December 14–15, 2017
Our next port was supposed to be Kona, on the northwest side of the Big Island. I was booked to take a submarine ride there. However, it was the one port where we could not dock, but would need to use tenders to go ashore. Our captain determined that the waves were too high to do that safely, so we sailed by some scenic areas that day instead, and arrived on schedule at the island of Kauai, the oldest and farthest northwest of the main islands. It was the only island my father mentioned to me as having visited. I presume they docked there after his basic training at Camp Pendleton as they sailed toward the Pacific theater.
I'm glad I got to visit four islands on the trip. They are all quite lovely and have their particular features. Even so, Kauai is called the garden island. I hope these pictures will give you some idea of the beauty of Kauai.
Our first day's tour started with a visit to the Wailua River State Park. Settlers came ashore near the mouth of the river about 500 AD.
The rectangular areas enclosed by stones were considered holy places and were places of refuge.
Just up the road from the park at the beach is the most sacred of these rectangles. Just to the left of the one pictured below you see two pointed stones. These were the Royal Birth Stones, where their kings were born. There used to be a little grass shack where the mother would stay until time for the birth. When the time came, she would lean against the larger stone and put her feet up on the other one during the birth. The umbilical cord would then be put in a crack in the wall. If it was taken by a rat, that indicated that the child would be a thief. This was probably a better screening process than the Electoral College seems to be.
Across the street from this sacred space was an area of twentieth-century historical significance, the Coco Palms Resort, on royal property that has been in dispute since 1866. The resort opened in 1953, and became the filming location for movies from Miss Sadie Thompson to Elvis's Blue Hawaii (speaking of kings—don't know what they did with his umbilical cord, though). Casts of the movies stayed at the resort. Elvis had a cottage somewhere back behind the grove on the left of the picture. Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Liberace, and Frank Sinatra are among the celebrities known to stay at the resort. It was destroyed by a hurricane in 1992, and efforts to restore and reopen have been thwarted until Hyatt recently backed a group working to get it going this year.
We headed on down the road to ‘Opaeka‘a Falls. It is a beautiful area, and none of my pictures do it justice.
We stopped to see a blowhole near the McBryde and Allerton Gardens. As waves crash into shore, water is forced into a lava tube and out the hole.
We headed for lunch at Poipu Beach Park. A Florida professor rated it as the best beach in the US. The seals seemed to like it.
There are chickens all over the area. Some islanders who settled brought chickens with them to raise. Over the years, hurricanes would destroy the houses, and the chickens would fly the coop, so to speak. I thought this was one of the most handsome roosters that I saw. They are protected, but supposedly native people may catch and eat them, but the meat is very tough on the wild birds. I did hear that they taste like chicken.
From the beaches on the south side of the island we headed toward the west side to Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. (Somebody said that Mark Twain called it that.) It was caused by erosion from the Waimea River. On the way we passed Mount Waiʻaleʻale, one of the wettest places on earth with annual rainfall up to 500 inches, averaging about 375. We were able to see the mountain in spite of the clouds, but I didn't get a picture. The erosion from all that water means that the canyon is as much as 3000 feet deep. The overlook gives great views. I couldn't decide on my favorite pictures, so you can decide which of these you like best. There again, none of them compare at all with the real thing.
Captain James Cook first landed in Hawaii near the mouth of the Waimea River, a few blocks from this statue.
He was in the Royal Navy, and not a registered nurse.
We next visited the Kauai Coffee plantation. Kona coffee is more famous, but the samples I had of Kauai Coffee were quite good. There were exhibits and videos to watch as well. The grounds (of the plantation, not the coffee) are graced with lovely flowers.
As if that were not enough to see and do in one day, I had also booked the luau for the evening. I knew I wanted to go to one somewhere, and the schedule was convenient, since the ship would be docked here overnight.