When I remember back on some of the most beautiful places in the world that I have ever seen, the Napali Coast of Kauai always comes up toward the top of my personal list. Those of you that have managed to visit this beautiful place know exactly what I am talking about.
There are really about only three ways to get to this place. First you can hike and back pack back in there, second you can view it from a helicopter, or you can take the Zodiac boats there from Princeville, Kauai.
Well, we managed to do two out of the three of these options. We decided to forgo the backpacking. Maybe if I had been 20, 30 or even 40, I might have gone for the backpacking idea, but at our age the helicopter and the Zodiac boats seemed to be our best options. Before I tell you about those adventures, let me first explain about the Zodiac boats.
We have friends in California, (let’s just call them Jack & Jill) who told us that we just “had to take the Zodiac Boats around to the Napali Coast!” Jack & Jill are about the same age as Mrs. LZ and I, so we thought… this will be great! So, we made sure we planned to do that and set up reservations while we were there.
After a beautiful drive from our hotel (the Marriott at Lihue, Kauai) around to the other side of the island to Princeville, we said there were a lot of beautiful places to stop and have a picnic on the way. But the Zodiac boats excursion also included a picnic on the beach on the Napali coast. Not only did it come with lunch, but the extended lunch time also came with a little snorkeling and fish feeding on that same beach. All of this sounds pretty nice, but let me tell you a little about this sea cave travel adventure!
First, they pack you into these Zodiac boats like sardines and then they tell you that you better be able to hold on to not only the people you are smashed against, but also to the rope on the boats air bag pontoons. When I say “hang on”, I am not exaggerating. If you don’t hang on for dear life, you’ll be out there swimming with the sea tortoises very soon. I am not kidding this was one heck of an exhilarating ride.
There were many times, I wanted to yell out… “Let me off of this damn thing!” But, I was determined to live through this adventure one way or another. I also felt like our boat driver, was trying to insure that we NEVER came back here again. He was about 40 + years old and was a transplanted mainlander, who thought he was a stand-up comic as he reported to us that his parents always wanted me to have a job where he could wear a suit to work. He said all of this at the same time he was turning around to show us all his tan and his tiny bikini style “Speedo” SUIT! His jokes got worse as the trip continued, but like the old saying goes… “The beatings (of the waves) will continue until morale improves”.
But you know… in spite of the extremely rough ride to get around to the sea caves of the Napali coast, the caves were wonderful and extremely fun. Of course our wonder-boy driver like to insure that we could be quickly killed if he didn’t time the waves correctly as we would be smashed against the cliffs or smashed into the cave ceilings. Just more of his 40+ boyish charm I’m sure!
As you can see from the pictures, the caves were actually very neat and it was kind of fun going in and out of them. One of them even went back in one side of the cliff and out of the other side. But most of the caves required both entrance and exit from the same hole. This coupled with the timing of the waves and the skills of our stand up comic Zodiac boat operator made for quite an adventure for Mrs. LZ and me.
After we had all the scares (I mean excitement
) that we could take, we were off to the picnic lunch on the beach. Which by being on dry land alone
made it enjoyable, but was also a nice respite, from the somewhat pounding adventures given by our Zodiac boat driver the Marquis de Sade. This picnic was followed by snorkeling in the little bay right in front of our picnic beach.
While we were enjoying ourselves on this beach, another group of tourists came onto the beach in a power sail Catamaran. These folks jokingly asked us if we had actually come here on those Zodiac boats. We responded (not so jokingly) and asked them if they wanted to “TRADE” ride on the return voyage to Princeville. Needless to say, as much as we tried, (and begged) they didn’t go for it!
Not too much after that, we were on our way back to Princeville while the beatings continued. When we got back to Princeville, we were greeted by a person who wanted to interview us about the “JOYS”
of our just recently completed trip. Well… Mrs. LZ, soberly answered her, “I’ve never done ANYTHING like it before!” I guess the interviewer got the idea and moved on to people who actually had smiles on their faces.
When we had completed our Kauai trip and had returned home, I asked Jack (of Jack & Jill) if they had really taken the Zodiac boats to see the Napali Coast. Sheepishly, he responded, “oh no, we took the Catamarans!” If I ever decide to make this trip again, I know I will be making it “by myself” but maybe it will help if I wear a SUIT! Next post… the Napali Coast from the air.Beating the drums for Hawaii is not hard to do... the place just grows on you.
~ James MacArthur