Kaua‘i in 50 Hours

Photographer John Hook recounts his journey in Kaua’i with writer Sonny Ganaden.

This being my first blog post, I don’t know how I should start off. Is it a “Dear Diary” thing or like a “Once upon a time” thing? Anyway, let me start off by telling you that I was on Kaua‘i 10 days ago for “work.”

Honestly, I don’t know what I was officially doing there, I got an email from the editor asking me if I wanted to go to Kaua‘i to shoot something, I said “I DO,” and next thing I know I’m at the Kaua‘i airport trying to rent a car without knowing what hotel I was driving to.

Turned out I was booked at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu with our writer Sonny. I was sure Sonny knew what he was supposed to cover there, and I only know how to take pictures so I figured this trip would work itself out. Here’s a photo recap of our 2 1/4 days in Kaua‘i.

I arrived in Kaua‘i a few hours before Sonny, drove around by myself looking for pretty pictures to take. Unfortunately, shooting in the middle of the day makes most landscapes look boring. I did a lot of ‘take one picture and leave’ type tourist photography. Waterfall, it’s neat, but I wasn’t too stoked on the picture.

Just up the way I hiked past some no trespassing signs and found a tree that looked like an elephant, stoked on this picture.

Another waterfall in the middle of the day, not stoked on it.

Maybe the lighthouse would be cool, not stoked, doing renovations. Nice little exterminator tent.

I was happy to find these little roadside attractions, like this van turned flower pot.

Kaua‘i has some some pretty good thrifting going on. Instead of having the big stores like Savers here on O‘ahu, I’m pretty sure some Kaua‘i residents just ended up hoarding a bunch of stuff, then realizing they had too much shit, they painted the words “Thrift Store” on their house and let people have at it.

Thrift it.

I made it up to Hanalei before I had to head back to the airport and pick up our writer. I wish I could of stayed for some sunset lighting, but no, not so stoked on this image either, maybe an elephant would of made this picture a little more interesting.

Heading to the Grand Hyatt. Kinda stoked on the tree tunnel. I would like to come back here with a rabbit costume.

Me and Sonny had a really fancy dinner at the Grand Hyatt with the rest of the media people that were there invited to cover the whatever thing that Sonny was suppose to write about and I was gonna photograph. I was clearly the most unprofessional professional at this dinner. I was hoping someone would order escargot so I could make that snails joke from the movie The Jerk. But yeah, being treated to free food and alcohol was splendid.

When we got back to the room, we were maybe a little drunk in a five-star hotel with an amazing 24 hour pool, so yeah, we robed up and had at it.

“It’s Grand”

Drinks in the poo.

Hey weʻre in Kaua‘i on official business, let’s do some moonlight marauding.

Official “work” day. We went to Tortilla Republic for breakfast then toured some local farms. Tortilla Republic also treated us to lunch, drinks and dinner.

Imagine if you will, Jurassic Park. Yes the farm was nice, and what better way to enjoy the great outdoors other than riding in some Secret Service vehicles with the windows up and the AC on. I told you this was a fancy trip. Jurassic Park indeed, Sonny was definitely the Jeff Goldblum character, and I think I was the sick triceratops with my tongue sticking out the whole time.

And I mentioned I was the most unprofessional professional there.

We got to meet our fresh lunch before they cooked it up for us. Total Alien right?

Not to be rude, but me and Sonny skipped out on the “shopping excursion” part of the work day, and hit up Shipwreck beach for a little body surf session. Actually, I was trying to get some nice beach images for our in-room hotel publication, Room Service, so I was technically working ;)

Day 3. A few hours to tour the island before we headed home. We called up a local, and she showed us some cool spots up north to check out. The dry cave here is accessible to anyone, seriously on the side of the road and worth a check.

The “blue room” was pretty awesome too. You gotta hike a few steps to get to it, but it’s worth it. A stones throw north from the dry cave.

If you want to see the Na Pali coast, take a day to see it, take one of those boat tours or a helicopter tour, don’t just swim out from the end of the road and hope to look back at the island and get a good picture of it, I tried and got a picture of what looks like a miniature floating island, not the same awe inspiring coast you wanted to see.

Headed to the airport. I can’t say if we were on this property legally or not, but we like exploring and seeing some classic Hawaii. This is not the Grand Hyatt pool.

If you have 20 minutes to get to the airport and catch your flight, you still have time to get to Hamura Saimin, located in Lihue, and pound a bowl of awesome saimin, do it.


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