Since it became rather clear on our last trip to Kauai that Steve and I were unlikely to ever take the full Kalalau Trail and see the Na Pali Coast by land, we decided on this trip to see it via a boat trip instead.
We went out with Na Pali Catamaran, guide book-recommended for their northern launch point from Hanalei (allowing us to see the entire coast) and their small boats which are able to get into some sea caves. We were not disappointed on either score.
The Na Pali Coast is absolutely beautiful; this will be a photo-heavy post because there’s really little to say that the photos don’t convey better.
We got back into a couple of sea caves during the trip. The first was a gorgeous cave with a waterfall coming in through a smallish hole in the ceiling, and turquoise water glistening in the sun.
The other was a cavernous, open ceiling cave. The rock in the center of the water is the remains of the ceiling from when it fell in. The ancient Hawaiians thought this was a portal to the heavens.
Along the way, we saw intrepid hikers on the Kalalau Trail, including a couple who had just gotten past a notoriously narrow stretch along a cliff face. As our guide had predicted, the woman was in front; sure enough, the gentleman had allowed he lady to go first. : ) We also saw a small group of the hippies that live out on the beach at the end of the trail. It looked like a small boat was dropping off a few supplies.
While we didn’t see Johnny Depp, we did see the arch through which he ran to get to Ponce de Leon’s ship in Pirates of the Caribbean 4.
Down towards the southern end of the coast, we got another view of the Kalalau Valley; yesterday from the top, today from the ocean. It is strikingly beautiful both ways. The Pihea Trail we took yesterday starts on the upper right-hand side of the photo and follows the ridge line almost all the way to the left-hand side before veering off to the right; the Pihea Vista we accidently took in 2007 goes further along the ridge.
At the southern end of the Na Pali Coast, we stopped for snorkeling.
I’ll be honest – the snorkeling was not great. Or, it would have been great but the visibility was crap. The coral created interesting formations with shallow rims skirting along several deep crevices; there were tons of fish, many I hadn’t seen before, including the rock fish Steve dove down to photograph, and at least one enormous green sea turtle.
But we had made the conscious decision to go on the afternoon tour. We knew the morning tour was better for snorkeling, but the afternoon was better for photography, and we made our plans based on our priorities, ending up at the snorkeling spot as the tide was rushing out, bringing a ton of debris with it. So, mostly we saw lots of sea cucumbers, and caught glimpses of tons of fish, but the photography was challenged.
After snorkeling and lunch, we headed back up the coast at a much faster clip than we had on the way down, just sitting back and absorbing the beauty all around us.