PHOTO COURTESY OF ISLAND HELICOPTERS
J u l y
A u g u s t
S e p t e m b e r
2 0 1 4
SOAR LIKE A BIRD
Discovering Kauai’s Hidden Wonders from Above
The East Side of Kauai
Sunning, surfing, shopping, and a bit of history.
Dining Along the Royal Coconut Coast A tour of the best eateries on the east side of Kauai
Lessons of Aloha
Celebrate the 29th Annual Koloa Plantation Days in sunny Poipu
The Original Magazine of the Garden Island
Contents COVER STORY 12 Soar Like a Bird
Discovering Kauai’s Hidden Wonders from Above
PHOTO COURTESY OF ISLAND HELICOPTERS
FEATURE 18 The East Side of Kauai
The Royal Coconut Coast. Sunning, surfing, shopping, and a bit of history.
KAUAI STORIES A Pilot Finds a Home on Kauai
FINE DINING Tasting Kauai: East Side Restaurants
SECTIONS RECREATION 30 32
Scuba, Snorkel, Snuba Take a Hike
Koloa Plantation Days
Editor & Publisher Robert M. Self 808 212-5333 • email@example.com Publishing Director Rob Sanford (808) 652-4762 • firstname.lastname@example.org
32 4 • Kauai Magazine • July/August/September 2014
KERRY ODA FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY / KERRYODA.COM
Advertising Manager Judah Freed 808 639-7277 • email@example.com Information Systems Tylar Self Distribution H&S Publishing Photography Kerry Oda (kerryoda.com) Graphic Design Bob Self & Judah Freed Writers Pam Brown, Marta Lane, Judah Freed KAUAI MAGAZINE ESTABLISHED 1980
Kauai Magazine is published by H&S Publishing LLC. Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Publisher is not responsible for any liability associated with any product or service offered by the advertisers. All editorial information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Editorial, advertising and business offices are located at 4330 Kauai Beach Drive, Suite G21, Lihue, HI 96766. Telephone: (808) 212-5333
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Soaring Like a Discovering Kauai’s Hidden Wonders from Above
There are few places on the planet with aerial views as spectacular as Kauai’s. From a tropic bird’s vantage point, the Na Pali coast looms above and below the helicopter. From the comfortable seat of a twin engine airplane, the flight seer can photograph patchwork quilted cane fields, white sand aprons of beach and winding valleys. 12 • Kauai Magazine • July/August/September 2014
PHOTOS: KERRY ODA FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY / KERRYODA.COM
t’s always breathtaking and unforgettable — the views from a helicopter or light plane will nearly knock your sunglasses off! From altitudes of 500 to 4,000 feet, Kauai’s most cloistered treasures reveal themselves in a breathtaking panorama only visible from the air. Just after a rain, shimmering waterfalls pump furiously, rivulets of silver cascading down emerald faces of steep pali (cliffs). As the sun strengthens, rainbows explode across the horizon and life-giving mists reluctantly reveal dark green rainforest. On a sunny day, Waimea Canyon’s multicolored hues - ranging from deep reds and browns, to grays, greens and purple - unfold along the miles of valleys and ledges. Don‘t worry about the butterflies in your stomach. Highly skilled pilots - many of whom have flown thousands of hours in the military - gently guide their aircraft across the sky as they provide passengers with more information about Kauai than almost any natural and social history book. Experiencing Kauai by air is more exhilarating than seeing an IMAX movie and tour operators ensure maximum comfort and clear visibility from their aircraft.
July/August/September 2014 • Kauai Magazine • 13
PHOTOS: KERRY ODA FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY / KERRYODA.COM
... and the island’s incomparable natural beauty. Because 90 percent of the island is inaccessible by vehicle and 70 percent inaccessible by foot, only from an aircraft can Kauai be seen to the fullest. Typical flight routes around the island revolve either clockwise or counterclockwise. Originating out of the Lihue helipad, many helicopters follow a route out over the Kauai Marriott Resort and Menehune Fish Pond, past the Haupu Mountain range and westward to Hanapepe, Olokele and Waimea Canyons. In the Kokee uplands, the aircraft pop over Puu Ka Pele (literally, the volcano hill), and glide down into the spectacular and remote valleys of the Na Pali coast . Completing the circle, pilots fly up Hanalei Valley, past more incredible waterfalls and on into the “Blue Hole.” This ancient crater of which Mt. Waialeale is the highest lip - boasts the rainiest (and one of the most beautiful) places on earth. Flights originating from either Princeville Airport or Burns Field in Hanapepe provide similar clockwise and counterclockwise variations on standard routes, depending on weather conditions and the direction the pilots choose. Helicopter tours are operated on a weather-permitting basis and reservations should be made in advance. Some companies will arrange custom tours or photo charters to specific sites. Partly cloudy skies with a little rain shouldn’t keep visitors from taking a flight. A veil of mist behind a pali (cliff) accentuates its razor-sharp edge and, as everyone knows, sun and showers are the ingredients for Kauai’s world-famous rainbows (and sometimes double rainbows).
14 • Kauai Magazine • July/August/September 2014
A slower, more relaxed adventure by air is via a small, fixed-wing airplane or an open cockpit biplane. Fixed-wing air tours are 30 minutes to one hour or longer and cover the entire island of Kauai.You’ll enjoy aerial views of the Tree Tunnel, Waimea Canyon, the majestic Napali Coastline including the famous valleys of Kalalau, Hanakapiai, Nualolo, and Milolii. You’ll also see Lumahai Beach, Hanalei River Valley, numerous cascading waterfalls, miles of beautiful coastline, and many other scenic views. Fixed-wing air tours are 45 minutes to one hour or longer and cover the entire island of Kauai. Also available is a private charter biplane, departing from Lihue, which allow customized flights. These planes are built to emulate aircraft from the 1930s and 1940s, but with state-of-the-art modern modifications for safety and comfort. For those who have dreamed of being able to fly, the Ultralight “Trike” – an open-air two-person engine-powered hang glider -- emulates the experience. The Ultralight is as close to real flying (as in, “I’m a bird!”) as you may ever experience. Combine the thrill of this open-air, wind-in-your-hair ride with Kauai’s spectacular scenery and you have an experience better than any dream. The craft is stable, considered to be safer than hang-gliding, features the latest digital instrumentation and global positioning systems, and is engine-powered. The Ultralight takes off and lands on regular runways and has parachutes onboard for safety. The companies provide courteous, dependable service with a variety of fringe benefits including complimentary videos of the flight” snacks and drinks, preflight video orientation, and countless stories of Kauaiana narrated by pilots who have been flying the island for decades. Other amenities are transportation from hotel to the helipad and back, limited seating that maximizes visibility, and stereo headphones that provide great music and two-way communication with the pilot. Regardless of the tour or the company—or the price for that matter— visitors agree that seeing Kauai by air is worth every penny. d hawaiigateway.com
Kauai Changed Her Life Airline Pilot Linda Christopherson finds home on Kauai by Pamela Varma Brown The publisher of “Kauai Stories,” a collection of 50 humorous, touching and inspiring personal stories that capture the joy of life on Kauai told by Kauai people. www.kauaistories.net
s a pilot for U.S. Airways since 1986, Linda Christopherson, has flown and landed planes throughout the United States including Oahu, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. But the first time she flew to Kauai in 2009, her life changed. “We broke out of the clouds at about 1,000 feet and I saw the island for the first time. My hair just stood on end and I had goose bumps,” she says. “I knew in an instant that this is where I was supposed to be.” Puzzled at her reaction because she had always felt emotionally grounded wherever she lived her whole life, Linda’s feeling that Kauai was her new home stuck strongly with her all that first day. “Even after we landed, all day I couldn’t get rid of the goose bumps. They just keep popping back up,” she says. Five years later, the only route Linda flies for U.S. Airways is from her headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona to Kauai. “The airplane I fly goes to three other islands, Maui, the Big Island and Oahu, and sometimes to Cancun, Mexico and Washington, D.C., but I only fly to Kauai,” she says. “If I get assigned to fly to another island, I call up the pilot who got assigned to Kauai and I say, ‘Switch me!’ They are very accommodating; it’s a small brotherhood on this airplane.” Besides, she says, “the guys all know my love for this island.” She’s doing her best to make Kauai her home. Lively, warm and friendly, Linda has friends all over the island with whom she has dinner and golf dates every time she lands, she has her own truck here and recently brought a bicycle over from Arizona. She helps out at a weekly beach clean-up whenever she’s in town and even has a Hawaiian drivers license.
Youngest Female Captain Linda’s pursuit of her passion for flying airplanes has led her to set or be part of at least two world records. When she was first hired by Frontier Airlines in 1986, after her training but while she was still on reserve, she received a call one day: “Hey, you need to get to the airport. The co-pilot is sick and you need to fly to El Paso and back.” Twenty-six years old and being asked to make her first official flight for the airline, Linda arrives at the airport and learns that Emily Howell War16 • Kauai Magazine • July/August/September 2014
When airline captain Linda Christopherson first saw this view of Lihue Airport from the cockpit of the plane she was piloting, she knew Kauai would be her home. ner, the first woman ever hired as the captain of a scheduled United States airline – and Linda’s idol – will be her pilot. “Emily Howell Warner’s pilot’s uniform is in the Smithsonian Museum. I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do?’ ” Linda says. “Emily says to me, ‘Linda, come on, we’re late! Let’s go!’ We got in the airplane, took off for El Paso, got there, landed. Then she tells me, ‘You’re flying it back.’ ” After taking a deep breath, Linda takes control of the 737 and begins flying it back to Denver. As the plane gets up to altitude, Emily says she is going to make a public announcement that Linda needs to listen to. “Emily says, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we’re making history today. Today is the first time there has ever been an all-female flight crew.’ ”
Five years after first landing on the Garden Island, the only route she will now fly is from Phoenix to Kauai.
Only three years later, at the age of 29, while flying for America West, Linda became the youngest female airplane captain for a U.S. airline. “But I’m sure some sweet young thing has probably beaten that by now,” she says laughing. Then, shortly after she first flew to Kauai in 2009, she captained her own all-female flight crew. “As soon as we landed we all went out to the hotel where we stay on Kauai, had a barbecue and made s’mores!” Captain Linda enjoys sharing her love of flying with students at career days and as a guest speaker in classrooms, appearing in uniform and inspiring children with stories of her life as a pilot. She has even built a flight simulator for elementary school-age kids that they can sit in and pretend to push buttons. Captain Linda is enjoying every moment of her life while fondly envisioning the day when she will make Kauai her permanent home. She even consulted a feng shui expert in Arizona who recommended that she place a “nice, loving, warm book” on her Phoenix bedroom night stand to create the life she desires. She chose the book, “Kauai Stories.” “Kauai is the only place I’ve ever considered moving,” she says. “If I lived here, I would be truly home.” hawaiigateway.com
The Royal Coconut Coast
Kayaking on the Wailua River
Sunning, surfing, shopping, and a bit of history. The island of Kauai is divided into four micro-climates, like a mini-continent, with geographical names for each region given by the locals: East Side, West Side, North Shore, and South Shore. Elevation and topography give each area a distinct climate, with the North Shore tending to be wetter and more lush, the South Shore drier and sunnier, the West Side drier yet and desert-like, and the East Side a happy medium between north and south. Each side of the island also has its own unique personality. historical backdrop
erhaps the beauty and the many geological features of this side of the island attracted the first Polynesian settlers here. Being on the windward side of the island, the volcanic slopes eroded to form pleasant valleys with the highest mountains sculpted into dramatic, ridged backdrops. The Anahola Mountains, Makaleha Mountains, and Nounou Mountain (the “Sleeping Giant”) surround the plateau and valleys of the east side. The scalloped coastline gathered sand into cove after cove. Rain falling on the mountaintops descends as waterfalls, then as streams and rivers meandering to the sea. Until the late 19th century, the Hawaiians maintained a self-contained life in several valleys on the east side. In the mountains, they harvested building materials and collected vines and shrubs for fiber and medicine. In the lower forest areas, they grew fruit trees, medicinal and ornamental plants, and enjoyed birds for their song and ornamental feathers. 18 • Kauai Magazine • July/August/September 2014
The kanaka maoli (native people) built terraces and irrigation systems and grew taro and other crops. The streams provided fish and freshwater prawns. Holding ponds built along the streams and oceanfront held stocks of fish until they were needed. From the mountains to the shore, the entire ecosystem was used and cared for wisely, so that it might sustain the people forever. From the Wailua River mouth up into the mountains, a complex of heiau (sacred sites) was constructed. Research and translation of oral histories have established the purposes of some of the heiau. A bellstone was sounded to announce royal births. Kahuna (priests) helped their alii (royalty) understand what the gods expected of them. Signs placed at the heiau across the road from Opaekaa Falls (directions below) relate the history of this whole area. Although they may look like old, ruined walls of black lava rock, the heiau have great cultural, religious, and historical value, so visitors are asked to treat these areas with utmost respect.
The coastline of the East Side coconut coast / wailua
oconut trees along the 18-hole of the Wailua Municipal Golf Course and the currently-closed (for renovations) Coco Palms Resort give the area its name. Exploration of the verdant Wailua River Valley can be accomplished on foot or by kayak. The waterway is one of the most sacred areas in all of Hawaii, as it was the residence of Kauai’s alii nui (most important) rulers. The lower Wailua River is a playground for kayakers, water skiers, and outrigger canoe paddlers. Large motor launches cruise up to a famous fern-lined grotto; along the way, the crews tell legends about gods who took the form of sharks, and of lovelorn maidens who were turned into flowers. On the southern side of the Wailua River, Smith’s Tropical Paradise is a lush and beautiful garden. For a small fee, visitors may stroll among the tropical plants and calling peacocks. Some say the luaus held here are among the best on the island, and the site is perfect for them. Lydgate Park, off Leho Road, north of the Wailua Municipal Golf Course and just south of the Wailua River, is on a lovely, long stretch of beach edged with ironwood trees. Man-made lava rock pools, one for grown-ups and one for keiki (kids), make for safe swimming by breaking the waves and cross currents. The remains of an ancient sanctuary built at the mouth of the Wailua River, called Hikina-a-ka-la Heiau, is one of seven heiau (places of worship) dotted along the river valley, ending in the interior at the top of accessible only by helicopter Mount Waialeale (famous continued on page 20 hawaiigateway.com
continued from page 18
for receiving over 400 inches of rain per year and being the wettest spot on earth). Coco Palms Resort, just north of the Wailua River on the mauka (mountain) side of Route 56, opened in 1953 and was the world’s most famous Polynesian resort until Hurricane Iniki closed the landmark on September 11, 1992. After over two decades of dormancy, the historic Coco Palms hotel awaits renovation that will restore the Polynesian resort “feel” the hotel had during its first four decades of life. Coco Palms is the location of the famous outrigger canoe wedding scene in Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii. Opaekaa Falls, just three miles inland, up Kuamoo Road from Kuhio Highway (at the ocean), is a Kauai landmark and a must-see.The lacy falls are 151 feet high and adjacent to the road with ample parking and an overlook with railings, so you don’t have to hike for hours for a top-down view. On the other side of the road is a birds-eye panorama of the Wailua River Valley, stretching out below to where the river meets the sea.
waipouli This village, just south of Kapaa, is the location of the Kauai Village Shopping Center with its well-known whale mural painted by the artist Wyland. Stop at Papayas Natural Foods & Cafe and pickup fixings for a picnic or a delicious take-out lunch. Nearby is picturesque Waipouli Beach Park, though the surf is not good for swimming.Year-round strong currents make this area dangerous even for the best swimmers. A paved path along the shoreline is perfect for bicycling, jogging, and strolling. The views couldn’t be prettier.
kapaa Bustling Kapaa town is a funky hamlet full of history, colorful boutique shops, art galleries, jewelry stores, and restaurants. Kapaa offers a wide variety of dining experiences from burgers to vegetarian, and plenty of shopping.
kealia The land north of Kapaa was formerly sugar plantation acreage.This area is another Kauai location that appeared in the film Jurassic Park. Kealia Beach, a wide curve of golden sand, is a popular boogie boarding and surfing beach. In summer, the waves are gentle, especially near the lava rocks that extend into the ocean, creating a cove. Surfers like this beach because the sandy bottom slopes so gradually that they can walk out to catch some good, long rides. In winter, the waves can be powerful and dangerous. Stay away from the mouth of the stream, where there are strong rip currents. The firm, flat sand of Kealia Beach is ideal for taking walks.
anahola This area is designated as “Hawaiian Homelands,” meaning that land ownership is reserved by law for persons of Hawaiian descent. The jagged mountain on the mauka (mountain) side is Kalalea Mountain, also known as Kong because, well, it looks exactly like King Kong’s profile. The opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed here. Locals frequent Anahola Beach Park, but visitors are always welcome. Swimming is safest on either of the two ends of the beach. Occasionally tadpoles and river fish are found darting about in the pools formed by the streams that feed into the ocean. From the times of the first settlers to today, the historic Royal Coconut Coast on Kauai’s East Side has been the site of many pleasant days and memorable nights. The sight of the full moon rising until it lights up the ocean and the beach is remarkable, no matter how many times you’ve seen it. The vision of rows of curving tree trunks topped by umbrellas of green fronds, swishing and glinting in the breeze and sunrise, will linger in your memory, as well. Kauai’s East Side has much to offer from shoreline to mountaintop, as every visitor will discover. Use these highlights as your jumping-off points to making lifetime memories of your own. (Sources: The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook, Kauai Revealed, Andrew Doughty and Harriet Friedman, Kauai Underground Guide, Lenore W. Horowitz, and BestPlacesHawaii.com)
For more information on east side activities go to: www.bestplaceshawaii.com/kauai/activities/ 20 • Kauai Magazine • July/August/September 2014
Dining Along the Royal Coconut Coast A tour of the best eateries on the east side of Kauai By Marta Lane Photos by Daniel Lane
R Verde Restaurant Verde Restaurant, located in the Kapaa Shopping center near Big Save, is a cozy cantina serving New Mexican cuisine. A blend of New Mexico classics and fresh, Hawaiian flavors make Verde a favorite for those who crave spicy green chili and big, fat burritos. Diners with lighter appetites will also be satisfied. Ahi Tacos ($12.95) with fresh, Hawaiian tuna seared rare, are topped with shredded cabbage, fresh made guacamole, pico de gallo, tortilla strips and garlic aioli. Vegan tacos include sautéed vegetables, pico de gallo and lettuce. Don’t worry there are plenty of options if you’re a meat eater! Cubes of juicy chicken, succulent beef short ribs or pork carne adovada are loaded onto tostadas and tucked into tacos and burritos. House-made sopaipillas are sliced and filled with your choice of meat, beans or vegetables.You can also order them for dessert, drizzled with honey. Recently,Verde remodeled. The airconditioned restaurant now features a granite bar-top and a line of beer, tequilas, and signature cocktails such as Pink Lilikoi-tini and Mango Margaritas. Every day is Happy Hour (3 to 5 p.m.), which features $3 drinks. On Tequila Tuesday, you can take $2 off all tequila shots. For $6.95, the lunch special (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) includes a single chicken, pork or beef taco with house-made pinto beans and Spanish rice. Healthy Thursday features a meal that’s low in calories and high in nutrition. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available.
ows of stately coconut palms line Kauai’s Eastside and this is why Kapaa is known as the Royal Coconut Coast. Dining options are a microcosm of the entire state, which offers three types of food: Hawaiian, plantation-inspired plate lunch and Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Hawaiian food is based on what ancient Polynesians ate when they settled on Hawaii. One of the dishes is smoky kalua pork, in which whole hogs are slathered with sea salt and cooked in underground ovens called an imu. Plantation workers of many cultures shared food during their lunch break, and today this fusion of food can be found on the plate lunch. Hawaii Regional Cuisine is an upscale version of these cultural foods, made with locally grown ingredients, Asian sauces and European cooking techniques. Kapaa has a small town feel but the eclectic dining options include dishes influenced by countries such as Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, Greece and Italy.There’s also Pacific Rim cuisine; vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options; bakeries; espresso, fresh tropical juice and smoothies; sushi, shave ice and noodles as well as quaint cafes featuring local art and Oceanside farm-to-table dining. Food trucks offer tasty fast food and often, the meals are made from scratch. At the north end of town, tucked along the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find food trucks offering burgers, fried chicken, fresh fish tacos, gyros and falafel, vegetarian crepes, ice cream and behemoth sandwiches filled with smoky pulled pork. Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. is the only food vendor at the Kapaa farmers market, which is held every Wednesday. Their Hawaiian food is made with pro-
duce from the family’s farm.Taro leaves are stacked and filled with pork or chicken, wrapped in bundles, and steamed (laulau). Kalua pork, made from hogs raised on Kauai’s south side, is cooked in a modern oven and served with taro mac salad. There’s also fresh poi, taro hummus, smoothies and refreshing ginger lemonade. During the evening of the first Saturday of each month, Eastside restaurants feed a hungry crowd gathered for Old Kapaa Town Art Walk. Throngs of people walk the sidewalk, which is lined with musicians and craft vendors, and duck into The Eastside, Java Kai or Olympic Cafe. At Paco’s Tacos House, Latin music and dance is offered with Mexican specialties. Art Cafe Hemingway (usually open until 2 p.m.) stays open late and introduces a new art exhibit or local author. The Green Pig (a food truck parked across from Kealia Beach) serves Southern barbecue, while Rainbeau Jo’s pours espresso and blended coffee drinks. While dining along the Royal Coconut Coast, you’ll often hear palm fronds rustle in the trade winds or see their silhouette against the ocean’s inviting water. Whether you’re in a hurry, or have time to linger over cocktails and watch the waves, there’s an abundance of Eastside restaurants to choose from. Marta Lane, a food writer on Kauai since 2010, offers farm to fork food tours and is the author of Tasting Kauai: Restaurants - From Food Trucks to Fine Dining, A Guide to Eating Well on the Garden Island. For more information, visit TastingKauai. com.
Ahi Tostada from Verde
For more information, visit: VerdeHawaii.com hawaiigateway.com
July/August/September 2014 • Kauai Magazine • 21
3Bd/ 3.5Bth, newly built custom home w/ pool. 3,020 sq.ft. interior. 13,003 sq.ft. lot. In VDA, can be vacation rented. $1,998,000
4Bd/ 3Bth, split level close to beach & shopping village. In VDA, can be vacation rented. $1,685,000
4Bd/ 4Bth, Puakea golf course fairway home w/ 3,262 sq.ft. of living on 11,028 sq.ft. lot. $1,099,000
5Bd/ 3.5Bth, spacious view home w/ pool & spa. 4,885 sq.ft. interior. 9,459 sq.ft. lot. $999,000
Kauaiâ€™s Only 7 Time Top 100 Realtor in Hawaii #1 RE/MAX Agent In The State Of Hawaii 2013
Elegant 3Bd/3Bth, golf course home w/ pool. 3,120 sq.ft. interior. 14,356 sq.ft. lot. In VDA, can be vacation rented. $1,975,000
Oceanfront 2Bd/2.5Bth, w/ 1,429 sq. ft. of living. Honu Kai Villas Unit #2. In VDA, can be vacation rented. $1,495,000
3Bd/ 2.5Bth, 2,260 sq.ft. home in Kakela Makai Oceanview S/D $1,050,000
2Bd/ 2Bth Manualoha Unit #804 on the Poipu Kai greenbelt. $795,000
28 • Kauai Magazine • July/August/September 2014
SCUBA, SNORKEL, SNUBA Exploring Kauai’s Underwater Wonderland by Tanya Lewis KERRY ODA FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
auai’s considerable terrestrial beauty is rivalled perhaps only by its aquatic splendor. Hawaii is the most remote island chain on the planet, and, as such, has very unique ecosystems, both above and below the water. Hawaii’s hard coral reefs sustain a variety of sea life, almost a third of which is found nowhere else in the world. If you came to Kauai, or live here, and want to “get away from it all” you’ll find the ocean has a remarkable way of dissolving the worries that accompany life on terra firma.The ocean can deafen you to the clamor of daily living and astound you with its beauty. While exploring our ocean you might run across a Hawaiian green sea turtle, a pod of Hawaiian spinner dolphins and, most certainly, a plethora of delightful reef fish. Snorkeling, SCUBA diving and SNUBA (a hybrid of snorkeling and SCUBA diving) are the best ways to explore Kauai’s exceptional underwater beauty this summer. The Saltiest Sailor as well as the most knock-kneed novice can grab a mask, dive in and have a wonderful ocean experience on Kauai. The ocean-timid may be surprised to learn that experienced guides and instructors can help you snorkel, SCUBA dive or SNUBA even if you don’t know how to swim! As long as you can float and breathe, you can usually participate. Snorkeling is probably the easiest water sport 30 • Kauai Magazine • July/August/September 2014
going. It’s simply swimming with a view. There’s not a lot of equipment to fuss with while snorkeling, and it’s inexpensive to rent or buy. Snorkeling from shore is a great way to be in the water every day of your vacation. Check local gear rental shops for maps of snorkeling areas around the island. Treat yourself with a boat ride this summer to one of the premier snorkel destinations on Kauai’s famous north shore. Summer time is the best time to be in the water on the north shore, and a boat ride to its snorkel and dive destinations has many advantages. As a passenger on one of Kauai’s charter boat companies, you’ll have an up-close perspective of the amazing Na Pali Coast, where you’ll snorkel and dive on ancient, unspoiled reefs only accessible by boat. Boat tours offer supervision, instruction, equipment, food, drinks, jokes, comradery, and information about the environment both above and below the water. Requiring certification and so much equipment, SCUBA diving can seem intimidating. But it’s really not that difficult, and the rewards are many. Some people are more comfortable doing an introductory dive in hotel pools or from a beach because it’s more familiar. After some instruction in and out of the water (and a quiz), you can explore, floating weightless, at depths of up to forty feet with your instructor. There are many good companies to choose from.
SNUBA is a hybrid of SCUBA diving and snorkeling, which allows shallow (20 foot maximum) diving without the tanks on your back. You breathe from a regulator connected to air tanks floating on the surface. Pulled by your air hoses, the tanks follow you whereever you swim. Snuba is great fun, especially for those too young to dive (under 12 years) and those who want to try moving around underwater without a lot of equipment. Please be careful not to touch anything on the reef because you can hurt yourself and the environment. Coral is a living animal: it is very delicate, sharp, and only grows about one centimeter a year. One swipe of your fin or hand can destroy hundreds of years of growth. Also, a cut can give you a nasty infection. Another caution: please don’t feed the fish. Fish feeding seriously disturbs the natural order of things on the reef by encouraging larger, more aggressive fish to displace less aggressive fish in the quest for easy food. Also, reef fish cannot digest things like peas and hot dogs. Feeding them these things causes them to literally clog up, stop eating and starve to death. Even if you don’t “dive in,” at least enjoy the ocean by taking a boat ride. Because visiting Kauai without experiencing some kind of ocean excursion would be like leaving the greatest play on earth at intermission. \ hawaiigateway.com
RECREATION PHOTOS: KERRY ODA FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY
Take a Hike
Day Treks for Every Level of Ability
A view looking east from the Powerline Trail
auai is called the Garden Island for good reason. With its lush forests, majestic mountains, and mystical waterfalls, Kauai is a hiker’s paradise. Whether visiting or living on Kauai, you can enjoy hikes for every level of ability — and there are no snakes to scare you off the trail. Some of the trails on Kauai are footpaths used to connect ancient Hawaiian villages; others are pilgrimage routes to sacred peaks, such as Mt. Waialeale. Still others were created more recently for modern use, such as the Powerline Trail, a road built in the 1930’s to maintain electric power lines. We feature here three hikes of varying difficulty on the west, north, and east sides of the island.
Awaawapuhi Trail The Awaawapuhi Trail is a visually (and sometimes literally) breathtaking hike through native Hawaiian plants to the very edge of sheer cliffs for a heart stopping view of the velvety emerald green valleys of the Na Pali Coast. From this lofty vantage point, you look down upon tour helicopters into a valley otherwise accessible only by boat. Depending on dry or wet conditions, this easy-to-moderate hike will take two or three hours. The trail, a little over three miles long, starts at a parking area near the highway 17-mile marker on Waimea Canyon Drive, two miles beyond Kokee Lodge. The forest reserve area is managed as wilderness because of the rich variety of native dry land plant species thriving there. The name Awaawapuhi means “valley of ginger.” There are both mauka (inland) and pali (cliff) views along the way, where you may see far distant slivers of silver waterfalls spilling into the valley below. The trail ends abruptly on the ridge top, at 2,500 ft. elevation, affording spectacular views down sheer pali (cliffs) into Awaawapuhi and Nualolo Valleys overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The grassy knoll at the end of the trail provides an excellent place to picnic. Do not venture beyond the safety railing at the end of the trail. Footing is extremely 32 • Kauai Magazine • July/August/September 2014
unstable, and the drop to the valley floor below is over 2,000 feet.
Kalalau Trail The Kalalau Trail is often referred to as the ultimate hiking trail in the world. The entire Kalalau Trail is a 2- day, demanding hike along the rugged and spectacular Na Pali Coast. The hike described here goes as far as Hanakapiai Beach, and then inland to Hanakapiai Falls. Summer is the best time to attempt this hike, when there is less rain, milder seas, and therefore, not so much mud or as many slippery areas. Take highway 560 past Princeville to the road’s end and park at Kee Beach, where the trail head begins (and the road ends), but do not leave valuables in the car. The hike from Kee Beach to Hanakapiai is only about 2 miles, but the path is narrow, often steep, and there are many switchbacks. Begin early on a sunny day. Along the way, through lush vegetation, you will enjoy numerous viewpoints of the green cliffs and the sparkling blue Pacific stretching out to the horizon. The trail winds and climbs along the cliffs and eventually descends about 500 feet to sea level again at Hanakapiai Beach. In summer, the beach is a gorgeous wide, sandy strip. Swimming is extremely dangerous here, so do not go in the ocean. Fortunately, you can cool off in the stream that empties into the sea. Also, Hanakapiai Beach is as far as you can go on the coastal trail without a permit. The trail that leads inland to the Hanakapiai Valley to Hanakapiai Falls follows a stream, and is about two miles long. This is a tougher hike than the one from Kee Beach, along unmaintained paths that cross back and forth over the stream. Much of the trail is shaded as it winds along through guava and mango trees, as well as passion fruit vine, bamboo, and eucalyptus. The trail opens up to a wide pool and a 300-foot waterfall cascading into dark, cold water. A swim in the pool is deliciously refreshing after the demanding hike. Be
Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast sure to leave yourself plenty of time to return to Kee Beach before nightfall. Bring lots of water and a flashlight — just in case the sun descends on Kee Beach before you do.
Powerline Trail The Powerline Trail, in its entirety, is 13 miles long, and great way to experience the interior of the island. Rather than traversing the whole route in one trip, hikers may prefer to start at the southern trail head in Wailua Homesteads one day and take the northern trail at Kapaka Street, up the road from Princeville Stables on another day. The Powerline Trail follows a 13-mile electric transmission line maintenance route, which on rainy days can be quite slippery. Beginning at the Keahua Forestry Arboretum in the Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve, this is a moderately difficult, all-day hike, best undertaken on a dry, sunny day. Turn off of Kuhio Highway at the Coco Palms Resort, head mauka (towards the mountains) on Kuamoo Road, and go past the Wailua Reservoir to a parking area next to a stream. Park and walk up the road about a quarter mile to the trail head. The trail begins at a hunter checking station and then heads uphill. The trail rises and falls, bringing intermittent views of the ocean, broad, panoramic views of the Makaleha Mountains, Mt. Kawaikini, and distant waterfalls and valleys. The trail climbs 1,600 feet to an elevation of 2,000 feet. There are several excellent views of the Hanalei Valley and stunning views of the island’s interior. If you plan multiple visits to Kauai, you can take a serial coastal hike around the entire island, one section at a time, along the beach (though the pali/cliffs will stop you eventually). Many who hike on Kauai find that the best hike is the hike they’re on. Always hike with a buddy, not only for safety, but also so you have someone to whom you can say in dismay, when happening upon the next breath-taking vista, “Wow!” d hawaiigateway.com
July/August/September 2014 • Kauai Magazine • 33
Lessons of Aloha Celebrate the 29th Annual Koloa Plantation Days in sunny Poipu July 18 through July 27, 2014
The historic Paulo sugar era train comes to Koloa town each year for the festival.
ver 25 events celebrate the plantation heritage and modern-day vitality of Kauai’s south shore communities of Koloa and Poipu, during this 10-day family-oriented festival. Each year, the festival brings together visitors from around the world with area residents to celebrate Koloa’s multicultural history, experience a diverse range of local foods, culture and activities, explore the area’s unique ecology and archaeology, and enjoy the warm hospitality of the sunny Poipu. Founded in 1835, Koloa Plantation was Hawaii’s first sugar plantation, bringing with it contract laborers from Asia and Europe who lived together in plantation camps and sharing the foods, music, stories, and traditions of their homelands. Koloa Plantation Days commemorates and celebrates plantation life through a series of diverse activities and events organized by area resorts, businesses and community groups. Pick up a schedule to find live music, rodeo events,“talk stories” about growing up on the plantation, outdoor walks and hikes, food events, film nights, keiki activities and the historic parade and park celebration which after 29 years has become an annual Kauai tradition. This year’s colorful parade on Saturday, July 26th through Koloa town highlights the theme “Lessons of Aloha” with floral floats, walking and equestrian units, decorated vehicles, vintage cars, and marching bands. After the parade, stroll to Knudsen (Koloa) Ball Park for an all-day celebration with a delicious variety of ethnic foods, keiki rides and activities, leading Hawaii entertainment highlighting the cultures that comprised the plantation camps, a silent auction, and Kauai’s largest 34 • Kauai Magazine • July/August/September 2014
The festival is a window to Kauai’s plantation history for visitors and our youth as we celebrate “Lessons of Aloha”
Koloa Plantation Days parade features floats, entertainment and marching bands from the community.
An all-day celebration with a delicious variety of ethnic foods, keiki rides and activities.
craft fair of Hawaii-made products. Visit www. koloaplantationdays.com for more information on this popular event. Most events are free or low cost and suitable for all ages. w
Mark your calendar and join us next year for this annual Kauai tradition July 17-25, 2015
36 • Kauai Magazine • July/August/September 2014
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