Thursday, August 18, 2011

{ Kaua'i ~ Part II: Na Pali Coast }

Our big "splurge" on this trip was a 4+ hour boat trip along the Na Pali coast. I'd glimpsed the Na Pali coast a few years ago when a girlfriend and I visited Kauai, and I was thirsty for more. It was the one thing I really really wanted to do during our trip, whether by boat or by helicopter. See, this 15-mile stretch of coastline only accessible by water or air {unless you take a couple days to hike in}, due to the fact that it's made up of sheer cliffs dropping straight into the ocean.  Mike chose a boat tour over a helicopter ride: "If the boat malfunctions, we're just stuck on the ocean. It's just a matter of time till someone comes to help us. If a helicopter malfunctions, you die." 'Nuff said.

We arrived at the beach before 7am. Here is our catamaran, the Sea Breeze, pushing off from Anini Beach. {By the way, we highly recommend Na Pali Sea Breeze Tours. Captain Bob is knowledgeable, funny, and loves the island.}

The colors in the early morning light were so soft and pastel-like. I was in love.

The coast sparkled jewellike in the morning sun, fluffy white clouds over lush green jungle, translucent breath of rainbow between the two. We saw half a dozen rainbows that morning.

Sea caves and a bit of sandy beach

Vertical cliff extending hundreds of feet above the catamaran

Approaching a waterfall...

...and looking back at the same waterfall.

We saw so many sea caves. This one is big enough for the catamaran to enter completely and turn around.

Looking back to the mouth of the cave

A partially enclosed sea cave and waterfall.

I hope Mike didn't get sick of me saying, "Babe, look!" and "This is so beautiful!" and "This is just unreal!" Because I made those three statements pretty much nonstop for the entire 4+ hours. I don't have words to describe how utter, otherworldly beauty of this place.

I could not get over how beautiful the water is: how many infinitely varying shades of green and blue, turquoise and jade exist all at once. Watching the ocean is the ultimate eye candy.

Do you see the tents nestled in the foliage just above the beach? Do you see how tiny they are? Does that give you an idea of how immense this landscape is?!

For comparison purposes: The trees on the sand dune at the bottom of the photo are fully grown trees--thirty, forty feet tall. This sand dune is very large. This cliff face is gargantuan.

If you've seen Six Days, Seven Nights with Harrison Ford and Anne Heche, this arch should look very familiar.

We traveled about 17 miles down the coast, traversing all but the last 1-2 miles of the Na Pali coastline, then stopped at a beach with a reef and everyone got to snorkel for 45 minutes. Putting my face underwater and trying to breath does not compute for me--I get claustrophobic, so I should say that everyone except me and two other non-snorkelers got in the water. Then we had lunch, including some of the most delicious pineapple I've ever tasted, and headed back.

Mike was like a puppy dog with his face out the window!

This is the condo community we stayed at, seen from the catamaran. Amazing view, eh?

It was an amazing morning. Definitely one of my favorite days from the entire trip. I felt like a glutton, surrounded by so much beauty. It was indescribable.

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