Our final port of call in Hawaii was the village of Nawiliwili on the island of Kauai. Kauai is the smallest of the major Hawaiian islands and is the closest to being shaped like a circle. It was formed by one volcano, Mount Waiʻaleʻale. The island is also the oldest of the major islands and is the least populated with 67,000 people. 90% of the jobs on Kauai are tied to the tourist industry.
Kauai is also a hotspot for Hollywood movies. It has been featured in more than 70 movies and television shows. Kauai stood in as “Bali Hai” in the movie “South Pacific.” “Jurassic Park” was filmed in Waimea Canyon. The opening scene (jungle) of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was filmed on Kauai. “Lilo and Stitch” and its sequels were all set on the island. More recently, “The Descendents” with George Clooney was filmed there.
One of the unusual things about Kauai is that there aren’t any roads that circumscribe the island. The mountains and cliffs of the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve are so steep that Hawaii highways 50 and 56 stop on either side of the Reserve. There are also no roads through the center of the island through the Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve. No building on Kauai is allowed to be taller than the coconut trees. So the island looks even less developed than it really is.
After visiting Waimea Canyon, our tour bus driver, Auntie Alicia, took us to a couple of souvenir shops that weren’t scheduled stops on the tour. She said they were run by her “cousins.” I don’t mind supporting her cousins – they were nice shops and she is a very good tour guide. Auntie Alicia also carried around a plastic dinosaur that she used to illustrate the importance of Kauai in films. When people asked her to take a picture of them, she instructed them to “smile for the dinosaur!”
Our final stop on Kauai was the area called “The Blowholes.” Here rough waves crash against the volcanic shore. Tubes and holes have eroded in the lava that let the waves come whooshing through, sending spouts of water up into the air. The most popular is “Spouting Horn” Blowhole. The erosion level is just right to send a plume of water up. You can see a video of it here. The water rushing in and out of the blowholes made the beach sound like it was breathing.
The blowholes were pretty cool, but Tom and I were more excited about the sea turtles we saw in the area. Despite waves and rock that would tear the skin off our bones, the sea turtles floated in the waves like they were calm pools. They were diving down to eat the sea grasses and algae that grew on the corals. We watched them a lot longer than we watched the blowhole.
Nawiliwili is the name of the deep-water harbor in Lihue. Lihue is a small city with shopping areas, an airport, the harbor for the island, and beautiful resorts. We didn’t spend much time in Lihue but it looked like a nice place to visit.
Tom and I had a wonderful time in Hawaii, visiting all the islands and seeing so many wonderful places. We didn’t sail off into the sunset, but we did sail off on our big cruise ship. This was our final view of Hawaii – until next time!