Kauai – Waimea Canyon and Na Pali Coast

Rain, again, this morning.  We met Eduardo at 7 AM outside the secure area and began the drive south and west towards Waimea Canyon.  Passing through several small towns, it was obvious that this was a different culture than what we saw yesterday—on the same island.  These towns largely were the result of the once big sugar industry, and class distinctions were highly visible.  The workers lived in nice, but small, houses, and the bosses lived in large houses along tree-lined streets.  Most of the workers were uneducated Hawaiian and Filipinos, while the bosses were generally Portuguese.  Remnant sugar cane fields were present, as were the newer biofuel crops.  We drove from sea level to an overlook at 3,000+ feet, and the views of Waimea Canyon were breathtaking.

The canyon, dubbed Grand Canyon of the Pacific by Samuel Clements, is over 3,600 feet deep and compares in beauty, in our opinion, to the Grand Canyon.  The colors covered the entire spectrum, and the addition of various forms of vegetation added to the beauty.

After a Jimmy Buffett concert by the pool, we cruised along the Na Pali Coast, the most beautiful coastline I have ever seen, as the mountains climb almost vertically 4,000 feet from the ocean surface.  We were able to see it all from the balcony in our stateroom.

Tonight’s entertainment included a Pride of America crew show, and a Farewell Variety Show featuring Comic Jeff Harms and Master Magician Fred Becker.  Both were very good.

Kay’s Take:  I loved Kauai; it is such a diverse island.  The eastern side was my favorite with wonderful beaches and lush rain forest views and rivers/streams running down to the ocean.  If we ever came back to Hawaii, I would come to Kauai and rent a cottage on the beach and just ‘chill’.  The western side is also beautiful but in a different way.  The canyon was great and the middle of the island has the most rainfall of anywhere in the world.  So it is a lush jungle/swamp on top of this huge mountain range and then drops into the ocean on the Na Pali Coastline on the northernmost part of the island.

Our guide and Donald began discussing “wrestling” on the way back to the boat – I’m sure my son would have enjoyed this conversation also.
We stopped by a coffee plantation and tasted several roast flavors.  We saw some salt ponds where the Hawaiians harvest ocean sea salt and sell it.  We thoroughly enjoyed our guide, Eduardo.  He has lived in Hawaii for over 30 years and is a student of various cultures so he was a good resource for the history and culture of these islands, especially Kauai.  We’re packing tonight; the cruise folks will load our luggage on a tour bus tomorrow morning and we’ll be touring a part of  Oahu that we haven’t seen before being dropped off at the airport for our flight home.  We’ll be on the ‘red-eye’ flight leaving Sat. night at 8:00 pm Hawaii time and arriving Denver around 7:00 a.m. mountain time.  We’ve got about a 4 hr. layover in Denver; then we’ll arrived in LR around 2:30 pm / cst on Sunday.  We’re gonna try to take some Tylenol pm to help us get some sleep on the flight from Hawaii/overnight.  Sure will be glad to get home.

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