Kauai news and current events.

Volunteers make the ocean accessible for everyone

KORE volunteer helps a disabled young man enjoy the surf. Photo by Pamela Varma Brown

A KORE volunteer helps a disabled young man enjoy the surf. Photo by Pamela Varma Brown

One Saturday morning each month at beautiful Hanalei Bay on Kauai, autistic children and adults, people in wheelchairs, stroke and other brain injury survivors are safely escorted into the ocean by an army of volunteer lifeguards, firefighters and other experienced watermen and women. As participants ride waves into shore with volunteers at their sides, their thousand-watt smiles beam their joy to be alive.

Kurt Leong’s passion for surfing led him to co-found the Kauai non-profit organization Kauai Ocean Recreation Experience (KORE) in 2009.

Kurt Leong: I knew surfers would want to help other people experience the ocean and the good that it does a body, soul and mind. We wanted to spread that feeling to people who haven’t surfed before or who used to surf and can’t anymore.”

It saves your soul when you surf. It gets all the negativity out of your body and mind. I can’t explain it scientifically, but it works. It’s like fishing. It’s good for your mind and soul even when you don’t catch anything.

KORE volunteer Bruce Cosbey, a general contractor, surfer and longtime Kauai resident, has watched the ocean transform people with disabilities. He motions toward an autistic 19-year-old, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with KORE volunteers, looking at photos in a book, laughing, clearly enjoying himself.

Bruce Cosbey: I’ll never forget his first day with us at KORE about six months ago. He was extremely shy, real stand-offish. He didn’t want to be touched. He needed a minimum of 10 to 15 feet space from anybody. One volunteer gently coaxed him in the ocean and on a surfboard. He is now a changed person. Now when you see him get out of a car or off the bus in the morning, he runs to get to us. He’s so fired up. He’s a seal now. He can’t stay out of the water.

A friend of ours who is in his mid-20s is a triple amputee. He likes to come visit our KORE ohana (family) and show everyone how easily he can surf, even without legs and only one arm. He often says, “Impossible is only an opinion, not a fact.” That’s the power of the ocean. It brings it all back.

Read more about KORE in Pamela Varma Brown’s book, “Kauai Stories.” Visit www.korekauai.com

Kauai Ocean Recreation Experience (KORE) volunteers go to great lengths to help people of all abilities enjoy the ocean. Photo by Pamela Varma Brown

Kauai Ocean Recreation Experience (KORE) volunteers go to great lengths to help people of all abilities enjoy the ocean. Here they lovingly place a paraplegic on a surfboard and will accompany him in the water. Photo by Pamela Varma Brown

Hanalei Pier Restoration Complete

pier new

Sunrises over the new Hanalei Pier

Nothing quite says summer on Kauai like a day on Hanalei Bay, a walkout to the end of the pier and a  jump  into the crystal clear water below.  The Hanalei Landing  has long been a significant  landmark of Kauai’s north shore.

Over the years deterioration, weather , neglect and vandalism left the canopy at the end of the pier a dangerous attraction.  Last year The Hanalei Rotary Club spearheaded Save the Pier, a project that raised over $170,000 toward the  restoration project.

This last Thursday an official blessing and celebration took place for the newly restored roof canopy at the end of Hanalei Pier.  Governor Abercrombie was on Kauai to take part in the ceremony and celebration along with Mayor Carvalho,  Rotary Club Members, project  contractors, the restoration team and many members of the community.  Mahalo to all who contributed to the  preservation of this very special part of our community and Kauai’s history.


Farewell old shed Mahalo for the memories.

Aloha Oe Coco Palms – mahalo…mahalo very much

coco-palms-postcardMade famous by Elvis and Blue Hawaii, most of us who grew up on Kauai remember Coco Palms as a place where we went  for brunch on Sundays after church with our family. We fished for Talapia with bamboo poles as our parents socialized with friends after lunch. We wandered through the maze of coconut groves to the tennis courts where we would spend hours being wildly entertained by the monkeys and peacocks, the residents of  Kauai’s only zoo.  The tennis courts, the little road that connected the Homesteads to the Wailua Houselots, the little church where Aunty was married, having lunch with the queen of hospitality, Grace Guslander and hearing her stories about running the resort and the history of the property.  These are the memories to highlight and share with Kauai keiki.  For anyone born after September 11, 1992, the only memories of  Coco Palms is that of a deteriorating piece of history.

Today the Kauai Planning Commission affirmed the order of Hearings Officer Richard Nakamura to revoke permits held by Coco Palms Ventures LLC’s to rebuild the property which was damaged in 1992 during Hurricane Iniki.photo

Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. stated, “I am very pleased to hear of the Planning Commission’s action today to accept the Hearings Officer’s recommendation to revoke the permits currently held by Coco Palms LLC.   The property has languished for much too long, and with no alternate plan being proposed by the owners, it’s time to move on to new opportunities.”

coco-palms-2013The mayor added, “I plan to arrange for a community discussion very soon so that we can all envision what the future could hold for this site of such historic and cultural significance.  Let’s put our hopes and dreams on the table, and work toward a collective vision of Coco Palms that will do justice to this special place and will result in a community resource of which we can all be proud.”


Kauai Monk Seal Pups

M. Sullivan. NOAA Permit #10

Hawaiian Monk Seal and Pup

Springtime is Monk Seal pupping season. So far in March of 2013, at least four seals have been born in the Hawaiian Islands, although there still may be some unknown births in the remote areas of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. While no seals have been born on Kauai yet this year, a representative from the NOAA Monk Seal Research office expects that some of the female monk seals will pup here later this year. On average over the last few years, about four pups have been born on Kauai each year and Poipu Beach seems to be one their favorite locations for pupping.

While this event brings awe and wonder to visitors, it can also be a little dangerous for the pups if precautions are not taken. Luckily, Kauai has quite a devoted group of Monk Seal Watch Volunteers. You may see the yellow tape strung up around the Monk Seals to protect them. The volunteers are a wealth of knowledge, so don’t be afraid to ask them question. As long as you are standing on the outside of the tape, you can get some beautiful photos of a species that you will encounter nowhere else on earth.

If you get to see a Monk Seal pup, consider yourself lucky. The Hawaiian Monk Seal is one of the most endangered animal species on the planet. It is estimated that there are fewer than 1100 individuals in the population and while their population is increasing in the Main Hawaiian Islands, numbers are still declining in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. There are a number of conservation efforts underway to help curb this decline in population. To learn more about these efforts, you can visit the NOAA Monk Seal Research Program website.

You can help protect Hawaiian Monk Seals by learning more about them, following safe wildlife viewing guidelines and reporting any entangled marine life to: Marine
Mammal Stranding and Entanglement Hotline 1- 888-256-9840. Responsible wildlife viewing helps to ensure your safety and their protection and long-term
survival in the wild.

To ensure that your presence does not disturb Monk Seals you can practice the following responsible viewing guidelines:

Observe them from at least 50 yards. Since this is not always possible on the small beaches that we share with them, make sure to stay behind the yellow tape that has been placed around them for their safety.

Do not attempt to approach a seal or “play” with them. The seals may misinterpret your actions and cause serious injury. Cautiously swim back to shore and watch them from a safe vantage.

Do not attempt to push seals back in the water. Please keep your pet on a leash at all times when in the presence of monk seals. Dogs can share diseases with seals that could have devastating effects on the population.

Cautiously move away if you observe any of the following behaviors:

  • Rapid movement away from the disturbance and toward the water.
  • Sudden awakening from sleep on the beach.
  • Female attempting to shield a pup with her body or by her movements.
  • Vocalization or “growling” at the disturbance.

NOAA Monk Seal Research Page

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge Final Phase of Restoration

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge closed for the final phase of lighthouse restoration

The Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge will be closed for the third and final phase of the Kīlauea Lighthouse restoration. The historic 1913 lighthouse is a world renowned landmark and the crown jewel of Kīlauea. The third and final phase of the restoration efforts will include repairs to the second order Fresnel lens and the inclusion of additional safety measures.

For the safety of visitors and wildlife, the refuge will be closed during the restoration efforts, from March 31 through April 7, 2013. The refuge will re-open at 10:00 a.m on Monday, April 8, 2013.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with the Kīlauea Point Natural History Association, is pleased to begin the final phase of the Kilauea Lighthouse Restoration, which began in 2011. “We are grateful to everyone who has been involved with the project thus far. This year’s Lighthouse Day will be a momentous event for Kaua‘i as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the grand and historic Kīlauea Light Station,” said Shannon Smith, USFWS Project Leader, Kaua‘i National Wildlife Refuge Complex. “The community has been waiting patiently and we are proud to announce the final efforts to restore the Kīlauea Lighthouse as a beacon for generations to come.”

The Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting Lighthouse Day on May 4, 2013. It is one of many anniversary celebration events being held May 1-5, in collaboration with the Kīlauea Point Natural History Association and the community of Kīlauea. More details will be posted closer to event dates and can be found at www.kilaueapoint.org or www.facebook.com/kilauealighthouse.

The Voyaging Canoe Hokulea Arrives on Kauai

Hokulea arrives on Kauai

Hokulea Arriving in Hanalei

Clouds hung low over the peaks of Namolokama as the remnants of the passing tropical storm moved slowly out to sea. Along the horizon the Hokulea voyaging canoe and crew made their way into Hanalei Bay Saturday morning. Blowing the conch shell from the bow of the boat signaled to the spectators and welcoming crew on shore that they had arrived.

The Hokulea is now tied up to the Hanalei Pier. This a great opportunity to get up close and view the canoe as well as ask questions and learn a little about their vision and upcoming voyages.

The Hokulea is an important part of Polynesian culture and the Polynesian Voyaging Society does a great job sharing the craft of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration through their program.  For more information on the Hokulea check out the website www.http://hokulea.org/

Hunger Games “Catching Fire” Finds Kauai

Quarter Quell Kuai FilmingWith the recent big screen hits “The Descendents” starring George Clooney and “Pirates Of The Caribbean On Stranger Tides” with Johnny Depp, today’s announcement by Hawaii News Now doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. Hollywood movie scouts may have chosen the Garden Island of Kauai as one of the filming locations for the movie based on the trilogy by Suzanne Collins, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

Film scouts have been searching out locations within the Hawaiian Islands and have zeroed in on Kauai. With the natural beauty, rugged terrain, isolated valleys, lush green jungles, turquoise waters and wildlife, it is no wonder Hollywood may have again made a smart choice in picking Kauai.

“Catching Fire,” Finnick Odair and the Third Quarter Quell is set to hit theaters late November 2013.

Here are some photos that show you why Kauai is the perfect Film Location:



Where On Kauai? How does Google Capture Pathview?

We all know or have seen how the funny little Google car with cameras mounted on the roof captures street view. But have you figured out how they captured Kauai hikes, trails, island golf courses and hotel properties where a car can’t go? Well here is one of the Google trikes caught passing a mirrored window at one of Kauai’s resorts. Have fun cruising Kauai!
View Larger Map

Google Launches Kauai and Hawaii Street View

Kauai Google Street ViewWarning! Do not read this post unless you have ample free time and are ready to start planning your next Kauai vacation. Google has has just released the latest Eco-tourism technology that will enhance your Kauai travel planning or just let you visit virtually from wherever you are.

While checking out some Google maps of Kauai today I discovered Google Earth has just uploaded the Kauai street view map images. Holoholo through Kapaa town and then across to the Waimea Canyon look-out and back down to Poipu and then walk the streets of Hanalei town, explore the island golf courses and multiple walking paths all in less than 5 minutes.

Now visitors to Kauai no longer need to rent a car to experience the beauty of Kauai, instead they can simply fire up an i pad or laptop and off they go exploring the island.

So what are you waiting for? Start exploring the sunny shores of Poipu, the enchanted valley of Hanalei, Waimea Canyon, or cruise the path at Lydgate State Park.

But really can Google give you sand between the toes, warm saltwater lapping on the shores, the refreshing taste of shave ice on a hot sunny day or the Aloha Spirit? You will definitely need to be here to experience that.

BEWARE! You will be planning a trip to Kauai real soon.  Don’t get lost!

Kauai Recycles Electronic Waste Event

We all need to do our part to keep Kauai beautiful. One of our biggest problems on Kauai is trash and what we do with it. Recycling on Kauai is not very convenient, but with a bit of planning you will be contributing to the efforts to keeping Kauai beautiful.

Do your your part by bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store and farmers markets, as well as make it a routine to recycle your plastics, glass cardboard and aluminum cans. For convenient island recycle locations check out Kauai Recycle Locations.

Do you have obsolete or unwanted electronics and want to get rid of them responsibly? Well during the next two weeks on Kauai you will have 6 days and three locations island-wide to do just that. Pacific Corporate Solutions, Sims Recycling and the County of Kauai are partnering to provide an easy and smart solution to getting rid of your out dated electronics while keeping it out of our landfills.

Material  that is being accepted include: computers, laptops, back up batteries, printers, fax machines, servers, telcom equipment TV’s and Misc Electronic waste. They will not be accepting home appliances alkaline batteries, washer, dryers or air conditioning units.

E Waste Kauai Recycling Event

North Shore
June 18th & 19th
8:00am to 4:00 pm
Anaina Hou Community
Kaua Mini Golf Lower Parking Lot

West Side
June 20 & 21
8:00am to 4:00 pm
Eleele Shopping Center

East Side
June 22 &23
8:00am to 4:00 pm
Vidinha Stadium

For more information you can contact Pacific Corporate Solutions toll free 888-906-5865

Keeping Kauai Green and Sustainable

Kauai Taro farmers marketsEco-Tourism is a relatively new concept in the world of tourism, though it’s gaining popularity and for good reason. Eco tourism, or sustainable tourism, is a concept that is began in the 1950’s, but has started to become more popular in the early 1990’s with the upsurging of the planetary green movement. Concentrations on lowering the negative impact of tourism is becoming more and more important as we are starting to see the ramifications on non-renewable, or slowly renewable, resources especially in remote and delicately balanced environments.

Kauai, being one of Hawaii’s smallest islands– only 25 miles wide by 33 miles long – is particularly susceptible to long term and irreversible environmental damage should the over 1 million tourists that visit Kauai’s shores and inland rain forests treat the island carelessly. With a local consistent population base of only about 60,000, it’s easy to see how much responsibility lies on a a relative small number of people to care for such a large influx of human needs and travel desires.

Support Kauai GrownFortunately, the Hawaiian islands and Kauai in particular have a strong community dedicated to Eco-tourism, and the Kauai County Government has formally adopted a Sustainable Tourism Program to better assist the tourism industry in this endeavor. Through this program, businesses are offered encouragement, education, and incentives to find ways to lessen their environmental impact, and offer services and accommodations in an environmentally conscious manner.

Practicing and supporting sustainable tourism is the surest way to ensure that Kauai will be around indefinitely as the unique, geographically stunning and environmentally diverse island that it is today. As a visitor, there are many things you can do that can make a measurable and positive difference to the island of Kauai. Shopping for locally made products, supporting small businesses, supporting our agriculture by shopping at our local farmers markets and treading lightly of our natural landmarks, that have a rich history and cultural importance.

Alekoko Fish PondsAs of January 11, 2011 Kauai  adopted a law that requires all retail establishments to provide recyclable paper bags or reusable bags to their customers. This will reduce the significant impacts of plastic checkout bags on the environment, which include litter and an increasing burden on our islands landfill and threats to marine life. We encourage all locals and visitors to bring their own reusable bags while shopping.



Recycling Locations

Check out our Kauai Recycling Page for locations and maps. Do your part to keep Kauai sustainable.  Kauai Recycling Bin Locations are located in the following locations:

  • Kilauea Behind the Mini Golf 5-2723 Kuhio Hwy
  • Kapaa the end of Kahau Road past the Kapa’a Skate Park: 4900 Kahau Rd
  • Lihue in the back of the K-Mart parking lot 4303 Nawiliwili Rd
  • Poipu in the Brenneke’s Parking Lot: 2100 Hoone Rd
  • Lawai Post Office: 2-3675 Kaumualii Hwy
  • Eleele at the Eleele Shopping Center
  • Waimea at the Waimea Canyon Park: 4643 Waimea Canyon Drive
  • Kekaha at the Kekaha Landfill 6900-D Kaumualii Hwy

We all need to do our part to keep Kauai the Kauai we know and love.
Kauai thanks you for your efforts, which are of hugely collective importance.

Malama ‘Aina (care for the land)

Kauai Farm to Host Outstanding in the Field – Dinner Without Walls

            Outstanding in the Field
celebrates the New Year with first-ever visit to Hawaii~ Four islands ~ Four farms ~ Four dinners ~

In January, Outstanding in the Field, the California-based “restaurant without walls” that has inspired pop-up supper clubs across North America and around the world, makes its first-ever visit to Hawaii to celebrate the New Year with four dinner events at four farms on four islands with four fabulous local chefs:Outstanding in the FieldJanuary 14 ~Olana Farm, Kilauea, Kauai ~

Guest chef: Aaron Leikam Host Farmer: Tim O”connor and guest chef Aaron Leikam share both a latitude and a deep appreciation for fresh tropical ingredients. Combined with Aaron’s experience working with some of the best in the farm-to-table movement, including Rick Bayless, Jan Birnbaum and Melissa Kelly, that’s a recipe for a fabulous outdoor feast.

January 17 ~ Kupa’a Coffee Farm, Kula, Maui ~ Guest chef: Justin Pardo, Market Fresh Bistro, Makawao
Farmers Gerry Ross & Jane Simpson are our hosts for OitF’s first dinner on a coffee plantation. Kupa’a coffee is outstanding, named best coffee on Maui two years in a row. Guest chef Justin Pardo does popular twice-a-month farm dinners in his restaurant. That’s how OitF started — for us, farm-to-table is now table-to-farm.

January 21 ~ Ma’o Organic Farms, Wai’anae, Oahu ~ Guest chef: Ed Kenney, Town and Downtown, Honolulu
Farmer Gary & Kukui Maunakea-Forth are dedicated to organic farming and to inspiring the next generation of young people to celebrate their connections to the land. Gary and guest chef Ed Kenney are great friends, and Ed’s son Duke does kids cooking demonstrations at Ma’o.

January 25 ~ Kekala Farms, Waimea, Hawaii ~ Guest chef: Edwin Goto, Village Burger, Kamuela
Farmer Paul Johnston is a leader in the Hawaii local farms movement and grows more than 100 different kinds of vegetables at Kekala. Guest chef Edwin Goto recently opened up his burger shack with all local meats and produce. We’ve never paired up with a burger shack, but the locals tell us he’s the man.

Outstanding in the Field Dinner without WallsThe Hawaii dinners kick off Outstanding in the Field’s 13th season; founding chef Jim Denevan did his first farm dinner in his hometown of Santa Cruz, California in 1999. In 2011, OitF staged 87 dinners across North America from Vancouver to Virginia and, for the first time, in Europe.

“Our dinner season traditionally starts in Spring, but when we decided to add Winter dates in 2012, we knew it was finally time to go to Hawaii,” said Denevan, who became a chef because it gave him time to surf during the day. “Over the years, we’ve had many requests to come, and we can’t wait to meet island farmers, see what new tropical-climate foods we discover, and catch a few waves.”

Since 1999, Denevan and the Outstanding crew have created outdoor dining events at country farms and urban gardens, on mountain tops and sea caves, on islands and ranches. Wherever the location, the mission is the same: To re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food and introduce them to the local farmers and food artisans whose good work brings nourishment to the table. Ingredients for the meal are almost all local, often sourced within inches of the table, and prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. After a tour of the host site, everyone settles in:  farmers, culinary artisans and diners serving each other at the long communal table.Outstanding in the Field TableDenevan is also an environmental artist, known for the large-scale drawings he creates on beaches, dry lakebeds and frozen surfaces. A temporary piece or two on Hawaiian sand, destined to disappear with the tide, is likely to appear during his visit.

Many Outstanding in the Field dates sell out within hours of being announced. The Hawaii events in January start at 3pm with a glass of wine and welcome hors d’oeuvres, followed by a tour of the host farm and a family-style, four-course meal paired with wines. Ticket price of $190 per person includes the farm tour, multi-course meal with wine and all gratuities.

To learn more and reserve a seat at the Outstanding table, please visit www.outstandinginthefield.com