It’s a fitting message and one we saw on a bumper sticker our first day driving around Hawaii’s oldest island, Kauai. And with feral chickens in the shopping center parking lot…and everywhere else…how can you be anything but relaxed?
Weather on the islands – and vacation – is unpredictable and uncontrollable. Luckily we both have good attitudes about that since the winds during the first part of our stay were between 20 – 25 mph with bursts of sideways rain. It provided opportunities for us to take a cue from Mother Nature…and relax a bit.
On Kauai there is no road that completely circles the island due to the impassable cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, it’s more of a horseshoe around the island. We created our own hop-on hop-off tour driving first around the north shore to the end of the road then another day around the other direction till the end of the road. As green and lush as this island is, it’s hard to imagine that it started as a chunk of lava rock.
We enjoyed many beautiful natural sites including sunrises on the beach, rainbow eucalyptus, monkeypod trees, rainbows, canyons and waterfalls. The nice thing about all this rain, locals reminded us, is that it fills up the waterfalls! Our highlights this week included:
- Na Pali Coast – This fifteen-mile stretch of rugged coastline on the northwest shore of Kauai literally means "the Cliffs." Much of the Na Pali Coast is inaccessible due to the sheer cliffs that provide jagged peaks and deep, narrow valleys ending abruptly at the sea. We marveled at Na Pali Coast from a helicopter ride as well as a partial view from Kokee State Park, where clouds moved through the channels in the green lush mountains.
- Private helicopter ride - We both had window seats. Well, seats where there would have been windows if we hadn’t opted for the “doors off” version of the tour. It was a chilly and breezy ride – the temperature was in the 40’s and wind moving past about 100 mph – but the exhilaration and views were worth it. Since much of the island is undeveloped and inaccessible and the island is so small, this was a great way to get an overview of valleys, canyons, waterfalls, coastline and rainforest.
- Shore diving – This was a first for me since all my other dives have been off a boat. Visibility wasn’t great, but along with various reef fish we watched sea turtles in their ‘cleaning station’ and gracefully swimming by.
Our Thanksgiving suited us perfectly. Dinner was turkey wrap sandwiches after a hike, sitting atop a vista point overlooking Waimea Canyon. With one week under our belt we’re just getting ramped up, er…I mean…relaxed. Next stop: the Big Island.