Saturday, September 6 –
I had never ventured into the Pacific region, nor had I been to America’s 50th state. My brother, Dad, Mom and I decided to visit Hawaii to get a first taste of the Aloha spirit.
From Atlanta, we took a Delta flight at around noon that flew direct to Honolulu on the island Oahu. After a long 9.5 hour flight, we arrived in Honolulu around 3:15 p.m. Then we connected to an Aloha Airlines flight leaving at 5 p.m. to Lihue, Kauai about 110 miles northwest across the Kauai Channel, and located on the islands southeast coast. We arrived after a short flight around 5:35 p.m.
Kauai is the fourth largest of the six main inhabited Hawaiian Islands, and it is the 21st largest island in the United States. Many refer to it as the Garden Isle due to the abundant green scenery, cascading waterfalls and towering cliffs – which make it look a little more like Ireland than the less green other islands. Culturally, the island has also been different. Kauai’s natives spoke a distinct dialect of the Hawaiian language that today is still spoken on the neighboring island of Ni’ihau. The other Hawaiian’s spoke a dialect from the Big Island. During the reign of Hawaii’s greatest ruler – King Kamehameha – Kauaʻi and Niʻihau became the last Hawaiian Islands to join his Kingdom of Hawaii.
The airport in Lihue is tiny, but the open air design is cool! After picking up our SUV at Hertz, we were surprised to see we received a nice Buick Rendevous. We felt like we were in a Tiger Woods commercial. The town of Lihue is the seat of Kauai County and the second largest city on the island. We then headed to the Marriott Waiohai Beach Club in Koloa to check in. We had a suite with a living room, two bedrooms and a kitchen. We were staying off Poipu beach, so Dad, Jeff and I walked outside to check out the fantastic pool and beautiful beach. Mom was able to call and get us on a helicopter tour for Sunday.
That evening we went to a local grocery store to stock up on food and drinks for our suite during the next few days. Jeff was reading Lonely Planet and found out about hidden beach on the northwest side of the island. We drove down a dirt road near Barking Sands Missile Range, home of the U.S. Air Force’s ICBM missile interceptors. Mom didn’t have much faith on Jeff’s navigational skills, but we arrived at beach with virtually no people for an amazing sunset. We decided to have picnic there at wooden beach pavilion – our first Hawaiian sunset was a tailgate. Nearby, some local Hawaiian guys were grilling fish they caught on a grill. What a great end to an amazing first day.