|One of the many gorgeous river valleys on the island.|
|Local surfers were a regular site at the beach by the hotel. The water was so comfortable--around 75 degrees, so the surfers would stay out as long as they were catching good waves, right up until it was too dark to see.|
We were only on the island for a week, but enough to get a sense of the people there. They are hard-working, but also quite relaxed. No one seemed to be in a rush, or very stressed out about anything. The fastest speed limit on the island is 50mph, and most of the narrow stretches of highway, where I would assume the speed limit might be 55 or 60mph, the speed limit was only 25mph. It made driving very pleasant, and such that you could really see things, and take it all in, as much as possible. I was very fortunate to be able to meet up with a missionary friend, who I hadn't seen since we were both serving as Mormon missionaries in Los Angeles, CA...17 or 18 years ago. He is from Kauai, and continues to live there, now with his wife and son. And he showed us a great time at Anahola Beach, about 2/3 of the way up the west coast of the island. The beach was so nice, and secluded from all of the tourists. (We would never have known about it if he hadn't have invited us and given us good directions). There, we sat on the beach, did some snorkeling--where I got stung by jellyfish--and tried paddle-boarding for my first time. I LOVE it!! Now I want to buy one, and try it out on the lakes around here.
|Opeakaa Falls--allegedly this is shown during the opening credits of that old show, "Fantasy Island." (Remember it? "Da plane! Da plane!")|
|Opeakaa River. And if you click on the photo, you can see some tiny kayakers, probably having one of the most amazing experiences of their lives.|
I appreciated the simple, yet soulful architecture on Kauai, and found a couple of churches to be very charming.
|This was the Mormon Branch Building in Hanalei. Still a bland looking ward/branch house, but with a tropical, Hawaiian twist.|
|Wai'oli Hui'ia Church. (It's a Christian/Bible-based church). Why doesn't every church have stained-glass and palm trees?!|
|Same thing--different angle.|
For my sister-in-law's wedding, the ceremony was held at a place called Smith Gardens. It was a simple and beautiful ceremony, with a mountain and jungle backdrop. I didn't take any photos of it, as I didn't want to be an "Uncle Bob," and bother the professional photographer that Smith Gardens provided, as part of the wedding package. But it was a gorgeous afternoon, birds were chirping, romance was in the air, etc... ;) Following the wedding, we attended a luau in the same location. The food was SOOO GOOD!!! And that was followed by a presentation by island dancers/performers, representing all of the different peoples of Hawaii (called the Rhythm of Aloha show). http://www.smithskauai.com/luau.html
|This was the backdrop for the ceremony, or at least one small part of the backdrop.|
There truly is something special about Kauai. There is a spirit there that I couldn't ignore. It's in everything. It's in the people. It's in their culture and traditions, which they keep alive. It's in the wildlife. It's in the green jungle, the rivers, the waterfalls and the ocean. It's in the gorgeous starry skies at night, and in the sunrises and sunsets. Kauai isn't too commercialized, like some of the other islands. There aren't any skyscrapers. There aren't a lot of roads. The ecosystem seems, in great part, to be intact, and unmolested. The whole place just feels very much alive, and I was invigorated by it all. It changed me. And we look forward to going back.
And just a couple other pics to end on.
|Huge cave, just beyond Hanalei Bay.|
|"Spouting Horn," near Poipu.|