Kauai: Paradise Found

Sunday, June 03, 2018

I was afraid at first that Hawaii would not impress. Living in California, I've gotten used to landscapes that wow people: lush green hills swept with fog blankets, spindly fan palms reaching skyward, world-famous beaches within an hour's drive.

I needn't have worried. While there are some similiarities, Kauai, especially the north shore, is more jungle than turf; the palms are heavy with coconuts and are covered with Jack-and-the-Beanstalk vines. The mountains are emerald velvet, and there are vast watery taro fields, their leaves glinting in the elusive sun. Multihued roosters own the island, crowing at all hours.

180526 Rooster and road

We promised ourselves some relax-by-the-pool time on this trip, so we did just that on the day we arrived.

180525 Westin Princeville

On the second day, we had the decadent breakfast buffet at Makana Terrace, at the St. Regis. The view of Hanalei Bay was dreamy -- it was a rotating scene of fog, rain, and rainbows.

180526 From Makana Terrace

We then ventured further, to Anini Beach. It reminded me of beaches in the Virgin Islands -- rustic and sheltered by lots of greenery. There were several snorkelers.

180526 Snorkelers Anini Beach

At lunch (with a view of the ocean, because we could), I noticed some men putting up a driftwood arch, perhaps for a wedding. They seemed determined to make it sturdy and took their time building it so I got a sketch of them in while waiting for food.

180526 Men making arch

The next day we dodged raindrops all morning before taking a (rather rough) catamaran cruise to see the Na Pali coast.

180527 Na Pali 1

I'd wisely brought Yupo paper and a pencil since I'd heard the sea spray could be intense, and I was happy I'd done that. I used a plastic clipboard and a binder clip to keep everything in place as the wind and water whipped the pages. I added watercolor later -- that would have been way too difficult on the boat.

180527 Na Pali 2

180527 Na Pali 3

180527 Na Pali 4

The following morning we kayked the Wailua River. It was a two-person sit-on-top kayak, so I was able to sketch a little between downpours.

180528 From the kayak 1

180528 From the kayak 2

The last day, I set up my plein air easel and did a quick oil painting of Hanalei Bay, from Waioli Beach Park. I was working in bright sunlight (for once!), so it will need a few touch-ups in the studio.

Although there were some parts of the North Shore still closed after April's devastating flood, we were able to see quite a bit. It's sad that media coverage of the flooding (and of the volcanic eruption on the Big Island) has kept tourists away from this beautiful state. I've talked to several people in California who cancelled trips or decided against visiting. What a shame. Hawaii relies on our dollars, so it's a great time to visit. Go, spend time in this beautiful place, and spend money at the local businesses. Aloha!

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  1. Great sketches! It is a shame that so many people are avoiding going there when it is only affecting such a large area.

  2. Love your sketches! Brought back wonderful memories of the Garden Isle.