes for today because of the severe weather headed our way.
We woke up early and Caitlin got in a quick workout on our hotel room porch while I vigorously watched TV.
Caitlin came bouncing into the room, full of excitement as she beckoned me to check out some interesting characters hanging out there with her.
As you can see, these snails are humongous.
If you look closely, you’ll notice two little rascals frolicking there in the background. Caitlin thought they were fighting or wrestling.
She is the cutest person alive, but I had to have the awkward conversation about the birds and bees with my wife of nearly 11 years and mother of our three children. So that was… interesting. And a little unsettling.
Fun fact: these Giant African Land Snails are hermaphrodites so the two in the back getting freaky probably both got pregnant on this magical day. It’s nice to know Caitlin and I got to be a part of such a splendid occasion. Although, homeboy/girl there by Caitlin’s hand wasn’t part of that snail porn we captured in the photo and he/she/they probably felt left out. He/she/they sped over to the sultry affair, knocked one of the snails off the other, and got to enjoy its own impregnation/new pregnancy.
After Caitlin’s workout, she and I decided to go on a morning jog. We took much the same route as our bike ride yesterday and ran along the beach, dodging chickens and sweating buckets in the humidity. We ran about 3.5 miles with occasional walks for me to catch my breath… er… ahem… I mean… admire the beautiful waves.
After the jog, we walked north along the beach to checked out some different hotels, you know, to compare our situation to others to feel better or worse about ourselves.
Actually, Caitlin loves swimming pools so we were scoping out our options. We walked past the Kauai Coast Resort, which looked groovy. Pool wasn’t anything to write a blog post about. We went past the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach resort, and this one looked amazing. They had a super cool looking pool with waterfalls, a lazy river, and a gate keeping us out of all the fun.
Quick side note here
The hotel we chose was perfect for what we needed. As we walked by all these resorts, we thought that they kind of defeat the purpose of visiting Kauai. We wanted a place to dump our luggage and have a comfortable night sleep. Not a resort with cool amenities that would keep us at a hotel rather than exploring the beautiful scenery of Kauai.
Just keep that in mind as you book places to stay. If you’re wanting a posh resort that’ll encourage you to lay around and sip drinks by a pool or ocean, there are lots of places not in Hawaii to find that.
There are very few places on earth like Kauai.
Side note complete
As we were checking out the Sheraton resort, it started raining. Like… a lot.
We hid under a balcony and Caitlin called the ATV tour company to see if they had any openings later in the week. We were able to book the last two seats on an ATV tour taking place on Friday (the day we leave) so you’ll hear about that in another post.
The rain settled down and we headed back to our hotel to change out of our sweaty/rain-drenched clothes, shower off, and head out on a new adventure.
We stumbled upon Wailua Falls the last time we were in Kauai, and we just had to go back to see it again. It’s along the east side of the island and not far from our hotel. It’s a short drive through some beautiful country to get to the falls and, much like the Queen’s bath, parking is limited. We had to wait in our car for a couple minutes as people left and a parking spot opened up.
The parking lot sits on top of, and just to the south of the falls. As you walk to the ledge, you are welcomed with this incredible view.
Here is a video of the surrounding area to give you an idea of just how beautiful this place is.
If you notice the birds flying in this video, you’ll realize how truly magnificent and huge this area, the falls, and the surrounding trees really are. My phone camera doesn’t do this place justice.
Most people sit atop these falls where I took the picture and video and, well… take pictures and videos. Caitlin and I, however, wanted to be a bit more adventurous.
If you walk back towards the road you came in on, there is a fence lining the road that tells people how dangerous it is to attempt a climb down, and that you shouldn’t do it. If you read day 1 of this trip, you already know I have a bit of a problem following rules. So, we started the hike down.
The hike is steep, wet, and very slippery. There are certain areas that have ropes to help you down. I highly recommend using these ropes and I found it easiest to walk down the hill backwards, holding onto the ropes in an almost rappelling-esqe manner. Just make sure you’re going down a trail that has ropes at the steep parts and you should be going the right direction.
Now is probably as good a time as ever to bring up the footwear that really saved my trip. Prior to the trip, I spent WAY too much time researching the best types of shoes to take to Hawaii, more specifically, Kauai. The last time we visited, I wore flip flops or running shoes. The first few hikes in flip flops had me fearful of losing my life. My running shoes got destroyed by sand and mud. I don’t know how I did the Wailua Falls trek in flip flops last time and made it out alive. In fact, there was a flip flop graveyard towards the bottom of the hill you climb/fall/slide down to get to the bottom of the falls.
This trip, I bought the Whitin Men’s Trail Running Shoes
I do not get anything by mentioning these. I bought them with my own money. They were about $40 on Amazon.
They are a mix between the barefoot running shoes, trail running shoes, and water shoes. They were light, grippy, protected my feet from rocks, sticks, coral, you name it, and did a great job in water as we crossed rivers, jumped into waterfalls, and swam in the ocean.
I absolutely loved these puppies. I put about 40-45 miles on these in the week and they held up wonderfully and were easy to wash off.
Seriously, bring these and flip flops and you’re set. Flip flops for the beach and walking around town. These for everything else.
Caitlin wore Tevas that didn’t have closed toes, which ended up with her blurting out four letter words on multiple occasions. The Tevas didn’t have great grip and resulted in several slips while also rubbing a sore on her ankle where the strap touched her ankle ball. She also had some trail running shoes that ended up muddy and sandy, and had a tough time drying off after getting wet. Remember, the humidity here is 80-100% so drying off clothes or shoes is nearly impossible.
I 100% recommend these shoes or shoes like them. I have the version with the strap.
The bottom of the falls
“Finally, Erik. Just tell us about the bottom of the falls!”
Okay, okay. So, after we rappel/slide/fall down this hill, we end up at the base of these glorious waterfalls. Strangely, there are massive pieces of twisted metal, I’m assuming from large boats or something that have fallen over the falls and settled against the banks of the river. Someone said that the metal used to be in the deeper water at the base of the falls and people cleaned these metal shards out because swimmers were hitting them.
Either way, there are huge metal shards that got there by toppling over the falls. So just be careful doing what we did because a thousand pound metal beam could get pushed over the ledge and land on your noggin. More commonly, rocks of various sizes topple off the waterfall and, if they hit you, you will probably die. I tried to avoid being out in front of the water fall.
Fair warning: I am pasty white and not in good shape, but we snagged a picture and video of us at the base of the water fall.
We swam along the left side of the waterfall (if you’re looking at the waterfall), climbed up some very slippery, moss-covered rocks, saw a beautiful view under the waterfalls and the illusive, backside of water (Jungle Cruise anyone?).
Wailua Falls will always have a special place in our heart and we highly recommend it to anyone visiting Kauai. That hike down is very treacherous and the hike back up is steep and tricky, so if you’re nervous about your health or body or life, enjoy the view from up top.
After Wailua Falls, Caitlin wanted some beach time. Caitlin loves her beach time. Jumping around in waves, laying out in the sand, getting tan… you know, all the things I don’t do (as you can tell from my super-white skin).
We drive down along the south side of the island that leads to Poipu Beach. To get to Poipu, you turn off the highway or state road or just road labelled 50 and onto the one labeled 520. Well, as soon as you turn on the 520, you are greeted with the tree tunnel.
It’s a pretty cool road and after the tree tunnel, you pop out into Jurassic Park territory with sprawling fields of green grass and massive trees.
After about 5-10 minutes, you end up at Poipu Beach.
Poipu Beach is my sister’s favorite. It sits in a little cove and has a reef where a lot of people float and snorkel. In the evenings, you can find sea turtles crawling up the beach. I initially typed that you can see sea turtles, and that made me giggle. Then, I tried to find a way to write see “C” sea turtles just to get ridiculous. But then I deleted those and wrote the above, only to argue with myself and type out this glorious explanation.
Welcome to the inner workings of my brain.
We got out of our car, hauled our beach gear onto, well… the beach, and the second we spread out our towels, it started pouring rain. A ton. It was windy, and the rain drops were cold, and everything was getting soaked. Caitlin and I ran to our car and after about 2 minutes, it stopped raining and there were blue skies as if it had never rained here since the dawn of man.
We scuttled back out to the beach, I lathered up with sunscreen, and we jumped in the water. This beach has some reef and rocks as you walk out, so it would’ve been a perfect place for my sweet shoes I mentioned earlier, but alas, I was in flip flops, and walking along the the coral was tricky and slightly painful. Once you get out far enough, you throw those goggles on, plunge that snorkel in your mouth, and watch the fish swim around you while you look like a fool.
You know, we all like to look at pictures of the blob fish and laugh at how ugly there are, myself included, but I’m sorry, there is nothing attractive about anyone in snorkel gear.
Your eyes are bugged out from tightening the goggles into your frontal lobe so salt water won’t get in. your nose is squished into this piece of plastic that is as permeable to water as air, meaning it leaks like a siv and is seemingly whatever the opposite of a waterproof is. Your front lip is pulled up by the nose slot. You throw your mouth around the plastic mouthpiece that tastes like a mixture of a biohazard and salt water.
It’s just not pleasant.
Caitlin’s wonderful parents let us borrow their water hammocks, which were pretty cool. Be sure to get the fabric type. We played around with the plastic versions and the colors bleed off into your skin so you have blue or pink strips on your back and neck.
We could throw the floaties under our arms and snorkel to see the fish and then flip over and put our neck on one floaty with our legs over the other and just ride the little waves and soak up the sun.
After a good hour or so of floating around and laying out, the hunger bug hit me. I hadn’t eaten since before our run, meaning we’d done all of the above-mentioned activities without refueling little ol’ Erik. And anyone close to me knows, I tend to get hangry.
Threat level: Hanger
I ever-so-politely asked Caitlin if it was okay to go grab something to eat. She kindly obliged and we gathered up our stuff. As we were doing so, clouds magically appeared. We got in our car and another downpour started – good timing Erik. Thanks.
The classic husband-wife conversation began:
Erik: What would you like to eat.
Caitlin: I could eat anywhere.
Erik: *looks up restaurants in the area* How about this one?
Caitlin: Nah, let’s find something else.
We drive around for another 5 minutes. Erik getting more and more hungry.
Erik: Okay, how about this one.
Caitlin: Not really feeling that.
Drive around for another 5 minutes.
Caitlin: Let’s go to this one.
Hangry Erik: *boiling with rage* Great!
We speed off in the direction Google Maps tells us.
Google says the restaurant opened a half hour ago, and as we pull in the parking lot, there’s a line out the door. This means more waiting. I drop Caitlin off to investigate as I find a parking spot. She isn’t up there long before she is walking away from the line, so I do the gentlemanly thing and pick her up – meaning I drove the car near her general area and made her open the door and get in.
The restaurant isn’t open yet. No one is in there so everyone is just sitting outside.
We drove to another restaurant in a fitness club.
We drive to a shopping district with several restaurants around. It’s now about 30 minutes since I hit code-red hanger level so Erik is not happy right now. We go to Bubba’s Burgers, which Google also says is open. The building porch is roped off at the end we approach and it says use the other entrance. We walk to the other side of the building. Still roped off. Try the third side. No door.
Interestingly enough, this is one of those four-sided buildings, leaving us with one more option: the fourth side. Also roped off.
Bubba’s Burgers is closed.
In fact, all of the restaurants in this shopping center say they are open, but are really closed.
So, guess where we ended up?
If you guessed the original place that Erik had suggested 45 minutes ago, you’d be correct.
Now, granted, the name of the place was Da Crack, however, Da Crack was da bomb and had very yummy food. I need to take a step back and understand that I was having the meltdown of a 3-year-old, so anything probably would’ve tasted amazing, but we both seemed happy with our meal from Da Crack. It has the highest reviews of any restaurant in the city, by the way.
Ladies: Please, please, please never say you will “eat anywhere,” or “are good with anything,” unless you truly mean that you are 100%, fully willing to eat at Del Taco, or Betos, or La Frontera. Hell, I’ll throw out fine dining establishments like Cafe Rio, Little Caesars, or Arby’s if it means you’ll stick to your word of “being good with whatever.”
Us guys really don’t care where we eat, as long as there is a substantial amount of food from animals that eat the food you choose to eat. If we are famished, suggesting a kale salad or a parfait probably won’t end well for anyone. But literally ANY other suggestion, and we are willing to whisk you away in our metal chariot as fast as the engine will allow to get you exactly the food you want, no matter what the cost.
A quick recap:
I was hangry. I am now full. It is raining rather aggressively.
We head back to our hotel, turn on 3rd Rock from the Sun, and lay down for a quick nap before we plan to experience the happening night life at our hotel pool and restaurant.
We lay down… is it lie down?
We collapse onto the bed at 5:30 PM and close our eyes.
We wake up and it’s 5:00 AM.
Now THAT is a nap!
It wasn’t what we planned, but it felt amazing and we definitely needed it given what was coming up the next day.
A really long PS:
Kauai in general has been hit hard by Covid. Restaurants and the tourism industries have been hit as severely as anywhere else in the world from an economic perspective.
The state of Hawaii kind of just turned on the faucets to tourists all at once, so restaurants are severely understaffed. This is why many of these restaurants are closed on days they would regularly be open. This is why wait times are longer.
Please turn back into a human when visiting restaurants and interacting with your waiter/waitress. They have been through a lot. They are overworked. They are doing the best they can to get you seated and fed as quickly as they can.
Thank you to all of you in the hospitality industries. I can’t imagine what you are going through. Many of my thoughts are satirical and I’ll express moments of frustration, but I always tried to give the people I interacted with the benefit of the doubt, tip them well, and be as polite and nice as my crusty self could muster.
Now… Check out Day 4