Oh, Kauai. You have my heart. Wet and windy but still beautiful and warm - the perfect getaway with Kyle and his family. We ran away right before Christmas which turned out to be a genius plan because I forced myself to have all my shopping done, presents wrapped, and decor up (don't judge) just before before Thanksgiving which pretty much guaranteed ultimate relaxation. Not to mention, our week off from work also bumped in to the short week of Christmas Eve so the break felt even longer with that extended weekend. Definitely a good strategy for years to come.
This winter has been extremely rainy - lots of low key flooding - so we were excited to escape for a bit before dealing with the bitter cold of January. Personally, I would've chosen a drier island but in the end it turned out to be a perfect mix of wet and dry days, allowing for plenty of tanning and exploration! I definitely recommend a rental car for Kauai - it's a must.
Don't even get me started on the food. By day three, I was pretty confident someone was going to have to roll me off the island and onto our plane. BBQ plates - Kyle's favorite - and all of the fish tacos and loco moco your little heart could desire. The island was also flooded by chickens - literally everywhere! It's a running joke among the locals, too. I saw a sign that read "If you leave your child unattended we will make sure they go home with a chicken - and ice cream!" They're beautiful, colorful wild animals but also love to fight over your food crumbs which got a little dicey at times.
We took a sunset boat tour to the Na Pali Coast on one of our last days. Let me say it was not what I had imagined! I pictured us on a calm, romantic cruise with Mai Tais in hand and dolphins in the distance. Well, it turns out Na Pali in the winter is actually quite dangerous and we were even given the option to either get on the boat or cancel our trip. *cue the anxiety* It was raining that day and extremely windy which made for rough water conditions. We took a catamaran up the coast and barreled over the waves like speed bumps. Kyle and I sat at the front of the boat for awhile chatting with some honeymooners and got completely soaked. My paper cup Mai Tais were disintegrating in my hands faster than I could chug them. All was well though when we finally made it to an area where we could get close to the caves and stop to see some turtles, take some photos, and watch the sunset. If you're there in the winter, though, just be prepared to hold on for dear life for the majority of your tour :)
Our hotel was situated on Kalapaki Beach which was awesome for the days we didn't want to drive an hour to find a new beach. On the weekend, tons of locals showed up to play in beach volleyball tournaments and were nice enough to ask the beach goers and hotel guests to join in. Kyle and I may have lost the game for our team and I definitely used muscles I haven't touched in years, but it was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip!
This vacay was definitely one for the books. I (half)conquered my fears of open water and fish by snorkeling at Poipu and jumping around in a couple of the big waves at our hotel. Only a few panic attacks and one giant wipe-out, but I'm grateful Kyle was there to hold my hand through it all. I can't wait for our next adventure.