by Dean Christener
If you want to have the activity of your life, that will impact you by the scenic experience, then Kauai Rafting & Snorkel Tour along the Napali Coast is the one! I have honestly never seen such breath-taking scenery as the Napali coast — its jagged mountains, long golden beaches, and ever changing landscape.
Our captain got us off to a very enthusiastic start, as he was cracking jokes, while getting us prepared for the epic adventure that was ahead of us. Our small Zodiac, that would hold only eight of us, awaited us in the harbor.
This definitely had its advantages, because we were able to cruise much faster and in the shallow waters, and it was a long way to our destination. It also allowed us to get just a feet away from the shore line beaches to see beaches up close and literally blast through sea caves.
It didn’t take long for everyone to be boarded and on our way. The captain and his first mate did not waste any time as we hit the coast full speed. There was a little bit of swell that day too, and being that it may, the entire coastline up were perfect little sandbars, that for a surfer made it very tempting to not want to jump in with a board.
As we headed up the coast our captain told us that this beach was the longest beach in Hawaii, and actually longer than if you put every beach from the entire islands together. It stretched as long as fifteen miles and was called Polihale.
It was filled with towering sand dunes all up the coast, with no body on the beach. About halfway up, we reached a point that was owned all by the military, actually the last eight miles of it, until the beach receded to the infamous Na Pali Coast.
Anyway, this was the largest missile-testing zone in the US, and is completely cut off limits to the public. I know that when you hear this at first, it may sound like the place is not a place of beauty, but there you will be mistaken, as the scenery never ends and the military base is hardly an eye sore.
Going up, the water was so clear, almost like you were wearing polarized glasses and not able to miss a coral head beneath. On the way up we also encountered a small pod of dolphins, which we were able to get close enough, where we could practically touch them with our hands.
It was like the marine life never ended here, as quoted by our captain for the next segment of the ride up, “its like playing Mario kart, but instead not hitting the turtles because there are so many of them bobbing right beneath the surface.”
Coming up the coast, we started coming onto what they call the Kalalau trail, which was the way you could hike the Napali coast. This is one of the most difficult yet rewarding hikes in the State of Hawaii. As we drove up the coast, you could really tell how much the valleys changed, and how each was a little different from another.
What really took my breath away, and what makes the Kauai Rafting with Captain Andy’s so unique is that you are able to go into the sea caves. We literally would fly full speed through these sea caves, getting showered on by waterfalls within them.
While going through these sea caves, the captain would give us extensive information on them and the formation of how they came to be. They were pretty amazing to be within, especially when a swell would flush through it. We covered several caves along the coast, and finally made it to the famous Kalalau beach, the final destination of the Kalalau hike.