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Published: April 7th 2019
Hello from the beautiful island of Kauai. This is our 3rd
stop in the Hawaiian Islands. Kauai is referred to as the Garden Island. We are docked on the east side of the island and everything is green and lush around the ship. However we did not notice it right away because we slept in until 8:00 and even then we didn’t get going very energetically at first. Last night was a lot of fun but it made for a couple of tired tourists.
David brought some tea and juice back to the cabin from the Horizon Court and worked on yesterday’s blog for a while. Then we went up to the Horizon Court about 9:30 and had breakfast. A lot of people had morning excursions but we had wisely not challenged ourselves to head out very early.
We gathered all our stuff and reported to the shore-side terminal about 11:45. Janet brought her walking stick and the agent directed us to a bench near the door. She explained there were a couple of people with mobility scooters who would board first, and then those who needed extra time could go ahead of the rest of the crowd. Anyway we
boarded about 12:20 and got seats near the front of the bus.
Our driver/guide had a long Hawaiian name, but he said to call him Tito or T, so that is what we did. Driving around Kauai he explained that the island was nearly circular, with the length and width being 33x25. There is a fulltime population of about 70,000 and most live near the coast. The interior has substantial mountain ranges with almost 70% being uninhabitable landscapes. It makes for picturesque scenery. Apparently this is one of the rainiest places on earth with annual rainfall of between 400-600 inches. T explained that this should be some of the rainy season but we had great sunny weather with temperatures in the high 70’s. Actually we’ve had that just about each day in Hawaii. And the Sea Days were pretty good before that.
Anyway, back to the story. There used to be many big sugar cane and pineapple plantations in Hawaii, including 13 on Kauai. However 2 years ago the last sugar cane plantation closed on Maui and there are only 2 pineapple plantations remaining (one of Oahu and one on Maui). There are lots of wild chickens and
many wild pigs on Kauai. T told us that the pig population was 3 times as large as the humans, so there should be no shortages of luaus in the future.
Our first stop was at the Kilohana Gardens. It had been a sugar cane plantation but it now grows a lot of different fruits and caters to the tourists with a large banquet center, restaurant, and a 40 minutes train ride around the grounds. That last item is why we were visiting today. We got a seat in a covered rail carriage with open sides. Others were no so lucky and had to use the enclosed carriages. We chugged slowly around the property and they pointed out lots of different plants.
The train made a stop beside a fenced pasture with a bunch of pigs/piglets and a few goats. We were provided with pieces of bread to throw to the animals and the animals certainly knew what was happening – they came running before we even got off the train. There was a lot of squealing and squabbling over the scrapes of bread. Apparently the animals are fed a lot more than these scraps of bread –
they eat the leftovers from the restaurant and from luaus. The guide said they actually have more wild pigs trying to break-in rather than these pigs trying to break-out. They assured everyone that none of their pigs end up at the luau - they are basically pets.
The train completed the circuit and brought us back to the original station. We then had 40 minutes to walk around and visit the shops. At the coffee shop we got a late lunch – a cup of caramel coffee and two cups of ice cream. That may not have been particularly nutritious but it was good. The bus came and picked us up on schedule and we got the same close seats near the front.
We drove around the islands and saw some of the sights. Along the way T gave us more information about Kauai. The number one industry these days is tourism, followed by agriculture, and then research. That’s a really big change from a generation ago. Part of the problems with growing crops for export is that Hawaii is a very long distance from anywhere else, which makes their products more expensive to sell. These days they
actually import about 80% of their consumables in Kauai and 90% of the construction materials. For instance we saw the price of gasoline was $3.75 per gallon. But everything is pretty expensive for those who live here.
The final stop on our tour was at a viewing point of the Opaekaa Falls which is the headwater of the Wailau River. It is the only navigable river in Hawaii. A lot of movies have been filmed along it shores, including ‘The Hawaiians’ and the opening scenes of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. Farther up the river is the famous Fern Grotto used in the old Elvis Presley movie “Blue Hawaii”. We went up the river 10 years ago when we were in Hawaii so we did not take that excursion today.
We returned to the ship and came aboard pretty quickly about 4:00. We had a little time to clean up and rest before going to the Stargazer Lounge. Tonight was the Shrimp Fountain (Tessa would have loved it) so we got some snacks and a couple of Strawberry Daiquiris. Then at 5:00 we went to the dining room.
This evening we only had one other couple with
us for dinner – guess the others must have had tiring days exploring the island. We certainly did not need Shrimp Cocktails for appetizers tonight, so Janet had watermelon balls and David had meatball soup and a Caesar Salad. For the main course Janet had Veal Scaloppini and David had Salmon. For dessert we each had Cherries Jubilee.
After dinner we went back to the cabin to have a quiet evening. They were showing Mary Poppins Returns on the stateroom TV and Janet had really wanted to watch it. She was able to do some knitting and David got to work on some of the photographs and the blog. So that wraps up today’ adventures but tomorrow we will start again in Maui.
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