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Planning a trip to Kauai? Learn about Kauai from local Kauai writers. Fun stories, events and things to do on Kauai.

Free Fun Things to Do on Kauai

Kauai free things to do

The top activities to do on Kauai definitely include the Na Pali Boat Tours, a Kauai Helicopter Tour, ATV Tours, Zip-line Tours, and a traditional Hawaiian luau, but there are a few family fun things to do on Kauai you might find to be a nice way to pass a couple hours of your vacation time.

Hula Shows – Most visitors to Kauai include a luau in their top to do list. If hula dancing and Hawaiian music are on your list, here is a chance to get a little preview. If you just can’t get enough of the melodic beat and swaying of hips check out one of the following free Hula shows around the island.

Grand Hyatt Kauai – Torch Lighting Ceremony on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 6:15, Keiki Hula Show on Tuesday 6:30-8:00pm For Information call: 808 742-1234

Poipu Shopping Village – Tahitian and Hula Dancing Thursday and Thursdays at 5:00pm. For Information Call: 808 742-2831

Harbor Mall Lihue – Hawaiian Entertainment and Hula on Wednesdays at 12:15 pmFor Information Call: 808 245-6255

Coconut Marketplace – Wailua Hula Show on Wednesdays at 5:00 pm and Saturdays at 1:00 pm Call: 808 822-3641

Farmers Markets- Weekly farmers markets island wide sell locally grown produce, exotic tropical fruits and flowers as well as locally made products.

Hanapepe Art Night – Enjoy exploring the many galleries demonstration , performances and local cuisine as you stroll the streets of historic Hanapepe Town. Every Friday night Hanapepe Town comes alive with local artist, musicians and ethnic eats. Every Friday Evening from 6:00-9:00 pm.

Historic Walking Tour of Waimea – Free walking tour of Waimea Town every Monday. Lei Making Workshop Every Friday. Reservation required. Contact the West Kauai Technology Center at 808 338-1322.

88 Shrines at Lawai International Center – Short video and story telling by Lynn Murumoto on the second and last Saturday of the month. Tour Times 10:00 am -12:00pm and 2:00pm call 808 639-4300 Donations Accepted.

Old Town Kapaa First Saturday of the month Art Walk

Free live music, artist, tasty food and entertainment every 1st Saturday of the month in downtown Kapaa. 5:30 -8:30

Kauai Museum – Free guided tours with the cost of admission. 10:30 am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Ohana Saturdays – Free admission the first Saturday of the month.

Lydgate State Park – A favorite or generations of locals and their keiki, this east side park (Leho Rd access in Wailua) fronts two wonderful boulder enclosed swimming areas that allow freshwater and fish in and that are well protected from ocean waves. The water is calm and clear and perfect for beginning swimmers and snorkelers with bathrooms, picnic areas, a playground and lifeguards right there as well. The area is also part of an extensive network of archaeological sites in what was a historically significant part of Kauai for Hawaiians. Be prepared for lots of kids and a fun time at the beach!

Geo-caching What is Geo-caching? Geo-caching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called Geo-caches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online. There are several hidden treasures all over the island. The best guidelines to follow are Geo caches that are on public property and easy and safe terrain.

And Almost Free…

Kauai Plantation Railway – The Kilohana Plantation Estate is a where you will find an an authentic narrow gauge railway tour that chugs along on a 40 minute ride through almost 100 acres of sugar cane, pineapple, banana, papaya, hardwood trees, tropical flowers and coffee. This fairly new attraction recreates the time of the plantations and is highly informative about Kauai agriculture past, present, and future. Train tours run daily. The train leaves the Depot at 10 & 11 am, 12 Noon, 1 & 2 pm, and 5:30 on Tuesdays and Fridays. Next door, the 16,000 sq ft managers home is open daily with galleries and a courtyard restaurant.

Kilauea Mini Golf – The good folks from Anaina Hou have recently finished up a miniature golf course and botanical garden just a minute or so past Kilauea Town on the north shore. Its 18 holes of fun runs through gardens representing different eras of Hawaiian culture and we can tell you its truly a unique experience for our little island. It’s open every day from 11:00am – 9:00 pm and costs $15 for ages 11 and up, $10 for ages 5-10, and is free for 4 and under. You also have to love the fact that it’s right next to Banana Joe’s fruit and smoothie stand where you can enjoy something tasty after your game!

Monika Mira brings the ocean to life for children

Monika Mira

Monika Mira loves to open children’s eyes to the world of creatures that live under the ocean’s surface through her colorfully illustrated children’s books. Her most recent release, Coral Reefs, features beautiful and fascinating photographs of denizens of the deep who thrive in and around coral reefs, such as polka-dotted eels, bright orange clownfish, green sea turtles and black-tipped reef sharks. Written for ages 10-13, with its clear scientific descriptions, the book is also great for adults who want to learn about life under the sea.

“As an aquatic biologist, it’s my passion and I also feel like it’s my duty teach children about the amazing animals I come in contact with in my work,” she says. “I also like to make children aware of how they can become good stewards, so in my books you will often see a list of things children can do to help the ocean’s animals and their environment, such as etiquette when they are around a coral reef.” Mira also challenges children to come up with some of their own solutions for conservation and protection of our natural resources.

Mira’s The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book was her first book. Originally designed for adults, similar to the Anatomy Coloring Book used to teach adults about the human body for massage and other medical applications, The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book became a hit with children, too, and is now used in classrooms across the country from elementary schools to colleges.

Her next book, the charming Who Lives in the Sea? Ocean Animals of Hawaii, was designed for beginning readers and is written with repetitive rhyming text to encourage early reading skills and to introduce children to sea creatures like the Humpback whale, dolphin, sea turtle, jellyfish, reef fish and starfish. Mira also includes important species like the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal.

An artist as well as a scientist, Mira creates all her own illustrations for her books, including the captivating, brightly-colored collages made from paper she cut out with scissors then digitally scanned for Who Lives in the Sea?

Mira has worked on dozens of projects to help conserve Hawaii’s natural resources, from teaching marine science, to conducting biological stream surveys for the Department of Health. Now, she writes books to spread the message about conservation.

“My goal with all my books is to foster an appreciation for ocean animals in children at a young age and to perpetuate an attitude of caring for the animals of the sea.”

All of Mira’s books are available on Amazon. Who Lives in the Sea? and The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book can also be found in specialty shops around Kauai. For more information, visit https://kauai.com/lucidpublishingMonika Mira bookcover collage


Hanalei School Presents Starry Nights

Hanalei School Starry Nightsghts_kauaiThe  Hanalei School PTSA will be hosting a silent auction, live auction, dancing, and much more. to benefit the children and teachers of Hanalei School.  Enjoy a night of fun and entertainment on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at the St Regis Hotel Princeville Resort.

The Hanalei  PTSA,  is a  501(c)3 non-profit association, and works hard every tear to provide many opportunities for the students such as Art, Music, PE, Drama, Garden, Part-time Teachers, Teacher Supplies and Teacher Support, and much more….. The proceeds from Starry Nights benefits the children and the teachers of Hanalei Elementary.

General Admission is $25 in advance or $30 at the door.

VIP tickets, which are only $75, include admission and a Three-Course meal at Makana Terrace, quantities are limited.

Tickets available at:

Hanalei Surf Company, Hanalei Strings, Healthy Hut, Magic Dragon Toy and Art Supply

Form more information check out Calendar of Events or call Amy Frazier 808-639-9011

Hiking On Kauai

Kokee Alakai Swamp Trail

Kauai is the fourth largest of the eight main islands of the Hawaiian Island chain.  With just over 550 square miles of land, and with the Hawaiian Islands surrounded by more water than any other archipelago it’s interesting to discover that Kauai is a premier hiking location with well over 120 miles of established trails which range from completely easy, to supremely difficult.

Kalalau Trail before Hanakapiai

There are 56 established, well-known hiking trials on Kauai, only 10 of which are official State Park Trails. Kauai’s trails range in lengths and vary in difficulty levels, from rankings of 1 (less than a half mile of flat, easily walkable dry ground) to difficulties of 10 – like Kauai’s famous Kalalau Trail which is considered one of the top ten toughest hiking trails in world.

The diverse landscape and micro climates make Kauai a hiker’s dream, as each hike on the island has its own unique destination sights, terrain, ecosystems, and landscape views. This diversity alone is worth a visit to Kauai, as there is no other place in such a compact area that can offer this sort of variety.

The fact that much of Kauai’s interior is inaccessible by any other means, besides by foot-trek, is another compelling reason to take up a pack and hike on in. Aside from the air tours, which do offer breathtaking from-above views of the steepest cliff, hiking in by foot is the only way to get closer look of much of island’s untouched and pristine inner sanctuaries. Kauai’s tallest peak Mount Kawaikini looms over 5300 feet above the surrounding beaches, and is teeming with hidden waterfalls, valleys, swamps and dense rain forests.

Alakai Swamp Trail Pihea

Alakai Swamp Trail Pihea

Alakai swamp – the highest elevated swamp in the world – is of particular interest. Here, the plant life has dwarfed, though these miniaturized versions of many of Hawaii’s trees and shrubs maintain full-size blooms.  The views from the trail’s famous boardwalk region are truly beyond description, and can really only be fully experienced in person.  Then again, that’s what many people say about the Kalalau Trail, and the Trail to Waipo’o Falls, and the Awa’awapuhi Grand LoopTrail, and the …

Well, you get the picture – or at least you will, when you hike Kauai!

A Garden Walk of Historical Artifacts on Kauai


One of the many historical artifacts on display at Kukuiolono Park

If you have an interest in Hawaiian artifacts, a trip to the museum might be your plan, but what if you could take a leisurely walk through a garden of treasures without paying admission? In the quaint town of Kalaheo, you can do just this. Located strategically at the top of the hill in Kalaheo, overlooking the ocean, is the former estate of the late Walter McBryde also know as Kukui o Lono. The site itself has a lot of history.

Kukui o Lono translates to the torch of the god Lono and is originally the site of an ancient Hawaiian Heiau. The torch was a fire that was lit on the hill to safely guide fisherman and other canoes that were out at sea. The fire could be seen for miles.

It was here that McBryde built his estate in 1908. McBryde was the founder of the Kauai Fruit and land company and an advocator for the sugar planters. He is also known for establishing the first homesteading endeavor in Hawaii. He landscaped the acreage around his home and made it available for recreational use. The area was dedicated as park shortly thereafter. His estate was actually deeded in a trust and passed on to the people of Kauai to enjoy “regardless of race, color, or creed”.

When you enter the gates of the park, drive up the hill and park in the first lot that you see. To your left you will see a spectacular ocean view and the nine-hole golf course that is a favorite spot for the locals. To the right you will see the Japanese garden that was built by the Japanese workers. Between the two, you will see a small sign with the words, “Hawaiiana Exhibit”.

If you follow the short path to the top of the hill you are in for a treat. Here is one of the largest collections of large stones carved and collected by Hawaiians. Some are marked and some are not. There are many tales about the rocks in this collection, some of which make perfect sense. Other explanations of the stones are little more obscure since their origin is uncertain.

Feather Cloak Rock

Pohaku hunaahuula

The bronze plaque reads, “Pohaku hunaahuula, The hiding place of the chief’s feather cloak. The stone was brought from Brydeswood. Apparently in a warfare capturing a chief and his feather cloak was equivalent to ‘pulling down the standard’ and winning a battle. To avoid capture and loss of an engagement, it is related that when a chief named Kukona and his men were being hard pressed, the chief hid his feather cloak under the stone and draped sweet potato vines over it to camouflage it.” The tall stone behind this one is the Pohaku loa (translated tall stone, where prayers to the fishing god were offered).

Hawaiian Salt Making Stone

Hawaiian Salt Making Stone

A large rock with a flat surface and center divider was used by the Hawaiians to make salt. You will   also see rocks in this collections with tree molds in them that are similar to ones found on the Big Island. They were formed when the lava poured onto the trees millions of years ago. Another interesting artifact that you will see is the fishing stone. This stone was apparently used by fisherman to store their fingerlings for the night to keep the catch alive. The next day they would be moved to the mountains for replenishing the stock in a nearby stream. The rounded stone that you will see is called a game stone and was used by the Hawaiians for bowling type games.

Hawaiian Rock Game

Hawaiian Stone Game

There is a very unique stone here that was found by a Hawaiian family and it is called Kauai Iki. It is a stone that is shaped like the island of Kauai. When describing this stone, the author of The Story of Koloa posed an interesting question: How would the family know what the island was shaped like if they had not seen the island from the air, nor from a map? Nevertheless, the rock is shaped like the island of Kauai.

Take time to enjoy the entire park. There are walking paths that take you through an ironwood forest, another that takes you out to the pavilion where the original “torch” was lit. If you are lucky enough to be visiting during whale season, it is likely that you will see the spouts and other characteristic behaviors of the Humpback Whales from this vantage point. Look around and you may see a whaler’s try pot where whale blubber was boiled into oil. From here you can enjoy the walk back to the parking lot. Before leaving, make sure to take the time to walk the recently renovated Japanese Gardens.

For more info about Kukui o Lono Park, check out Kauai.com. For more information about the history of Koloa, Kalaheo, Lawai and the South Shore of Kauai, check out the reference used in this article written by Donald Donahue, entitled, The Story of Koloa, A Kauai Plantation Town.

Activities and Things to Do on Kauai

When you think of Kauai, the first things you think of may be sun, surf, and sand, but there are so many things to do on Kauai that you’ll find that the available activities are seemingly endless. Some of the most popular activities do involve the ocean since Kauai is one of the most remote island locations in the world.

With countless beaches and over 100 miles of coastline, there is ample opportunity for surf and sea adventures. Surfing is of paramount popularity on Kauai, and even if you’ve never seen a surfboard in your life, you can easily find surf shops and board rental locations on the island offering surfboard, boogie boards and surf lessons The various beaches, their size, and the strength of the tides also provides a wide range of experience levels from which you can choose, from never-been-on-a-board-before to professional surfing competitions.

Snorkeling is another very popular activity on Kauai. With the shores and reefs along Kauai being home to colorful tropical fishes such as the Trigger fish, Parrot fish, Butterfly fish, Octopus, Needle fish, and Damsel fish just to name a few, it’s easy to indulge in some fish-watching via fins, mask, and snorkel. And, of course there are dozens and dozens of very affordable snorkel rental shops on Kauai as well as outfitters for those who have the need to own their equipment outright.

A Kauai boat tour is the best way to see the amazing marine life,  Whale watching is also a very popular activity on Kauai, especially between December and April, as the huge North Pacific Humpback Whales are very often seen offshore during their mating and birthing season. Several species of dolphins also call Kauai’s coastal waters home, including the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins which are indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. You will also find several species of sea turtle, as well as Hawaiian Monk Seal.

Of course, there are many more water, air, and land adventures to partake in, such as hiking the hundreds of miles of trails, the coastal path for biking, horseback riding, world class golf courses for the golf enthusiast plantation train tours, and Kauai helicopter tours. There are also tropical gardens, museums, coffee plantation tours and tasting and numerous art galleries, and last but not least – partake in a traditional Hawaiian luau.kauai kiahuna golf

For personalized service with Aloha book your Kauai Activities and Tours with  Kauai.com. The team at Kauai.com provides a full service activity desk and are available 7 days a week to answer questions, book restaurant reservations, golf tee times and more. Tours and activities take place in various locations island-wide. They help to streamline your trip and make the most of your vacation time.

For up to date Kauai Events  and Things to do including music concerts, arts, hula, fundraisers and more check out the Kauai Events Calendar.

Kauai Style Banana Bread

I am always amazed at the thoughtfulness of Kauai people. Here’s a perfect example that
took place only last year.

My partner, Lincoln, cut down a stalk of nearly 200 bananas from one of the trees in
our yard and placed small bunches in a box in front of our house with a sign that said, “FREE!” All afternoon, neighbors drove by and took what they needed. That evening, there were a handful of bunches of bananas still remaining. Lincoln said, “I’m going to leave the box out there for anyone coming home after working the night shift.”

The very next morning, Lincoln reached his hand into our daily newspaper receptacle and
found, along with our paper, six small freshly-baked loaves of banana bread with a note
that said, “This is in appreciation for the bananas which you shared last night. Enjoy!” It
was from our newspaper carriers, whom we had never met before! The banana bread was
absolutely delicious.

When I mentioned this to a friend, she said she knew our newspaper carriers, a darling
couple who are each in their 70s and told me they are the “huggiest people I know.”
Months later, after corresponding via notes left in our newspaper box, we invited the
couple to a party for the release of my book, “Kauai Stories: Life on the Garden Island
told by Kauai’s People,” which includes the story of their generosity. Sure enough, as
soon as we met, they each reached out their arms to embrace us in hugs.

Maybe it’s because we are on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and must
rely upon each other, or maybe Kauai people have always been like this. Either way,
every time I have an encounter like this, I am reminded why Kauai has been my home for
24 years.

When you visit Kauai, definitely enjoy our sunshine, rainbows, beautiful beaches,
mountains and soft tropical air. But also make some time to talk with the people of Kauai.
Then you will know why Kauai is one of the most special places in the world.

Pamela Varma Brown lives on the east side of Kauai with her partner, Lincoln, and two
cats and enjoys hiking, swimming in the ocean and gazing at luscious waterfalls. Visit

Kauai Gift Guide of Locally Made Products

What makes Kauai Products so special? First of all, these items are handcrafted by artisans, chefs, musicians and authors right here on Kauai. Many use materials that are found on the Garden Island including agricultural products like fresh fruits and flowers, koa wood, seeds, seashells, beach glass, and sand. Kauai products incorporate the flavors, scents and feelings of Kauai into their products. When you buy a Kauai product, you are not getting just another plastic hula girl or shot glass made in China, instead these items are made by Kauai residents giving you the true essence of Kauai. Not only that, but by buying Kauai products, you are supporting the local economy.

With the holidays officially upon us, Kauai products make perfect gifts. A wide variety of diverse Kauai merchandise is now available in local stores all over Kauai and on-line.

Art, Publications and Music

Did you know that there are dozens of talented authors, artists and musicians that live right here on Kauai. Children’s Author, Monika Mira offers you The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book to inspire your children to learn all about the Hawaiian Reef and Susan Dierker offers a playfully illustrated story about Knuckles the Hound of Hanalei and his adventure coming home from the Humane Society. Pam Brown offers Kauai Stories, a delightful collection of humorous and inspiring stories about life on Kauai. Patrice Pendarvis Studio offers a collection of beautiful paintings that encompass the essence of old Kauai. There are also dozens of publications that you may pick up on Kauai that participate in this program.

Food and Floral

If you are looking to create the ultimate care package look no further. Papalani Gelato offers a variety of delicious treats made right here on Kauai using the finest of fresh Kauai flavors. Aunty Lilikoi offers a delicious array of passion fruit jelly, syrup, mustard and treats. Salty Wahine specializes in gourmet Hawaiian sea salts and seasonings. Lotus Fudge offers organic and sustainable mac nut butters, truffles and gluten-free fudge. Hula Baby Bakery specializes in handcrafted biscotti and granola with island flavors. The Aloha Spice Company creates delightful rubs, seasonings and organic herbs. Hippie Café offers amazing gluten-free vegan baked goods. Kauai Coffee grows and roasts rich Hawaiian coffee right on the slopes of Kalaheo and Nani Moon Mead is the only producer of honey wines in Hawaii .

Apparel Jewelry and Accessories

Cane Field Clothing has a nice selection of Kauai made jewelry and accessories. Keiki Covers creates adorable children’s clothing with Hawaiian flair. A ell designs offers custom wedding dresses, but also specializes in clothing that uses natural fibers like bamboo and hemp to create designs that are perfect for island living. KaiKini offers quick-drying swimwear with bright, bold colors and flattering cuts that are all sewn locally. Mailelani’s handcrafts beautiful purses, bags, and table linens from colorful Hawaiian designs. Kauai Carver offers Keoni’s Durant’s handcrafted tikis, fish hook pendants, and natural-edge bowls can be found in the homes of private collectors, on hotel properties and movie sets, and in galleries throughout Hawaii.

Health and Beauty

Shinil Candle & Soap  and Island Soap and Candle offers high quality, handcrafted soy candles, olive oil soaps, and lip balms. Ertha found at The Beauty Shop offers luxurious organic and vegan bath and body products like sea salt scrubs, body oil and foaming hand soap and Cloud 9 Hawaii makes organic skin care and sun care products.

There are dozens of stores around the island that now specialize in carrying Kauai Products. Some of these include: the Kokee Natural History Museum, Talk Story Books, the Aloha Spice Company, Kauai Coffee, and Banana Patch Studio on the West Side, Big Save Markets, Sueoka Store,and Living Foods on the South Shore, Kauai Plantation Railway Depot, Hilo Hattie, Kauai Museum and Times supermarket in Lihue, Divine Planet, Big Save Market on the East Side,  Aloha from Hanalei, Tahitian Goddess and Hanalei Dolphin on the North Shore.

Don’t forget to check back often on Kauai.com and follow us on Facebook for the latest this season when you are looking to send gifts with the spirit of Aloha.

Enjoy Veteran’s Day Weekend and Phase ll of Lighthouse Restoration at Kilauea Point!!!

The Refuge will be CLOSED on Monday, November 12 in Observance of Veteran’s Day

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge will waive entrance fees throughout Veteran’s Day weekend, Saturday, November 10 through Sunday, November 11. The Refuge will be open regular visitor hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In observance of Veteran’s Day, the Refuge will be closed Monday, November 12. However, Refuge volunteers will be stationed at the Refuge overlook to provide natural history interpretation and assist visitors throughout the day.
The Refuge is also celebrating a milestone as Kīlauea Lighthouse Restoration Phase II nears completion, ahead of the anticipated December deadline. Restoration overall is expected to be completed for the 100th anniversary in May 2013. Extensive restoration efforts to the Kīlauea Lighthouse began in 2010 to bring the structure back to its former glory. The lighthouse is sure to remain the icon of the Kīlauea community.

“I urge everyone to take the opportunity to come to Kīlauea Point over the fee-free Veterans Day weekend to see the exterior of the lighthouse and the progress made so far. This is a fine example of what coming together as a community can accomplish,” invited Shannon Smith, Refuge Project Leader. The project first began with the Kīlauea community when they expressed the desire to restore the lighthouse in 2002. The Kīlauea Point Natural History Association (KPNHA), a nonprofit organization, launched a capital campaign in 2008 to restore the lighthouse. Thanks to the support of the community, the campaign entitled “Beacon for the Generations to Come, Ka Lama Kuhikuhi No Nā Hanauna” raised over $850,000.
The first major phase of restoration involved repairing the unique cast iron roof and lantern assembly. The second phase led by contractor McMillen, LLC and working closely with local subcontractors, involves: removal of interior and exterior coatings; repairs to the concrete tower; removal of concrete blocks from where windows were formerly located; installation of new windows, corbels, and installing new doors- all to restore its historic appearance. Future phases will involve work on the 2nd order Fresnel lens; finishing measures to protect key internal components; and public safety measures to allow for more frequent tours to just above the interior Watch Room level of the lighthouse. The intent is to allow for the public to safely get closer views of the lens and beautiful vistas more often than has been allowed in the recent past, while protecting the lens level, which is the “crown jewel” of this historic structure.
To learn more about the Refuge, visit: www.fws.gov/kilaueapoint ; to learn more about KPNHA, visit www.kilaueapoint.org.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Kauai Arbor Day Saturday and Plant Giveaway

Looking for a fun and educational experience for you and your family today? Arbor Day Kauai Tree Giveaway will be happening this Saturday November 3rd at Kukui Grove from 9:00 a.m. till 1:00 pm behind Kmart. Native plants including:  `a`ali`i, alahe`e, koki`o ke`oke`o, munroidendron, maile, naio, nanu, `ohe, `ōhi`a lehua and pohinahina, as well as papaya, mountain apple, ti plants and more. An addition to this years event  educational booths and giveaways sponsored by local Kauai conservation groups will be there to answer questions and share plant facts. Take part in listening to the educators, ask questions and earn stamps toward additional free trees. The event takes place until all the 2,000 trees find a good home.

This event is made possible by Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program and the County of Kauai, National Tropical Botanical Garden Island Resource Conservation & Development, Inc., Kauai Landscaping Industry Council, Kauai Invasive Species Committee, The Kauai Outdoor Circle, Kauai Nursery & Landscaping, Alaka`i Landscaping, the Grand Hyatt, Garden Island Growers, and members of the Kauai Native Plant Society. For more information please call 821-1490 or e-mail kgunder@hawaii.edu.


Kauai Stories Captures Life in Hawaii

Stories about Kauai from Kauai PeopleLife in Hawaii comes alive in a new feel-good book, “Kauai Stories: Life on the Garden Island told by Kauai’s People,” a collection of more than 50 touching, humorous and
inspiring personal stories. As you get to know the people of Kauai, you will feel the joy of living in Hawaii. Written entirely in the first-person, “Kauai Stories” is like sitting down for coffee and a cozy chat with friends as they share their life experiences.

The book includes colorful stories about growing up in the island’s sugar plantation “camp” housing and the sense of community fostered among the many ethnic groups who immigrated to Kauai to work for the plantations; keeping the ancient art of hula dancing alive; and of Kauai residents sailing thousands of nautical miles to foreign countries in a replica of an ancient voyaging canoe, navigating only by the stars, the moon, the sun and ocean currents as Polynesians did when they discovered Hawaii more than 1,500 years ago.

There are surprises, such as a blind man who is a key member of his outrigger canoe
paddling team; how one woman overcame a horrible childhood to become one of the
state’s most revered instructors in the 200-year-old tradition of Hawaiian quilt-making;
and “Chicken Nuggets,” humorous tales of acceptance, and even affection, for Kauai’s
abundant population of hens and roosters running wild across the island.

When you have finished reading “Kauai Stories,” you will have a collection of warm
Hawaii memories as if they are your own, memories such as children making toys out
of tobacco pouches stuffed with leaves or Frisbees from car-flattened toads; of finding
dozens of glass balls washed ashore on a beach, broken loose from Japanese fishing nets
during World War II; and of the splendor and serenity of a remote tropical valley, the pot
of gold at the end of a challenging 11-mile hike along the cliffs towering above the ocean
along the world famous Na Pali Coast Trail.

“Kauai Stories: Life on the Garden Island told by Kauai’s People,” is available in all e-
book formats and will be out in paperback shortly. Visit www.kauaistories.net to sign up
to be notified when the paperback is available, and for excerpts, sound bites, videos of
people in the book and editor biography.

The Kolea Return to Kauai Marking an end to Summer

The first Pacific Golden Plovers of the season have arrived in Hawaii and can be seen foraging on soccer fields, parks, golf courses, and even lawns. This event marks the end of summer

Kolea, as they are known in Hawaii, spend their summers in Alaska foraging, mating, building a nest and waiting for their chicks to hatch. But, as the season begins to change, these small birds (weighing merely a half pound) begin to bulk up on food in order to gain enough weight to sustain them on the long journey from Alaska to Hawaii. Amazingly, these territorial birds will return to the same patch of grass every year, vehemently defending it if necessary.

Just a few days after their chicks hatch, they will leave them to fend for themselves, flying nonstop for over 70 hours, and traveling at sustained speeds of up to 70mph. When they arrive in Hawaii, they will have lost about half of their body weight, and will begin foraging once again.

The Polynesians were known to have had an intimate relationship with the Kolea. It has been speculated that the Hawaiians may have even discovered their islands by following the migration patterns of the golden plover. It was these ancient mariners, that followed the clues that nature left for them: wind and wave patterns, the position of the stars, the presence of seabirds, their timing and the direction that they flew.

Even the naturalists aboard Captain Cook’s vessel noted the presences of the Golden plover in Tahiti, but the Tahitians informed Cook’s crew that these birds did not nest in the islands, but instead flew north each spring. If they flew north each spring to nest, Cook speculated that their nesting grounds might just lie in the “Great Southern Continent” that they were seeking. His crew would come across these same birds a decade late, in their search for the Northern Passage.

The Kolea’s flight is nothing less than miraculous and to think that they come back to the same patch of grass year after year. What is even more amazing than the adult plover’s journey is that the chicks, who have never been to Hawaii before, begin to appear in October after they have had time to plump up. Since the Kolea is territorial, those that cannot establish a territory in Hawaii, will rest and take on another amazing journey to Australia, New Zealand and other islands in the South Pacific.

The Golden Plovers arrive in Hawaii sporting full mating plumage, which will fade over the winter when they molt. Near the ending of winter, they will molt again and their mating plumage will return. They will also begin to bulk up once more for their spring migration back to Alaska. By the end of April, they will be gone. This will once again mark the changing of the season.

Sources and suggested reading:

Kolea Watch: http://www.hawaiinaturecenter.org/koleawatch.html

Leskiw, Tom. The Discovery of the Hawaiian Islands: A Case of Human-Bird Mutualism. 2006.

Scott, Susan. “Returning kolea mark coming of isles’ winter,” Ocean Watch, Honolulu Star Advertiser. August 19, 2009.

Shapiro, Michael. “Flight of the Navigators,” Hana Hou Magazine. Vol. 7, No. 6, December 2004/January 2005.