Thursday, October 7, 2010


DAY 12 Today we visit Kuai; docking at Lihue. Once again, we take a shuttle to the local airport where we pick up our rent car. This time, however, Thrifty is set up to handle a volume of renters and the paperwork is completed quickly. We brought our GPS on the trip and used it at our previous stops. This time it takes us to Wailua Falls, just a few miles away.

Leaving the falls’ overlook, we backtrack to Lihue and head Southeast on Hwy 50 for 30 or so miles to Kekha where we turn north on Hwy 552 for the steep, crooked climb up the west side of Waimea Canyon. On the way up we are treated to a view of the private island of Nihewue.

We stop first at the Waimea Canyon lookout and then drive a further 8-9 miles to Kalalau Lookout.

The Canyon is really pretty with shades of lush greens in the valleys and reds of the canyon walls. Kalalua Lookout is described as one of the most breathtaking and spectacular views in the world; looking 4,000 ft. down into the Kalalau Valley to the Na Pali Coast. All we see is fog! The clouds have settled onto the mountain top and a soft rain is falling. We will have to try to see this view again at some future date
We eat a Subway sandwich we had purchased on the way and then begin our steep descent. Did I mention that the road is awful for the last 3-4 miles? Hawaii has a real problem with infrastructure maintenance. About 2/3 of the way down we take the left fork in the road, Hwy 550 and, driving in low gear much of the time, finally arrive back in Waimea and turn back east on Hwy 50. We detour to drive through the old town of Hanapepe and also down to visit the Kuahi Coffee Company. This 3,400 acre coffee plantation is the largest coffee grower in the US.

We also turn off toward Poipu and stop at Spouting Horn Park to see the sea water spray upward 50 feet or more through holes in the coastal rock as the waves crash ashore. This area has some nice places to stay and you can even rent a house right on the shore. Poipu has good shore diving so we may try to come back here for a week to enjoy Kuahi and do some diving.

Leaving Poipu on Hwy 520 we drive through the Eucalyptus Trees Tunnel
 and rejoin Hwy 50. We gas up the car, turn it in and take the shuttle back to the dock. The ship sails at 7:00PM in fog and light rain with the Volendam just docking. So far, this has been our favorite Island!

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