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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kauai - September 2013

I started writing this on the way home from our Hawaii trip, and am just now (October 22) getting around to finishing it.

Sunset from the South Shore
It is September 18th. Tonight we are homeward bound on the red-eye flight from Kauai. We have been on the island since August 23rd. It has been a wonderful three and a half weeks. For the last six or seven years we have visited Maui, including our visit last January, so it was nice to return to Kauai. We have visited the islands three times since we learned about my ALS.

In February 2012, I was able to do everything I've always done. I snorkeled, used a body board, and kayaked with no problems. My stamina wasn't as good when I used the body board but that really wasn't a big deal because I used to overdo the body boarding and totally wear myself out.

Beautiful Anahola Beach
In January of this year, 2013, I found that I was unable to body board because I didn't have the leg strength to stay upright in the surf. Waves just knocked me over. When I snorkeled I didn't have the stamina I was accustomed to, and my breathing (exhaling) was a bit weird. I used a new snorkel design which provided 2 chambers - one for inhaling and the other for exhaling. I was able to snorkel as much as I wanted, but I'd say that I was less adventurous.  I kept Gerri' close by and didn't wander off on my own.

This trip, I found that I was unable to form a tight seal with my lips around the snorkel mouth piece, so I had sea water leaking into my mouth. I also found that I didn't have the oomph to clear the snorkel if it took on sea water. I tried it in the pool at the hotel, and in calm water at Anahola beach. I had the same experience at both places. So, unfortunately, my snorkeling days are behind me.

Last January, I was able to walk on the beach. With each step my heels sank in the sand, but I could walk a pretty good distance. This visit I walked using two hiking poles which we purchased at the local Walmart. Basically, with those poles and Gerri's help, I was only able to walk from the car to where we set up our beach chairs. So there were no long leisurely strolls on the beach.

Wading in to the water was difficult because the resistance of the water pushes my feet back so that when I land my foot on the bottom,  it settles wrong, as if I am about to roll my ankle. With the slightest wave action, it was much more difficult to land my steps properly. So, my beach activity consisted of relaxing on a beach chair and reading a book, all the while being soothed by the rhythm of the waves. Not bad.

We located the glass beach near Port Allen.  It looks like a black sand beach until you take a closer look. Searching for beach glass is one of Gerri's favorite things to do, so we made several trips to that beach. Gerri' found lots of nice pieces of sea glass, and I just kicked back to enjoy the scene.

 Glass Beach 
This trip we brought a wheel chair which was loaned to us by one of our ALS friends. It turned out that I only used it in the airports.  Last trip we relied on the airport folks to provide one of their wheel chairs.  If I had to do it over again, I would not have brought a wheel chair.  We thought that we would use it on the island, but we discovered something better.

Before the trip we found a medical equipment supplier on the island that would rent a walker to us.  We also discovered that they rented scooters.  We rented the walker for a few days but ended up replacing it with the scooter. That little scooter was really fun. It broke apart into four pieces which made it relatively easy to break down and transport in the back of our rental car.  My only real problem was that I wanted to help Gerri' with the chore of breaking the scooter into its four pieces and putting it back together again.  Every time I tried, I ended up falling (or almost falling) in the parking lot. So I had to let Gerri' do all of that work.  I couldn't use the scooter at the beach, but everywhere else we went, it was great. In fact, it worked out so well that when we got home Gerri' called around and located one for us to purchase.

So, we had a wonderful time in Hawaii.  It was great to return to beautiful Kauai after being away for six or seven years.  I'm really glad that we have visited the islands over the years. My sister Shannon and her husband Mike have visited the islands many times over the years.  I used to ask them why they always returned to Hawaii every year (sometimes more than once in a year).  It seemed strange to me that they didn't visit other places. When I asked them about it, Mike used to just smile at me.  Now I know what he was smiling about, and Mike likes to tease me and ask me why we keep returning to Hawaii.  We have planned to visit other places, but when it comes time to plan a trip, we end up returning to Hawaii.  I tell people that if they can only go to Hawaii once, they shouldn't go because they would spend the rest of their lives feeling bad about not being able to return.

Kilauea Point Light House
Endangered Monk Seal viewed from Kilauea Point

Tree Tunnel on the road to Po'ipu


  1. I am obsessed with sea glass! That was a wonderful trip!

  2. So happy you were able to go to Hawaii again!

  3. I'm so glad you were able to take this trip and enjoy this time together in paradise!

  4. See, you get it now! We love that you love Kauai. So glad you had a good trip. Love ya, Shanny

  5. So glad you were able to experience Hawaii again. You are so ingenious at finding all the workarounds so you can experience it with your ALS. You are an inspiration!

    I have only been to Maui once. We're planning to go back in 2014 for our 10th anniversary. Take care, V & Lee Hirschi

  6. Hi Kev. Thanks for sharing. Linda and I were in Kauai last Feb. Seven days wasn't enough but I remember getting lots of exercise EVERY day. Lots of firsts. We hope to go back again soon. Take care!

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