First stop — Midnight Bear Bakery for fresh made bread. They are only bake bread a few days a week and based on the loaf we got at the farmer’s it is tasty. From what we hear when we asked around, it’s the closest we will get to home for our avocado and salmon toast. While at the bakery we checked out the swing bridge quickly in town and then hit the road north.
For a short while we listened to Kevin’s driving tour. The three women all agree, it is still really dorky. Among other places, it navigated us to Gilligan’s Island Beach – a super quick stop. What we did start to notice here as we head into the eastern region is both a significant shift in the climate, vegetation, and housing. Houses are larger and more spaced, vegetation as we enter the wetter areas of the island is lush and green, and it’s obvious they get a lot more rain. Kauai for the first time is starting to look like a tropical island. Moods shift a little here as it also starts to look less like America Generica.
What is still present is great produce – hence a quick stop at a farmer’s market in the east side to up our banana, mango, pineapple, and lychee supply.
Next stop on the listening tour – a national monument – lighthouse. With COVID, reservations made well in advance are required to go down to the light house, so instead we admire it from the cliffs above, which offers a great view of the light house and of the local bird colonies. From this distance, we have our fill and are quickly on our way.
We hit Princeville at 12:15pm and in a line of traffic, which comes with a first introduction to the local road closures on the way to Haneli. Specifically, there was a major landslide that took out the one road to the towns furthest to the north. On week days you can get through with one lane of traffic only three times a day (5:30am – 7:45am; 1:00pm to 2:30pm; and 5:30pm to 11:00pm). People’s lives are planned around when the road is open. So we wait until 1:00pm.
One of the first to the other side, we drove past the town straight to the tunnels beach. Kevin asked a couple of scuba folks best place to park because it was a pretty narrow residential road, turned out we were sitting on a little road that had some parking so they suggested right there. Both because we were early and because we asked, we lucked out. A half and hour later we found people circling trying to find a place to park.
So here is where Jenney starts to learn to relax. We kick off the afternoon snorkeling. The topography here is really cool. The reef is a bit deeper, so easy to swim over and then it drops off a shelf. The fish aren’t as concentrated, but there is a lot to explore. Given the drop off, you can imaging coming upon much larger sea life here (a shark). Note I said imagine. We stay in the water a long time, until folks start to get cold. Then the miraculous happened, we ate and laid in the shade under a tree on the beach. Yes, Jenney actually sat on the beach with a book for over an hour.
Afternoon waning and a desire for shave ice, we packed up. When we got back to the car just as we went to pull out we noticed the tire pressure on the front right tire was very low. We got out to look and sure enough we had a flat tire. Jenney and Kevin change the tire while Logan and Teryn work walked down the road to the beach house to go the bathroom.
While we were changing the tire, we attempted to call roadside assistance and were on hold for about a half an hour before the phone just cut out. Good thing we can change a tire ourselves, but noted for the future.
By the time we got into town we missed shave ice, which closed at 6 o’clock. The good news, it was after 5:30pm and the road was open. We sailed past the landslide and into the campground at Anini Beach just before sunset (sunset is 7:20pm). We staked out a campsite, choosing the sunrise side (less crowded) over the sunset side. Ultimately we decided to share an area with a nice (young) couple from Portland Oregon. Jen and Jacob. The girls watched the sunset, Kevin and Jenney pitched the tents, and before we knew it it was dark. County campgrounds we learned have public toilets inside, but showers like at all day use beaches, outside with only one temperature. Good enough to rinse the sand off we suppose.
Sleep came quickly with a goal of rising early.