"Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake." Henry David Thoreau
I always had this notion that Hawaii could be my ultimate stop on this global adventure and I had to feed the fantasy. Actually I`ve fed this beast a few times now and I`m a true believer. Its really that good. Now don`t get the idea that Waikiki is what I`m talking about. It`s cool like the the best of Florida can be but that`s not what I`m looking for. Maui and Kauai are different animals altogether. And I`ll tell you why with Kauai?
I arrive in sunny Poipu on the south side of Kauai and settle into a rented house. We`re here with friends and family for a month. And our first stop will be Brennecke Beach to snorkel with Sea Turtles and Monk Seals. No shite! My buddy holds onto a giant sea turtle that takes him for a ride. (totally illegal and inappropriate but we are newbys and we soon understand the reverence for marine life in Hawaii can`t allow this behavior) I snorkel with crowds of crazy colored fish and notice a monk seal (almost as large as me) slide by and crawl up on the beach.
He settles down among the beach crowd and suns for the rest of the day. Apparently they are birthing this year and quite often come onto shore among the travellers to rest. Lifeguards immediately build barriers around them to serve and protect another endangered species but it sure is cool sharing a beach with these creatures that elude Tiger sharks every day.
We aren`t there long before we start to count Humpback Whales that are constantly breaching nearby. This is truly awesome though we start to take it for granted after hourly sightings. Later in the trip my friends will encounter a Whale rising beside their boat that literally makes eye contact within 5 feet of his captive audience. This they will never forget. I missed this supernatural event because I was diving the Sheraton Cavern surrounded by giant Sea Turtles. And I mean surrounded. Four divers and 5 prehistoric gargantuan Turtles sharing a space just large enough. After this dive we spotted dolphins and all jumped into the water in snorkel gear. As I swam above them I saw so many dolphins swimming together that I lost count. A cloud of dolphins. Just another day in paradise.
Try the beaches. The Sheraton beach is great for body surfing and swimming. Try Brennecke for snorkelling, surfing, whale watching and happy hour. And save Mahaulepu beach for a special time. Its a gorgeous, pristine and timeless piece of coastline that you need to walk endlessly. The rugged shoreline beyond the beautiful beach is part of the attraction and all of the history of this ancient creation.
Another day we drive up to the Waimea Canyon and hike the very manageable Cliff trail. (there are 14 or 15 different trails to hike and I might have to try them all) This canyon is often described as the grand Canyon of the Pacific. Its phenomenal. A piece of nature`s artistry carved out of this most ancient of the Hawaiian islands. And the Cliff trail is a fine entry into this miracle of Island evolution. From the Cliff you can see out into the Napali coastline which might be the highlight (if you can pick one!) of this fantasy island. Then, after trying the very public access trails in Waimea Canyon, consider hiring a private tour guide like we did, Hike Kauai with Me. The guide, Eric, was great and introduced us to hidden trails and a slice of nature that I`ve only imagined till now.
Next the Napali coastline is our inspiration. It is a majestic and timeless piece of natural art that I doubt is duplicated anywhere on the planet.We hiked the Kalalau trail along this coastline for a hands on view of the best of this island (you can only access this trail from the north side of the island).
We later accessed Napali for a full frontal in your face view via a Catamaran boat tour but we also saw moments that were screaming paradise from the "ultimate helicopter tour". If you can stand it, try a condo tour (they offer them constantly) and get a 2 for 1 rate on the copter tour for your pain and suffering. This is the aesthetic ride of your life. It`ll cover the Napali coastline, Waimea Canyon and anything else including a vertical ascent to a mountain in the center of the island that has been measured as the wettest spot on earth.When you`re done gorging these options every day, then saddle up to a barbecue with a bottle of good wine and cook up some fresh fish from the fishmarket in old Kaloa town. Savour the moment and the chance that you are part of possibly the "greatest show on earth". Too good to be true! But don`t tell a soul and we`ll keep this slice of paradise to ourselves!