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Experiencing Kauai – Day 2


The Milky Way from Whalers Cove Resort

Buy a print of the Milky Way & palm trees photo here!

Day 2 on Kauai began with a slightly late start – we were too comfortable sleeping in! We had been scheduled for our Na Pali coast snorkel tour that morning, but it’d been postponed to the next day due to weather concerns, leaving us with a wide-open day to do whatever we wanted. So, after we managed to wake up, our first mission was to find some delicious breakfast – and it was off to Kapaa’s Java Kai!

Morning sunlight streaming into our room.

Ed making sure our Google Calendar’s are updated with our travel itinerary.

There are barely any photos of us together most of the time, because one of us is usually behind the camera being artsy, but here’s a snapshot!

The tunnel of trees (With our responsible car-mounted phone navigation!)

Java Kai is an awesome little coffee shop in Kapaa – the third location of the local franchise. The brightly colored building is really eye-catching, and the menu and coffee was great! Ed and I had as much fun photographing everything as we did eating breakfast.

Ed posing in the doorway.

Gotta love latte art!

We love skull motifs.

The extensive drink menu!

Surfer Girl breakfast bagel!

I don’t think I have enough hairbands on my wrist. ;) Also, Ono Pops cameo in the background!

After our delicious breakfast, we drove over to Kauai’s Hindu Monastery, about fifteen minutes away.  As a World Religion minor in college, I’ve always wanted to visit it. The main Iraivan Siva temple has been under construction for several years, and the monks hope it will reach completion by 2017. The process is slow because all the stonework is being done in India, and the construction of the temple is dependent on donations.  We had a great time photographing the grounds (no photography is allowed in their Kadavul Temple, though the daily services are open to the public), meeting some of the monks, and enjoying the beautiful serenity of the area.

*Please note, descriptions of the specific Gods and traditions at the temple have been quoted from temple resources!

Burning a personal problem written on paper at the temple’s entrance gazebo, or the ‘pua kenikeni mandapam’. I’ve actually felt a bit better since then!


The entrance offers pens, paper, and a lighter for burning the problems, as well as sarongs for wrapping around one’s legs, as there is a dress code for the temple grounds.

The Nepalese Ganesha statue at the entrance, with offerings and incense.

Genesha is the “Remover of Obstacles and God of Good Timing”, blessing all visitors to the temple.

Ganesha’s bell that visitors sound as they proceed up the path.

The beautiful temple entrance gate.

Our first stop up the pathway was the ancient Indian banyan tree. I’ve grown up with banyan trees everywhere, but this one was quite impressive!

The statue of Lord Shanmuga, a six-faced God that “guides the transformation of the instinctive into a divine wisdom through the practice of yoga.”

The ‘Temple Tank’, featuring a statue of the child saint, Saint Sambandar.

The in-progress Iraivan Temple. Actually going up to the temple requires a guide, or coming on a scheduled tour day.

While we were photographing the temple, we had the honor of meeting Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami, who is the Editor-in-Chief of Hinduism Today, an international Hinduism magazine. He allowed us a brief glimpse into their office, where Ed enjoyed capturing photographs of the traditionally-garbed monks using modern technology.  Our new monk friend then took us on a short walk into the guided-tour-only area to give us a closer look at the Iraivan Temple, as well as share some of the unique plants of the monastery’s flora collection.

My portrait of Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami.

Tradition co-existing with modern times!

Honestly, I wish I had an office this nice! :)

The concrete structure is actually one of the monks’ homes! They each sleep in a 1-room structure that has no electricity or running water on a hard surface.

A rare ‘Turtle Vine’, or Dioscorea macrostachya, which sends vines up nearby trees to access sunlight.

The base of the flagpole has ceramic arrow tiles marking the cardinal directions. The tiles were designed by the monks and commissioned from a local Kauai artist!

The Iraivan Temple and the gardens in front of it. This was as close as we got this trip, but we hope to go back on a tour day someday soon!

After we left the monastery, we decided to make the long drive from Kapaa to the world-famous Waimea Canyon. However, the higher we drove up the winding road, the cloudier it got, and once we got to the lookout, we were treated to a bowl of clouds. Alas, we can’t fight the weather, but it was pretty neat regardless.

Literally, a bowl full of clouds!

Poor Ed…I’ve been to Waimea Canyon before, but this was his first time! We’ll come back on a clearer day someday.

The clouds added a big sense of mystery to the canyon.

I think I was chasing dragonflies during this shot…there were a lot flying around the canyon’s rim!

Hi, husband.

This was about as clear as it got during our time up there.

The non-native Lantana plant is still very pretty.

We decided to just head back to our hotel to get ready for our dinner meeting after it started raining around Waimea Canyon, but a road sign made us do an abrupt right turn, bringing us to…a Russian fort? Yes, we found the ruins of Russian Fort Elizabeth, the last remaining Russian fort in Hawaii. Just the outline of the fort’s rock walls remains, with few remnants of interior structures, but it was neat to check out, and also surprised us with a pretty black sand beach at the river mouth right next to it.

The fort ruins from the parking lot.

Strolling down the path to the beach/fort entrance.

Artsy weed portrait.

I get distracted by random things sometimes.

“Oh, hi.”

Behind every small photographer should be an awesome sherpa husband. ;)

Before checking out the fort, I got distracted by the black sand beach nearby!

Moments later, I dropped my bag and headed to the water. Yes, this is what it’s like to travel with me – I find the really random things interesting to photograph!

Gotta love black sand & wave abstractions!

Sand abstractions too!

My patient husband, waiting for me to finish chasing waves.

Love it :)

Heading back to the Russian fort.

The stairs up and into the fort.

What’s left of the interior of the fort. By this time, I was too hot and tired to go all the way in to explore it fully.

Even though the fort itself wasn’t too exciting, the surrounding landscape was beautiful!

Action shot of the sherpa-husband. For the record, he refers to himself as that!

So long, Russian Fort Elizabeth!

Finally, we stopped back at Whalers Cove Resort to shower and change, then headed out to Duke’s for our dinner meeting with our fellow travel bloggers and Sue Kanoho, the Executive Director of the Kauai Visitor’s Bureau.


Nadine’s Mai Tai – “A 15 oz. frozen blend of Hawaiian juices, vanilla cream, passion fruit, and premium rums”. This was truly delicious, and I’m definitely ordering it next time I’m there!

Seared seven spice ahi with mustard sauce.

The famous hula pie!

Once dinner was over, we got back to Whalers Cove Resort in time to enjoy the pool for a bit before it closed, so we decided to take our Canon D20 rented from Hawaii Photo Rental for a test run before our snorkel trip the next morning. I end this post with a random shot Ed took of me:


  • Dinner at Duke’s was provided by the Kauai Visitor’s Bureau.
  • Java Kai, the Hindu Monastery, and Russian Fort Elizabeth were visited independent from our itinerary, and Waimea Canyon was suggested.


 Re-experience our trip on Storify!

Or, search the #DNWKauai hashtag on Twitter.



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