Saturday, June 9, 2001

2001—Grand Cayman, June 2-9

I had a week banked with RCI that was about to expire. So I called and said I wanted a week in the Caribbean, on the beach, for the week of June 2-9, 2001. They had 2 choices---one in Tortola (I think) and the other at the Morritt's Tortuga Club in Grand Cayman. I mainly chose the Morritt's because I thought it would be easier to get to. This was another trip with just my son Tim, his future wife Faith, my daughter Angie, and myself.
We flew USAirways to Charlotte, then on to Georgetown, Grand Cayman. We left St. Louis about 8:30am and arrived in the Caymans about 1:30pm---not bad.
Along our way we even flew over CUba.

Soon after that we had Grand Cayman in view.

Again we cleared customs quickly and were on our way.

I had rented a mid-sized car (a very used Tercel). I was a bit concerned when I first saw it, but it managed to make it through the week---barely. I was also concerned about driving on the "wrong" side of the street. It really seemed weird having cars come at you on the right side of the road instead of the left, but we made it through that, too!

Our first stop was at the grocery store in Georgetown. Our resort was on the other side of the island (about 25 miles away) and I wasn't sure there would be a grocery store nearby. Other than the milk being $7/gallon, prices didn't seem too bad.
When we checked in, I asked if we had a beachfront room, he checked, made a change in his book, and said, "you do now". The location of our room was great! We were on the ground level, but our livingroom opened up onto a gorgeous beach. We were also near the club house and deck where all the entertainment took place.

the lobby
 the pool
Our unit as seen from the beach---bottom level 2nd from the left.
our condo from beach
It wasn't the fanciest place, but it was clean and sufficient. There was no dishwasher or washer/drier, but we didn't miss them too much.

livingroom with sofa sleeper.
small tv in livingroom

Our unit opened up onto the beach just steps from the water.  We loved the views and being so close to everything!
The bar b q hut
 our bar b q lunch
 tree outside our unit
 Tim and Faith enjoying a hammock
 the dock --- just to the right of our room.
pier through palms
Even the snorkeling there was pretty good. Saw BIG fish under the dock---tarpin, I think , and some giant snook later. Dinner the first night was chicken stir fry cooked up in the condo. Angie worked out in the excercise room there for awhile, then she and i went to the bar for the nightly activities. That night it was 70's disco party-name that year.
Here she and I are enjoying the bar.

We spent much of Sunday exploring the other side of the island. We rode into Georgetown and on to Hell, stopping along the way to take lots of pictures.
This was taken before the town of Georgetown.

Sunday, February 4, 2001

2001--our 1st trip to Kauai: helicopter tour; Blue Dolphin Napali tour

Our 1st trip to Kauai: helicopter tour; Blue Dolphin Napali tour:

Back in 1999 Ken and I went to a timeshare presentation in St. Louis that was selling weeks in a newly renovated condo complex in Kauai. We had never been to any of the islands of Hawaii. Didn't really figure it would be somewhere we'd frequent. But did like the idea that we would supposedly be able to trade it for anywhere we wanted to go. We were pretty naive about the whole timeshare thing back then, but I think we pretty well lucked out with our first timeshare purchase, even sight unseen. So for $8,000 we became the owners of 1 week every other year at Pahio Kauai Beach Villas. Since we actually had reservations already for our first ever trip to Hawaii (Oahu) at the time we bought into KBV, we went ahead and banked our first week into RCI as soon as we became owners. 2 years later we decided to check out our purchase before banking anymore weeks. So in 2001, we booked 4 nights on Oahu since we had liked it so much in 1999 (just in case we didn't like Kauai) and booked our week at Pahio Kauai Beach Villas. After a week in Kauai, we were sad to be heading to Oahu for the rest of our trip! We fell in love with Kauai and never banked another Kauai week. In fact, we've since bought 4 more every other year weeks.

From the moment we drove onto the Pahio KBV properties, we were impressed. We had purchased a 1 bedroom/1 bath "garden view" unit. "Garden view" actually means "parking lot view", but we were upgraded into a "lagoon view" 1 bedroom/2 bath unit near the pool. We both agreed we could live very comfortably there for a lot longer than a week. The pool was a bit cold, but at that time KBV owners were also able to use the pools at the adjoining Radisson hotel complex without a fee. Those pools weren't heated, either, but the jacuzzi was bigger and the pools were more interesting, so we did take advantage of that benefit quite a bit. We also enjoyed the "lighting" ceremony at the Radisson pool a few evenings. I think they still do the free hula and lighting show there, but we haven't checked that out in a few years---since we're no longer welcomed in their pools when the Radisson was bought out by Hilton. They've just been bought out again and we're hoping we'll have access to the pools again. Anyway, not only did we love the Pahio resort, but we also loved the location. It was isolated enough to be quiet, but close to 2 of the main towns on Kauai, Lihue and Kapaa. It makes a great base for winter stays since it's about equal distance to the north shore or the south shore. We watch the weather forecasts and if the north shores are calm and dry, we head north. Otherwise we usually end up going south. We do drive alot while we're on Kauai, but with the beauty of the island, I've never minded the rides. Back to KBV----it's on the beach, although most of the units aren't oceanfront. The beach there isn't swimable, but the beach is a beautiful one for walking on. It's truely a home away from home to us.

This being our first trip to Kauai, we tried to see as much of the island as we could in our too short week long stay. In our driving around, we stopped at various viewpoints. Here's one on the east
side of the Wailua River. The Wailua River begins near the Waiʻaleʻale crater (whose summit averages more than426 inches of rain a year) and enters the Pacific Ocean by Kapaa. It is the only navigable river (by boats larger than kayaks) in the Hawaiian Islands.
 Across the street from the Wailua River viewpoint is the Opaeka Falls viewpoint. It is a 151–foot waterfall that flows over basalt from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago into the Wailua River.
It's name means rolling shimp, which comes from the time when freshwater shrimp were abundant there and could be seen tumbling over the falls.