After collecting all of our participants up at the airport we caravanned up to the misty mountains in Koke’e State Park. We posted up in the Civilian Conservation Corps bunkhouse for four nights and took advantage of their mess hall and recreation room. We cooked all our meals in the mess hall, Colton took charge of grilling and really enjoyed learning the tricks of the stove, and Freddy won countless games of ping pong. During the day, we worked with a Native Hawaiian, “Uncle Brad” on conservation projects that involved invasive species erradication to leave room for the native plants in the area. Steven led the way, by being in charge of uprooting the larger plant pests, and directing the group. We cleared an area near the Camp’s park as well as additional preserving on a nearby hiking trail. On our time off we hiked the nearby nature trails as well as a trail along the ridge of Waimea Canyon, known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”
After completion of our projects, we drove down to the coast where we boarded our Zodiac Tour Boat, a large raft with dual engines and frame attached, to view the Na Pali Coast Line, one of the most beautiful coastlines in existence. Many Hollywood movies were shot on the beaches, Aya and Harry got soaked in the front of the boat, as we bounced along the waves of the coast. After explorations of sea-caves, secret beaches, and waterfalls, we stopped for lunch on a remote white sand beach. Here, we were guided along an archaeological dig site where Rachel and Isaac tried their luck at opening a coconut, and we all were subjected to the stench of the Noni fruit, a stinky, but extremely healthy source of vitamins and minerals. We also learned some history and folklore of the creation of the Hawaiian Islands and were told to beware of the spirits that reside in the rocks next to the edges of the immense cliffs. On the beach, Matt took advantage of the crystal clear waters to shoot some underwater photos with his camera set-up while we snorkeled on a nearby reef. Many of the participants saw some rare aquatic life. After some refreshments, we boarded our vessel for our speedy return trip.
The following day we set up our beachfront camp, our home for the next few days. Kallie and Lily ran down to the beach to watch the golden sunset on the Hawaiian Pacific. After dinner and evening circle, under the stars we crawled into our tents only to be stirred in the morning by the many chickens running wild, all over Kauai. We drove down to our kayak outfitter and loaded up into tandem sea kayaks and paddled down the waterfall fed river all the way to the mouth of the ocean. The view of the harbor was amazing, hundred foot waterfalls fell down from massive cliffs, we saw sailboats, surfers, and other kayakers. Mike excelled at his kayak paddling and was eager to cruise at top speeds. We stopped at a beach that connected to a fantastic snorkeling reef where we viewed more of Hawaii’s vibrant colored fish and coral. Andrew and Alex took some rides, and body surfed some waves. After a tasty lunch staring out into the Pacific, we loaded up our boats and headed back up the sparkling clean river where we saw wild animals and located a banana tree. We are excited for our adventures to come!