Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Along the Coastal Bike Path in Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii

          Looking for a unique Kaua‘i experience?  Tim and I discovered a day’s worth of activities to fill the 6 hours between check-out from our Kaua‘i Vacation Rental home on the island’s northern shore, and check-in at Lihue International Airport.
         Located between Hanalei and Lihue, the east coast town of Kapaa beckoned after we spied “Chicken in a Barrel” barbeque.  The succulent chicken, slow-cooked in 55 gallon barrels, provided the perfect lunch for our last day in Kaua‘i.  After finishing our meal we noticed a bike rental business next door, steps away from a paved bike path.  A tandem bicycle, setting on the asphalt, called our name.  

In the mood for tasty chicken barbeque?  Stop here.

Posing with our one-speed tandem on the Kapaa bike path.

            We rented the bike for an hour and began pedaling north.  The path—Ke Ala Hele Makalae—meaning “The Path that Goes by the Coast”, follows the eastern shore with its blue-green water, brilliant white waves and sparkling sand.  Picnic tables placed along the path offer expansive views across the Pacific. 

View north of Kehalia State Park, a popular surfing spot.

This scene greets picnickers along the trail.

The bike path also curves above a cove sheltering the protected and extremely rare Hawaiian Monk Seal.  A “Monk Seal Protection Agency” volunteer, stationed atop the rocks with binoculars in hand, pointed to a black shadow among the waves: a monk seal, swimming through the pounding surf.  He surfaced near a group of exposed rocks and climbed from the water to sun himself.  We watched and photographed while the volunteer informed us of this special sighting.  The Hawaiian Monk Seal is critically endangered and on its way to extinction.  We felt both fortunate to have seen this seal, and sad for his plight.  

This scene may soon be gone from the earth forever.
A critically endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal (lower right)
suns himself on the rocks.

Whether you’re on your way to the airport or just arriving in Kaua‘i—chicken barbeque, biking the coastal path and the possibility of spotting an endangered monk seal are three excellent reasons to make a stop in Kapaa.
The friendly staff at Coconut Coasters will outfit you with a bike for a rewarding ride on the Kapaa path.
Read more about “Ke Ala Hele Makalae” on this website:  http://www.traillink.com/trail/ke-ala-hele-makalae.aspx
Information about Hawaiian Monk Seals may be found on this site: http://mcbi.marine-conservation.org/what/what_pdfs/sealFacts.pdf


  1. Fantastic! More beautiful photographs from Kaua'i, plus "Surfing Chicken" sign! What a great way to fill a day - and how neat that the rare monk seal popped up to wish you "Aloha" before your departure for the mainland.

    What a magical place. And those waves - make me want to boogie board!

    Thanks for sharing this story and your photos.

  2. Hi Vickie,

    Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

    The monk seal sighting was the icing on the cake for a day filled with special treats. To think that our original plan was to arrive at the airport 5 hours early and read. I love to read but... Sometimes the serendipitous finds when on vacation are among the best.

    Go ahead and grab that boogie board!

  3. Isn't that the truth! "Sometimes the serendipitous finds when on vacation are among the best."

    You could do a entire post - or even a book - on that subject alone!

    1. I love the idea of writing a book on serendipitous travel finds—you've got me combing through old travel journals looking for those stories! Now, when to find the time to write that book??

  4. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful . . . can't say it enough times!

    And, that photo of you and Tim is precious! Did some friendly passerby take the photo, or did you do it yourself using the timer function of your camera? Regardless, it’s a marvelous photo which captures two happy people at a beautiful (there I go again) location!

    You were fortunate indeed to have seen the rare Hawaiian Monk Seal. You guys have a way of being at the right spot at the right time to capture the all the beauty and rarity of the places you visit.


    1. Quality wildlife sightings are becoming rare in our crowded, over-developed world. Being in the right place at the right time—and spending lots of time in wild, outdoor places—increase the odds of these invaluable sightings.

      We own a small tripod with a velcro strap. We strapped the camera to a fence post and used the self-timer to take the shot of us with our rental bike.

      Many thanks for your "beautiful" comments, John!