At present there appear to be roughly a dozen web cams in operation around Kauai, mostly on the north and south shores. These cameras are useful for visiting tourists as they give an indication of what the weather is like in different parts of the island. Check out Kauai-webcam.com for a list including a map of the cameras. There’s also a great Kauai web cam that features the popular “PKs” surf break in Poipu. Surfer’s will appreciate being able to check in on the wave conditions from home. That camera is located at the awesome Kuhio Shores condo complex which hovers right on the edge of the ocean.

Kauai web cam picture from Kuhio Shores

Kauai web cam picture from Kuhio Shores

After being closed for four years, the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve is slated to open again on July 31. The 2000+ acre land and ocean reserve is a popular area for snorkeling, diving and hiking. The area contains the remnants of important archaeological sites (villages, burials, and temples) and is also a habitat for rare and endangered species. Even with the re-opening we expect the Department of Land and Natural Resources to limit access to ensure the Reserve doesn’t deteriorate as it did in the past after being popularized by travel books.

Ahihi Kinau Natural Reserve with La Perouse Bay in the DistanceThe above aerial photo shows a portion of the Reserve which extends from Ahihi Bay to La Perouse Bay. La Perouse Bay is named after the first European credited to set foot on Maui, the French naval officer and Explorer Jean Francois de Galaup, comte de La Perouse, who arrived 1786. La Perouse had been commissioned by the King of France to sail throughout the Pacific Ocean to discover new lands, establish commercial trade and collect scientific data. His two 500 ton ships, the Boussole and Astrolabe carried botanists, astronomers, oceanographers, zoologists, and soldiers. La Perouse was at first weary of the islanders knowing about Captain Cook’s death on the Big Island 7 years earlier, and landed with 20 soldiers. But the villagers were very interested in La Perouse’s ship and eager to trade.

On land La Perouse surveyed the four villages in the area, each containing about a dozen huts, and traded and exchanged gifts with the residents. The Reserve surely contains the remnants of at least one of these villages.

Relative to other areas of Maui this dry region was very sparsely populated. It’s interesting to note that today the area just north of La Perouse Bay contains some of the most sought after real estate in Maui from luxury condos to the ten million dollar homes of Makena.

There’s more to the story of La Perouse Bay. In 1790 the American trading ship Eleanora anchored near the Bay and traded for supplies with the village. During the night the Eleanora’s support boat, tied to the side of the ship, was stolen and the sailor guarding it killed. The ships Captain, Simon Metcalfe, was outraged and ordered the village bombarded with grape shot. He also sent men to set fire to the village’s huts and temple. This event would eventually lead to the Massacre at Oluwalu, where Metcalfe sought further revenge and killed over 100 Hawaiians.

Poipu Kai Resort in Poipu consists of several individual condominium complexes scattered over a 70 acre property. We sometimes get people asking us how far it is from Poipu Sands or Regency Villas, two popular complexes in the resort, to the beach. We’ve actually measured the walking times. Take a look at the follow aerial photo to get your bearing (you can click on it for a bigger view). In the photo the most central part of Poipu Kai Resort is identified (1) as well as Poipu Sands (8) which is still part of Poipu Kai. Regency is about half way between the 1 and 8 labels. On the right hand side is Shipwreck Beach, and on the left is Brennecke followed by Poipu Beach Park.

Poipu Kai Resort & Poipu Sands

Poipu Kai Resort & Poipu Sands

The walking time from Regency to Brennecke is 6 minutes. It’s an additional 4 minutes to get to Poipu Beach. The walking time from Poipu Sands to Brennecke is 12 minutes when you cut through Poipu Kai Resort. Poipu Sands is located next to Shipwreck beach but the grounds are fairly big, so the average walking time from a unit to the start of the beach will be 3-4 minutes.

Google Maps has a walking directions feature that appears to be very accurate and allows you to chose walking paths as well as roads. Here is the map showing the walking distance from Poipu Sands to Brennecke beach.

Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of planning a trip to Hawaii is figuring out what the weather will be like during your stay. There are several sources for weather forecasts, and many of them are inaccurate. Weather in Hawaii is very localized, so you need to make sure you’re looking at a point forecast. The best source for forecasts is the National Weather Service Forecast in Honolulu. The worst I’ve seen is the iPhone’s weather forecasting. I’m not sure what data provider it’s utilizing.

More often than not the forecast will call for a mix of sun and clouds and a 40-60% chance of rain. In Hawaii, cloud free skies are uncommon - there are usually puffs of clouds somewhere. Similarly, days when the entire sky is blanketed are also uncommon. The below photo represents what I consider the typical “cloudy” day in Hawaii. The clouds are moving through fairly rapidly, with some localized rainfall, and areas of sun. On a day like this the weather forecast would probably have stated there’s a 50% chance of rain.

A Typically Cloudy Day in Hawaii

A Typically Cloudy Day in Hawaii

Of course the time to worry about weather, if you’re so inclined, is when you’re deciding where to stay. Our Hawaii Weather Guide will give you a good idea of seasonal rainfall in all the different regions of Hawaii.

In our latest update to the Kauai GPS Tour Guide for the iPhone we added a few additional movie locations, like Jurassic Park, King Kong (1976 remake),  Raiders of the Lost Ark and Pirates of the Caribbean: on Stranger Tides. Directors like to film in remote areas of the island, which means many locations aren’t recognizable or possible to visit. For the movie Tropic Thunder, filmed almost entirely on Kauai, the only location I recognized was the home of the agent Rick Peck (played by Mathew McConaughey), which is somewhere in Kilauea.

Watching movies filmed in Hawaii is a fun way to get excited for an upcoming vacation. If you have a smart phone or laptop consider downloading one of the following movies for your plane trip. For more information about the movies in this list you can visit the Internet Movie Database. For information about the locations listed, take a look at our Kauai Map.

Date Title Kauai Locations
2011 Pirates of the Caribbean Kalalau Valley, Maha’ulepu
2011 Just Go With It Kilauea Falls
2011 The Descendants Hanalei, Princeville
2011 Soul Surfer Tunnels beach, Hanalei Pier, Kalalau Trail
2008 Perfect Getaway Kalalau Trail
2008 Tropic Thunder Wailua Falls, Kauai Sands Beach
2005 Band Of Pirates, Buccaneer Island Kee Beach, Kalaua Trail, …
2002 Dragonfly Wailua Falls
2002 The Time Machine
2001 To End All Wars Hanama’ulu Bay, Koloa Area
1998 Six Days and Seven Nights Shipwreck beach, Aliomanu (Papa’a Bay)
1998 Mighty Joe Young Kalalau Valley, Kahili Jurassic Ranch (Kilauea)
1997 George of the Jungle Olokele Valley
1995 Outbreak Kamokila Village (Wailua), Kipu Ranch
1994 North Lumahai, Ha’ena, Aliomanu (Papa’a Bay)
1993 Jurassic Park I,II,III Valley House, Wailua, Limahuli, Olokele Canyon, Manawaiopuna Falls, Kilauea
1992 Honeymoon in Vegas Lihue, Waimea, Anini, Kapa’a, Kalapaki
1991 Hook Kipu Kai Beach
1990 Flight of the Intruder Wailua, Barking Sands, Hanapepe
1990 Lord of the Flies Ke’e Beach
1987 Throw Momma from the Train Ke’e Beach, Kalihiwai, Kapa’a, Nawiliwili
1986 It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive
1983 The Thorn Birds Ke’e Beach, McBryde Sugar Mill, Koloa, Hanapepe, Lawai-Kai
1983 Uncommon Valor Hanalei Valley, Lumahai Valley, Wahiawa Camp
1981 Body Heat Haena
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark Kipu Falls and Ranch
1981 Behold Hawaii Hanalei Bay, Hanalei Town, Koke’e, Ke’e Beach, Wailua Falls
1979 Last Flight of Noah’s Ark Lawaii Kai, Port Allen
1978 Deathmoon Coco Palms
1978 Acapulco Gold Na Pali, Princeville, Hanalei
1977 Fantasy Island Wailua Falls
1977 Islands in the Stream Port Allen, Maha’ulepu, Nawiliwili, Wailua River, Kuku’iula Harbor, Kipu Ranch
1976 King Kong Honopu Beach, Kilauea, Kalalau Valley
1974 Castaway Cowboy Pila’a, Maha’ulepu
1970 The Hawaiians Kipu Ranch, Wailua River, Kapahi
1969 Lost Flight Lumahai Beach, Maniniholo Cave
1966 Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. Poipu Beach, Lawai Kai, Lydgate Park
1965 None but the Brave Pila’a Beach
1965 Paradise Hawaiian Style Princeville
1964 Gilligan’s Island Pilot Moloaa Bay
1963 Donovan’s Reef Nawiliwili, Hanama’ulu Beach, Wailua River, Waipouli, Coco Palms, Lawai Kai, Ko’olau, Waimea Canyon
1962 Diamond Head Kipu Ranch, Lihue, Grove Farm, Nawiliwili
1961 Blue Hawaii Coco Palms, Wailua Beach, Lydgate Park, Opaeka’a Falls, Kipu, Anahola
1961 Seven Women from Hell Wailua
1960 The Wackiest Ship in the Army Hanalei Bay, Kalalau Lookout at Koke’e, Waimea Canyon, Hule’ia Stream, Nawiliwili, Opaeka’a Falls
1958 South Pacific Princeville, Hanalei, Haena, Kilauea, Lawai Kai, Barking Sands near Mana and Polihale
1958 She Gods of Shark Reef Hanalei, Haena
1957 Jungle Heat Coco Palms
1957 Voodoo Island Coco Palms, Valley House
1956 Between Heaven and Hell Wailua
1954 Beachhead Wailua River, Coco Palms, Hanalei
1953 Miss Sadie Thompson Coco Palms, Hanalei, Kalapaki, Wailua Beach, Lihue
1951 Bird of Paradise Hanalei Bay, Coco Palms
1950 Pagan Love Song Ha’ena, Wainiha, Hanalei, Ke’e Beach, Coco Palms, Lydgate Park, Valley House
1934 White Heat Waimea Plantation, Wahiawa Camp

Have you noticed any tourist literature referring to Turtle Town? If so, you may be curious to know where it is. Turtle Town is actually a made up place to lure people to go on snorkel trips. Typically, these snorkel excursions will head to Maluaka beach in front of the Makena Beach Resort. The name turtle town is misleading. Although there are turtles there, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll see one when you visit. Many locations around Maui have turtles. One of the best is Honokeana Bay just south of Napili Bay. [Update: If you have an iPhone, the Maui GPS Tour Guide will help you find the location of both Maluaka and Honokeana when you're in the area.]

The Hawaiian green sea turtle is a threatened species. It’s fine to observe them in the water but you’re not allowed to touch them. In Honokowai, west Maui, more than 90% of the turtles have tumors. The tumors are clearly visible growing on their bodies. Scientists aren’t sure what the cause may be. As always, pollution is a suspect, but so is a certain kind of virus.

Is Honokeana Bay Turtle Town?

Is Honokeana Bay Turtle Town?

Kauai’s most impressive beaches are located on the north shore, a compelling reason to vacation in that area. On our first few trips to Kauai, many years ago, we stayed in Princeville, lured by the beautiful scenery. On our first day trip visit to Poipu, we were a little puzzled by Poipu Beach Park. It’s a nice beach to be sure, but not on the same scale as some of the North Shore’s offerings. However, what we didn’t discover as casual visitors to the area were Poipu’s other beaches. And it wasn’t until we actually stayed in Poipu that we discovered Mahaulepu, one of Poipu’s hidden gems.

Of course we know better now, having stayed in Poipu many times. For those who aren’t sure whether Poipu has enough beaches to satisfy, take a look at the following video which shows them all.

Surfing originated in Polynesian and was first described in 1769 when Captain James Cook arrived in Tahiti. In Hawaii, surfing was considered an art form as much as it was a sport and recreational activity. Temples were dedicated to surfing and Hawaiians would call upon their Priests to pray for good waves.

Everybody surfed in Hawaii including women and children, but the best waves and beaches were open only to the ruling class. When missionaries arrived in the 1820s they sought to transform Hawaiian culture including getting rid of surfing where nearly naked men and women mingled freely instead of working. Surfing went into decline until the early 20th century when it was revived by Alexander Hume Ford and Jack London. Ford was living in Waikiki trying to promote Hawaii as a tourist destination and realized that surfing could become a selling point. When Jack London arrived in Waikiki he was already a famous author. Ford introduced the sport to London and he immediately fell in love. In 1907 London wrote “A Royal Sport: Surfing in Waikiki” which was published in several magazines and garnered much attention. In 1908 Ford petitioned the trustees of the Queen Emma Estate to set aside a parcel of land next to the Moana Hotel in Waikiki for a surfing and canoeing club. In Ford’s fund-raising manifesto he described a club that would “give an added and permanent attraction to Hawaii and make Waikiki always the Home of the Surfer, with perhaps an annual Surfboard and Outrigger Canoe Carnival which will do much to spread abroad the attractions of Hawaii, the only islands in the world where men and boys ride upright upon the crests of waves.” Ford’s petition worked and the trustees of Queen Emma’s Estate founded the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Club, the first modern club dedicated to the perpetuation of wave-riding.

A few years later Hawaii’s most famous waterman and Olympic swimming champion, Duke Kahanamoku, spread the sport abroad by giving demonstrations as he traveled the globe. Kahanamoku is widely credited with surfing the longest wave in history, a wave near Waikiki that carried him for more than a mile.

There are many great surf breaks in Hawaii. Our Hawaii iPhone app’s point these out as you drive around the island.

Imagine having a local expert to guide you as you drive around Kauai.

Kauai GPS Tour Guide for the iPhone is a virtual tour guide that talks to vacationers as they drive around Kauai. Using the GPS built into the iPhone, the Tour Guide knows exactly where travelers are and alerts them to hidden beaches, scenic lookouts, historic sites, hikes, farmers markets and many other Kauai attractions.

The Kauai GPS Tour Guide is the first App of its kind available to Kauai visitors. It’s like having an island resident drive with you to tell you about the island. Unlike a guide book where you’re constantly flipping through pages trying to figure out where you are and what’s around you, the Tour Guide tells you about hidden places, and guides you to difficult to find attractions.

The Tour Guide includes over 200 points of interest and uses a real human voice - not a computer generated one. The application also includes comprehensive beach and snorkeling guides, weather and surf forecasts, driving directions, Kauai background information for tourists including detailed ocean safety guidelines, and select activity and restaurant recommendations.

Kauai GPS Tour Guide is available for only $7.95 from iTunes or the iPhone app store. It also works with the iPad 3G+Wifi model. Unfortunately we don’t have an Android version yet, but with the popularity of devices like the T-Mobile Galaxy S we may consider adding Android support in the future.

Kauai GPS Tour Guide for the iPhone

Kauai GPS Tour Guide for the iPhone

For the 3rd year in a row President Barack Obama and his family will vacation on Oahu for the Christmas holidays. For the past 2 years the family stayed at Plantation Estate, a 5 bedroom vacation home on Kailua Beach, also dubbed the Winter White House. It hasn’t been announced yet if the family will stay there again, but odds are that they will. The home is on the far end of Kailua beach in a gated community and offers plenty of privacy and security.

President Obama's Kailua Vacation Rental

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