Originally published: 8/2/2003; 11:29:04 PM

On our tenth anniversary, we chose to live the life of a sea lion–lazily basking in the sun at the water’s edge, grabbing the occasional bite to eat, swimming when it suited us, and repeating the cycle the entire day.

Hanalei Bay Resort Pool

This morning we woke up early to a phone call from a concerned relative who had heard about yesterday’s chopper crash. Last night we tried to find an internet connection so we could email friends and family (it was too late to call) but the local cybercafe was closed and the hotel did not offer access. We called everyone else this morning.

After that, we drove down to the local grocery store and picked up breakfast and lunch. We got back to the resort in time to snag the choicest spot poolside–a private grotto with sand and a sloping, beach-like entry into the pool.

We had dinner at Kilauea Lighthouse Bistro. The food was good, but, in a panic, I mis-ordered. I ended up with the stuffed shrimp wrapped in phylo. Christy had a filet in some sort of sauce. There was no view to speak of. The surrounding shops looked intriguing but were closed. Frommer’s gave it three stars but I don’t know. I’d probably pass on it next time.

Bottom-line on Kauai

I’ve never been to a place with such rugged beauty. After four days, I was ready to move on to the next island, but knowing what I know now, I could have stayed a full week easily. The Hanalei Bay Resort was nice, particularly if you like over-the-top, mega-resort pools or if you’re a tennis player. But, if beach time is what you want, you’re better off in Poipu. Next time, I’d strongly consider renting a beach house in Anini or Hanalei Bay.

A helicopter ride is required to really appreciate the magnificence of the island.

For next time, I’d consider planning and preparing for more hiking. Waimea Canyon had some trails we didn’t get to explore (Alakai Swamp, for example), and there’s a trail that heads into the Na Pali Coast that would have been great had I brought along my “real” hiking equipment and had physically prepared for that strenuous of a trail.

On to Hawaii Day 5 — Volcanoes National Park