By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 2/18/2020
Posted: 4/23/2010
Topics/Keywords: #Kauai #Hawaii #Travel Page Views: 2911
All about the trip Michael and I made to Hawaii's "Garden Isle".

Tomorrow, Michael and I will be flying to Kauai, the oldest island in the main Hawaiian chain. We'll be arriving Saturday evening, and leaving Wednesday evening for a Thursday morning return to Phoenix. I intend to blog each day we are there, so those of you who read these posts online will be kept up-to-date on our adventures. I expect limited email access and almost non-existent snail mail access so be warned. Out cellphones will work in most areas, but we do intend to do some hiking and kayaking so if you don't get us, please leave a message. In any case, I thought it would be appropriate today to post a little background information.

Kauai is one of the Hawaiian islands, as is Maui, which I visited last year. Michael couldn't make that trip, so this will be his first visit to any part of Hawaii, adding that state to his personal map.

As a state in the Union, Hawaii is divided into counties. It has conveniently decided that each major island making up the Hawaiian archipelago is a "county". So Kauai is a county, as well as an island. Kauai County also includes the minor islands of Ka'ula, Lehua, and Ni'ihau.

Kauai, a satellite-eye's view.

As an island, it is fourth largest of the Hawaiian islands, at a mere 552 square miles. (Maui is second largest.) Roughly circular in shape, it is about 32 miles across, meaning that you can get anywhere accessible by road in a few hours. On the other hand, a lot of Kauai is still wilderness preserve, and those places can only be reached by helicopter or hiking. The 2000 census gave the population of Kauai alone as about 58,000. So this is an intimate place, perfect for someone who abhors big cities, like me.

The islands are the exposed peaks of a great undersea mountain range known as the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain, formed by volcanic activity over a hotspot in the Earth's mantle. At about 1,860 miles from the nearest continent, the Hawaiian Island archipelago is the most isolated grouping of islands on earth. As the hotspot shifts, new volcanoes are formed and erupt, creating yet another island. Kauai was the first island thus created and, as the oldest, has the most eroded volcanic cones (and has had the most time to develop a unique ecosystem).

Kauai receives almost the most rainfall anywhere in the world, one the wettest spots on spots on earth, with an annual average rainfall of 460 inches, is located on the east side of Mount Wai'ale'ale. The high annual rainfall has eroded deep valleys in the central mountains, carving out canyons with many scenic waterfalls. On the west side of the island, Waimea town is located at the mouth of the Waimea River, whose flow formed Waimea Canyon, one of the world's most scenic, and which is part of Waimea Canyon State Park. At 3,000 feet deep, Waimea Canyon is often referred to as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific". As you can guess, we have every intention of visiting there.

The rugged northwest edge of Kauai is known as the Nā Pali Coast, and is encompassed by another state park to which it gives its name. And inland from there is Waimea Canyon, also known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" so you know we will be checking that out!

We have reservations for a full, traditional luau (feast) on Monday night, and will be staying at a (hopefully) charming bed & breakfast-type place (though they do not serve breakfast, so I guess it's just a "bed".

We leave tomorrow at 1:55 pm, from Phoenix to Honolulu—this will also be my first time on Oahu—and then a short flight to Lihue, the town where Kauai's airport is located.

I'll be "tweeting" and "Facebooking" all the way, and blogging each evening. So stay tuned!

The Flights To Kauai

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/24/2010
Topics: #Travel #Lihue #Kauai #Hawaii Page Views: 3852
Michael and I fly to Honolulu and then Lihue for our Hawaiian vacation!

Today was a travel day, spent flying 3000 miles from Phoenix to Kauai, the 4th largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago.

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Cocks Gone Wild

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/25/2010
Topics: #Kauai #Hawaii Page Views: 3295
How Michael and I spent our first full day on Kauai.

Kauai's cocks and hens have been on the island since ancient times, when the original Polynesian settlers brought them as a food source. There were, therefore, no native predators for them and they quickly filled a niche that had apparently lain vacant (or quickly displaced an unknown native species). Then, in 1992, Hurricane Iniki may have caused some unknown change in the island's ecology, because from that time to this the chicken population has increased for no identified reason. The cocks, and the hens, too, have gone wild.

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Oh, Poi!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/26/2010
Topics: #Kauai #Hawaii #KipuFalls #WailuaRiver Page Views: 1553
Michael and I swim at a waterfall, take a river cruise, and attend a luau!

Today it was my turn to sustain a minor vacation injury. But it was so totally worth it, that I would gladly do it again.

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West Side Story

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/27/2010
Topics: #Kauai #Hawaii #WaimeaCanyon Page Views: 3269
Michael and I explore the west side of Kauai.

Today was spent exploring Kauai's western interior, with an emphasis on Waimea Canyon, sometimes called "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific", and with good reason!

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The Na Pali Coast

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/28/2010
Topics: #Kauai #Hawaii #NaPali Page Views: 3429
Michael and I visit a botanical garden and ride a catamaran along the Na Pali coast, before ending our vacation.

Today, being the last day of our Kauai vacation, threatened to be very full even before we awoke. Not only did we need to check out of our room, but we had to find "something" to do to fill the time between checkout at 11 am and the departure of our flight at 10 pm. And that something, I hoped, would be a boat tour of the Na Pali coast.

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Debriefing: Kauai

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/30/2010
Topics: #Kauai #Hawaii #travel Page Views: 3917
I look back at the trip to Kauai and ask: What have I learned?

After taking such a major undertaking as a trip to one of the Hawaiian islands, it seems reasonable to catch my breath, and ask things like, what did I see that I didn't need to see? What did I miss? What would I do differently, and what would I do the same? Sort of like unpacking after a vacation, only it's unpacking the mind instead of the suitcase.

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