May 7, 2013

Kauai, Day 4: Dolphins, kind-of whales, and chickens again!

Day 4 in Kauai -- Thursday -- we got up PAINFULLY early to get to the other side of the island by 7:15 to check in for our snorkeling boat cruise. The only problem was, we left about 10 minutes later than we'd planned, and then we got caught in traffic. On an island with basically one road.

So when we arrived at the marina at 7:45, the boat was ready to leave, and we were the last group to board. Wouldn't have been that bad ... if there hadn't been 45 other participants giving us the evil eye as we scrambled onto the boat. What IS it with these huge tourist events? We were expecting a boat that held about nine people! No. FORTY-nine.

Anyway. Once again it was overcast and drizzling as we began our day, but the captain assured us it was going to clear up once we got under way.

We followed a sister catamaran out to sea, and before long, the clouds did indeed burn off for the most part.

We spent most of our time on the way up to our snorkeling spot admiring the coastline and looking for sealife.

I was so excited for the girls to get to see this side of Kauai -- the beautiful Napali Coast -- because the only ways to see it are by air and sea. There are no roads on this side, because the terrain just won't support them.

I tried -- and failed -- to get some shots of the huge swells that came up on our boat from farther out at sea. I think some of them must have been about 12 to 15 feet tall, but they weren't cresting waves. They were swells that turned into waves well inland from our boat ... the catamarans handled them so well. I think we would have been much more uncomfortable on a traditional boat, actually.

Speaking of the surf, it was a good bit calmer the week we were there than it was the week before. I checked the surf conditions the week before we went, and waves on the North Shore were 22 to 25 feet. Great for surfing! But we're not surfers.

We'd been sailing maybe 30 minutes when someone saw dorsal fins off the port side (left side) of the boat. If you think I didn't almost pee in my pants, you'd be mistaken.

I was on the starboard side, about to dash over, when another group popped up almost right underneath me! Wheeeee!

They swam alongside us for several minutes, and of course it just made my day.

From then on, every one of us was on the lookout.

We continued to basically inhale the view as we sailed up the coast toward our snorkeling spot.

When we got to our snorkeling spot, we all put our gear on and jumped in. It might have been a tad chilly.

My sister and I were so excited, we swam around like fish and dove down to get a closer look at the coral.

Mel was a little more cautious but still totally on board. I was so proud of her for going for it.

She doesn't look like she's enjoying it very much, but believe me, she was having a great time.

And I can guarantee you, right now she's cackling, "I CAN'T BELIEVE KAT PUT THAT PICTURE OF ME ON HER BLAWG!"

So look, Mel. I'm unna make it up to you right now. Here's a close-up of me in my mask that day. I'd only do this for you, you know:

Internet. Do you see why these underwater pictures had us in complete stitches? WHAT IS UP WITH MY CRAZY EYES?

And then I told my sister and Caroline to try to submerge themselves as deep as they could so I could get a great underwater picture of them, and this is what I got. My sister doing some sort of hurky, possibly trying to help Caroline come down but more than likely just pushing her away.

Look. It's a lot harder than you'd think to get good underwater pictures. Mad props to all the photographers out there who do it well.

Oh, and this was funny ... we thought some creepy guy was sort of stalking Mel when my sister took this picture.


But the piece de resistance of the snorkeling pictures came when we got to this one:

OH MY LANDS. Have. You. Ever.

Really, the lovely State of Hawaii ought to pay me to delete that picture forever. We laughed until we cried over it. "Come snorkel in Kauai! The water's great!"

Okay. So, once we finished snorkeling and got settled back in on the boat, we were served a delicious lunch. Mel wasn't feeling well and took a breather for the next couple of hours, but the rest of us were doing great. (SORRY, MEL!)

Our sister boat got super lucky and came upon a small pod of whales!

We couldn't get as close as they did, but we did get to see some whale-like shapes.

The rest of the ride back was pretty uneventful, aside from, you know, the glory and splendor that is the Napali Coast.

I think that boat trip ended up being one of the big highlights of the trip for us all.

Because our day had started so early, we were off the boat before 2:00. Waimea Canyon (The Grand Canyon of the Pacific) was only 17 miles down the road -- and then 11 miles UP, so we decided to drive up to the overlook.

Guess who was there to greet us when we entered the parking lot!


I don't know how they managed to get 11 miles up there, but those are some dedicated chickens.

Maybe they went for the view.

I wish the clouds had stayed away, because you can tell from the way the sun hits just those few bright spots in the canyon how beautiful it is when it's awash in sunlight.

Nonetheless, it was fun to go up for a little while and see another side of Kauai.

It's just so hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that the beautiful beaches, the Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon all exist on this little island.

Our last stop before supper was Spouting Horn, which is in Poipu ... again, nearby and not too much trouble to stop.

Basically it's a hole in the lava rock that's been formed over thousands of years, and when the waves come in, they blow up through the hole.

It makes a big WHOOSHing sound every time.

Spouting Horn is also a beautiful vantage point for scanning down the coast of Poipu Beach. We didn't swim or snorkel there this trip, but it's a gorgeous part of the island.

Finally, I couldn't resist. A couple of days after we got home, I mocked something up and sent it to the girls.

Don't TELL me we couldn't all be future cover models and ambassadors for Hawaii's tourism department.

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