When I woke up on our fifth day in Kauai it was still dark outside, but as dawn rose, so did the black storm clouds and wind. By 7:30 a.m. I'd watched two thundershowers drench the area which didn't bode well for our relaxing day in at Hanalei Bay. Instead, we ate breakfast and decided to try snorkeling an Anini Beach. Unfortunately while it was initially beautiful when we arrived, as I sat there reading and Alan went swimming the winds kicked up and a gnarly looking cloud descended on the area.
Rather than wait it out and see if the weather improved, we hopped in the car and drove across the island to Poipu, which is nearly always sunny and a few degrees warmer. Unfortunately while the rains were nowhere in sight, the wind was kicking up something fierce. We managed to find a nice, somewhat sheltered, spot near the Marriott condos in Poipu to set up camp. The snorkeling there was pretty good, but definitely crowded and murky, and getting in and out of the water was difficult given the giant rocks & boulders that came right up to the shore. Oh, and it was very crowded. Still, no rain is a good thing so we enjoyed our time there for the next several hours, swimming, getting tan, eating at Brenneke's, reading and relaxing. As we were getting ready to pack up for the day a couple of turtles started swimming near the rocks near shore, so that was exciting to watch. Before heading back to the condo, we stopped at Koloa Town Shave Ice which I can't recommend. The coconut flavor tasted like aspartame.
Having spent the majority of our time on the north shore, and visited Poipu again on the south shore, I can say with no equivocation that Princeville, Hanalei and all parts north are my favorite parts of the island. Aside from just liking the vibe a bit better, you hit a point along the drive north where you just feel like you've gone from commercial island vacation to jungle paradise and that agrees with me so much more.
Rather than going out to dinner, we decided to stay in and venture over to the grills overlooking the ocean for a sunset meal. There was a resident there who moved from L.A. and unlike the resident we'd chatted with a couple of days before who was very friendly, this guy was a bit strange and seemed almost put out that he had to share the area with visitors. Dude, you live in a condo that rents out to timeshare - you're going to have to meet vacationers if you expect to use the grounds. The one thing that was funny while we were out there though was when his kid and his kid's friend (boys around 8 or 9) came walking through the fence area next to the sign that read "dangerous cliffs, stay back" (or some such dire warning). The guy said that the locals go down there for snorkeling when the water is calm and his kid was looking for freshwater shrimp. In addition to the food we cooked up being good and the fact that I didn't have to get dressed up to go out, the sunset we were treated to that night was among some of the best I've ever seen.
At that point the storm clouds rolled in again so we made our way back to the condo. I strangely love the picture below of my eye looking out into the storm. It's not in focus and you can't really tell what you're looking at, but there's a calmness to it even though you can tell the sky is about to open up and dump water over the ocean in front of us.