It has been a month since we returned home from Kauai and I am finally getting around to entering my last log about our last day. It had been eventful trip. We had expected hiking, snorkeling, beaching and sunsets. We got torrential rain, flooding, Plan B and lots of rum (okay, that would have been a given whether we were operating on either Plan A or B).
We started the day with some time at Anini Beach. We were feeling a bit beach-starved and this easily accessible beach is a pretty one. Yes, we got rained on, but only a passing shower, which we were immune to. Despite the showers, it was a pretty morning.
After Anini we struggled a bit to decide what to do. So much of what we wanted to do was not possible given the flood that had swept through the area the weekend before. The husband suggested visiting the Keahua Arboretum that I had mentioned earlier in the week. It contains a stand of rainbow eucalyptus (yum) and I had been drooling over photos. So, off we went.
I’ve mentioned heiaus a couple of times in these blogs about Kauai (here and here). Well, actually I posted photos of heiau sites and told you I would tell you more later. That time has now come.
I refreshed myself on my Kauai history by re-reading Kauai: The Separate Kingdom shortly before we went on vacation. Actually, I finished the book on the plane. It doesn’t focus as much on the history of the Polynesian people as I would like, but gives a fascinating account of the colonialism of the island. I read a different book that focused on the Polynesians and all of the King Kamehameha when we went to the Big Island a few years ago, as that’s where the monarchy ruled from. There is a ton of historical sites on the Big Island, perfect for this history nerd.
Kauai doesn’t have as many specific sites as they were the rebels of the islands, resisting rule by Kamehameha for many years longer than the other islands. This was made possible by the wicked channel between Oahu and Kauai that quashed many an attempt to invade the island.
However, Kauai, as the other islands, has the remnants of heiaus scattered about the island. Heiaus were where chiefs and others practiced formalized worship. The temples were used to invoke peace, war, health, profitable fishing and farming (just to name a few purposes). The heiau structure ranged from single houses surrounded by a wooden fence to stonewalled enclosures containing more than one house to the massive open-air temples with terraces, large stone platforms, and numerous carved idols in which ruling chiefs paid homage to the major Hawaiian gods. They must have been an impressive site. Remember to be cognizant of the sacredness of these sites should you come across them while visiting any of the islands. They remain an important piece of history to the islands.
The arboretum didn’t disappoint. Or, rather, the eucalyptus trees did not. I had read conflicting reports of a bridge spanning the stream (which was running like a river) that had to be crossed to reach the trees or simply a strip of concrete in the stream that should not be crossed in times of high water. Lucky for us, there was an actual bridge. I got my fill of eucalyptus, then we wound our way back down to town, stopping at Opakeaa Falls for a very different look than earlier in the week.
The remainder of the day was a quiet one. We returned to the house and hung out at the pool in the backyard (still to cold to enter, so we satisfied ourselves with swishing our feet in it). I whipped up some huli huli chicken with vegetables, served over rice for dinner, which may have been the best meal we had while on island.
The afternoon had brought sunshine with it, so we were optimistic that on our very last night we might get a sunset. We walked down to SeaLodge, a condo complex that sits on the cliffs with amazing views of the ocean, and stood…breathless with anticipation. Okay, maybe not breathless. Hopeful? Perhaps hopeful is a better word.
No sunset. I mean, the sun set…because that’s what it does. But, it brought with it no color. But, it was a rather pretty blue hour. I was willing to take what I could get. We meandered back to the house, settling in for the night. Our flight the next day wasn’t until noon, so there was no rush to pack. It had been a good trip. Unexpected. A little disconcerting at times. A little sorrowful at others. Definitely a trip that will forever cement our tenth anniversary in our minds.
We awoke the next morning to….sunny skies and blazing sunshine. I stood at the sliding door of the house staring in disbelief. I turned and looked at the husband and he threw out his arms and said, “Don’t even….” Go figure.
Until next time, Kauai….because you do owe us a do-over that we will eventually collect.