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Kauai 2013 – Day 4

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Raining sunset view of Hanalei Bay from the St. Regis Princeville. Panorama print available here!

Our fourth day on Kauai began and ended with rain, but in a lot of ways it made the experience more memorable. After grabbing a quick breakfast of pastries and coffee from the Napali Cafe, we headed down to the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor to meet up with the Outfitters Kauai team for our kayak adventure up Hule’ia River.

The clouds were ominous, but it just added to the adventure. Hule’ia River was a shooting location for the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark, so I was pretending we were going on an adventure for lost treasure.

We came equipped with both the waterproof GoPro, and my camera back in the water-housing.

The overgrown mangroves have almost completely hidden the entrance to the legendary Menehune Fishpond, Alekoko.

The river was very calm, with the banks lined with abundant mangroves (which have proved to be out of control, choking out the native flora in the area). We slowly paddled along, with our fantastic guide pointing out the various sights, including the almost hidden entrances to the legendary Menehune Fishpond.  Ed and I maneuvered closer to him so we could hear his awesome stories as we went along.

I admit, I was totally letting this guy do most of the work…but I did paddle a little bit!

This was the first time I’d been kayaking in years, and it was a lot of fun!

There were spots along the banks of the river where the mangrove had been kept back, and rope swings were available for swinging into the water.

As soon as we got to the end of the kayaking portion of the adventure, it began to absolutely pour. Happily, my camera was kept safe and dry within its housing, and I was free to continue taking pictures as we hiked into the forest to our lunch destination.

Our guide tying up the kayaks in the rain for pickup later.

Heading into the jungle.

Apparently our rainstorm was the first serious rain in a while, as a lot of the streams weren’t flowing very much.

After walking past streambeds and trickling waterfalls, we hiked up a hill to our lunch spot, complete with a table and wooden benches. The guide distributed condiments for the sandwiches that had been packed into the waterproof backpacks provided by the tour, and we all dug in with gusto.

The forest view from our lunch spot.

It was really relaxing after the kayaking and hiking to sit back and enjoy nature.

The best picnic spread!

Once we were done with lunch, we hiked back to the river to hitch a ride on the motorized double-hull canoe that also towed our kayaks back with us.  Our shoes were completely caked in mud, hence the dirty footprints everywhere in the photo!

Cruising down a beautiful river…I could get used to this life!

Once we returned to the harbor, it was time to drop off our rental car and get back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Scrubbing off the mud into some semblance of being civilized actually took some effort!  The theme of the group dinner at the St. Regis Princeville Resort was “Life’s Celebration”, and featured signature dishes by Executive Chef Leanne Kamekona, with the menu and decor styled after a wedding that had been held there previously.  Though I myself am no longer a part of the wedding industry, I had to shoot the beautiful styling – though I admit to losing interest in photographing the food as the night went on simply because it was some of the best food I’ve ever eaten, and I kept forgetting to wait to take the photos.

A break in the gloomy grey clouds treated us to a subdued, yet beautiful sunset view.

Our evening began with the St. Regis tradition of champagne sabering.

The champagne sabering occurs daily at sunset, and is a tradition at St. Regis resorts around the world.

Champagne and sunset.

For events, the St. Regis Princeville has its own in-house stylists for flowers, table settings, and even outdoor wedding structures!

Pure photo-candy – all the bokeh you could ever want.

I’ve been to plenty of weddings in my day, but the decor here was simply exquisite.

There were also examples of decorated cakes, made in-house by their Executive Pastry Chef, Heather Campbell.

Loved the colors on this one.

Constant wine and champagne service was excellent.

We were told that the in-house stylists use mostly local resources for their creations.

A luxurious, elegant dinner.

The menu.

Roasted Beets Salad with Baby Arugula, Beets Carpaccio, Li Hing Mui Pickled Mango, Candied Pecan Nuts, Goat Cheese, and Honey Dressing.

It really was a fantastic evening, and probably one of the best dinners I’ve ever had.

We continued eating and drinking into the night. After an amazing cake tasting to finish the meal, we took a quick tour of the venue options in the hotel before heading to the bar to continue chatting with everyone over the St. Regis Bar until it was time to go to bed.

Our kayak adventure with Outfitter’s Kauai, and our stay and dinner at the St. Regis Princeville Resort were sponsored by the Kauai Visitor’s Bureau.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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