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mistybleu Kauai - A travel report by Amanda
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Kauai,  United States - flag United States -  Hawaii
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mistybleu's travel reports

The love of Hawaii starts and ends with 'Aloha'

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Aloha is the traditional greeting to say hello, when a lei (wreath of flowers) is placed around the neck; then the conversation ends with Aloha - goodbye. But in between is a rich culture and loving people this describes the 'aloha spirit'. report of the month contest
Mar 2009

Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon
Hawaii is the 50th State and was the last inducted into the union in 1959. It is made up of 8 tiny islands in the north Pacific Ocean: 1. Hawaii – the Big Island, 2. Maui, 3. Oahu – with the metropolis of Honolulu, 4. Kauai – the Garden Isle, 5. Molokai, 6. Lanai, 7. Kahoolawe and 8. Niihau – the Forbidden Island, home to native Hawaiians.

Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands in 1778; he nearly missed them altogether, but landed on the last island in the chain – Kauai. The local people thought he was a god (Lono), owing to the stories told through generations that the god would come to earth on a cloud (i.e. the sails of the ship) etc. The locals treated him as a god until they released that he was just using them to repair his ship without helping them. In 1779 a fight broke out and Cook was killed (on Hawaii) as well as many others.

Even though all the islands were created from volcanic eruptions, millions of years ago, each island has its own characteristics which make it special. Kauai is the oldest and most northerly island of the islands. It known as the Garden Isle; it is green, lush and has flowers everywhere. The interior of the island isn’t occupied as the terrain is inaccessible, so the majority of the habitations (population 55k) occur around the coastal areas.

Kauai’s claim to fame is that it has been featured in many Hollywood movies like Outbreak, Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1&2), South Pacific (filmed in 1958), Blue Hawaii (with Elvis Presley) and Jurassic Park the trilogy to name a few.

The major town is Lihue where the airport can be found. However, most visitors head northeast to Princeville, Wailua and Kapaa or southwest to the Poipu area; also northward to the beautiful Na Pali Coast which has many small villages that reminiscent of yesteryear. Finally to the west there is a string of small villiages and home is to the Waimea Canyon.

Favourite spots:
Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls
Definitely the Waimea Canyon is worth a visit; it was a little surprising to see the wonderful canyon on such a small island. It is said that Mark Twain described this as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific even though there isn’t any proof that he actually visited the island. The colours and scenery were great and there are many ridges and trails to hike.

To get to Canyon we drove along Highway 50 that took us through the town of Waimea (which means red water); this is where Cook came ashore near the mouth of the Waimea River; a statue has been erected to commemorate this occasion.

The town is quite small as most visitors are usually on their way to the canyon and/or Pu u o Rila Lookout.

The town has one set of traffic lights that was installed to control the flow of sugar cane trucks from tourists as at the time that was the town’s major industry. The traffic lights no longer work and the sugar cane industry has ceased but the tourist still come.

What's really great:
The Monk Seal
The Monk Seal
When the Hawaiian Islands became a part of the US, state taxes were introduced, as the locals couldn’t pay their land was seized; to readdress this imbalance the government has agreed that if a person can prove that they are 50% or more genetically Hawaiian then they will be leased land at a $1 a year for 99 years. At the end of that time, if the people living on the property are still 50% or more Hawaiian then the land will become theirs. This was quite topical as on more than two occasions it was brought up.

The true Hawaiians (8% of the total population) are very proud of their Polynesian heritage and include their genetic percentage on their birth certificates. They try to protect their genetics and culture, even going to the extreme of having an island where only 100% Hawaiians live in traditional ways, that is without electricity and running water etc. A proud people, who like most indigenous populations of the world, islands were raped.

Na Pali Coastal views
Na Pali Coastal views
The Hawaiian Islands are beautiful and the main reason to visit is for the beaches, including black sand beaches; but there are other places of interest that’s worth seeing.

Firstly, on Kauai there are: Waimea Canyon, the Na Pali coast, Wailua Falls, Coconut Coast, Spouting Horn, Kiloana Crater, Kilaues Lighthouse, Mount Waialeale – whose summit is considered one the wettest place on earth and Wailua River etc. But you can also see humpback whales from the shore, Monk Seals on the beaches and green turtles along the shores etc; plus many hikes, walks and cycle paths to enjoy, plus sea-kayaking.

On the other islands: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (where Mount Kilauea is found), Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on Hawaii; Haleakala National Park on Maui, Polynesian Cultural Centre, Pearl Harbour, the National Memorial Cemetery, Iolani Palace (the only royal palace in the U.S.), Bishop Museum, Waikiki Beach and North Shores all on Oahu with some in Honolulu.

Inside Cabin
Inside Cabin
Just recently I decided I wanted to try cruising; everyone kept on telling me that, ‘the beauty of cruising is every morning you wake up you are in another country’ and ‘you have a day to explore’.

I’ve seen it become more popular with less formal and cheaper cruising; that is why I chose the freestyle cruise. I have to say my room was the smallest ever and I actually slept on a single bed (what a shock, horror) but there was a lot of storage space. With all my travelling this was the first time I completely unpacked as I spent 7 nights in one location. This was the greatest thing about cruising getting the best of both worlds, multi-city without the packing and unpacking along the way.

I chose to have an inside cabin but for me that was a mistake, as whatever time I returned to the room it felt dark enough to sleep; with hindsight I will definitely get a balcony or at the very least a porthole.

Evening on board
Evening on board
I always thought the idea of onboard entertainment was a bit corny. But the good thing is you can choose what you want to attend and just pace yourself. I chose to go to the comedy nights and found this very entertaining. But the cruise companies really try to make the entertainment varied and appealing to all. But the fun things to do in the evening were to visit some of the many different themed bars, hit the hot tubs, watch a movie, go to the games room or casino; and bearing in mind that I was on a Hawaiian cruise watch Mother Nature’s show – the eruption of a volcano.

Kauai Coffee Company compound
Kauai Coffee Company compound
The Hawaiian flag has 8 horizontal strips to represent each of the islands and then the Union Jack; the islanders thought that Queen Victoria would claim the islands for the Crown. To pre-empt this they created the flag; then the king at the time thought that he would pay tribute to her and carved a mountain in her honour – well her lying down and I was told this is where the saying comes from that if you put a woman to lie down she won’t make a decision. Really only a man could have come up with that… As it happens, the Crown never claimed the islands but the islanders decided to keep the flag.

Themed restaurant - Cadillac
Themed restaurant - Cadillac
I saw a sign in the gym as I signed up for my activities that people put on 7-10 pounds when they cruise and I was determined that this wouldn’t happen to me but it is inevitable that I would try the buffet and sample the delicious food served. As cruises vary so does their restaurants, but most if not all will have buffet dining; these tend to be quite lavish and fun at the same time as it allows you to taste quite a few dishes. Most ships are quite health conscious of late, owing to the number of them that have succumbed to food hygiene problems. I was happy that our cruise company ensured that neither guest nor employees contaminated food.

There were also restaurants that you have to book and pay a cover charge to dine, but being a cheapskate, I chose not to frequent these.

The main dining room on ships was quite grand, maybe not Titanic grand, but grand nonetheless.

I am happy to report that I only put on a pound, but it was more about how I spent my days.

Other recommendations:
The Infamous Waikiki Beach
The Infamous Waikiki Beach
Most people who go to Hawaii are honeymooners, older couples and people celebrating anniversaries or big birthdays. But on Oahu you’ll find everyone; young, old, married, not married, lovers or soon to be lovers, friends, travellers – really anyone who is anyone.

The main tourist area in Oahu is Waikiki; this area was popular back in the fifties and has continued to grow from strength to strength. Real estate is at a premium and nearly all global hotel chains are located on the pristine 2-mile beach front.

Also of interest is North Shores, home of the surfer and the gigantic waves that forms pipelines where only experts can surf.

You also have to try a Luau. The Polynesian Cultural Centre offers the best on the island – which are held Monday to Saturday. The luau is a party, where you have great food (including the traditional roasting of a pig) and entertainment, with fire dancing, hulas, plus washing it down with the tropical drinks including the infamous Mai Tai.

Published on Tuesday March 17th, 2009

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Fri, Apr 10 2009 - 10:42 AM rating by eirekay

Up to your usual high standard! Great report!

Fri, Apr 10 2009 - 06:29 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Excellent report and well deserved RoM, congratulations!

Mon, Mar 30 2009 - 01:17 AM rating by louis

Nice report. I reaaly liked yhe several infos about the Hawaii. I didn't know that Cook was killed there, and i didn't expect to know that they were incorporated to the US 1959 (I thouhgt it was earlier). I really enjoyed this reading.

Sun, Mar 29 2009 - 10:16 AM rating by bineba

Thanks for another great report. Hawaii has been on my 'I want to go there' list because of the volcanoes, maybe one day...
Still not sure about cruising.....

Sat, Mar 21 2009 - 07:01 PM rating by robynallen

Great report. Loved the fact you went cruising!

Thu, Mar 19 2009 - 09:54 PM rating by jenny2

Just how I remember it.

Thu, Mar 19 2009 - 12:24 AM rating by shubh

Thanks for sharing nicely compiled information. Kauai is one of the most popular destinations among the tourists who visit Hawaii.
Adviser travel.justluxe

Wed, Mar 18 2009 - 10:07 AM rating by krisek

Amanda, many thanks for another great report. A lot of new things I learnt about Hawaii, and your photographs are superb!

Wed, Mar 18 2009 - 09:09 AM rating by frenchfrog

Another great report! I think I might try cruising! Thanks for sharing your experience!

Wed, Mar 18 2009 - 06:47 AM rating by jacko1

An excellent report, more good info than any travel brochure, well written and very informative.

Wed, Mar 18 2009 - 05:56 AM rating by porto

Aloha Amanda,another ace report,well done.

Wed, Mar 18 2009 - 03:38 AM rating by pesu

Thanks, Amanda, for this fine informative report with a great individual touch (congrats on putting on just 1 pound! ;-)). I loved to read it and to watch the stunning pics.

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