Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hawaii Part VI - Waimea & Na Pali: Reasons to Return.

So we are finally at the sixth and final installment of the great Hawaiian saga. It's about time because I am sure you are ready to hear about the more exciting things that are happening in the newly married life. Like how the hubby is slow at work right so things are actually getting done at the house while I am GONE at WORK! It's so exciting really. He cleaned the garage a couple of days ago. He is trying to bank extra points I am sure.

So anyway, back to our final day on Kaua'i along the Na Pali Coast. We scheduled a tour to take a Zodiac raft along the coast out of Waimea, a western town. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. A zodiac raft, is a hard bottomed boat where you just sit perched precariously on the side and hold onto ropes for dear life. They are good for going fast in big waves, thus the NAVY Seal boat of choice. We took off out up the western coast of Kaua'i and were immediately swallowed up in some giant waves. It was so exhilarating. You had to hold on with all your might and giant waves would splash over you. People were screaming like they were on a ride at Cedar Point roller coaster (if you don't know, you should).

We finally stopped for a minute because we were surrounded by a dolphin pod. They were were so adorable and a very friendly dolphin showed off by doing a spinning jump for us right beside the boat. I had my waterproof camera around my neck but it was incredibility hard to take a picture while moving. We probably saw around 50 dolphins and several large sea turtles swimming beside the raft. We also got to jump in the water and swim some.

After awhile, we hit the Na Pali coastline and the sites became much more beautiful and the waves much bigger. Our destination was a beach only accessible by boat where we would be served lunch and be able to take a short hike and snorkel. Right as we neared the shore, our starboard motor started stalling out. This would become a problem later.

We saw a monk seal sunning itself on the beach along with some large crabs. The snorkeling was okay but the visibility was murky and we definitely had done better. We took a nature hike and out tour guide explained how the site was a very famous native Hawaiian community and how they have survived for many years there.

After lunch, we reboarded the boat to try to continue up the Na Pali coast hoping the motor would work. As we went further north, the waves became huge and the coastline became staggeringly beautiful. It was like a rugged green monster towering over us with no accessibility to it at all. The terrain was not hikable. We eventually came to the beach that is the end of the Kalalua Trail. Any access beyond this is by helicopter but is usually only done for filming the many many movies that are made there.

At one point, our Captain maneuvered the boat into a tiny opening in the rock which opened up into a sea cave. It was amazing, totally unable to be captured by camera. Apparently several people have gotten married there by kayak and Laird Hamilton (pro surfer) broke both legs jumping off the cliff into the cave while filming a Mountain Dew commercial.

About when we were the furthest away from the harbor, our second motor stopped working completely. We were in view of the end of the Kalalua Trail, and I was ready to swim for it. With only one motor, the waves were winning the battle with raft. After creeping along for awhile, it finally caught and we went flying again. Our Captain was worried about slowing down or stopping so he drove like a maniac back. I am not sure how the older people along on our trip handled it honestly. Overall, a great way to see the coast while doubling as a heart attack mini train wreck. The next day, I felt a bit like I had played a rugby game the day before.

After this, since we were already in Waimea, we decided to check out the Waimea Canyon. It is called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It was like a green version of the Grand Canyon. We didn't get to do any hiking because we didn't have time (boo) but it was very compelling and another reason to return to Kaua'i. We did see a bunch of mountain goats here. It was quite the day for wildlife.

We finished up our trip by seeing one of the famous bright Kaua'i rainbows. Perfect way to end a perfect trip.

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