Tag Archives: Kaua’i
On Christmas Day Eric and I decided to go to Polihale Beach before exploring Waimea Canyon. Polihale is an extraordinarily beautiful and uncrowded beach on Kaua’i's isolated west side. It is known for its 17 mile stretch of golden sand and hot, cloudless days. You can see the beginning cliffs of Na Pali from the northern end of the beach. I thought it was one of the loveliest places I have ever been.
For the ancient Hawai’ians Polihale was the site of a heiau (temple) from which they believed the souls of the dead departed for Po, the underworld.
The trip to Polihale involves 5 miles down a sandy road which is not suitable for 2-wheel-drive vehicles. We had to assist a group in a sedan which became stuck in the sand. Here are some photos from that day:
I purposely over-exposed a few photos to try to duplicate the effect of a beach painting. What do you think of the result?
A highlight of our Kaua’i vacation was a catamaran snorkel cruise that included a trip to the Na Pali Coast. This fifteen-mile stretch of rugged coastline on the northwest shore of Kaua’i literally means “the Cliffs.” Much of the Na Pali Coast is inaccessible because of its sheer cliffs that drop straight down for thousands of feet into the ocean. Sailing, rafting and hiking are the best ways to experience the beauty of Na Pali.
We left from Port Allen at 7:30 a.m. It was already almost 70 degrees F, and the trade winds were very light.
As we prepared for snorkeling, I saw this beautiful Tropicbird hovering above the swim deck. I did not have a birding lens with me, but this beautiful bird is worth sharing, even if the photo is imperfect.
We spent an hour or so snorkeling in the beautiful coral reefs. The coral and the fish were beautiful, but my underwater camera equipment was totally inadequate. However, the sea turtles stayed around after we finished snorkeling. Chelonia mydas, commonly known as Green Sea Turtles (Honu) are abundant in warm Hawai’ian waters. They feed on sea grasses below the surface.
As we powered toward the Na Pali coast (the winds were too calm for sailing) we passed abandoned sugar mills.
The sugar industry has gone through a dramatic transformation in the past decade following previous decades of decline. It dropped from 55 farms producing 6.5 million tons of cane in 1990 to only two farms producing 2.1 million tons of cane in 2002. Sugar production has been largely replaced by corn seed production. Corn represents the core seed product in Hawaii, representing $214 million of the industry’s value last year.
We could see the Forbidden Island of Ni’ihau in the distance.
As we continued past the Pacific Range Missle Facility and Barking Sands beach we saw our first Humpback Whales. I was able to photograph parts of whales.
Not long afterwards we were approached by a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins. We enjoyed watching them as they swam alongside the catamaran.
The initial views of the Na Pali coast were breathtaking.
As we admired the wonderful scenery, the captain of the boat spotted a pod of Spinner Dolphins directly ahead. Their antics were totally enchanting, and they put on a marvelous display for us.
After some additional time out on the ocean we began our return trip. The sun on the Na Pali cliffs was beautiful.
We were fortunate to see more migrating Humpback Whales on the way back to Port Allen.
It was a perfect end to a wonderful day.
While we were on vacation my son Eric and I drove to Ha’ena State Park in Kaua’i, which is located almost as far north and west as you can drive on the island, to visit Limahuli Garden National Tropical Botanical Garden. It is a beautiful, peaceful place and an excellent place to see many native Hawai’ian plants as well as some spectacular scenery.
The 700-year-old rock terraces of the Kalo (Taro) garden were very beautiful.
‘Uala (sweet potato) was brought to Hawai’i by the Polynesians as a food crop.
There were Mai’a (banana) plants and Ki (Ti) plants in many colors in this part of the Garden too.
The Pua Aloalo (hibiscus) blossoms were spectacular. Here are some of them:
There were other beautiful flowering trees and plants as well.
This beautiful spot for contemplation showcases Hala trees in the background. The leaves (lau) of the Hala tree were woven into useful items by native Hawai’ians, and it is still woven into useful items today.
The Makana Mountain ridge makes a beautiful backdrop for the garden. This is the mountain that was popularized as Bali Hai in the movie South Pacific.
When I reached the top of the trail I could see the ocean as I looked past Makana.
There were many lovely, fragrant Queen Emma lilies on the path back to the visitor’s center.
Even though the Plumeria branches were bare for the winter, they still had beautiful blossoms.
As I sat under a mango tree in one last contemplation area near the end of the trail I saw a flash of red. I saw a Northern Cardinal foraging in the bushes. Northern Cardinals were introduced to Hawai’i in the late 1920′s. I did not have a telephoto lens with me, but I was able to get close enough to take a photo of him with a portrait lens.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve received the 1997 American Horticultural Society’s award as the best natural botanical garden in the United States. It is a wonderful place to visit.
On our way to Hanalei Bay we took an impromptu detour when we saw a sign pointing to Wailua Falls. These are the beautiful falls on Kauai that were made famous by the TV show “Fantasy Island,” and they are definitely worth the detour.