Although Kauai is known for having the most rain in the Hawaiian Island chain, we had our best weather day there so far. We toured the Garden Isle with a woman I thought of as Rambo-ette. She was muscular and stocky and wore combat boots and camoflage patterned short shorts. When we first met her she chatted about helping her husband split rocks with a sledge hammer, carry logs down the mountain, and shoot goats during hunting season. But then she also talked about her extensive career traveling the world as a Polynesian dancer. (See the mini movie to see her hips swivel.) She typified many Hawaiians we have met. It is so expensive to live here, most locals have developed a number of skills to enable themselves to earn enough to make a go of it here. We've seen many shack looking homes that sell for $750,000. There is no such thing as moderate priced housing. Rambo-ette had a variety of interests and talents, but hunting for goats also enabled her to put food on the table.
Our tour transportation was a twelve person van and the man in the last seat behind us freaked out shortly before we left the port area. Apparently the tight seating set off his claustrophobia and he and his wife couldn't get out fast enough. His loss was our gain - this left more comfortable seating space for the rest of us. Our first stop was Minihuni (sp?) Fish Pond, a man made drainage system to hold the fresh water that pours off the mountains and keep the fish healthy and happy year round. Then we head up the road to Waimea Canyon, aptly called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. The drive ended at Na Pali lookout, the beginning of a steep row of jagged mountains covered in green velvet vegetation. Luckily we did not have time to stop very often or I would have taken too many photos as usual.
Tours always make some extra "leg stretching" stops and at one Ken found a Hawaiian shirt made in Hawaii. We both enjoyed the shirt made for two. The drive ended at a private beach. Stephen Case, a tech mogul who made big bucks at AOL has purchased 40,000 acres of Kauai, an island that really isn't all that big. He rents some of it out to farmers and our tour company had paid a fee to take us down the bumpiest roads we had been on since South Africa to a lovely little sand cove.
We raced to get back to the ship on time, but some folks did not. On the PA they announced 13 missing folks. A van with six sandy beach goers pulled up soon thereafter and a couple wandered in slowly from the shopping area is if they did not have a care in the world. After an extra half an hour our captain pulled out, anxious to get a start on the next 350 mile sail. As we maneuvered out of the port we past a shore line golf course - a picturesque spot where a golfer like me could lose a whole bucket of balls.