Kauai Day 9 – Na Pali Adventure Boat Tour

Another early start. The itinerary was a boat ride down the Na Pali Coast from the north, then snorkeling at Anini Beach to see the “turtle cleaning station”. We broke down camp before 6am to head into Hanalei when the road opens (remember the traffic issue). We were a bit more than punctual arriving half an hour early at 6:30am.

The extra time gave us a chance to attempt to get our gear oriented and to pick up a bagel at an early open cafe. By 7:30am we were heading down to the water to meet up with the captain and host along with two other families and two couples. The boat itself was a motorized catamaran. No it did not have a sail, which is good because sailboats do not fit into sea caves.

Luckily for us the wind was low in the morning as we took the slow path down the coast, which allowed the captain to expertly drive the boat into several sea caves, a few of which had waterfalls at their openings. Pictures and words don’t do the cave justice. Sounds bounce off the walls, the waves echo through the mouth, the light bounces in but fades not quite penetrating the back of the cave, looking out there is light, but back it is dark and it is delightfully cool. In calm sees, it feels like a hide out from Peter Pan with the waterfall dropping across the entrance.

We continue popping in and out of caves. The captain quiet and comptetent, the guide energetic and amusing, obvious he loves the Kauai. It’s in his soul. On the way down the coast we spotted a pod of spinner dolphins playing in the waves. They are smaller than other dolphins we have seen, like perfect miniatures each graceful and sleek some young tiny copies of the rest of the pod.

Our farthest point out, less than a mile from where we kayaked is a protected cove with a beach. When we arrive there is only one other boat. As soon as we stop you can see pools of fish around the boat. We have an hour here, so immediately grab our gear and dive in to snorkel. There is lots of topography, turtles and many different types of fish, some we haven’t seen anywhere else. After a while everyone else is back in the boat, so we slowly head back over and climb in for lunch. The sandwiches are simple, but tasty and the guide continues to entertain with stories and fables from his childhood.

The trip back there was a bit more wind and the waves had picked up. The catamaran hull proved itself as the boat rocked up, but slowly came down on the waves. It was a gentle and smooth roller coaster ride, with breathtaking views. We all agree one of the most exhilarating yet relaxing moments on our trip. We feel content and luck as we were told we had a great day weather day – they can rarely go into some of the caves we entered

When we returned we realized we had parked just next to Hanalei Pier. We stop to checked it out. Then headed to Wishing Well for shave ice and chai. The shave ice is good, but the home-brewed iced chai is totally worth the stop.

Headed back to Anini to snorkel and look for turtles – this area is known for turtle cleaning station where the turtles hang out and fish feed off of the build up on their shells. The fish get a meal and the turtles get a cleaning. We saw lots of turtles and interesting fish. Teryn and Jenney saw and interesting creature, not quite a slug, well camouflaged and completely intriguing. The highlight though came at the beginning of the snorkel, a seahorse quietly sitting near the bottom, easy to miss, but the girls have eagle eyes.

Ager a few hour we head back toward home, stopping at grocery store for some essentials and then headed to Japanese Grandma’s Cafe in Hanapepe, where we were able to sneak in without a reservation. Great food, but they kept bring us another tables order.

Just after getting on the wait list at Japanese Grandmas Jen and Jacob from Anini Beach came out of the Cafe. Knowing that it was a long drive back to Anini and the services were very limited we ask about their travel plans and offered to let them camp the night in our yard and take hot showers. After some thought, they texted and agreed to come by, but needed to pick up their gear. We headed home unpacked several days of detritus from the back of the jeep, lots to clean and wash here, Jen and Jacob arrived a few hours later after folks had settled in for the evening.

The day slid quietly to an end.