In the middle of July I had the pleasure of going on a vacation to the north shore of Kauai with my family. We decided to stay at the Pali Ke Kua condos, which are located right on the bluff overlooking Hideaways Beach (Pali Ke Kua). It was nice change to take off my work shoes and slip on a pair of flip flops and a bathing suit. To unplug from the normal day-to-day work routine and lose yourself in the magical history and aloha spirit of the Hawaiian islands. Swimming in the warm clear blue ocean of the Pacific with so many fascinating underwater creatures to admire. And since I love snorkeling and free diving so much, this meant for hours of enjoyable time in the water with my Canon G9, enclosed in the the WP-DC21 underwater housing. While we were there, I enjoyed of swimming with baby and adult green sea turtles, schools of needle fish, white mouth spotted eels, lobsters, triton's trumpets, colorful rainbow parrot fish and of course lots of the all famous Hawaiian humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa (reef triggerfish).
A color Zeroimage 6x12 pinhole photo of my family standing in a ancient archaeological site at the Limahuli Garden
Black and white infrared photo of the trees above Hideaways Beach, Kauai
Digital infrared photo of my daughter on the way of the trail from Hideaways beach, Kauai
The 200 foot trail leading down to Hideaways beach is in my opinion bit "sketchy" and is probably not the safest for young children or elderly people. Although I did see both young and old on the beach, so it can be done. As you can see from this photo there is a guide rail made of steel posts (that are rusted and sharp on the top) connected with rope. And since it rains a lot on the North end of Kauai the trail can become slippery after a recent storm. Personally I think all this adds to the adventure of visiting this beach and it may keep those away who aren't willing to brave the trek up and down the trail. If you do plan to visit this beach, I recommend you get there as early as possible. The parking lot fits about 10-12 cars and the best snorkeling I found to be around 7:30-8:00 am when the water is calm.
Portrait of my wife, Julie above Hideaways beach, Kauai
Canon G9 underwater photo of Hawaiian green sea turtle and snorkeler with camera at Tunnels Beach, Kauai
Color 6x9 Zeroimage pinhole of my son standing on the lava rock point at South side of Hideaways beach
Later in the day when Hideaways beach becomes a bit more crowded we would walk a short distance South around the rocky point picture above to another beach which had very few people on it. I learned later that the only way to access that beach is from private property. It's well worth the effort if you're feeling you need more beach to yourself. And you can always swim around the point and visit the beach that way too.
Zeroimage 6x9 pinhole photo of my son taking a break on the Kalalau trail Na Pali coast, Kauai
If we weren't sitting on the beach or swimming in the water we went hiking. And what better place to do that on Kauai than the Na Pali coast? So we all woke up early, packed a lunch and drove to the trailhead out of Ke' ee beach. From there we hiked a couple miles into an enchanted fresh water river and beach called Hanakapiai. While I was there I made some color pinhole photos, digital infrared with the G9.
A photo of wife stopping for portrait along the Kalalau trail as we hike into the Na Pali coast.
Standing in the river that flows into the Hanakapiai beach which is located in the Na Pali State Park, Kauai
A pinhole portrait of our two children standing near a small waterfall on the trail to Queen\'s Bath, Kauai
6x9 Zeroimage color pinhole of my wife stopping along the seaside trail to Queens Bath, Kauai
This is another interesting place to visit on the North shore of Kauai, but like many places, it's best to do it early. The parking lot located at the trailhead has about 10-12 parking spots and those fill up quickly. The hike down to the ocean is quite beautiful and takes about 15 minutes to get to the pool. When we got there we put on our mask and snorkels and swam around in the water with lots of small fish. I even saw a small colorful Nudibranch sea snail on the bottom. Later on we had fun jumping off the rocks above the pool into the water. After about an hour or so it got crowded so we ate our lunch and hiked back up the trail.
A picture from above Queen\'s Bath, Kauai of two swimmers enjoying it all to themselves.
Underwater photo of my wife and our son swimming together with a Hawaiian green sea turtle at Pu\'u Poa beach, Kauai
Before this picture was taken I had seen many green sea turtles on my dives and had shown some of the pictures to him. He was so excited about seeing one himself, but was a bit scared of venturing into deeper water where I had seen them. Although on this day, my wife has talked him into going out with her on a quick cruise around the bay. While they were snorkeling around I say the turtle pictured above and signaled to them. You should have seen the look on his face when he this turtle started swimming in his direction. At first he was scared, but soon I could tell that this would become an experience he would never forget. By the way, for you underwater G9 users, I learned that it's best to not use the flash when the water visibility is poor. As you can see above the flash reflects off the tiny particles in the water creating distracting little spots in the image.
I spent a lot of time snorkeling and free diving while we were in Kauai. And while I was diving I was lucky enough to be able to swim with many green sea turtles. When I would see them I would swim along side of them until they knew I wasn't a threat. And since I was sporting some new Mares Volo Race fins (which BTW, I really like), I was able to quickly dive down to the bottom to get these up close and personal turtle photos. Knowing that these amazing reptiles are endangered and protected animals, I would never try to touch or scare them in any way. Maybe that's why they trusted me so much to get this close to created these photos. The photo above was taken at Tunnels beach, which is no doubt one of my favorite Kauai beaches.
My son snorkeling with a Hawaiian green sea turtle near Pu\'u Poa Beach, Kauai
Black and white infrared photo of Wailua falls, Kauai - Canon G9 with Hoya r72 infrared filter
Colin standing outside the tasty Japanese noodle shop, Hamura Saimin Stand, located in Lihue, Kauai
My son standing in for a 6x12 Zeroimage pinhole photograph near the stream at the Limahuli Garden, Kauai
Infrared photo of Hanakapiai Beach, Na Pali coast, Kauai\'s North Shore
Black and white Zeroimage 6x12 pinhole photo of my son standing near the river the flows into Hanakapiai beach on the Na Pail Coast.
Black and white Zeroimage 6x9 pinhole photo of my wife standing on the North end of Hanakapiai beach located on the Na Pali coast, Kauai
Zeroimage 6x9 black and white pinhole photo My daughter reading her book in the shade of the trees on Hideaways beach, Kauai
A underwater photo of a Triton\'s Trumpet snail on the reef in front of Hideaways beach, Kauai
MintyCam pinhole photo of my daughter outside the Wai\'Oli Hui\'IA Church in Hanalei
A view looking south at the Lumahai river beach which is just North of Hanalei Bay beach, Kauai
We discovered this locals beach to be a lot of fun. It's a strange and interesting feeling to swim in the fresh water of the river which then meets the ebb and flow of the ocean.
Canon G9, Hoya r-72 digital infrared photo of my son standing next to the Kilauea lighthouse, Kauai
Black and white infrared photo looking North towards Anini beach from the Kilauea lighthouse, Kauai
A picture of my daughter and I standing on the Princeville golf course just after sunset.
In the afternoon my son discovered that many small white Mourning Geckos (Lepidodactylus lugubris) would come to hang out on our patio. The one pictured above liked his t-shirt that had the words \"Aloha also means goodbye\" on the back.
In the afternoon my son discovered that many small white Mourning Geckos (Lepidodactylus lugubris) would come to hang out on our patio. The one pictured above liked his t-shirt that had the words "Aloha also means goodbye" on the back.
A couple enjoying the sunset on the bluff overlooking Hideaways beach, Kauai
I want to close by saying that the word "Ohana" means "Family" in Hawaiian and that I titled this blog post as my way of respecting all that is and has been Hawaiian. I have learned over the years from visiting and reading about Hawaiian history and culture that is something worth protecting. That tourism can help support Hawaiian culture, but at the same time can damage it too. Even though for many of us this is a place to vacation, it is also a place where people live and have lived in harmony with the land and ocean. And when you visit the Hawaiian islands, I feel that you should respect that history and culture by treading lightly on it. By not polluting it or harming the life that calls Hawaii its home. I think if you respect it like you would respect someone in your own family then you are all that much closer to understanding and feeling the aloha spirit of the Hawaiian islands.