Napali means cliffs in Hawaiian. The northwest coast of Kauai is barely 17 miles long, but it is so rugged, it only can be reached on foot, by boat or by helicopter. Although we spent ten days on Kauai in 1991, we never saw it. It was time to “get ‘er done.”
Kauai is geologically the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands and the fourth largest. In 2010, it had 67,091 people. Known as the Garden Isle, flowers and fruit are everywhere. There are even fruit trees along the roads where someone in the past discarded leftovers from lunch. Wild orchids grow in the jungle.
1992’s Hurricane Iniki set pigs and chickens free. With few predators, now they run wild over the island as do parrots and parakeets released by their owners.
You probably have seen some of the Napali Coast. It was featured in Jurassic Park, Raiders of the lost Ark, Blue Hawaii, South Pacific, and Donovan’s Reef among other films.
Our small group had rain on the way to and from our Zodiac inflatable boat and clouds hung low in the sky, but it did not actually rain on us as we went up the coast. We saw Hawaiian spinner dolphins, a bottle-nose dolphin, the spectacular cliffs and jungle covered valleys.
In the 1930s, archaeologists found a mass grave with very small skeletons. Known as the Valley of the Lost Tribe, for a long time many thought it was the source of the legendary tiny people, the Menehune, sort of Hawaiian Leprechauns. Later it was determined it was a children’s mass grave. Now once each year, Hawaiians make the trek to the valley to remember and honor them.
Click on photos to enlarge.
NOTE: The Big Island, Hawai’i, is the only Hawaiian Island with active volcanoes. Please do not let recent eruptions prevent you from visiting. Remember, mass media focuses on the worst of any situation, not the typical experience.