My Last Day in Kauai

A Hui Hoi Kauai

My heart is heavy knowing I leave this Garden Island tonight. I already said my goodbyes to Hanalei, but I couldn’t resist going back one more time. With most of the day free and a constant drizzle of rain, I indulged myself and headed back up to the North Shore.

There was a severe high surf advisory for most of the island today. I decided to find some hidden, locals only beaches and watch the surfers work their charms. My first stop was Kahili Beach, just east of the lighthouse. It was down a long, wet, clay road. While it was a very cool spot, no one was surfing so I moved on (but not before slipping and sliding the car back up the steep hill!).

From there I went to ‘Secret Beach’ or Kauapea, which requires a 15 minute hike nearly straight down. When you emerge from the trail, lava pools, a small waterfall, and an extraordinary view of the Kilauea Lighthouse greet you. The waves must have been 20 ft high, or higher. The surf was so rough and so fast, complete waves didn’t have time to form, but it was visually stunning.

Path down to Secret Beach

Lava Pools - Secret Beach

Enormous Waves at Secret Beach

From there I drove just down the road to Kalihaiwi Beach were from the road above I found the locals. They were gathered off of a point a couple hundred yards off the beach. Here the waves were huge, but also well formed. It was a wondrous sight watching these guys make it look so effortless to tame this wild ocean. I took some really stunning video on my camera.

Big Waves

Local Surfers

Then I went on into Hanalei to find the Pat’s Taqueria lunch wagon at the pier. Featured in Food & Wine magazine, I was very much looking forward to sinking my teeth into something spectacular. My pork burrito surpassed all expectations. In fact, I went back to order the special of the day, ceviche just to try it for myself.

I was amazed at the difference in town. My sleepy Hanalei had turned into a buzzing destination. Apparently I had hit it just right by coming before the week of Christmas. Between the holiday tourists and surfers coming out of the woodworks to enjoy the high surf, it almost seemed there been an invasion! As always, things change and we change with them. It was the right time to go, and I felt good doing so, with no regrets.

Ah, mahalo Hanalei for the peace and relaxation you bestowed.

Since my flight wasn’t until 11pm, I went back to the Hyatt to use their spa facilities. There is nothing like a steam room, pool, sauna, jacuzzi, and a lava shower to relax you for a long journey, including a red eye flight. I really am a spoiled girl, I suppose. I now have a few hours to kill before heading to the airport so I’m sitting in the outdoor pavilion at the Hyatt listening to a wonderful solo guitarist and sipping on a farewell Longboard Lager. I’m wondering if I should stop en route to the airport at Hamura Saimin for my third bowl of noodles!

Final thoughts
It is with much inflection that I leave this extraordinary place. There were times in my life when I know I missed a fork in the road. I’ve made do and things have turned out pretty well, but if I listen intently there is a voice inside that tells me I’m in the wrong place. Kauai and Hanalei have shown me what true contentment feels like. Perhaps I’m at another fork in the road?

Mahalo nui loa, Kauai

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