Mermaids in Kaua'i... I dream of mermaids. Who doesn't? I have always wanted to create a fantasy-mermaid-Na Pali story with images to recreate a fantasy I've had since childhood, that mermaids live and play deep below the water's surface in their own underwater kingdom. When my eyes connected with the mid morning summer light creating heavenly electric blue colors to the waters in the Na Pali’s sea caves, I thought this could be so easy and fast—like a click of the finger. Read more...
Honestly - most visitors to Kauai, Hawaii during winter completely under-anticipate any up-close Hawaiian Humpback Whale encounter. Most are here envisioning sitting under a pristine coconut-tree- lined beach, possibly drinking a mai tai with an umbrella in it, or for honeymooners, maybe a hiking trek interlude to a secluded romantic waterfall. And that is all great, but were they to experience an encounter with a great Hawaiian Humpback Whale, they would be hooked, or call it to be whale addicted. There is no cure for this addiction. We see the same visitors year after year coming back for just these whales. One couple did five days straight of whale watching on my raft. I told them they would have to sign up for whale cancellation class before they can come back next year. They laughed, but were not deterred. Whale season really starts about December-May. Most visiting whales stay an average of 2-3 months, and moms and new calves longer. A great whale show may be the best day of your vacation and possibly one of the best days of your life. It is hard to put into words the experience or feeling seeing a 50 ton creature that is 50 feet long floating right next to a puny 30 foot Zodiac raft, but I will give it my best shot here. First thing that comes to mind is they are similar in size to dinosaurs, so the size of these mostly gentle creatures is intimidating and kind of staggering to the mind. A modern whale watch raft trip to see them is about as close as you will get to a real Jurassic Park experience. The great news is that Humpbacks do not eat people, rather they eat the abundant krill and herring up in the northern Pacific Ocean
What makes for the ultimate crewman for a Na Pali Coast cruise boat? Good question. Ultimate-like perfection just does not exist, but I do know what traits I look for after having had my share of crewmen. It’s not just being knowledgeable as a guide. There must also be charisma, and a thirst and love for ocean adventure in all conditions. Most boat captains would say it’s basically having salt water DNA in the blood. You’re born with it if you have it. Look at the family history, as I have, and you will find sea captains and fisherman in the family line. A good crewman’s value to a sea Captain is about as valued as a loving wife is. In more ways than you can count, the crew decides your survival and your success. The traits wanted and needed are embodied in what is known as the Hawaiian waterman. When your crew has even some of it, you’re in good hands. They have to love the water like fish. If your anchor is stuck fifty feet down, they will get it unstuck. If a tiger shark is coming in too close while free-diving, they stay calm and aware—instinctively pulling close together like a protective pod of spinner dolphins in tight formation. They’re at home and at their best when on the water and in any challenging sea condition. Their ocean demure imparts a sense of calming-the-waters. They’re not whiners. They don’t complain about being wet and—having solid stomachs—they don’t get seasick. Actually, opposite to most, they’re more likely to get land-sick—like a fish out of water. It’s probably from no longer smelling, or feeling, or seeing the ocean. Maybe that dash of saltwater in their veins requires the comforting up and down rhythm of the relentless sea. Or, maybe
What makes for the ultimate crewman for a Na Pali Coast cruise boat? Good question.
I carefully and cautiously write this story. Some questions may be raised, and must be answered by yourself. I know quite well from working in the tourism industry that it is impossible to not offend totally—no matter how hard I try to please. But, I am trying to find, from some universal human concept of morality—that acceptable line or balance for a story that needs to be told. I am leaning towards true and unique stories to jog your thinking. However, I do not want to offend anyone or promote any profaned feelings. Honestly, we all know real people that are tempted and struggling from natural and common carnality, and there is no way I want to add to that. So, take a second to ponder this thought: why do people choose to be nude with a backpack, wandering naked while risking life and limb on one of the world’s most treacherous hikes—the cliff hanging trail into Kalalau. So, we’re talking about nudity. Let’s start with the most renowned naked people to walk the earth: Adam and Eve. They lived for a short time without stress, in a perfect temperature and climate—in a garden that was abundant with food and water. How could anything go wrong? They were living in naked perfection. But, then came temptation, and the acting out on that temptation by biting into the Forbidden Fruit. Immediately they became self-aware, and then began the shopping at the Fig Leaf apparel store. What a bummer! I know a lot of you are thinking Why? Why? But honestly, myself and every other person that lived would have had a bite too. I understand the modern day impact or consequences of that bite of the fruit that brought consciousness. My Pastor, Von, once told me of encountering a beyond-horrible-smelling homeless
I carefully and cautiously write this story. Some questions may be raised, and must be answered by yourself.
Several summers ago I recall seeing a dead goat on the reef at Hanakoa Valley. The poor goat had lost its footing and fallen to its death, landing on the exposed reef ledge, only 2-3 feet above sea level. After about four days baking in the hot, summer sun the smell had become strong enough to literally make you start to dry heave. I remember passing the corpse on the fifth day thinking what a stink this guy is, this couldn’t be good for business and how long will it be before the smell would dissipate? Summer afternoon tides rise high and like magic as we passed back down the coast the tide had taken the carcass away, to my delight. But was it really gone? Was it? Then I saw what appeared from a distance to be an upside down table floating on the surface of the water, with the bobbing legs sticking straight up in the air. the table was moving erratically as if it were alive, but the legs were stiff as can be. As I got closer I quickly figured it out. It was the goat, and its dead carcass was being savagely mauled by no less than six hungry white tip reef sharks. It reminded me of seeing my young daughters devour an ice cream sundae with chocolate syrup dripping down their mouths. Before the carcass floated out to sea, these sharks must have been waiting in anticipation for days as the goat’s blood scent tickled their senses from above, and streamed out into the ocean with the tide, whose gentle lower tide lapping against the carcass like basting a turkey on Thanksgiving. No doubt the sharks sensed this meal for days before it was presented to them in this high tide feast in July,
Several summers ago I recall seeing a dead goat on the reef atHanakoa Valley. The poor goat had lost its footing and fallen to its death, landing on the exposed reef ledge, only 2-3 feet above sea level.
I once met a Vietnam veteran who told me a story about his unique experience on Na Pali Coast. This man had heard about Na Pali from an army buddy who proclaimed it to be the most special place on earth. Well, the army buddy didn’t make it out of Vietnam, but this man was determined to visit and pay tribute to his lost friend. This is the story of Na Pali Gump. So, at the start of the Kalalau Trail, he was surprised to stumble upon a camp of hippies living in tree houses, in clothing-optional lifestyle. They had created gardens of organic fruits and vegetables, and yes, even the marijuana was organic. He did not know, until later, that he had found the now infamous, Taylor Camp. After nearly a week of being adopted by this new community of friends, who shared countless tales of the Na Pali's famous Kalalau Valley, this man decided to begin his journey down the treacherous 11-mile trail. Along the trail at Hanakoa, a stampede of goats rushed past him, and nearly knocked him off the cliff. If it weren’t for a conveniently located notch in the earth, he would have certainly met his death as there was a 300-foot drop to the sea below. Completely shaken, he relaxed his nerves with a little bit of kind herb from his Taylor Camp friends, and set forth on the trail. When he reached Kalalau Valley, it was everything he had been told, and more. He was immediately befriended by another group of hippies, similar to the last set at Taylor Camp. One of the hippies graciously loaned him a surfboard, and advised him to take a paddle over to nearby Honopu Beach, just around the corner from Kalalau. So this man, already naked, jumped on
I once met a Vietnam veteran who told me a story about his unique experience on Na Pali Coast. This man had heard about Na Pali from an army buddy who proclaimed it to be the most special place on earth.