Kauai – my favorite island – the oldest, wildest, rebel teenager of the chain. More remote than the rest, with frequent power outages, a resistance to the big development that’s conquering Maui, with many areas inaccessible by road, the locals have a defiant ‘we live on Kauai ; we’re the real Hawaii’ attitude. I loved the people, the rugged no-holds barred kaleidoscopic terrain, and wild woolly weather. My favorite shots….
Pride of America docked at Lihue, Kauai on Thursday morning for an overnight stay, giving us a day and half to explore. Not enough time to get more than a sense of the island, but long enough to fall in love with it…to get a more complete picture of Kauai, check out http://www.kauai.com/
And, loving photography, I chose to book a photo tour, where they do the driving and take you off the beaten tourist track, (on east and north shore) led by a professional photographer. (Most cruise excursions/touristy bits are on the west side.) See their website for full details – http://www.hawaiianphotos.net/Kauaitours.htm They pick you up for an extra $30, for up to 2 people, at the ABC shop, a free, short shuttle ride away from the ship, and drop you back off at the dock post-tour.
Once collected, we were taken to their shop in Kapaa; this is where you pay, can rent a camera/lens for the day, or buy professional prints/photo gear. Michele, the owner, was very helpful through the whole booking process, answering my myriad of questions with great patience! Check out their Excellent ratings on trip advisor or look for something different to do on Kauai – http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60616-d1411367-Reviews-Kauai_Photo_Tours-Kapaa_Kauai_Hawaii.html
People on the tour – about 7 of us – had a wide range of cameras – from an iphone to SLRs with all the bells and whistles – some people were tagging along with their photography-obsessed spouse and enjoyed the scenery/learned a thing or two about their point and shoots, while others, like me, took my knowledge to new levels. eg – I now know what a circular polarizing filter does – punches up color and obliterates reflections!
Damon, our guide, shared his love of Kauai and photography as he drove us all over the place – if you want to see his Kauai/need professional family/wedding photographic services – his website: http://www.damonmossphotography.com/ or FB page https://www.facebook.com/DamonMossPhotography/?pnref=lhc I can’t remember all the places we stopped at; you have to take the tour. We visited many beaches, experiencing them from sand level to above on the edge of cliffs. The weather was erratic, lunch at the Hanalei Taro and Juice truck was superb, and the day exceeded expectations. The next time I’m on Kauai, I’ll book with them again, and take notes on where I am, so I can figure out how to get back there with a rental car. My favorite images of Kauai, taken during tour…
I was dropped back at the ship about 4pm – it was enough time to have made it to the big luau on the island, but I was too exhausted! The good thing about Pride of America is you get to see so much in a compressed period of time – the bad news – there is no down time/no sea days!
After our over-night in Kauai, we had until 2 pm before we set off for home. I booked Horse Riding through NCL; this is the company the ship used http://www.cjmstables.com
I could have sworn I’d been on a horse before, but not true – my pony trekking in the Hollywood Hills had more in common with the carousel at Disneyland than this experience. I was given Sweetie – ironic name since she was head-strong, willful, and did not play well with others – I was squeezing tight to stop from falling off; horses don’t like that. She kept moving and shifting; I started freaking out, with tears and ragged breathing – I wanted off but was too high off the ground to get down by myself!
As I was about to slither off and take my chances with her hooves when the guide grabbed my reins and led me off like a little kid – still blubbering, agitated, and terrified for first 10-15 minutes. I kept talking to the big beastie, stroking her neck, telling her beautiful she was, how we should be friends, to stay calm, and not chuck me off!
After about 20 minutes of moving up the trail, our guide disappeared to help someone at the back; suddenly, we had the power, me and Sweetie were leading the pack! Sweetie liked that – and I felt less nervous with no other horses around! Our friendship developed from that point. I gave Sweetie her head and she brought me to the top of a cliff, where we waited for the others.
The view was breath-taking – clear blue crystal ocean, with waves breaking into a foamy concoction in the bay far below. The guide took each of our pictures. Sweetie got antsy standing about but was fine once we started our descent to the beach, where we strutted across in the water’s edge. By that point in time, I was getting quite cavalier and taking one-handed photos with my iPhone! I’m happy to have conquered my fear and bond with the beast, delighted to have done it, not sure if I’ll ever do it again!
We were on the horses for about 2 hours, only allowed to bring what fitted in the small saddle-bags – ie small water bottle/iPhone. Wear sturdy shoes, at least a baseball hat to shield your eyes, sunblock to save getting burnt, and expect to be dowsed in red dust by the time you finish.
I was sad to leave to Kauai, knew next stop was Oahu – the trip was almost over. But we had one last hurrah – that Friday afternoon the ship did a drive-by the Na’ Pali Coast, which is a long wall of sheer cliff faces, created by the volcanic eruption that created Kauai. It can only be seen by water or by air. It was stunning – be on the port side (left) for best views – the ship does turn and go back the way it came, but much farther out at sea.
So, Kauai was amazing – I felt I got the sense of Maui – click here to read about those days http://yvonnemcleod.com/best-moments-on-maui-from-pride-of-america and the Big Island of Hawaii – http://yvonnemcleod.com/hawaii-adventures-the-big-island-from-pride-of-america/ But Kauai is special; I feel I have only grazed the surface of her secrets; I shall return…
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I wish you all Aloha and Mahalo – I thank you and leave you with love….get out there and live!!!!