Hello Friends and Family,

1975 Kaua‘i, HI, Part 1

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

After another brutal Minnesota winter, the warmth of semi-tropical Hawai‘i began calling my name. Because my first trip to "the islands" a few years earlier was limited to O‘ahu, I decided to visit a couple of the so-called "Neighbor Islands". My first stop? Kaua‘i — north and west of O‘ahu.

After I arrived at the airport, gathered my luggage, and hopped into a rental car, I was off to Poipu, on the sunny south shore of Kaua‘i. One of the surprise treats was the Tree Tunnel which was formed by a beautiful canopy of Eucalyptus trees lining the first mile of highway 520, creating a natural gateway to Kauai’s South Shore (where I was headed).

Years later (in 1992), Hurricane Iniki, the most powerful hurricane to strike Hawai‘i in recorded history, stripped branches and foliage from the trees. Fortunately, they survived and eventually replaced the missing limbs, returning the Tree Tunnel to its former glory.

Eventually, I arrived at the condo where I had booked my stay — Kiahuna Plantation. From their current website, "Old Hawaii meets new — fall in love at Kiahuna Plantation & The Beach Bungalows. These extraordinary beachfront resort condos sit on 35 acres of tropical paradise. Landscaped lawns and gardens burst with fragrant flowers next to the rhythmic surf of Poipu Beach, undeniably one of the best Kaua‘i beaches."

By the way, this experience was so wonderful, I became fully convinced (and still am) that staying in a condo in Hawai‘i is preferable to staying in a hotel. More room, fully-equipped kitchen, and usually cheaper.

Here you get to see some of that ambiance touted on their website. Hmm, a pool? When the ocean is just steps away? To each, his own I guess.

This lady looks like she can't decide — pool or ocean?

I'll pick the beautiful blue ocean with the white sandy beach every day. Love it!

The beach at the Kiahuna Plantation forms a nice crescent which tends to dampen the waves a bit — making it a bit safer while providing nice snorkeling opportunities. Of course, if you would just like to lay on a chaise lounge, you can do that instead.

Looking further down the coast you see the next resort, the Kaua‘i Sheraton. It seems that in the early days, the Sheraton hotel chain was the adventurous company — they often built and operated one of the first resort hotels at the Hawaiian beach locations that were targeted for development on each of the islands.

And it is funny how old memories sometimes pop into your head — such as this one concerning the Kaua‘i Sheraton. They had the first electronic game I had ever seen — Pong. It was pretty primitive compared to today's games — but I found it entertaining to go a few rounds while enjoying the relaxing life in paradise.

I also seem to recall that the Sheraton was later heavily damaged by Hurricane Iniki and it took longer to repair than the properties whose structures were a bit further from the ocean (such as Kiahuna Plantation). But I just checked and they are back in business.

Palm trees! Nothing says "tropical paradise" like palm trees. I was accustomed to seeing them in South Florida from my high school days when I lived there plus during family visits later. However, the palm trees in Florida seemed to suffer from periodic cold spells and plant pathogens so that they never looked as robust as these in Hawai‘i.

I also have fond memories that Kiahuna Plantation had wonderful gardens full of cactus?!!! This looks like a scene from the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. It took me many trips to Hawai‘i to learn, but eventually, I grew to understand that although cactus is not native to Hawai‘i, it will grow there, particularly in the hotter, drier areas.

Seeing these photos of the gardens also reminded me that there was a very nice restaurant nestled in there. A quick Google search refreshed my memory about the place — "Plantation Gardens Restaurant & Bar is located in a beautifully restored plantation manor on the Hawaiian Island of Kaua‘i. Dating back to the 1930s, the estate once served as the plantation manager's home for Hawaii's first sugar plantation, the Koloa plantation. Later, the estate was acquired by the Moir Family who built the world-famous gardens that surround the restaurant."

Further — "Our menu reflects the heritage of old plantation Hawaii, which celebrates the abundance and beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. Our fresh fish is caught daily by local fishermen in waters off Kaua‘i. We use organically grown vegetables and herbs picked fresh on nearby farms and from our own gardens. Guests may choose to dine on our lanai overlooking tranquil gardens, lily ponds, and tropical foliage or in our exquisitely refurbished dining room which features gorgeous Brazilian cherry wood floors, woven bamboo tables, and plantation ceiling fans."

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com