Archive for March, 2014

The Captains Kauai Week – Day Five

It’s the fifth and final day of Kauai week!  Here’s the rest of the fun stuff from the trip in another well timed Friday 5

Top 5 Bonus Bits From The Kauai Trip

1.  I spent a nite in LA on the way to Kauai

Getting to Kauai is always a bit of an ordeal; it’s in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!  We’ve found that planning fun little layovers really helps break up the long days of traveling.  On the way to Kauai we spent the night in Los Angeles at a nice hotel near LAX.  I had not been in LA in over ten years, so it was awesome to see a bit of the town again.  Also interesting was some of the responses I got while in town.  Apparently all the Dodgers fans were still pissed off about losing in the Playoffs in the previous month.  Let’s just say my Cardinals gear did not go too well with the locals.  Ha!

 

 LAX

 

2.  On the way back I spent a morning in Seattle

We had a fun West Coast bookend both ways!  We booked a midnite flight out of Kauai so we could sleep the majority of the way across the big ocean.  I was asleep sound asleep until we touched down on a rainy Friday morning in Seattle.  A planned five hour layover gave us a couple of hours to run around town.  Seattle has wonderful light rail system that starts at airport and ends downtown.  I had never been to Seattle, so it was a great way to quickly see the sights.  Although I definitely wasn’t ready for the weather transition from warm and sunny to cold and windy!  But it was still awesome to be a tourist for a couple of hours.  We went to Pikes Place Market, of course

 

 Pikes Place

 

And Meg got to visit the very first Starbucks!

 

 1st starbucks

 

It was a great little bonus before heading home.

3.  The weather on Kauai was challenging

The first two trips we took to Kauai back in 2005 were mostly sunny and warm.  That was some incredible luck, as Kauai is one of the rainiest places on earth.  This time around we weren’t quite as lucky.  We had at least three afternoons cut short by rain.  It was much rainier than either trip from 2005.  But more rain means more rainbows!

 

 Captain Rainbow

 

Even with the rain we managed to work around it.  For example

4. We hiked to a waterfall on top of mountain

Our second full day on the island was a Saturday and the forecast called for rain most of the day.  However, the local weatherman said there would be a brief window of dryness in the morning.  We were originally planning a 6 hours hike up Waimea Canyon but had to change plans based on the weather.  We found a shorter 3 hour hike around the same area and started out much earlier than planned.  Our revised plan worked out well and we were rewarded with some astonishing views.

 Hiking 2

 

Hiking 4

 

Hiking 5

 

Hiking 1

Highlighted by the waterfalls at the end of the trail

Hiking 3

 

Kauai Waterfall

And we managed to make it off the mountain just in time.  It was pouring by the time we returned to car and the rain continued to fall hard for the rest of the day.  Careful planning and good timing served us well the entire trip, but none more so than on our beautiful hike.

5.  Marriage Equality

During our trip the Hawaiian State Legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage and the Governor signed the bill.  How awesome is that?!  As a big supporter of Marriage Equality it felt awesome to be present for such a momentous occasion.  Proposing marriage in Kauai back in 2005 was one of the highlights of my life, and I’m thrilled to know that every person now has that right in Hawaii.  And what a positive way to end Kauai Week; thanks for joining me!

 

 equality

 

Ciao,

The Captain

The Captains Kauai Week – Day Four

It’s day four of Kauai week and it’s time to get fancy!  Because it doesn’t get much more luxurious than the resort we stayed at on the second part of our trip.  The Grand Hyatt Kauai is breathtaking.  Words and picture do not do it justice.  The view from the lobby is unreal.

 lobby view sun

The resort routinely makes lists for best in the world, and for good reason.  Every inch of the hotel has an incredible view.

 Hyatt long view

 

I would spend every day there if I was given the chance.  The ocean views

 

Hyatt grounds

 

Immaculate grounds

 

Hyatt Hammock

 

Amazing pool

 

Kauai pool 1

 

Fake lagoon

 

Lagoon

 

It is a true luxury resort and damn if I don’t like nice things.  We spent two days lounging by the pool

 

Pool drinks

Pool lounging

 

Ate some great meals

 

beach lunch

 

Kauai dinner

 

And just kicked back whenever we wanted.

 

Hyatt lobby

Hyatt lobby 2

Hyatt Lobby 3

Hyatt Hammock 2

 

The pictures really tell the story better than me.

That resort is a wonderful place on a magical island.  I left Kauai with a sense of inner peace that was sorely need.  After a week on the island I found a calmness that had eluded me for the entire year.  It was a delightful way to move past the sorrow of the rest of 2013.  Thank you Kauai for picking me up when I was down.

 

Hyatt sunset

 

Ciao,

The Captain

The Captains Kauai Week – Day Three

Welcome back to Kauai Week!  Yesterday I covered the first part of the trip and the fabulous home we were privileged to enjoy.  I’m pushing back part two at the resort until tomorrow.  Today I wanted to share why Kauai is such an important place to Meg and me.  And the best way to do that is with a #WaybackWednesday picture!  Here’s Meg and me from our first trip to Kauai in March 2005.

kauai 2005

 

Damn we look young; it’s hard to believe that picture was taken 9 years ago.  It’s even harder to believe that we managed to take a trip to Hawaii during the first year of our relationship.  It was pretty amazing at the time, and now it almost doesn’t seem believable.  Our trip in March 2005 was the first time I had been off of the North American continent, but Megan had already been several times.  She had fallen in love with Hawaii when she was a kid, as it was an important place for her family.  Her parents had been traveling to the islands since the early 1970s and it was their favorite place to visit.  Her father so loved the island of Kauai that he asked for his ashes to be spread there after his passing.  On my first trip there I could immediately see why her family had so much love for the island.  It’s a magical place.

How Meg and I ended up there so soon after we started dating was mostly due to good timing.  We both talked frequently about our love for the beach when we first started dating.  Early on I joked that we should go there for vacation for my first spring break in graduate school.  And as fate would have it, I had some extra money and airline miles lying around that made it possible for an unemployed graduate student to take a spring break trip to Hawaii.  What can I say, 2005 was during the boom years where everyone seemed to have a little extra.  We just made it happen.  And it was amazing.  On that first trip to Hawaii is when I decided I wanted to propose to Meg.  So I returned to the States and worked my butt off to make it happen.  We returned to Kauai 8 months later for second trip.  And in November of 2005 I proposed to Meg on the beach at sunset.  It was on the same beach at sunset from the picture above, and it was pretty damn romantic if you ask me.

 

Proposal

 

As you can imagine, we took a ton of pictures on our first two trips to Kauai.  I bought my first digital camera prior to the trip and we filled two memory cards full of amazing picture.  It was a brilliant in retrospect.  I have a ton of great beach picture of us looking all young and healthy.

 Secret Beach 2005

 

Everything about those trips was great timing.  Something about Kauai has always been good timing for us.  In fact, on this last trip we were there on the 8th anniversary of proposal.  We went back to the same beach to take sunset pictures, but the weather was not cooperative.  The view was still pretty incredible.

 

Letters in the sand

 

Now as it turns out, I am writing about Kauai in March of 2014, 9 years after first trip.  The island holds a special place in both of our hearts; it’s something that we will always share with each other.  The Captain and Meg are two ocean people who just happen to live in the Midwest!  Check back tomorrow for day four of Kauai Week at the resort.

 

Ciao,

The Captain

The Captains Kauai Week – Day Two

Day two of Kauai Week is here and it’s finally time let the sun shine.  To the beach!

 

hawaii gif

 

My Kauai Trip lasted a solid week, which was a long time but still managed to feel short.  Meg and I arrived on the island on a Thursday afternoon and left the following Thursday nite.  One week that consisted of two parts.  The first leg of the trip we stayed at a private house rental and the second leg was spent at a resort.  So today I’ll cover the first part at the fancy house we rented.  This story begins, as so many of my stories do lately, with my wife going shopping.  Meg used VRBO.com to shop for a private home to rent.  With three of us on the trip including my mother in law it made sense to look for a place to share.  And with 3 of us splitting costs we were able to get a pretty amazing house.  The picture on the website made it look great, but in person it was totally amazing.  The house was situated up in the mountains in a private area where a bunch of rich people built homes.  Our rental was owned by two old hippies who made a bunch of money on construction in the States.  They lived up the street and maintained this house as a rental property.  And they knew what they were doing.  The view of the rock garden patio from the living room simply exquisite.

 kauai living room

kauai living room 2

And the rest of the yard was gorgeous too.

kauai yard

Rock Garden Final

With a bonus hot tub!

kauai hottub

The interior included a full kitchen and a great lanai

lanai

The bedrooms were cozy and came with a lovely view

kauai bedroom

Check out my view from bed

bed view

Even shower had a great view!

Kauai shower

Basically it was the coolest vacation spot I’ve ever rented.  One of the major selling points for me was the kitchen.  A refrigerator and dishwasher meant we could do some light cooking, which was awesome.  The recently opened Costco on the island made it even more awesome!  We were able to save a bunch of money on expensive meals by just eating at home.  Plus the house was super relaxing to boot.

But of course we did much more than just hang out at house.  We went to the beach!

 Beach Tree 2 Beach Tree Kauai beach 2

And we took a ton of pictures of the beach, because of course.  Almost everywhere in Kauai is naturally beautiful.  It’s so scenic that we even planned ahead so we could take a picture for our X-mas cards.

Xmas card

Amazing pictures, amateur photographers!

Check out this amazing waterfall view from right off the road.

Roadside Waterfall

Or my view for the Rams-Colts Sunday morning game.

Kauai Rams

I even managed to take a striking picture of a rainbow while driving past a graveyard.

kauai rainbow

We spent a total of five nights at the house, and during those day is when we did most of our exploring around the island. We hit a few Tiki Bars

beach drinks

Dukes

There was even one day where the ladies took the car shopping and I stayed back and enjoyed a Mai Tai on the Lanai by myself.  It had predictable results.

Captain Buddha

After several days of beach hopping we were ready to head to the resort and relaxing for a few days before the dreaded flight back home.  Check back later this week for the second part of my Kauai Trip!

Ciao,

The Captain

The Captains Kauai Week – Day One

Welcome back everyone.  I’ve got some good news:  Bad News Week is over!  Let’s head to Hawaii, because today I’m kicking off Kauai Week at Captains Quarters!

Well, I may have jumped the gun just now.  I should have said the bad news is almost over.  It’s more of a transition away from that, actually.  A little bit of last week is where I will start.  Last Wednesday I wrote about discovering the body of my neighbor after he took his own life.  What I didn’t mention is that this happened five hours before I left with Meg left for Hawaii.  I had taken the day off finish packing for my trip, and when I returned home around 2pm from running some last minute errands I made the ghastly discovery.  We spent a couple of hours assisting the police before we left for the airport for our 7pm flight.  A horrific jolt then off to paradise.

As you can imagine it made for a very traumatic start to our trip.  It initially knocked me back on my ass.  But I had lots of time to think on both of my 5-hour plane rides, and this is when I began to feel the sense of relief I mentioned last week.  Much like the East Coast Trip after the death of my cousin, the Kauai Trip was well suited to help me take my mind off of a very recent tragic event.  In fact, the trip itself was already planned as a way to say goodbye.  The trip was arranged for the purpose of spreading the ashes of Megan’s deceased father.  By the time November came it had been almost a year since the trip was booked and I was already looking forward to letting go of some grief.  The difficult months since then just meant that there was a lot more grief to release.

The ceremony for Megan’s father was beautiful and it helped me heal more than I would have imagined.  Meg, her mother and I chartered a boat to Shipwreck Beach for the ceremony.  Megan and her mother spread the ashes in the Pacific Ocean at sunset as a local chanter blessed the memory of her father.

AshesIt was an intensely moving experience for me and something that I will remember forever. 

k sunset

The profound feelings I experienced really helped me to say goodbye to everyone that I had lost over the course of the past year.  Honoring the dead is an important part of life and this ceremony helped make it possible for me to move on in my mind.  The sadness will always be there, but I was able to say goodbye to the pain and grief.  Kauai helped make it possible for me to move on, and for that I will always be grateful.  Stay tuned tomorrow for much more Kauai.

 

Ciao,

The Captain

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