After the 40-ish miles of hiking over the past 5 days, my feet and legs were sore. It was time to skip leg day.
We slept in because we were both exhausted and the only thing we had planned for the day was a boat tour of the Na Pali coast.
Now, when you do this, you have a few options. The two most common are on a large 55′ catamaran yacht. We did this one the last time we visited Kauai and it is great. They are much more comfortable and typically stay further away form the shore. The last time we did this, we saw whales and had dolphins swimming right next to the boat.
Your other option is a raft.
This is a much more adventurous option as you and 9ish other people jump in a raft that has a massive motor attached do it and experience every wave, wind, and rain that crash into you.
To skip the reading part, scroll down for the pictures.
The tour started later in the day so we had some time to kill. Naturally, we had to stop back into Deja Vu and pickup some clothes. I got a waterproof jacket and a hat. Caitlin got some cute pants.
We wandered around a shopping center and shared a Jamba Juice together. From there, we drove over to west side of the island where our tour would kick off and spent some time in the town of Waimea. There was a cute little cookie shop where we grabbed a few chocolate chip cookies. They were good, but not as good as Caitlin’s world famous cookies.
We went to the dock where our boat tour would begin. We watched as a few other crews were coming back and there was this local lady who would welcome the crews returning by dancing around and shake shake shakin’ her booty (that was the song that was playing as well as an accurate description of her dancing).
All of the boat captains seemed to know who she was. I wasn’t sure if she was just genuinely into tourists returning from a boat tour, was paid by the boat tour companies to hype them upon return, or (the most likely scenario) was a little cray cray.
She was nice and at least gave us a story to write about.
We were all sitting around a picnic table waiting for instructions on what to do on this tour. While we are all waiting there awkwardly, my mind wanders into the dangers of what we’re about to do. I mean, I would say I’m an okay swimmer, but out in the ocean with huge waves… I’m a dead man. Plus the rocks and sharks and who knows what else could kill me, I’m preparing myself for survival scenarios.
Which is why I’m assessing these strangers that I’m about to spend the next 6 hours with and wondering to myself, “would this person help my survival or hurt it?”
“Oh, she’d definitely be the first to go.”
Turns out, there was another family from Utah on our boat of 10 people. What a small world.
Waves and sores
We chose to go with Captain Andy’s tours. Our captain gave us a long lecture about how this was a vigorous tour and not for the physically weak. If you have any heart issues or physical impairments, you’re going to want to choose the larger yacht, not the raft.
After we agree that we are all okay, we jump in the raft. The captain lets us know that the front of the raft is more extreme and bouncy, while the back of the raft… aaaaand Caitlin immediately runs to the front. She is in the very front. Like, there is a line on the boat where it tells you not to cross and she repeatedly crossed it.
So, we head out and we fly over waves. It feels like we are getting air off of these things and we’re right at the front experiencing it. To help you get an idea of what is keeping us safe and secure in this raft careening over 10 foot waves, don’t worry. We are sitting on the very edge, about to topple over. But we have one foot (bare foot) under a rope in the foot of the boat, and are holding onto another rope along the side of the raft. Not helping my whole death-anxiety.
Our captain is great and tells us all about the island as we cruise around. It takes us a good 2 hours to get around to the other-wordly awesomeness of the Na Pali mountain fingers. By this time, my sore legs have been replaced by sore hands and forearms from holding onto these ropes for dear life for 2 hours straight.
The unique part about the raft experience is that you can go right up to the coast. In fact, they took us inside several different sea caves that were super cool. This one had a waterfall going into it. Check out the swells and how much the water level changes.
There were a couple others they took us into that were super cool. One that stood out went into this clearing that resembled a donut. Well, the donut would be the water. The donut hole was rock. And outside the donut was 50 foot rock cliffs and then the clear blue sky. I wish I had taken pictures or a video, but alas, I didn’t. There was a turtle swimming in there with us. He or she (I don’t know how to tell) seemed like a nice turtle. Not one of those stuck-up turtles we all hear about in the news.
Here are a few more pictures to make you go ooooh and aaaaah.
The further up the coast you go, the more dramatic it seems to get.
We saw kayakers making their way down the coast, which seems crazy to me considering how big the waves were in certain parts. We also ran into a pretty strong rain storm. Good think I had that waterproof jacket from Deja Vu and my nice hat. I’ll admit, it doesn’t make me more attractive. All function here.
We worked our way back down the coast and stopped at this beach/reef/ancient ruins. We snorkeled for a bit and ate lunch. One of our guides ate with us and we were asking him about the impact of covid. He said that it hit the island hard. His observations were that a lot of people got their covid checks and either blew them on new cars and useless stuff, or they figured they didn’t have to work for a while. He tried to save his and find work, and he’s glad he did. He thinks this is why it is so hard to find restaurants open and stores because they can’t staff them.
I asked him his genuine thoughts about all us tourists who come. He said he loves us, especially the respectful ones. The vast majority of tourists are nice and don’t do stupid things. You get some who are idiots and mess with the wildlife and, if they are caught, have pretty serious punishments.
He was a nice guy and gave all of us a nice tour of these ancient ruins with lots of cool stories.
After a good hour or so here, it was time to head back. We hopped back into the boat and got ready for the long ride back.
The edge of the boat is rough, so all that holding-on-for-dear-life business had worn a couple sores on my hand that were burning from the salt water. I complain a lot, and with this being my biggest grievance, you should get an idea as to how awesome this really was.
We got a pretty sunset picture. You can see why they always have you staring into the sun for pictures because with the sun behind you, you can’t see our faces. If we had used a Samsung camera, it probably would’ve looked great. But, we used an iPhone.
The ride in was uneventful other than the large waves and rollercoaster feel of the raft. We made it back safe and sound and thanked our captains.
A common thread throughout all of these entries is that I like to eat, and I get hungry often.
Since we only had a small meal on the boat tour, it was time to eat a lot. I asked our captain where the best burgers on the island would be. She said Street Burger. Turns out, it was within walking distance of our hotel! But, we still drove because my body is screaming incessantly at me at this point from my overall lack of physical conditioning.
The burger was fantastic. I got the Bacon and BBQ burger. They have these garlic and Parmesan fries. Not sure why, but I just wasn’t feeling them that night. I still ate them all. But weren’t my favorite. Still, a super cool restaurant with a rad vibe to it.
We went home and packed up most of our stuff as our trip was nearing its end. We still had a fun day planned for tomorrow since our flight wasn’t until the evening, but our checkout time was 11 am so we made sure everything that we could pack away, was packed away.
Watched 3rd Rock from the Sun, and faded off to sleep.