I am flying over Kauai, and not just because of the helicopter ride we took yesterday afternoon. Call it high, enamored with, smitten by, or got the bug — they all apply to this magical island.
Some say that the land of Honnalee of Puff the Magic Dragon fame refers to the town of Hanalei where we are staying, and that Puff’s tail perhaps refers to the land jutting out in the picture below. Somehow I got it into my head that there is a Puff museum in Hanalei and was quite disappointed when I found out that I had made it up!
Sunrise from our condos. The land to the right might be Puff the magic dragon!
I had a great time riding the waves with the kids in the morning, finding one of the few beaches without a no-swim advisory due to dangerous conditions (Kauai is apparently known as the drowning capital of Hawaii, and Hawaii is the drowning capital of the US). Kauai has also suffered tsunamis. There is a cost to living in Paradise.
In the afternoon we had an experience of a lifetime, seeing Kauai from the air, as 70% of this exquisite island is inaccessible any other way. Jurassic Park was filmed on Kauai, which apparently has a helicopter scene showing some of the same sites we got to see. Hurricane Iniki, the most powerful to ever hit Hawaii (1992), interrupted the final day of filming for that film, just weeks after Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida. We saw some of the remaining devastation of trees from the air, though most of the vegetation has recovered.
Sarah in the coveted cockpit next to pilot Brody. She asked the question we all were secretly harboring:”What happens if you get sick or pass out or something?”
This is Mt. Waialeale valley the wettest spot on earth, getting 480 inches of rain a year, and home to unique species of vegetation and animal life. There were native Hawaiian tribes who used to live here. The warriors would be let down these mountain cliffs of this sacred valley by rope in order to bury their revered and holy elders in caves and grottos in the mountains. However, because the burial sites of these ancestors could not be revealed, the ropes were cut and the warriors were then left to die there, as well. Archaeologists have found proof of hundreds of human burial sites in these mountains.
We saw lots of waterfalls!
Here is the Napali coast from above. Howard and I had hiked over a mountain from the first beach inlet at the top of the photo to the next one, and then inland. Rob was duly impressed when he saw it from above! Waves along this coast can be from 20-60 feet high, with 1000 pounds of weight per foot!
With my two Shabbat candles, all of us in our new Hawaiian outfits. Yes, they, at age 10, are as tall (taller?) as me.
This morning, Howard and I walked in the beautiful Limahuli Tropical Botanical Garden and Preserve which houses many nearly-distinct species of vegetation.
This afternoon we went snorkeling in the coral reefs at Tunnels Beach. I saw the most amazing fish. It was even more thrilling than the helicopter ride in some ways!
We went to Princeville to see the sunset and to welcome in the new week. After dinner, Rob taught me (for the 3rd time) how to spot the winter triangle in the stars. If you don’t know, I think I can show you!
Tomorrow Howard, Rob, and the kids leave early to go spend more time on Oahu. I stay on Kauai for a few more hours to visit a Hindu monastery on the island before returning to NY.
There was so much more that we would have wanted to do here. I think it means we will have to return! Aloha and mahalo, Kauai!