Don’t go chasing waterfalls…

Day 3 in Kauai and I’m quite enjoying this lovely island.  We certainly haven’t had the weather you’d expect in Hawaii, but to be honest, the cloudy skies, cool breeze and softer temps have been welcomed.

On this small island over the past three days we have covered Hanalei and the north shore, the south coast and Waimea Canyon and today was all about the rest of the east coast and a bit of the middle.  Kauai is quite volcano-y and mountainous, so there’s only so much you can get to.

We chose the Smith Family Fern Grove Tour – run by 9 members of the Smith Family.

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You’ve got from right to left: Uncle (who was the story teller), his sister, his son (who lead the band and did most of the talking) and the captain’s wife (this was all a guess) The Captain’s wife wasn’t too fussed on interacting with the guests, but she warmed up as the cruise went on and she had a great voice.  The rest of the family included Nanna, who stayed on shore organising things, Uncle’s daughter who had hair down to her buttocks – she was one of the dancers, a random cousin who did some hula dancing and clearly hated having to get up so early to hula for people and the 9th member of the family was an American chap who helped the Captain.  Again – these were all guesses.

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We cruised along the Wailua River while the Captain gave his talk about the history of the area.  We passed this spot which is where the scene in Raider’s of the Lost Ark where Harrison Ford was running to get on the sea plane was filmed.

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Then within about 20 minutes we were at the Fern Grotto jetty.  Uncle’s sister s.l.o.w.l.y. walked us up the path.  Every now and then she would stop and wait for people to catch up – we were all half an arms distance from the person in front and behind, so there was nowhere for people to catch up to and the whole walk from boat to grotto would have taken an average walker 2-3 minutes to walk – tops – including a toilet break!.  Then she stopped to show us where the toilets were and started talking about how it was a better idea to go to the toilet in the toilets rather than behind a bush because people all have cameras and that would be embarrassing, so please use the toilets provided….. this explaination as to why we should use the toilets rather than squat behind a bush went on for a good 5 minutes.  Then the directions turned to asking people to please stay on the path rather than walking in the mud because people have fallen in the mud before and people have taken photos of them….. honestly, thank goodness we were right at the toilets otherwise we would have wet ourselves laughing at the obsurdity of it all!

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It was quite lovely walking through the lushness of the tropical rainforest.  Then we got to the grotto which was amazing.  Years ago when Uncle’s grandfather used to run the tour you used to be able to get up into the cave, but since then there have been a few hurricanes which did a fair bit of damage, so now the caves are closed and this was as close as you can get.  Apparently back in the day the ferns were so long and full that you used to walk into the cave through a curtain of ferns, but the growth that is there now is all new since the last hurricane in the early 90s.

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Uncle set himself up to commentate our viewing and once we’d taken our photos he settled in to tell us some stories about the area… like how some famous woman (I didn’t know her) visited the grotto and decided that she must get married there, so 7 months later she bought the fiancé back and they were the first people to be married in the cave which started a trend of weddings there for people from all over the world…. however the locals don’t want to get married in a cave – according to Uncle, they much prefer to go to Vegas!

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My favourite movie of all time – Blue Hawaii staring Mr Elvis A Presley was filmed in Kauai at the Coco Palms Resort, but this was wiped out in the same hurricane – Iniki in 1992.  The famous scene where guests are called to dinner with the blow of the conch shell was something that happened in real life – every night at 7.30pm for 40 years unti the hurrican hit.

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Then the family grabbed their guitars and ukuleles and played the Hawaiian Wedding Song – also made famous by Elvis in the movie.  You’ll notice the cousin at the front who doesn’t join in the singing…. in fact, my bet is that she’s questioning why she got up this morning.

We were then given about 15 minutes to wander back to the boat at our own pace taking in the beautiful flowers…


Uncle was sitting on a railing guiding people in the right direction in case they ventured the wrong way and did the small loop walk again.  I stopped there with him whilst Chris visited the facilities.  “You played the Hawaiian Wedding Song beautifully”, I said to Uncle. “Thanks”, he replied.  “Blue Hawaii is my all time favourite movie”, I shared with him.  “Is it?” he says, not really inquiring.  Then we stood in awkward silence until Chris returned.

My saviour!

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There are other ways you can get to the grotto – you can kayak, stand up paddle board, rent your own boat or do the tour….I think we chose the driest option.

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So then it was back on the boat for some more Hawaiian music and some audience participation hula lessons.

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The tour was great.  Chris and I were imagining who would play each role if this were the Brown Family Tour…. and we couldn’t quite keep a straight face when working out who in our family was going to be the hula dancers…. anyone what to put their hand up?

There are two other waterfalls on the island and we were determined to visit both of them today…. This one is just on off the main road, so nice and easy.

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And then you cross the road to this view…. that is the river we were just on.  Home base to the left and fern grotto to the right.

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Who knew that Kauai was one of the world’s wettest spots?  Well it is at the top of this peak anyway…

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Then we were on the road again bound for waterfall number 3 (number one was a the grotto – only small, but it still counts)

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And here she be!  That’s pretty speccy, isn’t it?

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Well done Kauai for turning on all the beautiful nature today. Mahalo!

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