Holiday break used mostly for relaxing

As the newest NCL interisland cruise ship, Pride of Hawai‘i, idled just outside the breakwater before sailing for the Big Island, passengers from the cruise line’s oldest vessel on the route, Pride of Aloha, poured into the Kalapaki Bay area to enjoy a quiet, sunny Memorial Day.

“We don’t really have any big plans,” said Fairfax, Va., resident Mike Brunzini, a professor of engineering at George Mason University.

It’s their first time to Kaua‘i.

“We come on the cruises to relax and dance,” he said.

At that, his wife, Dolly, smiled.

“And read,” she said.

The Brunzinis were heading back to the ship after a morning of shopping and browsing through the Anchor Cove Mall.

The shopping center’s signature monument, a large blue anchor out front, sported balloons and a yellow ribbon in honor of America’s veterans.

“Your Memorial Day, it’s in honor of your veterans, right?” said Australian Jennifer Benson. “We love your country. We look to you to see how our (soldiers) are doing too.”

Benson and Maria Barnes, both from Sydney, also enjoyed a leisurely day of shopping and walking Kalapaki Beach.

“We love your Red Dirt stuff,” Benson said, pulling a burnt-orange T-shirt out of her shopping bag.

As to plans for the rest of the day, the ladies from “Down Under” said they were heading back to the ship for some more R-and-R, or rest and relaxation. “We’re being very lazy,” Barnes said.

Others, locals and tourists alike, were a little more active on the holiday. Beyond the makai side picnics at the base of the Nawiliwili jetty, a handful of beginning and intermediate surfers braved the occasional shoulder-high swell, with mixed results.

Over in the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor, pleasure cruises came and went, and several children tried their luck at fishing in the shallows while their parents looked on from shaded picnic tables.

“What are you fishing for?” a passerby asked.

“I don’t know,” said Ridge Bejo, a 16-year-old Kaua‘i High School student.

Bejo said they hadn’t caught anything yet.

“What are you using for bait?”

“Squid, I think,” Bejo said.

“Oh, well, you gotta have fresh bait,” the onlooker said before taking his leave.

Bejo said he and his family visited the cemetery this morning before heading out to the water.

“I caught an eel over there,” Kylene Rapacon said, pointing in the general direction of the parking lot. It seemed to be all the 7-year-old could have asked for on her day off from Kalaheo Elementary.

Sitting next to Bejo and cousin Alissa Rapacon, 10, an ‘Ele‘ele Elementary student, Kylene’s luck wasn’t rubbing off.

The fish weren’t biting, and the fact that they swam by in plain view of the bait didn’t seem to bother the youngsters at all.

In fact, it was an unusually quiet day down by the harbor, with locals and tourists content to pass the time rather than fill it.

Just then, Bejo’s pole bent and there was an instant of excitement before he realized what was on the other end.

“I caught a rock,” he said.

• Ford Gunter, associate editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or


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