Aloha Part 5

Or Hawaii 5-0, except I’ve posted more than 50 photographs of Hawaii, but who’s counting. Not going to say too much about this last lot. They were all taken out of a helicopter’s side-window. Sometimes there’s a bit of reflection in the shot but I knew that my mum and sister would never stand for a ‘doors-off’ ride. They were worried enough about the regular helicopter ride never mind suggesting to them we book one with no doors on. Oh well, next time maybe.

P.S. I actually re-arranged the back of the pilot’s seat by moving all the important information cards and sick-bags (or comfort bags as they’re now called) from the seat pocket so I wouldn’t get as many reflections. Got to get my priorities right you know. Photograph first, safety second. Joking.

Anyway seatbelts fastened, headphones on, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Above the treetops
Sea Cave
Na Pali coastline
Kauai valley
Kauai river
Kauai Waterfalls
Beautiful Kauai
Kauai landscape
Misty mountains (cue a wee Hobbitey song sung by dwarves)
Somewhere under a rainbow
Mountaintop Greenery
Na Pali Valley
View to the Pacific
Na Pali cliffs
Na Pali coastline
Hikers (zoom in to the bottom LHS quarter to see them)
Beautiful Kauai coastline

Well I say that’s all from Kauai, but I still have all the coastal shots of crashing waves, sea birds, pretty flowers to edit…. maybe I’ll throw another post up at some point in the future but at the moment it’s Aloha from Hawaii and Mahalo for looking at my photographs.


Aloha, part 4

SO many more photographs… haven’t even begun to edit the helicopter trip photographs!

Anyway as a wee change from the scenery/landscapes that I’ve been posting, I thought I’d post some people pics. Most of these were taken with my compact (Fuji F900exr) so the quality isn’t as good, plus the lighting was bad at the Luau, but I think the atmosphere of the time was captured pretty well, so no, they’re not perfect shots, but they tell a story.

Hula dancers

Telling the story, through dance, of the first people to settle in the Hawaiian islands from Polynesia.

Beautiful Hula dancer

As I said, not the greatest photographs, but a great memory.

Hawaiian dancer

At the Luau we attended we sat next to some friendly people who were happy to tell us their life stories. A lot of people we talked to had been in the military and stationed there at one time or another and kept coming back. I think Hawaii must have that kind of effect on people.

We met some fascinating people in Kauai, everyone was so friendly and relaxed. The ‘Hang-loose’ atmosphere was evident everywhere.

One guy we talked to at the airport had flown over 400 helicopter missions in Vietnam and as he told us “Only got shot down 5 times”….. People kept coming up to him and shaking his hand and once he started talking to us another man told us the reason why he was being mobbed. He was so genuine and really down-to-earth and funny! Aren’t people great?


Tiki carver

The local crafts were fabulous. We packed so much into a week that it would be impossible to relay it all, but I’m throwing up the next set of photographs as a quick guide to ‘things-to-see-in-Kauai.’

Coffee plantation

Unfortunately I’m not a coffee drinker (but I love the smell of coffee) so this visit was more for my mum and sister. Kauai Coffee Company has over 4 million coffee trees grown on 3,100 acres.

Coffee beans (I think?)

On the Friday evening there was an arts, food and music festival at Hanapepe. We had fun strolling the streets, listening to the music and popping in and out of shops. Of course being an ex-library employee and total bookworm they had to drag me out of the bookshop – the farthest west bookshop in the USA.

Bookshop, Hanapepe, Kauai
Arts and crafts shop, Hanapepe
Cool truck, Hanapepe

We saw these notices everywhere and after a quick Google (what would we do without Google?) found out that it was a clothing company in Kauai that donates 100% of it’s profits to saving the elephants. Very cool, eh?


Whenever we saw a chicken we had to yell out “CHICKEN!!” Yeah, childish but fun. This particular one was walking around under the tables at the restaurant one morning when we were eating breakfast. Pretty, isn’t he?

Allerton Garden Jurassic Trees, plus tour guide

The place he’s standing in is the exact spot where Dr. Alan Grant discovered the T-Rex eggs in Jurassic Park. The tour of Allerton Gardens in Kauai was fascinating, even for non-gardeners like myself. These Moreton Bay Fig trees were enormous and very cool for photography (more pics of them to come). The tour guide was equally fascinating. He was one of many people we spoke to who had decided Kauai was the place for them. He back-packed there 40 years ago and never left again. So many people had told us the same sort of story. I guess there’s something about the Hawaiian lifestyle that just grabs people and captures their imagination.


Aloha, part 3

I could actually have ‘Aloha, parts 1-500’ the amount of photographs I have, but I’m going to try and cut them down to 5 posts. I don’t want to get boring…

In the meantime I have 3 posts to go so sit back and enjoy the stunning garden isle of Kauai for the 3rd time! *said in my best David Attenborough voice* British friends, I’m SO jealous you get to watch Planet Earth 2 – I have no idea when US Public Television will pick it up here.

Back to piccies – this first one is of the Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It is a large canyon, approximately ten miles long and up to 3,000 feet deep, located on the western side of Kauai. The road runs right along the side of the canyon with handy ‘Stop here’ lay-bys (paved areas you can pull your car over Americans. I never actually realised you don’t call them lay-bys until I confused an American friend by talking about them.) Anyway trying to whittle hundreds of photographs down into my favourite one was really hard.

Waimea Canyon

Driving up the road admiring the Canyon on the right hand side we saw a lot of cars stopped and people climbing over the fence on the left. So being the nosey types we parked the car and climbed over. So glad we did. A pretty little waterfall in the red-dirt made for a fun mini-hike and some good photo ops. I tried to find out if the waterfall had a name, but could only find it referred to as ‘the red-dirt waterfall in Waimea Canyon’.

Red Dirt Waterfall, Waimea Canyon

Then when the road ran out at the top of the canyon we were at the Pu’u O Kila lookout (photo from previous post of the rainbow) and a side on view of the Na Pali cliffs. My favourite part of the island.

Na Pali cliffs

The next couple of photographs were taken from the helicopter when he took us over the mountains and down into the volcanic crater. I tried to find out what the volcano was called, but it just seems to be part of the Loihi Seamount chain of volcanos. The Wai’ale’ale crater is believed to have been extinct for 5 million years. All I know is that it was spectacular and sometimes I had to put down the camera and try to soak it all in with my eyes.

Wai’ale’ale crater

The Wai’ale’ale mountains, resting sleepily in the scenic background behind Kukui’ula, located almost exactly in the middle of the island, this towering green mountain range is usually tucked behind a shroud of wispy rain clouds. Waialeale means “rippling water” or “overflowing water” in Hawaiian and is the second wettest spot on Earth, receiving about 450 inches of rain each year. The rainiest year on record is 1982 with 683 inches.

Sorry Scotland. You’re NOT the wettest place on Earth!

Wai’ale’ale Mountain

My sister loves lighthouses so of course a visit to Kilauea Lighthouse on the North side of the island was a must. Unfortunately the day we went there the lighthouse was closed (it’s only open Tuesday to Saturday but we managed to come back the day we flew home and get closer. I have many more photographs of the lighthouse and also of the seabirds that roost in the cliffs but still haven’t edited them yet. The recently completed restoration of the century-old lighthouse has returned it to essentially its original state in 1913.  Twice a week, lighthouse lovers can climb up into the tower that once projected a beam 22 miles to sea. This structure stands at the edge of Kīlauea Point, 180 feet above the ocean. Pretty, isn’t it?

Kilauea Lighthouse

And finally for Aloha, part 3 is a pretty little shot of the Opaekaa Falls. You can totally see why they call Kauai ‘The Garden Isle’. The waterfall is located on the ʻŌpaekaʻa Stream in Wailua River State Park on the eastern side of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It is a 151–foot waterfall that flows over basalt from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago”Opaekaa” means “rolling shrimp,” which were once abundant in the stream.

Opeakaa Falls

I hope I’m tempting you to go visit Kauai. It’s a long journey to get there but it’s totally worth it. I wasn’t joking when I said it was photography heaven!

Aloha, part 2

Just around the corner from Shipwreck Beach

In my family I’m probably the only one with any sort of good sense of direction, therefore I’m nearly always the map reader and directiononteerer (I just made that word up). The kids nowadays nearly always use their phones for (they say) more accurate directions than mine, which usually consist of “just around the next corner” when I really mean just around the next 5 corners. Anyway, on the photo above of the cliffs at Shipwreck Beach, Kauai (which WAS just around the corner) believe it or not they actually cliff dive off the point at the LHS of the photograph. Madness!

Shaka – Hang Ten or Hang Loose

Yeah, I didn’t have a go at surfing. Maybe if I’d been younger and didn’t have a dodgy hip…. But I did embrace the Hang Loose sign (tried to find an emoji that I could cut and paste into my text, but after countless hours searching Google (2 minutes!) I gave up)

Na Pali Coast

Na Pali. Undoubtedly one of the most amazing places on Earth, and definitely one of the most fabulous places I’ve ever seen. I was totally in awe of the beauty of this place. It’s pretty inaccessible except for hikers or from a boat or helicopter. This fifteen-mile stretch of rugged coastline on the northwest shore of Kauai literally means ‘The Cliffs’. Much of Na Pali Coast is inaccessible due to its characteristic sheer cliffs that drop straight down, thousands of feet into the ocean. I could stay there all day and NEVER get tired of the views. Nature at her finest I’m sure you’ll agree.

Lucy the Duck

Lucy decided to join the guided tour around Allerton Gardens in Kauai. She was very friendly and posed nicely for me when I asked her.

Spouting Horn, Poipu

On Kauai’s south shore you’ll find the spectacular Spouting Horn blowhole, one of the most photographed spots on Kauai. The Poipu surf channels into a natural lava tube here and releases a huge spout of water during large swells. You’ll also hear a hiss and a roar that is the basis of a Hawaiian legend.

Ancient Hawaiians believed this coastline was once guarded by a giant moo (lizard) named Kaikapu. Everyone was afraid of the moo because it would eat anyone who tried to fish or swim in the area. One day, a young boy named Liko entered the ocean to outwit the lizard. Kaikapu attacked him, but Liko thrust a sharp stick into her mouth, swam under the lava shelf, and escaped through a small hole to the surface. The moo followed Liko and got stuck in the lava tube. To this day, you can hear the lizard’s roar and see her breath spraying from the blowhole. *copied from ‘’*

A curious gecko

A lucky shot for me. Sitting eating lunch one day and this little fellow comes up and goes “Whatchadoing?” so I grabbed my compact camera (Fuji 900exr) and got exactly 2 shots before he ran away. This is a huge crop and zoom so I’m very pleased at how good it turned out considering. Anyone want to buy some car insurance now?


I thought about trying to be sensible and write a ‘proper’ travel blog seeing as I’m just back from Kauai with my mum and sister, but all my thoughts and impressions from the holiday are all jumbled up, so I’m just going to throw photographs up and maybe write a bit about each picture and try to convey how awesome and photogenic the whole island is.

We started off on the right foot though; overnight at the airport hotel we met an Irishman who offered to party with us because “Floor tree is the Celtic party floor” *that was my best Irish accent btw*, plus our hotel receptionist was Wil Wheaton and I’m sure he would have been up for a shindig. Unfortunately we had to get up at 3.30am the next morning so declined the party. Am I sensible or what? Well maybe not…. sharing a room with my sister for the first time in mumblemumblethirtysomethingmumblemumble years meant of course that the long (vaguely) light-sabre shaped pillows meant a pillow fight. Hey, mum was next door and couldn’t tell us off! Anyway absolutely NO sleep that night, plus American Airlines terrible planes (Get with it American. You need to update your planes!!) meant we were pretty exhausted when 16 hours later we arrived in Kauai. Not too exhausted to go explore the beachey though!

Aloha Kauai

The rest of this blog (and probably the next couple of blogs I post) is going to be pretty random with photographs just thrown up any old way and not at all in any kind of order.

Beautiful Kauai – you can see why they call it the ‘Garden Isle’

The photograph above was taken from the helicopter trip we booked as a surprise for mum’s 70th birthday, so I’m not really sure what the mountains are called.

Kalalau Lookout

The rainbow shot is from the lookout at Kalalau Valley and the Na Pali Coast. The Kalalau lookout stands at 4,000 feet above sea level and gives you a peek at a valley that as late as the 1920’s still was the home to residents who farmed crops there. The only way into the valley is by foot along the Kalalau Trail or by boat. There was a total eejit standing up on the railings trying to get a better shot than the rest of us mere mortals standing on the ground. He tried to get me to stand back while he was shooting, but 1. He wasn’t supposed to be standing on the railings (plus there was a huge drop off on the other side. THAT’S WHY THE RAILING WAS THERE SILLY MAN! and 2. By the time he’d finished shooting the rainbow could have gone! So I walked up beside him and started shooting despite his objections. Hey, he was shooting over my head anyway and he was in the best spot.

What a plonker!

I understand nothing getting in the way of a good shot, but really!!!

Wailua Falls

This waterfall was just a short car ride from Lihue. Located at the south end of the Wailua River it cascades into two streams, dropping into the pool below. I vaguely remember watching Fantasy Island when I was wee, but seemingly these are the falls in the opening credits.


Then last and most certainly least is us. Hummed and hawed about posting this and losing my anonymity – my secret life as a ninja could be exposed now, but I love this picture of us. My mum had a blast on her holiday and doesn’t she look great for 70?

Many many more photos to come.