How to Surf Kauai’s Waimea River

Since I have been posting about the Waimea area of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai these past few days I thought readers may find this YouTube video of people surfing the Waimea River of interest:

The Waimea River is largely a dammed up lake for most of the year until the winter rains break the sand barrier at the beach and the water flows into the ocean.  These surfers just sped up the process and took advantage of the resulting waves to surf on them.  Pretty cool idea!

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On Walkabout At: Fort Elizabeth on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai

Basic Information

Picture from Ft. Elizabeth on Kauai

Narrative

Located right outside of the small town of Waimea on the west shore of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, is one of the more unusual sites in Hawaiian history.  This site is an old Russian military fortification known as Fort Elizabeth:

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On Walkabout At: The Menehune Ditch on Kauai

Basic Information

Picture from the Menehune Ditch

Narrative

For those with an interest in learning a little more about Hawaiian history while in the Waimea Canyon area on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, an interesting place to check out is the Menehune Ditch.  This ditch is located just a short drive from the village of Waimea up the appropriately named Menehune Road:

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On Walkabout At: Waimea, Kauai

Basic Information

Picture from Waimea, Kauai

Narrative

One of the major tourist attractions on the Hawaiian island of Kauai is the stunning Waimea Canyon that is known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific“.  You can read about my visit to Waimea Canyon at the below link:

Everyone that visits the canyon has to pass through the small town of Waimea tucked on the island’s West Coast:

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On Walkabout On: Kauai’s Pihea Trail

Basic Information

Narrative

One of the things my wife and I had on our itinerary while visiting the Hawaiian Island of Kauai was to drive to the end of Highway 550 and see the Kalalau Valley from the Pu’uo Kila Lookout.  The lookout is located in the expansive Koke’e State Park which encompasses much of Kauai’s thickly forested highlands:

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Hawaii Travelog Archive

Below is a list of the various places I visited during multiple trips to the beautiful islands of Hawaii.  The Hawaiian Islands rank as my favorite place in the world and my wife and I try to make a visit there every year.  This archive will be an ongoing series of postings as I make return visits to see more of these beautiful islands.

Hawaii

Kauai

Oahu

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On Walkabout At: Koke’e State Park, Hawaii

Basic Information

  •  Name: Koke’e State Park
  • Where: Kauai, Hawaii
  • More Info: Koke’e Museum

Narrative

In my prior posting I recommended that anyone traveling to the Hawaiian Island of Kauai to make Waimea Canyon a must see destination during their visit.  Another must see destination on the island that is only a short drive up Highway 550 from Waimea Canyon is Koke’e State Park:


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The park is located high up on the Mt. Waialeale volcano in thickly forested land that stands in sharp contrast from the red rugged cliffs of the neighboring Waimea Canyon:

The best place to start a visit to the park is at the Koke’e Museum:

The museum is easily spotted from the road due to the large grass field in front of it.  The field is usually filled with the unofficial bird of Kauai, chickens:

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On Walkabout At: Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Basic Information

  • Name: Waimea Canyon
  • Where: Kauai, Hawaii
  • More Info: Hawaii Web

Narrative

The islands of Hawaii have some truly incredible scenery and it seems like each island has its own signature unique natural attraction.  Despite all the beautiful beaches and mountains on Kauai I would have to say its signature unique attraction would be Waimea Canyon because there is simply nothing like it anywhere else in Hawaii.  The canyon is located high up on the island’s west side:


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The canyon is accessed by  Highway 550 that begins near the city Waimea that is paved all the way to the canyon and features many curves:

As the road ascends up the high slopes of Kauai’s western mountains there are plenty of incredible views of the surrounding pastoral countryside:

There is also some unbeatable views to the west of Kauai’s neighboring island Niihau, which is known as the “Forbidden Island” :

Here is a view looking across the lush farmland to the south of the canyon with one of Hawaii’s iconic rainbows in the foreground:

As we drove further up the road, eventually the opening to one of the branches of the canyon could be seen:

Further up the road the canyon continued to grow deeper and the terrain more rugged:

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On Walkabout At: The Kauai Coffee Company Plantation

Basic Information

Narrative

For people who love coffee, which I admit I am definitely one of them, a must see location on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai is a visit to the Kauai Coffee Company plantation.

The Kauai Coffee Company has a sprawling plantation located on the west side of the island that stretches from the volcanic foothills all the way to the ocean:


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The size of the plantation is something readily promoted by Kauai Coffee which claims to be the largest coffee estate in the United States with 3,100 acres dedicated to coffee bean cultivation.  Kauai Coffee also claims to grow 60% of Hawaii’s annual coffee crop.  The land where the Kauai Coffee plantation is located used to be part of the McBryde Sugar empire on the island.  McBryde Sugar was founded in 1899 and produced sugar until the plantation was converted to coffee production in 1987 due to falling sugar prices.

The best place to start a tour of the Kauai Coffee plantation is at its visitor center:

The visitor center is located in two original plantation homes from the plantation’s McBryde Sugar days.  Buildings like this housed sugar workers for over 100 years on the plantation.  Inside the visitor center customers can by all the various kinds of coffees offered by the company, but not before having a chance to try as many free samples as you would like to drink:

It is quite nice to sit on the balcony and enjoy the views of the plantation:

On a clear day the views of  the nearby 1,398 feet (426.11 meters) Mt. Kahili are stunning as well:

Kauai Coffee brews some dark, strong coffee so for hard core coffee lovers expect to leave this place with quite buzz!  For those that don’t feel like drinking coffee the visitor center also has ice cream and chocolates for sale as well.  I highly recommend trying the coffee bean chocolates, they are outstanding.  The visitor center also has a few newer and antique coffee production machines on display as well as plenty of information about coffee production on the plantation:

The best way to learn more about coffee production is to take a walk along the guided trail around the plantation:

Along the trail there are plenty of interpretive signs that explain the history of the plantation as well as how coffee is cultivated.  The trail also gives visitors an opportunity to get an up close look at the coffee producing trees:

Here is a closer look at the coffee beans:

There is even some left over sugarcane still growing in the plantation as well:

Besides getting a closer look at the trees the trail also allows visitors to get an up close look at the plantation’s machinery as well:

It was interesting to learn that on Kauai the blossoming of the coffee trees begins in February or March and by May, the young fruit begins to form. The fruit ripens around late September and harvesting begins.  Kauai’s harvesting period runs from mid-October through early December. The plantation continues to harvest coffee beans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Conclusion

A visit to the Kauai Coffee Company is something that is not for everyone, especially if you don’t drink coffee.  However, even those that don’t drink coffee may find the plantation interesting simply from a historical perspective.  I found it quite interesting the historical background of the plantation and the walk through the rows of coffee producing trees made for a pleasant walk.  For anyone that is a coffee lover like I am, I really developed a taste for Kauai Coffee and order a few bags of coffee from their website to get my Kauai Coffee fix.  I really like the Vanilla Macadamia Nut blend they have which is a taste unique to Hawaii.

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On Walkabout At: Kauai’s Spouting Horn

An easy morning trip from Poipu Beach is to either walk or drive over to the Spouting Horn:


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The Spouting Horn is accessed by following the road along the coast from Poipu.  It is well marked and easy to find.    Along the way to the Spouting Horn the road has a number of nice homes and condos  spaced out along a lava rock coast line:

Along the way the city of Koloa has constructed a marker that points out where a popular Hawaiian prince Kuhio was born:

Like the marker says Prince Kuhio was born in a grass hut at this location.  He would later become Hawaii’s first Congressman after Hawaii became a US territory.

He did much to protect the rights of Hawaiian people in the US Congress and is widely remembered and respected by Hawaiians.  Here is a picture of the park that was constructed where the Prince was born:

After arriving at the Spouting Horn and parking my family and I followed the path through some vendors selling various tourist items to the Spouting Horn.  The coast line here is composed of extremely rugged volcanic rock:

The Spouting Horn was called puhi which meant blowhole by the early Hawaiians.  The blow hole was formed by waves eroding softer underlying rock and then eventually the harder top rock.  Water rushing into the opening in the rock in shot up into the air through the hole.  The water has been seen to shoot 50 feet into the air.

The early Hawaiians believed that a giant lizard called a Mo’o ate people who tried to fish here.  Then one day a man named Liko was fishing here and swam underneath the rock to escape the lizard.  He emerged out the blowhole but the lizard got caught in the blowhole.  The groaning noise of air being pushed in and out of the blowhole is believed to be the sounds of the hunger and pain of the trapped lizard.

Besides the Spouting Horn there is another hole in the rock here that makes an extremely loud noise due to the air getting pushed in and out of it:

It also sometimes erupts with water but not very high:

Incredibly despite all the fences and warning signs the Spouting Horn is considered one of the most dangerous spots in Hawaii due to the amount of people who have been killed here climbing out on the rocks trying to get pictures of themselves close to the blowhole and then getting swept away by a wave.  So for anyone visiting this part of the island make sure to stay behind the fence and enjoy the horn from there.  There really is no need to go and be a fool and climb out on to the rocks.

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