Paradise – The Last Day

(Our last day in Kauai ended at the airport where we prepared for our overnight flight back to Denver. Because we had precious few hours left in paradise, I chose to save my final post about our trip until today. I’m sure you understand.)

Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls

We set the alarm for a 6:30 wake up call because we had a lot to accomplish. Happy to see that the clouds were finally clearing from Lihue, we decided our first stop would be Wailua Falls. Perhaps because this particular destination was relatively close to our lodging, we’d managed not to make it there yet. The mood was already somber in the car as we all took in the gravity of the situation. We were heading home at the end of the day, and not one of us was yet ready to leave.

When we reached the falls, it was lightly misting and the sun was obscured behind some clouds. Still, it was barely 8 a.m. on a workday morning for most folks in Kauai, so we had the falls to ourselves. We stood there for a few minutes enjoying it. The heavy rains from the preceding day had turned what should have been two separate falls into one large one, an upside surprise to visiting Kauai during the rainy season. As we stood there snapping photos, the clouds began to break up and for a brief minute the falls and the vibrant green forest surrounding it were illuminated. Perfection.

Sunny Poipu Beach mostly to ourselves
Sunny Poipu Beach mostly to ourselves

As beautiful as it was, we were eager to get on with our day so we headed to Koloa for coffee and breakfast to take to the beach. We were on Poipu before 9, and it was relatively empty as most folks were still sizing up the clouds and enjoying sleeping in on vacation. I headed for the water immediately, hell bent on getting some more fish photos with the underwater camera. I had hoped to spy a turtle in the surf but had no such luck. It was cool enough on the beach that the water felt pleasantly warm, so I swam and enjoyed the fish for about 45 minutes while the boys played in the mellow waves. We stayed on the beach until 11 and then packed up to go back to Koloa to purchase the last of a few souvenirs and gifts.

Our token Hawaiian souvenir photo for the koa wood frame we bought
Our token Hawaiian souvenir photo

Our last token Hawaiian moment happened after showers. On the first full day of our trip we had bought Hawaiian garb, somewhat tacky and obnoxious and yet wholly necessary. Once we were cleaned, we donned our Hawaiian outfits and drove down to Kalapaki Beach, the first place we touched the sand and the ocean on our very first night in Kauai. There with the late afternoon waves pounding the shore break, we posed in between waves for a quick family photo as our last nod to Hawaii. It was hard to be cheerful about it, but we tried.

Pretty sure I could get used to life in flip flops, tank tops, and no make up
Pretty sure I could get used to life in flip flops, tank tops, and no make up

On the flight from Kauai to Honolulu where we would catch our red-eye to Denver, Joe talked non-stop about how much he wanted to move to Hawaii. He says these things about every place we visit, so I didn’t think much of it. Truth is, though, that I was with him. I could live in Hawaii. Island fever be damned. There’s something magical about Kauai…the quiet pace of life, the light, the lushness, the friendly people, the steady and warm rain. I could do it. I could cash in my busy life to be quietly zen on Kauai. I’m sure of it. It would be a life completely different from the one I am living now, but I’m pretty certain I could live on a steady stream of flip-flops and farmer’s markets in paradise. Luke said that even paradise would seem boring after a few months. After all, if you’ve seen one sea turtle you’ve seen them all right? He asserts that some day even humpback whale sightings would be commonplace, much the way coyote and elk sightings are at home. He may be right. I suppose it’s possible. I’d simply like the opportunity to find out for sure.


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