Native islanders say the Na Pali Coast nourishes the soul. This 17-mile stretch of rain-carved cliffs and emerald valleys is punctuated by thin, ribbonlike waterfalls, secret beaches, and sea caves teeming with aquatic life. Landlubbers can hike the winding Kalalau Trail and camp along the otherwise-unreachable beaches of sugar-soft sand, while seafarers can stand on the deck of a catamaran beneath 4,000-foot cliffs to soak in mana, or spiritual power. Slide into the water for snorkeling among green sea turtles and schools of eel and angelfish. When the trade winds are smooth, expect the catamaran to cruise around or even through the sea caves, its sails flapping the mast and spinner dolphins leaping at its stern.
How to Do It: Capt. Andy’s or Holo Holo Charters will whisk you away from Port Allen. The latter offers a five-hour ride on its catamaran Leila, with lunch and snorkeling gear provided ($129 for adults if purchased online).
I have gone (combination of walk and swim) over to the “unreachable” white sand beaches. It is the island paradise described by James Michener. It is the silent (except for the waves) beauty of picture postcards that people send you, and “wishing you were here.” It is the Hawaii of old. And it is still the same as it was when Captain James Cook landed here in 1777. Alas, James Cook on the HMS Resolution, was killed here in 1779, on his third around the world.
Most people do not realize that James Cook was a Brit, not an American. He joined the British merchant navy as a teenager, then the Royal Navy in 1755. He served in the Seven Years’ War, and surveyed much of the St. Lawrence River. The Admiralty and Royal Society took notice of his accomplishments, and gave him his first commission in 1766, as Commander of the HMS Endeavor.
On his three voyages, he mapped New Zealand and Hawaii in greater detail than previously achieved. Many do not know he married and had six children. But he has no known direct descendants. He first failed his apprenticeship with a merchant and haberdasher, William Sanderson in the fishing village of Staithes.
Cook’s three voyages
Red=1st voyage, Green=2nd voyage, Blue=3rd voyage
On the fateful third voyage, after stopping in Tahiti, he became the first known European to make formal contact with the Hawaiian Islands. He landed at Waimea harbor on Kauai, and promptly named the island, the Sandwich Islands, after the fourth Earl of Sandwich. Earl was the acting First Lord of the Admiralty. He is not directly related to the famous Admiral Knight of Kingsburg, that I am aware of. If he was, he would have been named Gary of Sandwich!!!!
After heading up to Alaska, he attempted to sail and map the Bering Strait. He and his crew became ill eating walrus meat, and promptly decided to head back to Hawaii. Upon his return, he landed at Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. On Valentine’s Day in 1779, Cook attempted to take the King of Hawaii, Kalaniopuu as hostage after some tension broke out between the Brits and native Hawaiians. In the altercation that followed, Cook was hit on the head and then stabbed to death. Despite the animosity, he was given a proper, and almost royal burial at sea by the locals.
Cook’s twelve years of sailing around the world contributed much to Europeans knowledge of the sea. The accurate navigational charting of the broad Pacific region was a major contribution. He also succeeded in circumnavigating the world on his first voyage without losing a man to scurvy. The key was frequent replenishment of fresh food. He correctly theorized that Polynesians originated in Asia. And his visit to New Zealand, likewise began a period of colonization there as well. Cook’s insistence on carrying scientists and artists with him greatly added to the knowledge of botany and art.
A bit of trivia involves the first female to circumnavigate the world. She was a goat who made the journey twice. She was pressed into serve as the Captain’s personal milk provider. She was later put to pasture of Cook’s farm outside of London, and granted special privileges at the Royal Navy hospital at Greenwich. Perhaps this goat created the legacy for the multitude of goat farms on the island of Kauai?
So, on this first rainy, sunny, windy, almost perfect Valentines Day, we drove up to Hanalei for lunch. We stopped at the famous Kilauea Lighthouse, and the famous scenic lookout over the quilt-like taro patches. And we had our first Loco Moco of this trip, though it was rather ordinary, by Hawaiian standards.