Hawaii 2012

Kauai (Nawiliwili)

6 July 2012

Kauai Information

Local Map

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Photographs and Commentary
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Our final full day on the cruise and in many ways the most spectacular of the week of spectaculars. We booked a helicopter flight over the island of Kauai... a helicopter with no doors so we would not have to shoot pictures through windows. We were picked up at the dock at 7:45am and taken to the helicopter company for a weigh-in. The seating arrangement in the helicopter was based on the weight of the passengers with all their gear. Susie and I got to sit up front. I had the door seat and Susie was wedged between me and the pilot. Another couple sat in the rear seats. The flight took us over the harbor at Nawiliwili and up the river that feeds it. The river was used as a location for one of the scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark. We flew over former sugar cane plantations now operated as ranches and soon we were over some pretty rough terrain. One of the features pointed out by the pilot was a waterfall that was a backdrop for Jurassic Park. The flight path took us over Wimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. The canyon is not as deep as the Grand Canyon but it is equally majestic. The flight path then took to the northern part of Kauai and Na'Pali Coast, another scenic wonder. We flew over Hanalei Bay and up the Hanalei River to its source in the mountains. Along the way there were waterfalls everywhere you looked. The area we were flying over is one of the wettest spots in the world with annual rainfall of 400 inches. The flight then headed back towards the airport and we were back on the ship by 10:30am.

This is a short day in port. We departed Nawiliwili Harbor at about 2pm and an interesting (more appropriately, scary) incident occurred. I was on our balcony watching the ship pull out when I see a Coast Guard vessel coming towards us with the foredeck gun manned. The Coast Guard stayed close to us until we were out of the port. No announcements were made on the ship and I just have to wonder what it was all about.

The ships course was to head north towards the Na'Pali Coast so that the passengers could view the cliffs from sea level. At around 5:30pm the ship turned around and headed for our final destination, Honolulu. Then another curious incident occurred. As we were passing Nawiliwili Harbor the ship slowed down rapidly... it almost felt like we hit something. Of course many of the passengers, including me, were on the balcony trying to see what was going on. What we could all see was that the ship had stopped a couple of miles outside the breakwater. We had the best vantage point in our stateroom and could see that the Captain's Gig was being lowered, and with three crew on board, was heading into the the harbor while the ship kept station outside the port. After some time the gig returned, was hoisted to its place and three crew got out, including one who I believe was the ship's doctor. Once the gig was stowed, the ship continued on its route to Honolulu.

The photographs below were shot with a circular polarizing filter. The haze and light reflected off the water causings the colors to appear flat and make discerning detail difficult. The filters eliminate some of the light scattered off the haze and water and that brings out the richer colors.

Helicopter Excursion

Sam and Susie with our ride and pilot. Note that there are no doors on this helicopter.

Approaching Nawiliwili Harbor. Our ship can be seen in the center, left.

Nawiliwili River. A scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark was shot here.

Much of this cultivated land was used to grow sugar cane. It is a very labor intensive product to grow and harvest and most of the sugar cane plantations have been converted to other uses such as cattle ranching and the only coffee plantations in the US

Some of the scenes for Jurassic Park were shot in this area

Wimea Canyon

Wimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific

Na'Pali Coast

We flew along the coast at about 1,500 feet. This gives you some measure of the height of these cliffs.

There is archeological evidence that some of the Na'Pali Coast valleys were settled about 500 years ago. This picture shows remnants of the terraces used to cultivate their crops. There are no permanent residents in any of these valleys, just campers and hikers.

The beaches on the Na'Pali Coast are only accessible by boat or hiking in over some rugged trails, not really good for an afternoon on the beach.

The two beaches in the center are connected by a tunnel carved by the water in the finger of land separating them.

This picture taken from the ship later in the afternoon shows the tunnel more clearly

Hanalei Bay, east of the Na'Pali Coast

Hanalei River

These waterfalls were seen in the opening of the TV show Fantasy Island. "The plane Boss, the plane."

As we were leaving Nawiliwili Harbor this coast guard boat appeared with the foredeck gun manned.

Na'Pali Coast As Seen From The Ship
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