Jonna and Alan's family gathering in Kauai

Jonna's brother Jamie put together a plan to bring his extended family together in Hawaii to celebrate his 35th wedding anniversary. This included Jamie and Kelly, their kids Larkin, Brianna and Rosie. Larkin's girlfriend Gelly, Brianna's kids Amara and Quess. Kelly's brother Pat and his two boys Gus and Jasper, Kelly's mother Judy and Judy's sister-in-law Julie. Oh, and us. Since we were getting our own condo, we extended an invitation to Alan's parent's Brenda and Harvey to join us. Multiple condos were rented at Hanalei Bay Resort and for 10 days we all enjoyed the tropical paradise that is Kauai. We got out for snorkeling, hiking and sightseeing but we also spent plenty of timing just hanging out by the pool and on the nearby beach.

Here are some of our favorite photos from the trip (each photo is a thumbnail linked to a higher quality picture.):

1) Hanalei Bay Resort, Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii, August 2, 2022 - The view from our rented condo was fantastic. In the photo, the pool and resort grounds are promenient but to the naked eye it is the towering mountains, distant waterfalls and the crashing surf that most dominate the view. Our condo unit was old (probably built in the 1970s and in places looked a little worn but was comfortable and fully functional. We spent as much time out on the patio enjoying this view as we did indoors.

2) Hanalei Bay Beach, Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii, August 2, 2022 - One of the highlights of the Hanalei Bay Resort is their near private beach (It is technically public but access is difficult from anywhere except from the resort so often there are only about a dozen people hanging out on the beach) which is on the eastern side of Hanalei Bay. Over the ten days were where there we spent time relaxing on the beach, snorkeling on the (mostly dead) coral reef just off shore and sea-kayaking along the coast.

3) Hanalei Bay Resort, Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii, August 2, 2022 - The other highlight of the resort is their large, central pool. It is a little tropical oasis with waterfalls, flowering plants and even a small "beach" area with a sandy bottom. Amara and Quess visited the pool for a few hours every day!

4) Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kauai, Hawaii, August 3, 2022 - One of the few outings we took was an all-day snorkel trip with Holo Holo Charters. The first part of the boat trip was a scenic cruise along the famous Nāpali Coast. The boat had "dry" seating in the stern and more standing area up front for the more adventurous types that included getting splashed when the dual catamaran hull's bows smacked into the swell. Jamie chose an spot halfway in between which gave him a regular misting...

5) Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kauai, Hawaii, August 3, 2022 - The northwest coastline of the Nāpali Coast is stunning. At this stop the crew of the boat took this photo of Jonna and I with the amazing backdrop of the Nāpali Coast.

6) The Vert, Lehua Crater, Niihau, Hawaii, August 3, 2022 - The snorkeling destination for was the Lehua Crater, just north of the island of Niihau. The specific spot we anchored was called "The Vert" and was a coral shelf with a 200+ ft drop off. The water was incredibly clear and the coral shelf was home to thousands of fish. However, the crew kept swimmers away from the shallower coral so ultimately the snorkel trip consisted of just floating along the edge of the shelf in the big bright blue. I wasn't feeling well anyway and, with nothing else to see, I thought this got boring pretty fast.

7) The Vert, Lehua Crater, Niihau, Hawaii, August 3, 2022 - Rosie playing mermaid while diving down to the edge of the shelf.

8) The Vert, Lehua Crater, Niihau, Hawaii, August 3, 2022 - In addition to all the fish, the other highlight of being in the water was seeing the way the sunlight filtered down through the clear water giving visible rays stabbing down into the deep.

9) The Vert, Lehua Crater, Niihau, Hawaii, August 3, 2022 - Larkin was also playing around free diving down into the deep water to see the side of the coral shelf.

10) Kalalau Trail, Ke’e To Hanakāpīʻai section, Nāpali Coast, Wainiha, Kauai, Hawaii, August 5, 2022 - Our second major outing from the resort was a trip up to the north coast to hike the world famous Kalalau Trail. We drove cars up to the little village of Waipa and then took a shuttle bus to the trailhead at Ke'e beach. We did 2 mile one-way hike to Hanakkāpīʻai beach in the rain but then the clouds cleared out so our return trip was under bright blue sky. Harvey, at 78, was the eldest hiker in our group and made the whole 4+ mile trip!

11) Kalihiwai Beach, Kalihiwai, Kauai, Hawaii, August 6, 2022 - One day Jamie, Rosie, Jonna and Alan left the resort to grab lunch at the Kilauea Fish Market and, while we were out, headed to nearby Kalihiwai Beach. Jamie, Rosie and Jonna all went for a dip while Alan relaxed on the beach (under a palm tree to avoid the sprinkle of rain that passed through.)

12) Hanalei Bay Resort, Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii, August 6, 2022 - We always enjoyed the view from our condo's balcony but the colorful sunsets were particularly spectacular as we had a near perfect view of where the sun dropped below the horizon.

13) Hanalei Bay, Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii, August 7, 2022 - In some ways, the snorkeling right off the beach at our resort was better than at Lehua Crater. The water clarity wasn't great since the surf's break contantly churned up silt but there were plenty of fish to see even right at the shoreline and if you swam out to where the living coral dropped off into deeper water there were sea turtles! This large school of Manini Convict Tangs seemed to hang out near the sea turtles because across the three days we snorkeled off this beach we always spotted sea turtles immediately after running into this school.

14) Hanalei Bay, Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii, August 7, 2022 - We saw Honu, aka Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, most of the time we went out snorkeling or sea-kayaking. Getting to swim with these graceful animals was the highlight of the trip for many of us. We tried to be respectful - giving the turtles plenty of space and only swimming with them for a short time - but every time we went out snorkeling we were ultimately hoping we'd find a turtle!

15) Hanalei Bay Resort, Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii, August 7, 2022 - The resort grounds were impeccably maintained and filled with gorgeous tropical flowers. (We learned later in the trip that most of these flowers are not native to Hawaii which took a little of the shine off how beautiful they are.)

16) Hanalei Bay, Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii, August 8, 2022 - Just another shot of a sea turtle from a different snorkel trip off the resort's beach. Beautiful, no?

17) Hanalei Bay, Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii, August 8, 2022 - Another highlight from snorkeling was seeing this Spotted Eagle Ray just about 20 feet from shore. This was right in the shore break so the water clarity was particularly bad but to see this big a ray in maybe 4 feet of water was very cool! The tail is just incredibly long.

18) Limahuli Garden & Preserve National Tropical Botanical Garden, Wainiha, Kauai, Hawaii, August 9, 2022 - Roughly half of our group returned home after one week and the second half stuck around for another four days. Our final group outing, with this smaller group, was a drive back up the north coast to visit Limahuli Garden & Preserve. This is more than just a garden - it is also an archeological site, a center for Hawaiian culture and an active botanical research garden. We did the 90 minute self-guided tour which was excellent. A booklet gave information on native and invasive species of plants, shared some Hawaiian folklore, described Hawaiian cultural practices and highlighted some rare plants that only exist in this valley. One portion of the valley shows how the first Polynesians cultivated these valleys - managing water flow from the mountains, through taro fields and then out into fish ponds on the coast. Definitely worth visiting!

19) Limahuli Garden & Preserve National Tropical Botanical Garden, Wainiha, Kauai, Hawaii, August 9, 2022 - The high point of the trail through gardens provides a lovely scenic viewpoint which we took advantage of for a group photo.

20) Waimea Canyon, Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii, August 10, 2022 - The final morning before Harvey and Brenda flew out, Alan and Harvey did a drive all the way around the south coast and then inlands to see the famous Waimea Canyon. There are a handful of scenic lookouts over this colorful canyon and we drove to all of them. It was wild to see all the helicopter tours fly through *below* us.

21) Waimea Beach, Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii, August 10, 2022 - On our drive back from Waimea Canyon we took a second to stop at Waimea Beach to see the "black" sand beach. I would say it is a stretch to call it black but it is a much darker color than all the other beaches on Kauai so it is still unique in that sense. Not worth driving there just to see but a quick side-stop if you are already visiting Waimea Canyon.

22) Spouting Horn Blowhole, Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii, August 10, 2022 - A more worth stop is the Spouting Horn blowhole in Poipu. It is a little further off the beaten track but the rough volcanic coastline in this area is worth seeing and the blowhole is surprisingly mesmerizing to watch.

23) Kilauea Lighthouse, Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii, August 10, 2022 - The final sightseeing stop before we all started our return flights to our respective homes was at the Kilauea Lighthouse lookout. This scenic spot with the waves crashing in the little cove below, sea birds wheeling through the sky overhead and the picturesque lighthouse perched on the cliff is a quick side trip off the main road and definitely worth the few minutes investment it takes to drive out to it.

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Alan Fleming