Once again, I woke up in the pre-dawn hours. Why I ask you, why?!? This time it was 3:30 a.m. Ridonkulous.
After reading for several hours, Alan woke up and we decided to go into Hanalei for breakfast. The day before we had spied the menu at a restaurant called Kalypso - on it was something called tropical benedict which had poached eggs, grilled mahi mahi and some sort of "tropical hollandaise" sauce. I was all over it like white on rice. To make matters even more thrilling they had another dish that was a taro cake and Alan was jonesing for it something fierce. We arrived in Hanalei to find - much to our disappointment - that Kalypso wasn't open until 11 a.m. and that these two items were nowhere to be found on its menu. We thought we must have dreamed it. Instead, we ate at Wake Up Hanalei, a little cafe on the main strip there that clearly caters to surfers and locals. The food wasn't great, but the view was and since we were starving it hit the spot.
From there we drove out to Kilauea to visit the lighthouse and bird sanctuary and then to go to Secret Beach. In 2008 we tried to see the lighthouse and wildlife refuge but we went on Labor Day and because it's run by the government it was closed due to the national holiday. The information they have on hand is interesting and informative and you can learn a lot about the birds of Kauai if that is of interest to you. If it's not and you're on a tight schedule, I would recommend skipping the lighthouse altogether as you can drive down, see it from afar and then go on your merry way. That said, the view up and down the coast here is magnificent.
From the lighthouse we headed down to Secret Beach. Our old guidebook told us there'd be a dirt road and a hike down. We apparently missed the dirt road and kept driving to a bay thinking it was the secret beach. Given that our book was old and that when we went to Kona last year a formerly "secret beach" now had a paved road to it and bathrooms and showers, we didn't think much of it ... just that in the time we last bought our guidebook until now word had gotten out and people had started going to the beach on a regular basis. It was a nice enough beach, but while sitting there I couldn't figure out why people would make a big deal about it. Alan decided to walk out over the lava pools to the left - which were described in the book - and while doing so met a local who told him this was not in fact Secret Beach and that we'd missed the turnoff to it about a mile back. We hung out there for awhile longer and then decided that we'd try to find the real secret beach.
This time we were successful and after parking our car, we started the hike down to the beach (which you can actually see a sliver of in the photo above). The descent was rather steep and because of the ironwood needles that had dropped was also very slippery. We managed to maintain our footing but knew that coming back up would be less than pleasant. We got to the bottom of the hill to find what can only be described as the HOTTEST SAND ON EARTH. It was burning our feet THROUGH our flipflops.
We found some shade to sit in but I didn't love this particular stretch of beach or the crazy churning water that was pounding the shore so we grabbed our chairs and other beach paraphernalia and made our way down the shore to a spot that was a bit more private with more shade. The beach down that side really was extremely gorgeous and we were lucky to have so much privacy. Unfortunately the water had a huge rip current and it wasn't very good to go swimming in. Still, it was a nice place to sit with a book and maybe get your feet wet.
A little further down the beach there were some tidepools that were shallow and bath-water-warm but some locals who knew about us beat us there and so we only played for a couple of minutes before returning to our stretch of private sand further up the way.
After Secret Beach we stopped at Banana Joe's for smoothies and an iced pineapple thingymajig before hanging out at the pool for an hour or so before dinner at Hanalei Dolphin, a sushi and seafood restaurant in - appropriately enough - Hanalei. The dinner came highly recommended from some co-workers and while we loved the hamachi collar with ponzu sauce we had while waiting (for an hour), the rest of the meal - grilled mahi mahi and the dreaded grilled walu - was just okay. I heard those who had the sushi though were very happy with it.
We went back to the condo and within 15 minutes of getting home I was once again passed out cold.