Kauai ~ Day 7 ~ Sunset Cruise Na’Pali Coast

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Saturday, May 19, 2012


The wedding festivities continued today.  The morning was free for us to get in a little sightseeing before heading south to Port Allen to board a catamaran for a Na’Pali Coast sunset cruise with everyone.

Our first stop was at a lighthouse just down the road at Kilauea.  It was closed at the time we arrived, but the setting was spectacular. We stopped at the “Fantasy Island” waterfall along the way to a picnic lunch at Poipu beach.

Sunset Cruise ~ Na’Pali Coast

Ally’s family was kind enough to treat all their guests to a dinner cruise.  Our cruise was a barefoot one, which allowed us to really feel the boat in order to try to keep our feet planted firmly on the deck (some super bumpy parts). We started at Port Allen in the southern part of Kauai, and cruised for 4 hours or so, along the Na’Pali Coast. GORGEOUS!

We were so lucky to encounter a pod of spinner dolphins frolicking in the ocean right in front of the boat, as well as sea turtles.

velvety spires Na'Pali Coast

We took in the stunning scenery, and ate a lasagna dinner while waiting for the sun to set, revealing the most magnificent blood-orange sunset.

Truly an experience never to be forgotten.

Wedding Day Bliss ~Kauai ~ Day 6

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Day of Fun

Friday, May 18, 2012

Morning relaxation

The big day had finally arrived and was filled with a variety of fun activities for everyone prior to the ceremony that took place at 5:00 that evening.  We had a choice of golf at some fancy course, getting an outdoor massage, exploring on our own, or going on a snorkeling excursion.  My son (groom) chose to go golfing, Diane and Dave went snorkeling at Tunnels, and Ally chose to get a morning massage along with the majority of other guests, including Dustin and me.

I’ve never been so pampered in all my life.  The masseuse used a lavender scented oil while I enjoyed the warm trade winds and gazed at the lovely palm leaves and ocean rocks arrangement below my head rest.  Love, love, loved, this experience!  Refreshing fruited water followed.  I was so relaxed the entire day … funny how that works.

Michael and Ally chose to not see each other the night before, and the day of the wedding.   After the women got their massages, we headed off to the pool.  No boys allowed!  Anyway, this pool was also an infinity pool that overlooked the ocean.  We ordered drinks and lunch (probably shouldn’t of ordered that huge cheeseburger and fries … but YUM!) from the cabana boy, and lounged around relaxing, and enjoying our beautiful surroundings.

Getting Ready

Michael got ready in his room along with the other men.

The women went to Cindy’s room to get ready at 2:30 where Michael and Ally’s friend Annabelle was rockin’ the hairstyling for everyone.

Right before the ceremony, Michael and Ally were blindfolded and led to a  grassy area where the photographers got some great photos. The happy couple were anxious with anticipation and so happy to see share a few special moments together, even though they couldn’t see one another.  So, so, sweet


Waiting for our cue, Michael was nervous and very anxious to see his beautiful bride.

The ceremony took place under a papa’i (little thatched roof hut), located on a cliff overlooking the ocean. When Michael saw Ally in her wedding dress, she  literally took his breath away.  She was so stunning in her elegant gown and my son, so very handsome waiting for his soon-to-be wife to join him.  My son and his bride wrote their own vows, and Ally’s uncle Buddy officiate their union. The ceremony was both touching and lighthearted and evoked both tears of joy and laughter. Afterwards, there were bubbles, cool sunglasses, and quick photos before going on to celebrate.


The day truly was like the most magical dream. My son and Ally were so happy, and all of us got to par-tay like there was no tomorrow! I wish them a lifetime of happiness.


Kauai ~ Day 5 ~ Na Pali Coast & Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Na Pali Coast Hike

Today brought another stunning sunrise, which I unfortunately didn’t see in person, because I needed more sleep! The Na Pali coast hike in the northern part of the island, was on today’s agenda. We drove west through Hanalei and then on to Ke’e Beach, stopping along the way for both ocean and cave photos.

The hike began at Ke’e Beach Park, where a native ranger told us how very difficult this hike can be, and warned us of the many dangers. He said that recently it had rained 36 inches in a 24 hour period, which created a river that washed away the lifeguard post on the beach.   He also told us about a woman who recently lost her life on this hike when she attempted to cross the Hanakapi’ai river to get to the secret beach. Flash flooding is common and caused the river to swell. She slipped on the river rocks, hit her head, and was swiftly washed out to sea.

Oh great, I thought … way to scare the sh%# out of me before I start.   I  continued on anyway, since I had my trusty hiking poles with me, and knew that I had the stamina to do a 10 mile hike in the nearby mountains back home.

view of Ke'e beach from Na Pali coast hiking trail

The trail goes through lush river valleys and is considered to be very strenuous. It rises and falls hundreds of feet at a time repeatedly along the way, as it winds through dense jungles and follows the rugged coastline. The path itself is riddled with tree roots, mud, water, and slippery rocks, making the hike tricky in many parts. It is the stunning panoramic views and the hope to make it to the secret beach two miles ahead that kept me going. Unfortunately, today we forgot to bring along food of any kind, which we desperately needed by the time we were to return. Thank goodness we did have plenty of water to stay hydrated!

After nearly 2 hours of hiking, we came to the “killer river” which needed to be crossed in order to get to the secret sand Hanakapi’ai beach. This death marker was posted somewhere along the trail, which reminded us of the 82 people who had died attempting this hike and the dangerous waters awaiting.

So as soon as I forged the river and scrambled over a bunch of boulders, I wrote a message in the sand that said, “We made it!” The beach was magnificent beyond belief. The water was powerful as it crashed upon the silky sand. We decided that since we didn’t have any nourishment, it wouldn’t be wise to continue on another 2 miles ahead to a waterfall, plus I was exhausted.

Rehearsal Dinner ~ Westin

After the hike we rested up and relaxed with a swim and a hot tub. While getting ready for the rehearsal dinner, it started to rain which produced such a beautiful double rainbow arching over the ocean. I considered it to be a positive sign for Michael and Ally’s wedding.

a gift for Mike & Ally

my beautiful family

The rehearsal dinner was held at the resort at the main pool’s bar/restaurant area. We feasted on fish tacos, rice, pulled pork, fresh fruits and vegetables. It was a lively and festive event where the bride and groom-to-be wore pretty fresh leis.

Susan, Ally, David, Michael

The sweetest thing about this evening was when Ally gave Dave and me a card thanking us for raising such an amazing son, and Michael giving Ally’s parents a card from him thanking them for raising such an incredible daughter. Diane and Dustin were thrilled to receive a gift from them as expressed in the photo above.
After enjoying brownie cake pops for dessert (best I’ve ever had!), we headed out to the cliffs over the ocean to launch illuminated lanterns, while making a wish for the bride and groom. There was a little trouble keeping the lanterns lit due to some rain and wind. The colorful tissue paper lanterns would poof up as the heat from the flame at the bottom built up enough hot air, and then we would release it into the sky. It was magnificent to see these floating wonders of wishes float up and over the ocean.

colorful paper lanterns filled with wishes for Mike & Ally

Unfortunately a few of them crashed into the bushes on the cliff and were in perfect position to (maybe) start a fire. Matt risked his life to go out to the cliff’s edge and grab the balls of flames,  while security was shouting for him to come back immediately!  We had to stop the fun at that point, but by that time, there were many glorious lanterns set free into the inky sky, filled with hopes, wishes and dreams for my son and his soon-to-be bride.

Love ~ tomorrow’s the BIG DAY!

Kauai ~ Day 4 ~ Wiamea Canyon & AJ’s Celebration

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wiamea Canyon

Today was a full one, which started off with a six hour road trip to Wiamea Canyon.  Dave, Diane and I went without Dustin, who was feeling under the weather.

Kauai is very laid back and only has two lane roads to get everywhere … no super highways here!  There are no roadways through the center part of the island and the perimeter roadway is shaped in a reverse “C.”   So as the crow flies, Wiamea really wasn’t that far from Princeville, but due to the road situation it took us several hours to get there.

Along the way, we drove through “tree tunnel”. This is a natural tunnel that is about half a mile long and is popular with tourists. Diane and I almost got squished a few times trying to snap a good picture. Oh yeah, she also tried to climb the root-like trunk of one of the huge trees. That’s my girl!

The northern part of Hawaii is so plush, green, and very tropical feeling. The southern part is almost desert-like in comparison. We saw this interesting waterfall along the way and had to stop and explore.

This is Kauai?

Wildlife on Kauai didn’t present itself on this island, except for wild roosters and chickens everywhere. There were early wake-up calls at the resort thanks to these fellas.

Isn't he pretty?

Wiamea Canyon is considered to be the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and I think it’s even more breath-taking. It is 10 miles long, one mile wide, and 3,600 feet deep. It’s layers depict the evidence of centuries of lava flow and volcanic eruptions. The shroud of fog that rolled in created a spectacular sight.

Too close!

After a picnic lunch, we headed back to our resort, but found a really cool little artsy town called “Hanapepe”. This name came to be Diane’s favorite word to say in her most girly, southern, voice. (Hana – pay – pay)

Loved this vintage gas pump and vintage truck filled with flowers. I’m thinking that maybe we could do this to our old work truck when it dies. Hmmm?  This rope bridge was kinda interesting as well, although I don’t know its significance.
AJ, Ally’s brother, just graduated with honors just days before traveling to Kauai for the wedding. His parents, Cindy and Brian, invited all of the wedding guest to a big dinner at Bouchon’s, a popular Hanalei sushi restaurant.  My kids were in heaven!

AJ's celebration

I have to admit that I fell in love with a little tropical drink called a “lava flow” which is a pina colada with fresh strawberry puree. Too die for! It is so pretty and unassuming, although it definitely packs a punch. Too bad I don’t like sushi, or let’s say I don’t want to try most of it. There were SO many beautiful plates of it brought out that I think my kids were going crazy (in a good way) with all the choices.  My dinner on the other hand, was teriyaki chicken with fresh pineapple and garlic mashed potatoes. Delicious!

The group had so much fun together. I’m so happy with all the new relationships forged.  So far, this week has been out of this world!

Kauai ~ Day 3 ~Chillin’ at the Westin

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wedding Details

This morning my family went on an open door helicopter ride over the entire island of Kauai, which I opted out of.  While they were out playing, I stayed back at the resort and did a walk-through of possible wedding ceremony sites with the bride, groom, Cindy (Ally’s Mom) and Uncle Buddy (event clergy extraordinaire).

bride, groom & Uncle Buddy

After looking at several different places on the property, Mike and Ally knew they had found the perfect location for their nuptials. The pap’i (covered, thatched roof hut), was located on a cliff overlooking the cerulean waters of the ocean below. It offered the perfect exposure to the soothing trade winds and just the right amount of protection from the possibility of warm rains that northern Kauai is known for.

This is it!

Mike and Ally and their friends went to the southern part of the island to meet the rest of our family at PoiPu Beach Park. They all intended to hike back to a secluded are where they could rope swing into a deep pool of water, but learned that it had been closed due to too many deaths. Huh? They never told me about that sort of danger.

Anyway, they all enjoyed time spent at PoiPu beach and were so luck to have been able to see a monk seal loungin’ around on land. Apparently monk seals have been know to chase and attack people (especially children) who get too close, so I guess there still was an element of danger there too.

I spent time waiting for my parents’ arrival back at our villa, on the lanai (balcony), sipping Kona coffee and reading a book on my Nook. It’s so rare for me to just lounge around and enjoy the tranquil peace of my surroundings. I absolutely LOVED this experience. Later, I had lunch with my parents who arrived in the afternoon.

gorgeous villa

For dinner this night, we had dinner with Monee and Papa at one of the grill areas on the grounds. Michael was able to join us too. At dusk, all the tiki torches are illuminated along the walk-ways, making the whole resort look magical. We truly were in paradise awaiting the most magical wedding I’ve ever seen.

Aloha for now.