A gorgeous day on the “Garden Island” of Kauai…
I started off with a nice breakfast in the Horizon Court – one of my usual breakfasts.
It is not a long day in Kauai because the ship must leave during daylight hours – apparently the route to the sea is a windy one (“Nawiliwili” means winding river, I believe).
Ellen and I have an all-day tour today - “Wailua River Cruise, Luau, and Romantic Ceremony” – a number of couples have signed up for this particular excursion as a way of re-stating their wedding vows. We are in it for the included Hawaiian lunch.
Ellen all set to Excurse
Our first stop would be Opaekaa Falls located in Wailua River State Park. As we entered the park, we passed by the “Birthing Stones”. These stones are where all Kauaiian Kings were born. This is also where some scenes from “Fantasy Island” were filmed.
Also near the entrance to the park, was the Coco Palms Resort. This resort, now closed due to damage from Hurricane Iniki, was the location used for the movie, “Blue Hawaii”.
Coco Palms Resort
Opaekaa Falls was the next stop. Opaekaa is Hawaiian for “Shrimp Rolling”. In the past, the falls was teeming with shrimp that would tumble in the waters of the falls. You can get good shots of the 150 foot waterfall from a viewing bridge.
Ellen and the Falls
The next segment of the tour involved a river boat ride along the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto.
The boats were covered, long boats with bench seats. The aisles allowed passenger to move about and also provided room for some of the performers to do their thing.
Getting ready to board
The Wailua River is a calm, windy, relatively wide river with lush vegetation coming ride down to the river’s edge.
The Wailua River
At one point, I was able to get a picture of Mt. Waialeale, one of the 10 wettest spots on the planet averaging 450 inches of rain annually.
Pacing our river boat were several paddle surfers (below).
We reached our destination – “The Fern Grotto”. The Grotto was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Iniki but most of the vegetation has grown back. Once, weddings were held in the grotto but now, they are only performed on the deck in front of the grotto (for safety reasons). We were treated to a mini-show consisting of stories, songs, and hula dancing before getting back on the river boats.
The Fern Grotto
On the way back, we were entertained by a band and hula girls. The girl below was especially good, performing a wide variety of hula dances.
Good spot to watch the Hula Girls
Our final stop on this tour was the Smith’s Tropical Paradise and Botanical Gardens. This is a 30 acre facility located in the Wailua River Valley.
From our bus, we split up into smaller groups and boarded trams for a tour of the Gardens.
In Case You’re Lost
Either a Moa or a Tiki God
Polynesian Village Area
After the tour, we all gathered at a massive tent structure for a luau and entertainment. While we were touring, the pig (featured guest at our luau) was cooking underground in a traditional Imu.
Porky’s Almost Done
There was the traditional Imu Ceremony, where the pig is dug up and taken away to be prepared for lunch. While the pig was off limits, there was plenty of food available. The buffet process was very orderly with hostesses calling up tables. The wait wasn’t an issue because there were Mai Tais to be had.
It was pretty much vegetarian for us - three bean salad, green salad, macaroni salad , lomi lomi salmon salad (an acquired taste), good bread, mai tais, and dessert. Coffee finished off a fine meal.
Entertainment was provided by a local singer and his family of singers and hula girls. They were all very good and the show went on for more than an hour.
At the end of the lunch, couples, who had filled out marriage re-vows, read them to their spouses (not too loudly) and the process was completed.
It was an absolutely perfect tour.
The bus took us back to the ship and for a moment, we thought we might check out the small shopping area near the ship (shuttle provided). We thought otherwise and headed up to relax, watch the sail away, and get ready for dinner. Other people might have taken advantage of the free shuttles to do some power shopping at some very familiar places (see below)
The sail away from Nawiliwili did not seem so treacherous after all – I didn’t get the impression that it was so serpentine. I did get some nice pictures as the sun was setting over Kauai.
Nawiliwili Sail Away
After dinner, we caught tonight’s headliners – “These Guys”. We had seen them before, but the last time, there were different guys in the group. No matter, they were very entertaining and the crowd loved them.
“These Guys” Perform
A great day from top to bottom in Kauai…