The Tiki Gods are Smilin’ on Me – Part 3

Posted on February 5, 2013


African tulip trees

Island-hopping would be great if it wasn’t for planning connections between the islands by plane. In your brain, you know that it’s using up precious vacation/sun time, and the clock is ticking.

The topography of Kauai is distinctly different from Maui. Being one of the most westerly islands in the chain that makes up the state of Hawaii, the trade winds and jet stream provide an abundance of rainfall to the island. That is why Kauai is predominantly jungle/rainforest, and not very populated. It is called the Garden Island for good reason. It is lush with greens and olives and vibrant reds and yellows. It is the stuff of every good Hollywood movie ever shot around a beach scene or jungle. In fact, Islanders are very proud that “Indiana Jones” and “Jurassic Park” were filmed using areas of their remote jungles.

Kauai’s famous red dirt

Taro plantation

Some warm showers here and there we could manage, even expect. What we certainly hadn’t anticipated, though, was the heavens opening up with a downpour of rain on our first morning at Kapa’a on Kauai. Having a wonderful oceanfront condo seemed almost pointless when we arose to the steely grey and white of the pounding surf against dark grey skies and driving rain. Great. Our growling stomaches and lack of food at the condo for breakfast finally forced us to venture out for groceries. It was ridiculous to consider wearing any shoes, and since we hadn’t packed any chest-waders with our beach attire, we clutched our beach tote and ran in our bare feet for the car. We found our vehicle submerged in five inches of flooded parking lot. I suppose it was the environmental thing to do by using paper bags, but I do not think the grocery clerk had actually looked outside. Those two brown paper bags were certainly not sturdy, and they had almost been destroyed before we even got back to our car again, dashing through the storm. Cold and soaked to the skin, we prayed our remaining time in Kauai would be better, or at least a whole lot dryer.

Po’ipu Beach Park

A monk seal taking a warm snooze on the sand.

Our prayers were heard, because the next day was indeed brighter though mistier on the East Shore where we were staying. Plans were modified to go where the odds were more in our favour of sunshine, that being the South Shore around Po’ipu Beach. As we travelled south, the terrain of jagged mountainsides covered in tropical forest gives way to flatter plantations and amazing long stretches of beaches and black lava rocks. The waves and surf really have some fury behind them in the winter months and even the locals warn tourists about getting lackadaisical when near the water. Stopping to watch the pro surfers master the waves with such strong currents was certainly entertaining while we soaked in the sun. How those guys manage to keep their board shorts on throughout it all is a mystery to me.

Spouting Horn Blow Hole

Everywhere … Kauai chickens and roosters!

One thing that Hubby and I both had to laugh about in comparing our first visit to Kauai (almost 35 years ago) and this trip, was the population explosion of chicken – especially roosters – everywhere we went. It didn’t matter if you were shopping at a tourist mall or out on a rural road in the back country, there were always roosters crowing and hens running crazily in and out of the grasses. Most locals tolerate them, others are just as likely to capture a few for the “kukuli” chicken barbeques along the roadsides. It’s joked that the rooster is Kauai’s unofficial state bird, and I would tend to agree. You just can’t help but chuckle when you see so many chickens dancing around every time you stop to take a photo. Luckily, the birds seem to clean up behind themselves because you rarely have to dodge bird bombs – unlike our own Canadian geese.With just a couple of days left of our vacation, we wanted to end our stay on Kauai with a bang, and so we did. Again, it was an experience a little outside my comfort zone, but so totally worth it …