Paradise – Day Seven

Joe at the lighthouse
Joe at the lighthouse

I think someone wants us to go home. When we went to sleep last night, it was raining. When I woke up in the middle of the night it was raining even harder. This morning when we awoke it was a full on downpour. We immediately checked the forecast for all parts of the island. It appeared it was going to be wet everywhere, so we decided that we would go ahead and return to Hanalei because if we were going to be wet that seemed like as good of a place as any.

With a quick stop for Starbucks, we headed out of town and up towards the Kilauea Lighthouse, which we had glimpsed yesterday but were unable to visit because it was closed for the evening. As we drove past Wailua, the river we had calmly paddled the other day was torrent of Kauai red dirt. The bay where the Wailua empties was stained red and the seas were rough. The roads were flooded in many spots. Still…we had hopes that perhaps the north shore was simply overcast and not drenched, so we cruised on.

Looking north towards Anini Beach
Looking north towards muddy Anini Beach

When we at last reached the lighthouse, we were there just two minutes before it opened so we waited at the gate. The gate at last opened and we drove into the bird sanctuary there. We were excited to see some of our old friends, the booby birds we had seen last summer in the Galapagos. Sure enough there was a nesting colony of red-footed boobies, along with some albatross and shearwaters, as well. The area was overcast and we were dry for the time being, so we walked up to the lighthouse and enjoyed the view. The seas all around were rough and along the coast you could see the areas where some streams and rivers emptied into the Pacific as they were murky and reddish. Anini Beach, where we had calmly snorkeled a few days ago, was completely tinted red. It would not be so easy to see my sea turtle there today.

Hanalei...a little flooded out
Hanalei…a little flooded out

Onward we went toward Hanalei, stopping briefly at Princeville to take in the Hanalei Overlook. We noticed there were many more waterfalls flowing today than there were the other day. Then, as we approached the road down into Hanalei we noticed it was coned off. Signs noted that the road was flooded and impassable. There were road and police crews there to keep people from making the trek down. Hoping that we might be able to wait it out, we stopped at CJ’s for lunch but when we had finished eating the road was still unopened. Sadly, we waved goodbye to Hanalei from the overlook and decided to head back around the island to Poipu where we hoped to find sunny skies at last.

Luckily, Poipu did not disappoint. Although the seas were far rougher today than they were yesterday there was at least enough sun and warmth for some more snorkeling. I headed straight for the water, determined to photograph some more fish. I was a few minutes into my task, crazily snapping photos of all the awesome fish I was seeing, when I realized that the camera had shut itself off. It was out of batteries. Dammit! Ugh. I hauled myself out of the surf and back to my towel where I lazed and watched Luke attempting to catch that dreaded rooster he wanted to turn in for his $40 reward.

The two fish I captured before my camera pooped out.
The two fish I captured before my camera pooped out.

We’re all disappointed that we’re leaving tomorrow. I have to be honest. As a rule I’m ready to go home after a trip as long as this one. I am not, however, even remotely ready to go home this time. I love it here. This island is keeping a piece of my heart when I leave tomorrow. I love the diversity of the landscape, from the lush Na Pali coast to the desert western shore near Waimea. I love the friendliness of the people and the laid back pace here. Plus, there is so much to see that we didn’t get to see. We’d hoped to hike but it has been so wet that many of the hikes we had wanted to do were too slippery to enjoy. The seas were too rough to enjoy the northern coast by boat, and we missed out on several beaches I would loved to have visited if the weather had been sunnier and the northern seas a bit calmer. We didn’t even get to enjoy one west coast sunset on a beach. So I guess the bad news is that we’re leaving tomorrow. The good news is that we left so much undone we will be forced to return. It’s a small consolation but it’s something. And we still have tomorrow morning, so we’ll be heading out bright and early for one last shot at the beach before we board a plane and return to our Colorado home. On Friday morning when I land in Denver in my flip flops, I hope I will find some Kauai sand still stuck on me somewhere.


  1. My Dad lives in Kapaa. I have been going to Kauai almost every year since I was 16 (I am 34 now). Spending summers there as a young girl, getting engaged there, having a last minute pregnant getaway there, etc…. I always hate leaving as well. Aloha!

  2. You should have come over to Polihale! It’s all the way on the other side but generally the place where sun can be found- some sunset pics on my blog if you’re interested. Pouring rain in Kaleheo right now tho 🙂

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