Na Pali Coastline | Day 3 Kauai

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Polihale Beach Park

Our morning view :)

Imagine with me for a minute: birds chirping, cool breeze fanning itself through the tiny holes in your tent, the whooshing sounds of ocean waves waking you up, and the combination of sticky sand stuck to your body from the sweat you have accumulated the night before. That was the beginning of day three, the day of adventure. We started out waking up on the beautiful Polihale Beach. The Na Pali Coastline began to our right, more beach to our left, the ocean ahead, and the road behind us. We, as per usual, were up seemingly early, much earlier than our normal wake up times back home. Has anyone else noticed how much easier it is to wake up early when you are on vacation or camping? Just us? Maybe so. Anyway, we spent the early morning packing up our campsite, taking our morning vlogs, and capturing more pictures of the beach as we took in the last few minutes we had left to experience Polihale. After packing up the car we all decided to take “showers” in the outdoor water spigot. This would become a usual occasion for us while we camped in Hawaii.

After our lovely “showers” we made our way to Kalaheo Cafe and Coffee Company, in Kalaheo, HI, which was about an hour from where we were. The atmosphere was really great. It was as if you were in a quaint coffee shop, but also in a little diner like the one in 50 First Dates. It was REALLY packed, which was a good sign, but that made parking a headache. We were there right when the breakfast rush was ending (and the cars were leaving, after we had already parked) so there were plenty of tables to choose from; we wanted to sit outside. We ordered our own delicious filling breakfasts and scarfed them down happily. (See pictures to commence drooling). We all got pretty filled up and then headed to some shops in Poipu to look for towels since Lucas and I chose not to bring any with us. (Yes we did this on purpose). We took our time at breakfast, since we didn’t really have anything planned until 2pm that afternoon. After finding some cute Hawaiian towels (only one made it home sadly) we went to ANOTHER food spot. This time Poke bowls. Honestly, I fell asleep on that drive, and did not pay much attention to where we were or what we were doing (I apologize for that misinformation). Since we basically had eaten only an hour or two before this, Lucas was the only one who got food. But of course we all tried it, how could we not? Koloa Fish Market, was where we got the poke from, and it was delicious, even if I only had one bite.

Koloa Fish Market Poke

Koloa Fish Market Poke

Our next stop, and boy were we excited about this one! Na Pali Experience. What an experience it was. We did the Afternoon Adventure from 2-7PM. We arrived at the Kikiaʻola Small Boat Harbor around 1 PM. Nathan hung his hammock; we had until 1:45 to be at the pavilion to get ready for our tour. Richie and I napped for a little bit and then started getting our things together for the tour. Sunscreen, towels, cameras, batteries, chargers, dry sack (you are going to want one of these, but they do also provide some if you don’t have your own) and the like. We needed it all and had quite a bit of gear to bring considering what we do. 1:45 rolled around and of course we were the last ones to get to the pavilion even though we were the first to arrive at the harbor. Rob, our tour guide, was there with another tour guide. As we listened to them talk, we knew we wanted to be on Rob’s boat. We could tell he was a fun guy. We loaded the boat around 2pm, after the informational time. I peed as much as I could beforehand, knowing I wouldn’t have many options while on the tour except for the ocean. We began our trek out of the harbor. The ride would be 18 miles one way, I believe. It was the four of us, plus our captain Rob, and one other couple. The maximum for these tours are six people per boat. We were hoping to get lucky and just be the four of us, but the couple that came along was really nice, although I don’t remember his or her name :/ Sorry if you are reading this!

The first part of the tour was #1. choppy, #2. beautiful, and #3 only a ride past the harbors and beaches of Kauai with not a whole lot of views to take in. It took us probably an hour just to get passed all that. Along the way we did receive a little gift: DOLPHINS! There were probably about ten that were up on the top of the water, spinning, playing, and having a good time. Richie got an awesome shot of the dolphins under the water, and we only just saw the footage recently and realized there was probably 20-25 dolphins a good 40-50 feet under the water that we didn’t even see while on the tour! They were definitely putting on a show for us, as several kept jumping out of the water and spinning. I really REALLY wanted to touch one, or swim with them, but no one asked Rob, plus I think the water was too choppy for that anyway. We kept on our merry way, with Rob giving us ALL THE FACTS in the world about Kauai, the ocean, the mountains, etc. He was a talker that’s for sure. We like to say he was the type of person who enjoyed giving useless facts that no one really cared about, but we appreciated knowing anyway.

Continuing on our route, we actually passed by Polihale Beach Park (where we camped the night before) and we were able to point out the exact spot we camped, which was pretty cool! If you remember me saying Na Pali Coastline was to the left of the beach, you should know what our next view would be. That’s right, the Na Pali Coast. Now some of you may be wondering, “what is the big deal about this coastline?” Well, if you have seen Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, Lost etc you will know that this coastline is made very famous by the movies it has been in. The Coastline is a sight to see. A rich green color, with different ranges of mountainous looks, beaches, sea caves, and miles and miles of just mountain sitting right on the ocean. The cool thing about this tour, is if you were in a helicopter, or hiking the trails of the Coastline, you wouldn’t get the same views you get while the boat, AND you wouldn’t get to drive into the sea caves that are also on the coastline. That’s right, DRIVE into the sea caves. That is the main reason we chose this tour. Well that and the fact that it was one of the top rated tours in Kauai, a less strenuous option than kayaking 18 miles on the choppy ocean, and cheaper than an open door helicopter tour. We passed a little cove where Rob said we would anchor on the way back and swim with the fish, and possibly sea turtles which I was excited about. Who doesn’t want to swim with some turtles? We kept driving, and stopped in an open ceiling cave, which was EPIC. It was a circular cave, with a rock formation in the center, and completely open above us. The depth was probably 200-300 feet, which is always creepy. Of course I got in so I could use the bathroom haha. We backed our way into some other sea caves, which was very eerie. extremely dark, cold, and humid. On our way in we did see a cute little monk seal, which Rob said is actually pretty rare. He was very cute, although I am sure not a very nice animal at times. We eventually turned around after a long time of seeing some beautiful mountainous landscapes. We stopped at the cove Rob mentioned earlier and we got to snorkeling. This was my first time snorkeling. Yes, I am 26 years old and have never been snorkeling before. Nate hadn’t either and he is 27..so there. It was beautiful though. We saw several sea turtles just meandering around the coral reef, and lots and lots of fishies. It was a blast, and for my first time snorkeling I would give it a two thumbs up and 10 out of 10 for sure!

Rob cut us up some pineapple while several of us were snorkeling. We had some refreshing Aloha fruit drinks (if you ever are in Hawaii, make sure to try these), granola bars, chips, and fruit, and just had a nice time hanging out right next to the Na Pali Coastline. Lucas of course had to do some flips off the boat into the water, because why not?! The rest of us obviously just watched. It was time to start heading back to the harbor, and about time for Sunset to begin. We made our way back and about 30 mins before getting back to the harbor, stopped and watched the sunset on the open water. The sky was lit up with colors, and the sun was reflecting off the green mountains in the background. It was truly beautiful, and to top it all off we were experiencing all of this on a freaking boat.

A long but satisfactory 5 hour “journey” (see what I did there?) came to an end as we pulled into the harbor. The ride back was not particularly comfortable as the waves actually ended being even more choppy on the open ocean than on the way to the Coastline; I was a little chilly from the combination of being wet, the wind, and the lowering temperatures because of the sun going down. (recommendation: If you get cold easily, bring a towel, or clothes to put on over your bathing suit.) Rob was an awesome guide, and we tipped him (tips recommended but not required) for being such a great captain and giving us such an enjoyable time. The tour was supposed to end around 7 pm, but we didn’t actually arrive back until around 7:30, and we had to eat dinner somewhere. We wanted to head to Kenji Burger in Kapaa, Hawaii which was about an hour from the harbor we were at. By the time we packed everything up it was 7:45 pm and we thought the place closed at 8, so we were out of luck. But to our happy surprise, it actually closed at 9, so we would make it there with a little time to spare, and Lucas is really good at speeding. ;)

Guys….Kenji Burger is such a good burger place, AND its Asian style burgers, plus more. Just look at the menu items. We got some really good food here, and wished we were staying longer so we could go back, because it was that good! I would go back in a heartbeat. If you go for the first time get the Kenji Burger with a side of Furikake Fries. The Kenji Burger is their most popular as it is named after the place. It has teriyaki, ponzu aioli, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, tomato and arugula. Man I love food. And I loved this. The staff were so nice too, because we walked in about 15 mins before they were closing, and they happily took our order, and loved how much we enjoyed the food and the atmosphere! TAKE ME BACK.

The night ended pretty quickly after that. We finished our DELICIOUS food, and headed for a 30 minute drive to our AirBnB, which was a little hard to find. But once we did, we quickly unpacked the car, took a shower, and repacked our bags, and went to bed, since our flight was leaving early the next day! The AirBnB was a quaint little house with two bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, and two bathrooms with showers in both. It was perfect for a quick turnover! It was a great end to a wonderful, adventurous, fantastic food filled day!

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Kelsey Smissen