Our trip to Kauai with the Koops was fantastic. We rented a little condo not too far from the ocean with good access to the island's sites.
We spent a lot of time at the beach boogy-boarding and snorkeling. Our goal with boogy-boarding was to find waves that had tremendous power to hurl you forward but not quite enough to kill you if you caught it wrong – we tried out both types. The goal for snorkeling was to see a turtle and it just so happens that the day we split up from the Koops to do separate activities was the day that Ryan was holding the back of a sea turtle. Nevertheless, we ended up having a great adventure on that day searching for lost irrigation mountain tunnels deep in the jungle.
Supposedly several years ago someone had the great idea of irrigating a drier portion of the island by using water from a wetter area. The only problem was the mountain range in the middle. No problem – just blast a mile long tunnel under the mountain to connect the two! Apparently this solution worked for some time but was eventually abandoned. The majority of this endeavor involves finding the tunnel entrance. It takes about two hours of jungle-trail hiking to find them and several other attempters have provided detours off the main hunting trail. Some brainiac even decided to leave green flagging on the correct trail as well as other branches to throw people off. Fortunately after several detours, we located the tunnel entrance and prepared to walk through. It ended up taking us the best part of an hour to walk through all the tunnels. This was partly due to the length but also due to the fact that the tunnels (being irrigation ducts) were filled with a foot of water. This was quite a lot since the tunnels were 6 feet high and wide at the best spots. A magical destination awaits at the tunnels exit – waterfalls, lush ranges and cliffs, and peaceful untouched nature.
Another of my favorite activities was swimming in waterfall pools. We weren't necessarly trying to swim in that many but there were several times where we were hiking and hot and there they were! The Hanakapiai and Wailua waterfalls were excellent (despite the frigid waters) but I think our favorite spot was Kipu falls. Picture 20ft cliffs surrounding a small waterfall and pool with no rocks at the base. This allowed for jumping off the waterfall as well as using a rope swing that the local kids hung up in a tree. We thought we were getting good at the rope swing (20 ft drop) until a local kid climbed the tree another 10ft and jumped off the tree into the water. A novice landing at that height could keep you in pain for a while. Although Ryan performed the same feat by landing on his sunburnt back after performing a beautiful 1 and 1/2 flip off the rope swing.
We also had the pleasure of attending a Hawaiian Luau (local dancing/feast) where Ryan and I stole the show with our Hawaiian dancing on stage. On second thought, we were second to a young Japanese fellow who was forced to dance (red-faced) with a Hawaiian girl. This spectacle was hilarious but it was even funnier that he recorded the rest of the show with a video camera in each hand.
We spent some time the island of Oahu before and after staying on Kauai, engaging in a range of activities which included driving around the whole island, visiting Pearl Harbour, driving into a crater, joining an anti-war march through Honolulu, and visiting the Dole plantation for fresh pineapple ice cream.