Kauai Adventure & Romance Magazine – Activities – Water
DIVING into paradise off the Na Pali!
Na Pali means “the cliffs” in Hawaiian. This coastline encompasses the northwest quarter of Kauai. This coastline towers to 3,000 feet, with fluted peaks, serrated ridge tops, upper valleys and sea caves.
The Na Pali is one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world. From pitch-black lava rock formations to the turquoise ocean waters to the cascading, silver waterfalls — you’ll witness natural, awe-inspiring beauty and see every imaginable shade of green.
The Na Pali Coast State Park is a preserved wilderness, stretching from Polihale State Park on the dry West Side to Haena on the lush North Shore. Na Pali is only accessible only by foot or from the ocean on calm, summer surf days.
Viewing the Na Pali by tour boat is one of the best ways to experience it. Once onboard, you may see Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins jump and play. See Humpback Whales (November-April) breach, display mating rituals and large Hawaiian Sea Turtles lounge in the azure blue waters. As you watch Kauai’s marine life, you’ll have many photo opportunities to snap the perfect shot. You’ll gaze up in wonderment at the cliffs, where waterfalls cascade through open ceiling caves and drop into the ocean.
Hollywood production companies have used this “Cathedral of the Pacific” for many film settings. Na Pali is also flush in legend and lore, including stories about the impenetrable Honopu’u, also known as the “Valley of the Lost Tribe.” Your crew and Captain will fill you in on all the fascinating stories and history of the coast.
Most boat companies depart from the Westside at Port Allen Marina in Eleele, or further west in Waimea, or (during summer only) from the North Shore, with friendly crews that have local knowledge and interesting stories. On day trips, crews may offer food and beverages. Day trips stop for a snorkel adventure in crystal clear waters.
Boat trips are available on comfortable cabin cruisers, powered sailing catamarans, twin-hulled power cats, or inflatable motorized Zodiac rafts. Some smaller boats can actually enter certain sea caves, conditions permitting. Medium to large boats have restrooms on-board. Sunset boat tours are usually less expansive and offer dinner, cocktail drinks and views of the sun setting into the sea.
Hanalei River is about a two mile paddle. It winds along a buffalo and cattle ranch and breaches the highway on the other side. After paddling under the bridge, you can climb up the bank and photograph the scenic taro fields. The reflection of the Hanalei mountain range and waterfalls on the calm waters of the taro fields is inspirational. Access the river by parking near the pier at Black Pot Beach Park.
Hulei‘a Stream empties into Kalapaki Bay, near Lihue. It runs about three miles along the base of a Mountain Range, along legendary Menehune Fish Pond. Several scenes from the Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark, were filmed there, including Harrison Ford’s famous rope swing to the Sea Plane. According to Hawaiian history, an ancient Hawaiian Ali`i (chief) desired the Menehunes (legendary little people) to build a fishpond. The Menehunes worked at night and formed a long line from Kalaheo to the pond site, using rocks passed by hand. At sunrise, the Menehunes washed their hands in the waters at the fishpond because they were bleeding from moving the rocks. Another name for the fishpond is Alekoko, which translates to “rippling blood”.
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