Our last island stop was Kauai, known as the Garden Island. It is a place of extreme beauty. We spent a day and a half on Kauai after docking at Nawiliwili Bay. I like that name – Na-Wili-Wili. I like the place, too. Yesterday I played golf, and then Nancy and I went on one of the recommended tours with a train ride through a working plantation and then a Luau. The plantation tour was well worthwhile. Kauai was once known for raising sugar cane, but they say it took six feet of cane to produce just one cube of sugar. When workers tried to organize about 20 years ago, there was not enough profit to raise wages and they closed down the industry. They still grow some sugar cane, mostly for rum production, but there are no more sugar cane plantations in all of Hawaii. Instead, they grow avocados, bananas, oranges, coconuts, pineapple and scores of others fruits and vegetables – and, of course, coffee, the number one export.
The Luau I could take or leave. Unless you like going through a buffet line with 800 other diners, it’s not that great. I did enjoy, the music and dancing depicting the earliest settlement of the Polynesian people on the Hawaiian Islands.
Except for my round of golf, I left all the other tours and excursions up to Nancy. On Thursday, she booked a helicopter tour of Kauai. What?
I get nervous on a Ferris Wheel, so it was with more than a little anxiety that I squeezed into a small, 8-seat chopper on Thursday morning. It turned out to be one of the most exciting and breathtaking Hawaiian adventures of all. The pilot scooted us in and out of the waterfall-studded mountains. We passed over the Waimea Canyon, named the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, over 3,000 feet deep. We saw “Bali Hai” from the movie South Pacific. Kauai is a filmmaker’s paradise. Jurassic Park, King Kong, Blue Hawaii, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Body Heat and many other well-known movies were filmed here.
The chopper showed us valleys where the first Polynesians settled and he flew over the Na Pali coast where we saw a few whales doing their thing. We saw the rainforests and flew through into one valley where it is said there are 500 waterfalls, all runoffs from rainwater. One fall in the canyon is listed at 3,567 feet. In the center of Kauai, Mount Waialeale receives over 600-inces of rainfall per year. It is the wettest place on earth.
Kauai offers everything from snorkeling over beautiful coral reefs to deep-sea fishing to spectacular golf courses to more than 50 miles of snow-white beaches – more beach per mile than any of the other islands. What a place!
At 2 PM on Thursday, we shoved out of Nawiliwili on our way back to Honolulu. For a week now, we have been exposed to the most beautiful place on earth – Hawaii!