February 5, 2019
We were so excited when the pilot boarded the ship this morning so we knew we were going in to Kauai. This is not a tender port as we thought and the day was not too windy or choppy, so we docked easily and were welcomed by Hawaiian music and dancers.
Here is what we saw when we approached land. There are beautiful ocean cliffs, beaches and over 10,000 waterfalls.
This is a beautiful island, the northernmost island in the Hawaiian Group. It is known as the “Garden Island”. It is the oldest of the large Hawaiian Islands and is the top of an enormous volcano rising from the ocean floor. It is well known for all of the movies that were filmed here. These include Jurassic Park, Blue Hawaii, The Descendants, Raiders of the Lost Ark, South Pacific, Donovan’s Reef and Lilo and Stitch.
In Hawaii, a rain shower is called a “blessing” and we encountered several of them during our day here. This island can get up to 1000 inches of rain a year. There are 11 of the 13 weather/climate zones here, the big island has all 13. 96% of the vegetation on the island is introduced, not native.
I arranged a private tour for 7 of us – Rodney and Candace, Marilyn and Charlie and Jim Beach joined us. It was a photography tour that took us to many wonderful sights on the island. Matt was our van driver and guide and he was terrific. He was actually born outside of Philadelphia and lived there until his teens. He has lived in many places in the world since then. The company I used was hawaiianphotos.net – highly recommend them if you travel here.
Our first stop was at the Wailua Falls. These falls drop 80 feet into the rainforest below the Wailua River. They are best known for the opening credits in the television show Fantasy Island. We saw many kayakers on the river too.
All during the day, Matt gave us photography tips and I learned a lot. Rodney has amazing equipment so I can’t wait to see all of his shots.
Here are some of the other beautiful sights we saw here. Matt especially focused on how to take good landscape shots. My new iPhone does pretty well and I used some of his tips. See what you think!
We passed by the Coco Palms resort where Elvis Presley stayed during the filming of Blue Hawaii. Unfortunately it is in ruins now and has been purchased by Hyatt – the renovation project is stalled because of land use protests.
We visited the beach where Gilligan’s Island was filmed – when their boat first shipwrecks the crew and passengers.
And here are some more shots of this gorgeous place.
Many of the plants are really invasive. One is the sea hibiscus which has wood fibers so strong they were used instead of rope. Matt showed us that the fibers would cut your hands before they would break. Now those trees are taking over the landscape.
They have a yellow flower that changes color three times in the day and then falls off. Another grows in its place.
We had lunch at a very traditional Hawaiian food truck – the food was delicious!
The beaches are really spectacular, and I know that the photos cannot capture it all. We did see several children and some surfers but for the most part the beaches were uninhabited.
This is a red faced cardinal – beautiful.
This is an Australian Ironwood tree.
As I mentioned, there were short rain showers during the day which didn’t slow us down a bit, in fact, we did get a rainbow picture and some really nice cloud photos in the mountains.
There is a tree here that guides fool tourists with – the fruit looks a bit like a pineapple, but those don’t grow on trees! We weren’t fooled.
There are chickens and roosters everywhere! And most t-shirts you see or other souvenirs have chickens on them.
And nene, the Hawaiian goose.
They grow a lot of taro here. They grow it in water like rice is grown which Matt says serves as an herbicide as no other invasive species bothers it.
Here’s some photos of us and the group!
It was a terrific day and we look forward to returning to this island. Now on to Honolulu tomorrow.