KAUAI, which must certainly be Paradise on Earth.
It rained only once while we were there, although the center of the island gets the most annual rainfall of anywhere on earth.
We were on-the-go nonstop, either by foot, car, catamaran, or in Kevin's open cockpit biplane. In one hours' time, we got an aerial view of the entire island. Part of the island, the Na Pali coastline, is so rugged that there are no roads and the only way to see it is either by air or by boat. We took advantage of both.
Our Catamaran left from Port Allen along the southern coast and then sailed on up to Na Pali. The ocean swells were so rugged that day that at least one of the other charter companies canceled their tours. For us, being drenched by waves just made it all the more fun. Until one particularly heavy-duty wave almost washed a three passengers overboard. I'm not kidding. At that point, the captain decided it was too dangerous for anyone to be standing at the front of the boat. She ordered everyone to come in toward the middle, where the center of gravity is such that a big wave will not pitch you over the edge. My hubbie was so disappointed about being ordered to sit down. ; ) He and another guy were taking turns being at the front and having the time of their lives.
And what was I doing? I was sitting farther in, toward the middle, and praying hubbie was holding on tight. We had been ordered to hold on to the railings at all times with both hands. Being that we were not wearing life vests, and being that the railing was drenched with water, and that our hands were slathered with sunscreen, it was still mighty slippery.
We saw whales up close and personal. They breached, tail flipped and otherwise hijacked our catamaran. Even our captain, who spent 15 years on Maui employed at something that had to do with humpback whales, said she had never seen so many whales in one five-hour outing. For a time, three of the 50-ton creatures were so close to our 14-ton boat that hubbie could've reached out and pet one of them.
On the way back from Na Pali, we were escorted by a pack of spinner dolphins who put on quite a show for us.
We saw and did pretty much everything except for some of the more rugged hikes into the interior. We did take what turned out to be a three-hour hike to the top of Sleeping Giant. The views were exquisite.
We also spent a LOT of time on beaches, not sunbathing, but watching the endlessly fascinating waves and the brave souls who surf them. If my son and son-in-law had been with us, the men of our family would've tried surfing for sure. Heck, my daughters and daughter-in-law, I am sure, would've tried it too.
After I've assessed what I have, if I can match all the letters of the alphabet with pictures, I *might* sign up for the A-Z challenge using A-Z Kauai as a theme. Being that the Hawaiian language uses only eight consonants and the vowels, it might be difficult to pull off.
We truly loved Kauai. We have now been to Kauai, Maui and the big island, Hawaii. Each is incredibly different, and each has reasons that make us want to return.
We are already committed to going to Orlando, Florida next winter, as hubbie's been asked to serve at a religious convention. But we hope to get back to the islands the following year and for as many successive years as possible until we are too old to travel. We're even scheming about ways to get our children and grandchildren there at the same time with us. Hawaii is just that wonderful. Especially when you're leaving 32 degree winter weather to step into weather in the 80's.