Sunday, November 26, 2006

20 November 2006
It is our last day in Hawaii. We checked out of the hostel and headed to the Wailua River for a 4-5 hour kayaking trip. On the way we stopped at the Kapa’a Library to drop off the books we had taken out for the trip. We gave a ride to another hostel resident who is from Los Angeles but was originally from Mongolia. It’s funny, but the person we had the hardest time understanding due to an accent was a woman who had lived in the country for ten years. She had asked us whether we thought that she should spend her last day in Hawaii going to the Kilauea Lighthouse or to the Wailua River, which was supposed to have a popular tourist site called the Fern Grotto. It’s hard to make a judgment like that for another person, since we didn’t know her or know what she would find interesting. We really enjoyed the lighthouse, but mostly because of the bird-life. She ended up coming with us to the Wailua River, although she had no interest in kayaking. They have a tour boat that has a trip on the river giving facts and folklore on the way up and Hawaiian music and hula on the way back. Unfortunately, the fern grotto area had been severely damaged by excessive rain this spring, so it was off limits. She decided to take the guided boat trip, while we decided to rent a double kayak (without a guide) for five hours to travel the river. I brought my camera, since I had the ammo box which was waterproof. Just to be sure though, I put the box into a dry bag.

The first stretch was upstream, which we thought was going to be difficult, but there was very little flow in the river. After about an hour we came to a fork in the river. The left fork would take us to a swimming hole with a rope swing and cliff diving. We took the right fork which took us up to the trailhead for a waterfall hike. We pulled the kayak up on the right bank alongside of twenty-or-so others, most of which I believe were with guided tours. We then had to walk across the river, which was about thigh deep. They had a rope strung across because the current here was surprisingly strong. The trail to the waterfall was about a mile long, through mud and over rocks and roots. It really surprised me that there was not a better trail, considering the number of people who make this trip. The waterfall was stupendous. I was glad that Julie got to experience this one, since she missed the last one. The falls had a clear drop of over 100 feet. Someone had built a mound of rocks along the course of the stream creating a pool under the falls big enough to swim in. The water was cold, but the experience was fun. Back in the kayak we chose to go up the left fork to check out the swimming hole. The rope swing looked like fun but it was cooling off and we were ready to get back. The kayak trip back down the river was against the wind, which negated any positive impact the current might have had.

We returned our rental car at the airport and took the 7:00 Aloha flight to Honolulu. The flight was delayed until 7:20 because President Bush had been in Hawaii and all flights had been delayed while Air Force 1 was in the vicinity. We still had plenty of time before our 10:40 flight to the mainland, which made me regret having convinced Julie that we should get to Honolulu so early. That was compounded by the fact that the plane we were supposed to board needed repair and the flight was delayed until 11:45. The delay meant that we did not land until 25 minutes before our connecting flight from Newark to Columbus was to take off. Unfortunately, we were in the second to last row of seats. By the time we got off the plane, we had 10 minutes to make it to the departure gate. We thought that both gates being in Terminal C would mean that we wouldn’t have too much problem, but we underestimated how big Terminal C is in Newark. We ran the whole way only to be told that the flight was closed when we got there. Fortunately, one of the counter attendants was aware of the situation and had already checked us in. Our luggage was not so lucky. Three of our four bags were delivered to our house later that night. The fourth came the following night. It had somehow ended up in Cincinnati with no tags or other information. Someone going through the bag found our Bible which had some junk mail as a bookmark. The junk mail had our name and address, which allowed them to call us.

It’s great to be home now. The trip was fantastic, but we were ready to back to family. We have always said that this was a once in a lifetime trip, which I think is still true. It was great to experience everything, but if we were scheduling another major trip like this, I think we would choose to go someplace new.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home