The Tiki Gods are Smilin’ on Me – Part 5

Posted on February 7, 2013

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Waimea Falls from above.

One of several waterfalls in virgin jungle on Kauai.

Perhaps the Waimea Canyon was the pinnacle of the helicopter tour, but there was more drama in store for Hubby and me. Changing direction again, Jimmy steered the ‘copter towards Mt. Wai’ale’ale, nearly as tall as Mt. Kawaikini. I readily admit a lot of anxiety as he made a direct bee-line for the mountain face, not even entertaining the idea of hovering upwards the closer we got. I felt that the sheer rock face was almost spitting distance away before he actually did a 180-degree pivot away from the summit, and headed back on towards the northern Napali Coast. (Yes, I did glance to check if the barf bags were still in place.)

Hanalei Bay

The coastline of the Napali Coast is nothing short of postcard perfection. Turquoise-emerald blue waters compete for attention with the ragged shard-like cliffs and pounding waves. There is much Hawaiian folklore associated with the area, and Jimmy passed along some of its stories. By the time we came around to Hanalei Bay in the north, the chiselled coastline eased into a beautiful, restful, cresent-shaped bay. Again, this area is popular as a resort area and many famous celebrities have made Hanalei a favourite residence. When I discovered that Pierce Brosnan has a home there, I so wanted to move there! Unfortunately, I don’t think I could even afford to move into his garage space.

A glimpse of the Napali Coast from the helicopter.

Surf pounds the Napali coastline.

The last leg of the tour brought us back towards Kapa’a (where we were staying) and Wailua, once home to Hawaiian royalty and a thriving sugar cane industry. Nowadays, trips down the Wailua River by boat or kayak to the Wailua Falls is the big attraction. There’s still a whole lot of dense forest in the area, mingled with neat taro plantations in the flatter areas. And before you could sing “… somewhere over the rainbow …” Jimmy landed us back at our starting point, giving us a hearty “Aloha” in his calming radio-style voice. Yep, money well spent. And we even have a DVD video of the entire aerial tour.

So what tops that? Well, not a heck of a lot on my Hawaiian itinerary. Sure, we could have considered zip-lining activities on the island, but only if I’d been really hammered before agreeing to be harnessed up to a pulley – No, freakin’ way! Which brings me to the last bit of “hoorah” before heading home. We discovered a rum distillery, only open a couple of years, that was having rum tastings – and not far from the airport. What better way to end our time in Hawaii than to console ourselves about the idea of returning to snow and cold with a morning’s visit to the Koloa Rum Distillery on the Kilohana Plantation, hmmm?

Koloa Rum Distillery – Yummm!

I think I can appreciate Captain Jack Sparrow’s affection for rum even more so after sampling light, golden, dark and spiced rums at the tasting demonstration. Starting with the company’s own Mai Tai fruit juice blend, guests sipped each variety of rum before adding the leftovers to the juice mix in a second shot glass. By the time the leftovers from the spiced rum were added to your shot glass, you had built your own baby Mai Tai (cute, but powerful). And then, as if your tastebuds weren’t marinated in rum enough, small squares of the company’s rum-soaked cake (and topped with a dab of rum-infused fudge chocolate sauce) were passed around. I was ready to say “Aaarr, aaarr!” to some of the other guests at the gift shop. It just seemed so very appropriate that the vacation should begin and end around a Mai Tai.

Red torch ginger

Time for a rest.

So, there you have it, our first-ever winter vacation to someplace tropical. It was short but delightful, and it recharged the batteries. In fact, I’m seriously considering doing it again – just as soon as that winning lottery ticket is in my hands, or when those crazy Hawaiian chickens call us back. Hope you’ve enjoyed the posts and the photos (way too many for here). It really was a fun trip!

Aloha to the sun, sand and surf – until next time.

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