Kaua’i Day 2: Snowcones and Snorkeling

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Naturally, on day 2 of our Hawaii vacay we slept in really late. Kauai was three hours behind Denver time, so we cashed in our extra three hours right away.

We ate a late breakfast at home and peeked at the forecast for our stay in Kauai. We noticed that the entire next week was not looking good. I am one of the few people that LOVES a rainy day and actually gets excited to see rain in the forecast, but seeing nothing but a bunch of “rainy cloud” icons on my Weather app had never crushed my spirits so badly. It was still early in our vacay though, so I thought surely the weather forecast would change in  our favor in the meantime.

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After breakfast and our disappointing forecast discovery, we decided we better get our butts out of the Tiki Hut and enjoy one of the only days of sunshine we might have, so we went out to find the thing I desired most: true Hawaiian shave ice!

The town of Hanalei was about 5.5 curvy miles (15 minutes) down the road from where we were staying and it was the closest town with shops, restaurants, and a grocery store. We stumbled upon a shave ice stand immediately in Hanalei and picked out our treats to cool off with.

I picked coconut for my snow cone because it’s my absolute favorite flavor in the world and I expected the coconut flavoring in Hawaii to knock my socks off, but surprisingly it didn’t. Ashamedly, I would have to say that I prefer the much more unhealthy, artificially flavored syrups I’m used to than the ones in Hawaii that were likely naturally flavored. Nonetheless, we enjoyed eating our snow cones from JoJo’s Shave Ice, which turned out to be one of the most highly-rated and popular shave ice stands on the island.

The giddy young girl at the shave ice counter stuck a straw in my shave ice and for the life of me, I didn’t understand how they expected me to eat shave ice through a straw…but two minutes later I understood! My coconut-flavored snow cone melted so quickly and unexpectedly with the hot sun that it was suddenly sitting in a giant white puddle outside of the cup! (I also probably should not have been wasting time taking a million photos instead of eating my snow cone.) Oops!

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Our next order of business was finding out what to do on this beautiful island we were on! Pie and I had done absolutely no research about activities prior to our trip (me, because I didn’t want to stumble upon too many pretty pics of Hawaii and spoil my surprise of how the island would look; and Pie, because he likes to wing everything, much to my dismay), so we were ill-prepared when it came to deciding what we were going to do right away on one of the only days that we might have sunshine on the island.

You see, considering that we had 11 days in Kauai, I was expecting that we would have plenty of time to plan activities when we got there and figured we would easily get everything done that we wanted to on this small island. In fact, I was even thinking that we would be so bored the last few days that all we would have left to do was to sit on the beach and drink pina coladas.

On our way across the island the day before, we had crossed over a big bridge where I saw people kayaking on a wide, calm river. This looked like a really great idea since winds were supposed to pick up on the island and sea kayaking didn’t seem like an option.

After snow cones, we walked down the road and checked out a kayak rental shop where we could drag the kayaks into a nearby river. We decided we would do this activity the next day and for now, take advantage of the sun and check out some of the beaches… which we still hadn’t seen yet!

We checked out our first beach on our drive back to the Tiki Hut. It was bliss seeing the clear blue water at the beach for the first time! Pie has been fortunate to take a few tropical vacations in his lifetime, but I have never visited a beach with clear blue water and it was just the thing I was craving!

2The weather was already starting to get a little rough mid-day. Even though the sun was out, stretchy white clouds were coming in quickly, along with light winds, so we didn’t linger long at the beach before heading back to the Tiki Hut.

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What we really had our sights on was Tunnels Beach. Tunnels Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Kauai and is very famous for its large reef and excellent snorkeling. Our rental property happened to be a less than a 10-minute walk to Tunnels Beach, so I was more than excited that we were so close to this gem and couldn’t wait to check it out!

On that first visit to Tunnels Beach, the water ended up not looking nearly as clear blue and amazing as it did in pictures because the sky was getting darker and darker, making the water also appear dark.

On the other hand, seeing our first glimpse of the Na Pali Coast just right around the corner from Tunnels Beach was so incredible! The fact that it was partly cloudy made the shadowy silhouette of the Na Pali Coast appear with different shades of black and grey and it was quite mystical!

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We enjoyed our drinks a little bit on the beach before jumping in the water with our snorkel gear, but by the time we finally jumped in, we had lost our precious sunshine completely and it wasn’t coming back. We didn’t snorkel for very long and only saw a few fish on this occasion, so our appetites were definitely wet for more!

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Up next: We kayak down and up a river and celebrate Valentine’s Day in paradise!

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