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Non Isla – 2007 Kauai Trip Report Part Two the West side and Na Pali Coast

By: jackieinpdx2 (View Profile)
Date: 9/8/2007

We took a boat trip with Kauai Fun along the Na Pali Coast. We chose this company because their boat only holds 12 passengers. It was the first time I took a boat trip from the east side of the island. The boat launched from Kikiaola small boat harbor just north of Waimea. The other trips I have taken have been from the north side at Hanalei.Also it was a small enough boat that we got to go inside 4 sea caves. It was a totally awesome trip with the father and son captains. The son Greg is a 5th generation Kauai local. So even though I have visited Kauai so many times I learned a few things from Greg about the history of the island and some other interesting facts.

We saw a pod of dolphins near Polihale. Greg told us that all of the land from the Pacific Missile Range to Na Pali is owned by the US Navy. The Hawaiian people protested because they were not allowed to visit the heiau (ancient temple) located at Polihale. The Navy relented but has never improved the road to the beach park where the temple is located. That is why you have to drive the very rutted cane road to get to the beach at Polihale. I never knew that. I just knew that the road has always been awful and if it has been raining it is very muddy and cars can get stuck in the mud.

The only way to get the beaches and Kalalau valley is by boat or a pretty strenuous 11 mile hike.

I was feeding the fish bread when we stopped to snorkel.

After the boat trip we drove up to Waimea Canyon. This is the view from the road up.Off in the distance you see the privately owned island of Niihau.
Niihau is twenty-three miles long, three to six miles wide, and relatively flat. Most of its seventy square miles are under five hundred feet and its highest point, Mt. Paniau, is only 1,281 feet above sea level. While Mt. Waialeale, on Kauai, is the wettest spot in the islands, tiny Niihau gets only about twelve inches of rain a year.
Because of its size, dry climate, and lack of fresh water, Niihau has always had a small population. Today the island shelters about 250 residents. Their modest wood-frame houses, devoid of fancy plumbing and electricity, are provided by Niihau Ranch in addition to salaries, basic foods, and medical care.

Waimea Canyon is known as the Hawaiian Grand Canyon. It is amazing how many colors you can see in the cliffs and the valley floor.

Then we stopped at Salt Pond Beach to get some sun and relax from our busy day.

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