Sunday, June 6, 2010

11 Years!

What a fantastic day! It's like we are on vacation this weekend. All the stress of finding work and adjusting to our new lives evaporates as I think about what's in store for us and how far we've come. Today is 11 years that Dan and I have been married and 1 year since we decided to move here. Mom and Dad sent us a card with some money so I called to thank them. Dad was out watching his grandkids play soccer while mom stayed home and cleaned the downstairs windows. When I called she had just finished and was relaxing. We had a great conversation talking about life, the changes we made and how well it is turning out. I feel like she really gets what Dan and I are doing and I love her so much for that, for her support and encouragement; for her living vicariously through our dreams. You know someone really loves you when they are genuinely happy for you and not threatened or jealous by what we are doing. She said she wants to come and visit, maybe for their 56th wedding anniversary in October (an accomplishment in itself) which would be fantastic. We spoke for over an hour, a record for us, and left eachother feeling loved and supported.

Our Starz Ohana (family) pitched in and got us a going away present, a $330.00 gift certificate to Outfitters Kauai, an adventure company for tourists. We decided to cash it in for our anniversary, on the Kipu Zipline Safari. It was fun being a tourist for a day! The aloha spirit is everywhere but when it comes to tourists, it's amplified! Our guides Shavonne and cowgirl (I can't remember her name) were fantastic. Really I mean, really happy young ladies that made our adventure day more enjoyable.

The day started at 8:30 and went until 3. Starting off with a paddle lesson from Shavonne, we kayaked about 2 miles of the Hule'ia river, hiked to a water hole for some swimming, got a tractor ride up to do an 800 foot zipline, had lunch, did a 1800 foot tandem zipline, hiked down to blue hole for more swimming and hiked to the river for a motorized catamaran ride back. It was a fantastic day with the 1800 foot zip line being the highlight.

We thank our Starz ohana from the bottom of our hearts for such a wonderful, thoughtful gift. That gift enabled us to create a fantastic memory for our first anniversary as residents. We really appreciate you and will never forget you guys. A special thanks to Suzanne for coming up with the idea and making it happen, you are such a sweetheart! You know you have some place to stay and tour guides if any of our Starz ohana decides to come and visit! Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo nui loa!

So here are the pictures from our day, enjoy! And if you come, bring extra money because these excursions, although expensive (averaging $150.00 per person) are worth it. These folks work hard to make your experience fun and memorable and you get to see places a lot of people who live here don't get to. We highly recommend it!

A nice mellow kayak ride down the Hule'ia river started things off right. We all clustered together as our river guide Justin told us the menehune myth. Paddling on we were surprised by cowgirl; she was sitting up in a tree as sweet as she can be waiting for us. Justin took the kayaks back (on the catamaran with Chris) and cowgirl joined us for the rest of the tour.

The first swimming hole. Next week they are closing off the property to tours because Johnny Depp will be "walking on water" for the Pirates 4 filming. On the bottom right is a step ladder, you grab onto the knotted rope above and swing out into the water. Cowgirl swung out and on the swing back showed us what it looks like "walking on water"

Waiting for my turn!!

Hiking up to the pasture of Kipu Ranch.

Cowgirl is explaining something interesting.

We all load up for our ride

Back end view

Shavonne, on the rail, gets ready to scramble up a hill for the tourists.

Havin a good time!

Well come back to that later, the 1800' tandem zipline

Shavonne plucked a passion fruit flower (lilikoi) from a bush and passed it around to everyone.

he he!

Off to our first zipline.

Listening to instruction

Getting equipped

On the left "Dan the man" turned out to be an adrenaline junkie.

Dan's ready, really!

I'm ready

We were all ready to fly! But wait! A test, if you can walk over this bouncy bridge, you can do the zipline. If not, Gary is waiting in the wagon to take you back. Dan and I enjoyed it, appreciating them instilling a sense of vertigo before we zip!

the forest floor is about 100 feet below

But we are strapped in so it's ok.

Passed the test, waiting to zip!

Dan took the camera on his ride and snapped this shot, our landing pad is in the distance.

Dan coming in for a landing, his foot in the front there, Shavonne waits on the ramp to unhook him.

Post zip smile

more folks coming in

"Dan the man coming in for a landing"

The fear of the unknown is gone, the butterflies wiped away and everyone is happy.

On to the next spot

beauty all around us

up a little hill

into an open pasture. Notice the craggy cliffs on the left,

a close up of them.

landing spot for the 1800' tandem ride

the view is spectacular!


Epic! As my niece and nephews say.

Off they go!

View from the top

Waiting for my turn (post swim hair)

Waiting (working on that belly!)

Dan and I go at the same time. The forest canopy below us is one of the most amazing things we've ever seen. Huge trees for miles cover the bottom. This zipline is much faster and it's exhilarating all they way around! Yeeeehawwwww!!!

A short walt to the blue hole where we ride a t-bar and splash in to get cooled off.

A mountain stream feeds it. Even though it's fresh water Dan and I spotted a baby turtle swimming around, not too bothered by us.

Some folks are too scared, others wait their turn

Dan the man takes his turn

The waterfall that feeds the pond. Dan and I are stoked to end our day in this cool, beautiful pond. I wish we were on our own schedule and had the place to ourselves!

A ladder helps you out

One boy was scared so cowgirl held him between her legs and dropped him in at just the right time. He loved it!
bye blue hole =(

Hiking back to the river I saw these cool trees.

Dan and I in a bamboo tunnel.

so beautiful!

And just like that, the day is over.

Sunday morning, still high from yesterday, I wake at 6am and take the dogs to the beach while Dan sleeps in. The beach this time of day is calm and empty. It's just me and the dogs. As I throw the ball into the ocean for Baxter and watch Lucy scamper around, I thank god that we are here, together, stronger than ever and celebrating life and 11 years together. 

Later this morning we are headed over to the Taste of Hawaii, 50 local food vendors and 15 wine stations. We are meeting Jillian and Gary up there and will hang out with them, the DeRasps (the personal chef and his brother and sister) and Dan from Da Kine wine. Salud!