Day 50: The Na Pali Coast Is Heaven on Earth

You know neither Mike nor I is a morning person, so you know we’re headed for something EPIC when I tell you that after getting up at 4 for a flight yesterday we got up at about 4:45 this morning for a tour of part of the Na Pali coast that is only accessible by boat or helicopter. Because it was so, so early, we went to a 7-Eleven and treated ourselves to some iced Kona coffee and Spam musubi that had *cheese* on it and I was instantly ready for a full day of adventure.

We arrived at the strip mall that housed the Kauai Sea Tours office and signed our lives away via a few waivers that said we could die or be maimed. You know. The usual stuff. Our “cabin girl” Jamie debriefed us and gave us dry bags before loading us into the van to take us to our Zodiac boat for our adventure.

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I’m being 1,000 percent serious when I say that this boat tour is hands down the absolute best thing I have ever experienced in my life. We loaded our stuff and ourselves onto what is essentially a glorified raft–we didn’t even have seats FFS! We sat on the edge of the raft, put our feet under a rope on the floor and held on to the ropes on the side of the raft as we did something crazy like 35 mph (which felt like 80 mph) across an unpredictable ocean. We spent about an hour and a half getting to the the spot where we ended up docking. We schlepped our stuff to the shore, took a walking tour of an archeological fishing village site (if you’re not familiar with how thoroughly and completely missionaries decimated the people and culture of Hawaii, it’s a very sad but familiar story), had lunch, snorkeled, and then had another hour-and-a-half ride back to the strip mall.

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We went in that cave.

After three hours on a bumpy boat with no seats and an afternoon of walking in water shoes and snorkeling, my whole body hurt, but I didn’t even care. I saw dolphins. I saw a sea turtle. I saw an eel and lots of fish. I saw where they filmed Jurassic World. I saw things that people can only see via boat, helicopter, or a 12-mile hike.

After the boat tour Mike and I hopped across the street (from the rental office) to Kauai Island Brewery and Restaurant. Honestly? The beer was meh, but the staff was super friendly and the pupus were good. I’d go back.

We hit up the Kauai Dirt Shirt Factory where we were given a complimentary cup of chipped ice with syrup on it (it was not what I would consider shave ice, so…). We snagged some tees and headed to the Kauai Chocolate Factory, where we fell in LOVE with a delightful treat called “opihi,” which is a small shortbread cookie with caramel and a macadamia nut on top of it and then the whole shebang is covered in chocolate. They also make an ice cream version and we enjoyed some of that as well. Naturally.

On our way back to the Airbnb we drove through (past?) the Waimea Canyon, which is considered the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. You can apparently hike it, but we were not dressed for it, and we were running out of daylight.

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As we continued our drive back to Kapa’a, we made one final stop at the Kauai Coffee Plantation and it did not disappoint. Their cold brew is TO DIE FOR and we got to check out the coffee plants for a hot minute before they closed for the day.

Originally we were going to go back to the Airbnb and change before heading out for dinner, but the Kapa’a Art Walk was going on as we were driving through town and we decided it’d be way, way easier to just park while we were there because traffic was already snarled. We snagged some souvenirs and checked out a lot of great shops including Bamboo Works, which almost took alllll my money because it was an entire store full of neat kitchen stuff made from bamboo and coconut tree wood.

We finished our night with dinner at Sushi Bushido, which was recommended to us by the lead singer of the band that was playing at Imua Lounge on Day 42. Said lead singer is the niece of the gentleman who owns Sushi Bushido. We ordered an obscene amount of sushi and every single piece of it was more delicious than the last. We’ve had so much good sushi on this trip, but I think Sushi Bushido is my favorite overall.

We hit up the Long’s Drugs next door to grab a cheap bottle of red and retired to the Airbnb for a night cap before another day of adventure.

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