The Garden Island



The Hawaiian Islands archipelo is the most isolated chain in the world. It extends from the island of Hawai’i to Kure Atoll in the northwest, a distance of over 1500 miles.  The islands are a group of volcanos that have risen up over a ‘hot spot‘ of molten rock that wells up from deep in the earth’s interior.  The most famous islands of the Hawaiian archipelo are Hawai’i aka The Big Island, O’hau, Maui & Kaua’i.  Many other islands such as Lana’i, Ni’ihau, Kaho’olawe, Moloka’i (famous for the courageous work of my fellow citizen ‘Pater Damiaan), etc. are as beautiful but not that popular.

The Hawaiian archipelo

The Hawaiian archipelo

With so many beautiful islands, I had the same problem than in Fiji… which one to choose!?  I talked to friends, locals & asked around and they all adviced me Kaua’i, Maui & the Big Island.  I had to choose 2 islands as I planned to stay 2 only weeks in the archipelo.  I didn’t want to rush things.  There’s also the fact that you can only travel between the islands by plane.  Only Moloka’i & Lana’i are connected by public ferries from Maui.  So after checking some flights, I chose to do the islands of Kaua’i & Maui.

Welcomed by Rick in his fantastic house in Lihu'e

Welcomed by Rick in his fantastic house in Lihu’e

Kaua’i is situated on the far north east of the southeastern (windward) islands and is also known as ‘The Garden Island’ for it’s green, lush vegetation.  The main town on Kaua’i is Kapa’a but slightly too crowded for my taste so I chose for the smaller town of Lihu’e, where the airport is situated.  I had the chance to be welcomed with a colourful ‘hula’ by Rick, an anesthesist from New York who lived the good life in Kaua’i for 15 years now.  Rick lived in a beautiful villa in a quiet neigbourhood of Lihu’e with an amazing mountain view. My plan was to rent a car but when we found out that all rental cars were booked out, Rick was so kind to show me around the island.   The ‘Kilauea Point’ lighthouse, built in 1913 and home to the Hawaiian wildlife, was our first destination.  Dolphins, whales, seals, sea turtles, … are residents in those Hawaiian waters and besides that beautiful scenery surrounding the lighthouse, we were also spoiled by colonies of birds such as red & white tailed tropicbirds (Koate) & frigate birds (Iwa) aka ‘the pirates of the islands’ known for stealing food from other birds by scaring them into dropping their food and catching it before it hits the water.

Taro ponts

Taro ponts

Further north, we drove through the residential town of Princeville, named after a young Hawaiian deceased prince, up to Hanalei.  Hanalei is world famous for it’s beautiful bay and perfect surf conditions.  Overwhelmed by surfers in winter, it was now overwhelmed by daytrippers who enjoyed the light summerbreeze and gentle waves rolling into the bay.

After lunch we cruised along the coastline, exploring the taro ponds & several beautiful bays such as Rock Quarry, Pilau, Kahiliwai, …

Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku, a native Hawaiian was a surf legend, father of modern day surfing & six-time Olympic swimming & water polo medalist.  He was the first to be inducted into both the ‘Swimming’ & ‘Surfing Hall Of Fame’  Being the ambassador of Hawaii, he travelled the world spreading the spirit of surfing & ‘Aloha’.  Surfing had died out after the opposition of the missionaries around 1900.  Duke re-introduced the sport in Hawaii & introduced it in many other places around the world such as California & Australia.  He combined it with the Hawaiian spirit of ‘Aloha’ meaning ‘with love’.

With Rick @ Duke's

With Rick @ Duke’s

It’s the key word to greet friends, loved ones & strangers.  It made Hawaii renommed as the world’s center of understanding, fellowship & universal spirit of real hospitality.  To honor that great man & to recreate those wonderful memories of sparkling water, sandy beaches & lazy days with friends, ‘The Dukes Restaurant Group’ was born, locating the restaurants in spectacular waterfront sites.  Rick invited me to ‘Duke’s’ at Kalapaki beach in Lihu’e for a wonderful ocean view dinner.  We talked all evening and after spending just one day together, we became really good buddies.

Spouting Horn

Spouting Horn

Po’ipu is a small town in the south of Kaua’i and on my second day on the island, Rick took me to the “Ka’ale hele waiwai ho’oilina o Koloa” or “Koloa Heritage Trail” where the ‘Spouting Horn Park’ was situated.  It was a spot where lava tubes were formed by cooling lava containing blowholes (puhi), when waves eroded the softer, underlying rock and wore through the harder top rock.  The waves rushing into those lava tubes is forced through those blowholes creating sky-high shots of water. Legends tell of a huge mo’o (lizard) caught in this puhi…

Kitesurfing @ Shipwreck Beach in Po'ipu

Kitesurfing @ Shipwreck Beach in Po’ipu

After enjoyin’ the skills of some boogie boarders & kitesurfers at ‘Shipwreck beach’, we drove through the hills along the Menehune river to the harbour of Lihu’e.  Fascinating to see how early Hawaiians had created this huge pond next to the river to catch the fish and keep them in the pond for later use, not having refrigerators at the time.

Later that evening Rick welcomed Galvis from Canada and after a refreshing drink at the Barefoot Bar at Kalapaki beach, we all went for dinner in Rick’s favorite place… Duke’s!

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