Kaua’i, the Garden Isle

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By Luci Lizares

Winners

Saturday, March 28, 2015


SAYING goodbye to bustling Honolulu, our next destination was to the oldest geologically of the main Hawaiian Islands, estimated at 6 million years old, known as the Garden Isle, Kaua’i.

With the summer season setting in and if you plan any Hawaiian getaway, this is an area not to be missed.

Kauai’s soil is volcanic, ergo, very fertile and is home to many varieties of fruit (guava, coffee, sugarcane, mango, banana, avocado, star fruit, kava and pineapple), very much like the Philippines.

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Tourism is Kaua’i’s largest industry today, however, in the past, sugar plantations were Kauai's most important industry. In 1835 the first sugar plantation was founded and just like us here in Negros, the industry dominated the economy of Hawaii for centuries.

With the Nafta (North American Free Trade Agreement) the industry is dying and I was told that 2014 was their last harvest in Kaua’i. Most of that land is now used for ranching. The remaining sugar operation in the 118-year-old Gay & Robinson Plantation plans to transform itself into a manufacturer of sugar-cane ethanol.

We wanted to be adventurous and originally planned to embark on a rafting escapade into the sea, seeing spectacular sea caves, plunging under cascading waterfalls, and exploring some hidden, remote beach, or a thriving reef ecosystem that supported ancient Hawaiians a long ago.

But the tour gave fair warning that this is not recommended for people with back, neck or joint problems so it was a sunset cruise on the Southern Star instead.

To do that, we had to hire a car with me behind the wheels and my cousins Lulu and Mae navigating and head for Port Allen, which was an hour away and got lost somewhere. We knew we were 30 or more minutes late but we made it.

We set sail on Kauai’s deep, choppy blue waters but we were treated to the most magnificent of Hawaii’s coastlines. Being late, we had to be satisfied with the cabins below, but the endless jerking of the catamaran brought us to the captain’s chair and practically claimed the vessel as our own.

As we reached the Na Pali Coast, the landscape was breathtaking unique! More so when the crimson sun started to set, the mountain ranges had sharp ridge lines painted in rich hues of green, red and black looking just like Grand Canyon but surrounded with clear blue waters. We did see some sea caves from a distance and just imagined how it would be like to enter them.

Finally, the Southern Star stopped and the water was calm. The chef and the crew brought out a generous offering of appetizers, salads and thick juicy steaks cooked to perfection and ending with desserts that made us go for second helpings.

While we were having our hearty dinner, we could see helicopters entering the crevices of the mountains. These air tours are the best way to experience Kauai’s hidden natural treasures. You hover over the deep chasms of the Waimea Canyon and view the Manawaiopuna Falls, which was the setting of the film Jurassic Park.
Kaua’i has been featured in more than 70 Hollywood movies and television shows, from South Pacific, the second in the Hunger Games series, the opening scenes of the Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, a version of Kingkong, the Descendants, Pirates of the Caribbean, to mention some.

After breathing all these wonders into our system, we headed back to Port Allen again being rocked and rolled by the tempestuous waters. To sum up the day: “Thank you Lord for sharing the beauty of your creation with us!”

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 29, 2015.

Lifestyle

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