In 2014, we took the Drive and Hike version of the East and North Shore tour offered by Kauai Photo Tours. We were so happy with the experience that we booked another tour with them for this trip, this time for the South Shore. These tours are led by a professional photographer who drives a small group to particularly photogenic locations around a section of the island, and provides pointers on the best way to take the shot, and various settings on your camera. In this case, the group was very small – just me and Steve. The South Shore isn’t one of their standard tours and they only like to run it if at least three people sign up for it. However, in the end, they went ahead with the tour even though it was just the two of us.
They are very accommodating of everyone’s knowledge level – and desired knowledge level – so I got set up with some very basic setting changes and suggestions, while Steve took time to learn techniques for using a neutral density filter and taking time lapse shots. I highly recommend this company if you want to see some outstanding spots, either off the beaten path or at least a new viewpoint of an old favorite – sometimes the old favorites are favorites for a reason!
We started the day by driving out to the Kuki’i Point Lighthouse.
Steve and I had never been to this spot until a couple of days ago when we stumbled upon it with Dallas, our first field trip dog. Levi, our tour guide, was a bit bummed that we’d already been here since it was new to most visitors but I tried to reassure him that we were there for literally 10 minutes at the end of the day just walking the dog around and picking up handfuls of discarded fishing line; we honestly hadn’t even thought to look at the place with a photographic eye, so it was effectively still a brand new spot. And it was a lovely spot, indeed.
That’s Nawiliwili Lighthouse in the distance.
Afterwards, we made a quick stop at the Menehune Fishpond. While we had taken a quick shot of this location on our mopeds during our last trip, we hadn’t really paid much attention to it since we stopped to photograph it on our first trip more than a decade ago. It was nice to revisit the lovely landscape with much better cameras. Levi mentioned this could be a very nice place to photograph at sunset.
From there, we headed south down to Po’ipu, stopping first at Baby Beach, a lovely little cove that we’d driven by many times in the past, but hadn’t bothered to stop. It is protected from the road by a high brick wall, and it had barely even registered on our radars. Levi mentioned that this was another great place to watch and photograph the sunset, and I could definitely picture it – we’ll be heading back at some point.
Next we drove over to Spouting Horn. Obviously, we’d been there before, but we went to a vantage point, let’s say, “away” from the main overlook. It was very safe, but it was past a fence, and Steve and I are pretty cautious and such rule followers that we never considered going to this spot before.
Of course, the blowhole really went off just after we’d packed up our cameras and started walking back to the car, but we got some nice shots anyway.
By now, Levi had a good sense that we’d been to a lot of the typical spots, but also knew how to play up the places he was taking us to. It was off to Shipwrecks Beach and the sandstone cliffs we have walked several times. On the way over, Levi said, “So, you’ve been to Shipwrecks Beach, but have you been to the CAVE on Shipwrecks Beach?” To which I replied, much to his delight, “There’s a cave on Shipwrecks Beach?”
I suppose it’s more of a cubby than a cave, but it made for a lovely spot to take some photographs and was, again, a place we would never have discovered on our own since it involved going a bit off the main trail.
Levi was also kind enough to take a photo of Steve and me on the beach.
From there, it was off to Maha’ulepu. Again, Levi was a little disappointed that we’d just been there yesterday, but again I emphasized that we were there with a dog, so our focus was different and that we were there now to really take our time with the cameras.
And it was honestly well worth the extra visit. Levi knew just the right spots to get some beautiful shots and really helped ensure we got the photos we wanted.
He also showed us a neat trick in one spot where the waves come under the cliff. It’s a spot just before the Dragon’s Breath area I noted in yesterday’s post. We had definitely noted the spot before as a place where there was obviously water moving under us, but Levi covered the spot over with sand and we watched as the baby blowhole-in-the-making cast the covering aside.
As we walked along the coast, Levi clearly had an end point in mind that he really wanted to get us to. I thought for sure it was going to be the Gaping Maw I referred to as the Pot of Gold yesterday, and was contemplating if we should feign ignorance about it, but I was surprised when he took us past that to a magnificent view of Ha’ula Beach that we had totally missed yesterday. We might have seen it if we’d been exploring on our own, but we had walked to the end of the sandstone cliffs and had Mercedes to attend to, so we had turned around just shy of this spot.
Levi was adequately pleased that it was new to us.
I’m so thankful to Kauai Photo Tours for going ahead with this tour even though it didn’t meet their minimum guest requirement. This is a great company that really creates a unique experience for people who want to try to capture the beauty of the island.
After the tour, we crossed the parking lot for a tasting at Nani Moon Meadery. I’m not a huge mead fan, being much more into cider, but I like it well enough for a tasting, and certainly more than beer or wine. The first 3 tastings reminded me quite a bit of white wine. Consequently, Steve liked them much more than I did. The 4th sample was a ginger spice, and it was okay, but still a bit too much like a wine base for me.
I was much more into the final 2 tastings. Cacao Moon was sweeter, like I’d expect a mead to be, but not at all thick and syrupy. It had a wonderful chocolate and macadamia nut taste that I could get into. The last one was Deviant Beehavior and I was quite surprised I liked this one as much as I did. Made with Kauai wildflower honey and organic white pineapple, it has a nice sweet base, but is followed by a real kick provided by Hawaiian chili pepper. It burns the back of your throat going down; I couldn’t see drinking a large amount in a sitting, but a small glass could be quite nice. Nice enough that we purchased a bottle of this one as well as the Cacao Moon. We definitely need to drink these as soon as we get home though, because the Cacao Moon is expected to get less sweet over time and the Deviant Beehavior will become even spicier!