Distance from San Francisco to Nawiliwili, Kauai: 2121 Nautical Miles
Hawaii consists of eight major islands (represented on the state flag by stripes). The state has a population of 1.29 million people. The islands were all formed by volcanoes, some of which are still active.
Grand Princess has made it across the Pacific Ocean and is now docked in the small city of Nawiliwili, Kaua’i. The island is both
Kauai and Kaua’i. I’m going to go with no apostrophe. Kauai, the fourth largest island in the Hawaiian chain, is “The Garden Isle” because it is the most lush with vegetation. Kauai is the one island that cannot be seen from the other islands in the chain.
Nawiliwili from the ship
The name Nawiliwili means “winding” in Hawaiian and refers to the serpentine entry to the port. Because of the difficulty in navigating the port, ships must depart during daylight hours.
Waialeale is the wettest spot on the planet with more than 450 inches of rain a year.
Other fun facts: Peter, Paul, and Mary refer to the resort town of Hanalea in their song, Puff the Magic Dragon. The mountains near Hanalea are said to resemble a dragon. Connection or just “smoke”?
We are both on tour today – I am going on the “Grove Farm and Plantation Train” tour and Ellen is on the “Waimea Canyon and Fern Grotto” excursion. We grabbed an early breakfast and went down in the Princess Theater to assist in crowd management. The system for sending the various tours on their way is very organized and smooth and we really don’t have to do very much.
My tour has a number of segments – We (eight of us) are taken on a short van ride to Grove Farm.
There we are turned over to Sasha our guide to the historical site. From there, Michael, our Van guide, took us to the Kilohana Plantation where our train guide, Kai, took over. From there, Michael transported us back to the ship. Good thing we only have eight on this tour. Here’s what we did on this excursion.
George N. Wilcox, came to Kauai (in the then Kingdom of Hawaii) around the time of the American Civil War. Sugar crops were destroyed during the war so developing a Sugar Plantation in Kauai seemed like a good venture. The Wilcox family farm is now a museum and historic site.
Grove Farm and Open Grounds
GN Wilcox loves to smoke cigars and his wife hated cigars so GN built his own cottage so he could pollute only his own space.
GN Wilcox Smoking Cottage
Before we started our walking tour, Michael pointed out a Noni Tree. The miracle Noni juice comes from this ugly and smelly fruit.
The farm has several “Captain Cook Pines”. Not sure whether Captain Cook actually planted these trees but they are stately and unusual.
Captain Cook Pines
More ordinary plants also dot the property like these oranges in the photo below.
Before we entered the main house, we went around back and saw a small Japanese Garden complete with Koi Pond.
Japanese Garden – Main House
The view from the back yard was incredible – the only problem was that the vegetation was so overgrown that it obscured the view of the Pacific Ocean.
The main house was pretty much a modern home with a semi open floor plan. The door sizes were manipulated to impart a faux perspective to the home.
The main house had a library and some of the books were quite old and interesting – the most being the journals of Captain James Cook.
Captain Cook’s Journals (books on the bottom)
The tour was supposed to have a snack – this took the form of cookies and mint tea. The snack was served in the kitchen of the main house by some Hawaiian ladies. The cookies are unusual – they are about the size of a fifty cent piece. They are made from raw sugar and flour (and sold in the gift shop for $4.00 for about 20 of them). The tea is made from real mint leaves and Lipton Instant Tea mix (really). I tried a couple of cookies – nothing special.
Cookies and Tea
The tour continued with a walk around the vegetable gardens and flower gardens.
Vegetable and Flower Gardens
After about two hours at the Grove Farm, we headed over to the Kilohana Plantation complex. The complex has a resort, restaurant, and gift shop. To get a feel for the vastness of the plantation, you can take a little train for a 40 minute ride around the grounds.
Our guide, Kai, and the Kilohana Plantation Train
There are more wild pigs on the island than people – to keep the population down, pig hunting season is year round. The pigs on the plantation are lucky since they do not become the guest of honor at a Luau. The trains stopped for 15 minutes so passengers could throw bread at the pigs.
Feeding the Wild Pigs
After the train ride, Michael got us all back in the van and took us through a housing tract and into the jungle-like area beyond. He told us that caves in these mountains contained the graves of the “Alii” or wealthy elite. The non-wealthy workers would haul the graves up the mountain and after getting the dead rich people settled, the workers would be tossed off the cliff so they couldn’t reveal the location of the graves. Tough job.
The dark areas on the mountain sides are caves thought to contain the graves of the Alii.
Mountain Graves of the Alii
The area also contained a scenic lake (containing fish brought in my foreigners to the island) as well as a river.
From there, we departed for the pier (just five minutes away). Security on the islands is very tight – you need a Cruise Card and photo ID to get through and everything is X-rayed on the pier. That does save time on the ship. The entry system on the ship is unique – the bar code on the Cruise Card is scanned by a portable reader – your picture shows up on the screen and you are good to go. There is no “ding” as everyone is scanned back in.
Waimea Canyon and Fern Grotto
Ellen’s tour took her the “Grand Canyon of Hawaii” – Waimea Canyon. The trip was not uneventful – on the way to the canyon, the bus had a flat (good thing it happened on flat ground and not in the mountains). The passengers were transferred to a new bus for the remainder of the tour.
Waimea Canyon (sequence above)
The tour included lunch at a scenic restaurant. Ellen had salad, mahi-mahi, pineapple cake, and iced tea.
After lunch, the tour continued by boat
to the Fern Grotto. On board, the group treated to a hula demonstration.
Hula Dancer on Grotto Boat
Fern Grotto – Sequence Above
Ellen’s tour got back a little late delaying the departure a few minutes. I actually saw her going through Security from my seat on Deck 5.
Nawiliwili just prior to departure
Dinner tonight was in Alfredo’s Pizzeria where we had derivations on the Vegeteriana Pizza. The pizza was terrific.
Showtime – David Klinkenberg (did not attend this time around).
The ride tonight should be smooth.