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photo by Cosette HarmsKayaking Down The Na Pali Coast:
North Shore of Kauai


by Cosette Harms - Enjoy the view from a first-timer down the Na Pali Coast on this favorite summer club trip.

I am sitting in the shade of a big leafed Kamani tree on the edge of Kalalau Beach. Today I've had three ocean swims and two rinses in the waterfall. I can hear the falls cascade over the rocks behind me.

Below are the tents of the "dune dwellers" Alan, Debbie and Cosette. Alan engineered a spectacular shade awning under which our gourmet meals are prepared and served just after sunset.

Cosette Harms

by Cosette Harms

by Cosette Harms

In the big cave behind the sound of occasional rock fall are Bob, Ian, Lauren, and Keith, and many others. You can always find Keith's massage parlor by the two palm trees at the entrance of his tent! Bob's pad is the one with more stuff than a kayak can hold.

Ian and Lauren are young, strong, organized, and keeping track of us all. They are up valley floating in Ginger Pools eating mangos right now.

Debbie has been a tremendous guide of the valley lore and the special places that are dear to her heart. This is her 16th kayak trip to Kalalau!!

We have had 3 sunsets so far - and two of them have had a green flash! Our paddle began with a complete double rainbow at Ke'e and the magic has continued since!

Every cave was easy to explore - and the pinks of the smooth coral walls invited us in. A few caves had a skylight opening which provided illumination of the water below into the most amazing blues.

Off shore countless lazy turtles didn't care about us. We cared! We snorkeled some along the way, towing our boats. Debbie was almost brave enough to dive down and grab a lobster that we had discovered in a little cave! Almost!

Honopu Valley, next door to Kalalau, is such a breath taking playground. We snorkeled over there, walked with awe through the huge arch, received a massage from the giant waterfall, and then played in the deep whirling tide pool on the sea ledge. One could spend an entire day at each of these wonders.

Now the trip is a memory. The monk seals at Miloli'i didn't mind sharing their beach with us for one night. We dined Mexican ala Alan. The sliver of a baby moon joined Venus following sunset.

Then came the final pack and paddle to Polihale Beach, our take out. This beach is HUGE and STEEP and the sand is DRY and HOT and DEEP! Our ex-hausted group managed to haul our gear and drag our boats up to the road where Kyle came to the rescue with his big truck. The boats again loaded and heavy were tied on, and we stood on the truck for the ride out.

We appreciate Kyle for all of this shuttling. We appreciate Keith for his hospitality and letting us make his place our home base. We appreciate Alan and Debbie for making this happen. We appreciate the taxi that took us to the airport on that late dark night when the truck broke down... and that's another story!

Author Cosette Harms is a member of Hui Wa’a Kaukahi Kayak Club.

Note: The Na Pali Coast, like most northern coaslines in the islands, is best explored by kayak in the summer months.

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For further information about paddling in Hawaii:

D.L.N.R. Dept. State Parks P.O. BOX 621 Honolulu HI 96809

Hawaii Tourism Office (808) 586-2550

Hawaii Visitors bureau (808) 923-1811

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