Kauai, Hawaii. Magical Splendor Despite a Devastating Hurricane
Kauai, Hawaii - An Island of Magical Splendor
In the 1980s I moved from California to Kauai, along with my 3 children and a Steinway Grand Piano. It was an adventure that changed my life forever. I found myself growing on a whole new level, both spiritually, and as a professional singer and pianist
My spirit soared and took flight as I learned the true Island meaning of the word "aloha".
While Kauai is a breath-taking Island for a dream vacation, it is a journey of knowledge to live there. Stay with me now, as I share with you the devastation of living through a hurricane, as well as a brief tour of the "Garden Island".
Hurricane Iniki Strikes Hawaii
Experiencing a Hurricane
Being a single mother of three,In order to pay the bills, I took a job as the pianist for the Sheraton Hotel located at Poi Pu Beach. I loved this job as it came with extra benefits like meeting Dick Clark, "Big Bird", Rich Little, and a host of other celebrities.
On Tuesday, November 23, 1982 at mid-afternoon, a twenty-foot-high surf crashed over the seawall, the swimming pool, and into the ground-floor rooms at the Poipu Village hotel near Koloa landing. Automobiles were lifted and moved about in the resort's parking lot.
Mother nature had enough of my music, and she grabbed the 6 ft. black grand piano and sent it out to sea. The entire hotel, everything, looked like it had been bombed. Even changes to the seashore were unrecognizable. The entire island sat in a state of fear in the midst of the screaming winds.
Hurricane Iwa, (pronounced EE - va) had struck the island of Kauai. Power lines were down, houses shambled and destroyed, and most roads were impassable. Huge trees were splitting apart and the ocean waves quickly demolished buildings. My son, Randy, and I, were lucky. We only sustained minor damage to our home and car.
We were trapped within the confines of our small area making it impossible to go for needed supplies. We tried to barbecue a turkey for Thanksgiving with our small outdoor grill. It burned to a crisp. We were so hungry, the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which fed us for a week, were satisfying and delicious.
Weather.com states that "only four hurricanes -- Nina in 1957, Dot in 1959, Iwa in 1982, and Iniki in 1992 -- have had bona-fide direct impacts in Hawaii during the last six decades".
The Force of Hurricane Iniki
The Song, Beautiful Kauai
There's an Island, across the sea
Beautiful Kauai, Beautiful Kauai
and it's calling, to you and me
Beautiful Kauai, beautiful Kauai
In the midst of Fern Grotto
mother nature made her home
'neath the Falls at Wailua
where lovers love to roam
I'll return to my isle across the sea
Beautiful Kauai, Beautiful Kauai
where my true love is waiting for me
Beautiful Kauai, Beautiful Kauai
Randy Farden wrote “Beautiful Kauai” at a hotel on the Garden Isle in 1967. It became a hit the following year after Don Ho recorded it and later became a hula standard thanks to Kawai Cockett and the Lei Kukui Serenaders. "The song was inspired by the fantastic view of Hanalei Valley, Mount Nomolo Kama and the bay he saw from his hotel window,” said Tony Todaro, in his book Golden Years of Hawaiian Entertainment. Farden was born in Honolulu but grew up in Waianae. He is a member of one of Hawaii's most accomplished musical families.
Lyrics & Music: Randy Farden
I had the privilege of recording Beautiful Kauai while living there in the 1980s.
I thank http://www.squareone.org/Hapa/b1.html for the above information. Mahalo.
Please enjoy this video, produced in part by my friends, Art Umezo and Mr. Gonsalves.
Hanalei Bay (shown in the video above) is one of my favorite beaches on Kauai. The trees grow right on the beach providing shade on hotter days. But what I treasured more than the trees, was the Wialua River that reached its end right into the ocean at Hanalei Bay.
This made it possible to take a brisk, cold swim in the river, then walk a few steps to the ocean and enjoy the warmth of the bay. Depending on traffic, it was about a 25 minute drive from home.
Wailua Falls, Kauai, Hawaii. The Opening Scene for Television's "Fantasy Island.
Waialua Falls, Opening Scene for Fantasy Island
The television series, Fantasy Island, was a very popular show, starring Ricardo Maltaban and Herve Villechaize. The series ran from 1977 to 1984, produced by Aaron Spelling. The opening scene features one of Kauai's most beautiful waterfalls, Waialua Falls. Located just off the main (and only) highway, it is something to behold.
Lihue, Kauai and Famous Saimen Noodles
The first thing most people do after landing at the Lihue Airport is to drive around the island. You have two choices - you can go Northward which will lead you to the wetter , windward side of the island, or you can choose to go South to the dryer, leeward side of Kauai.
The road ends in either direction when it meets the looming NaPali Coast. The single, main highway does not circle the island.
Since the airport is in Lihue, the county seat, you may want to stop here first. This is where you will want to stock up on food, supplies or visit the museum on Rice Street.
Now, I will let you in on a little secret. If you're hungry and have a hanker'in for a hot steamy bowl of saimen, you are in for a treat...a delicious, filling and frugal home made treat.
The best saimen (noodles) in the world is right in Lihue at Hamura's Saimin on Kauai. Hamura's is a hole-in-the-wall kind of place on a back street of Lihue that is popular with the locals. It's nothing to look at inside, just a big menu on the wall and u-shaped counter seating. The kids and I ate there several times a month.
Behind Lihue is the port of Nawiliwili, the main harbor on the island. You'll find a nice beach with gentle waves at Kalapaki, some good shopping and restaurants with a flavor of old Hawaii. An off-beat area, you will want to explore the bustling waterfront on foot.
Picture Getting Married Hawaiin Style
The Na Pali Coast
From Lihue to the Na Pali Coast.
Turning north on old Highway 56, known as Kuhio Higway, you will drive through the plantation town of Hanamaululu. The next stop will be the Wailua River, the Fern Grotto (where couples get married), then the Wailua Beach.I spent most of my time at this beautiful beach. Conveniently, it was only about 4 miles from my home.
The next stop is downtown Kapaa, a fun trip going back in time. Leaving Kapaa behind, curving out ot town north, Kealia beach comes into view. The beach is clean and uncrowded. Local fisherman have worked the reefs and river mouths for generations.
The next seven to eight miles is a series of cane roads which lead down to the ocean, where you will find secluded coves and beaches.
Next, Kilauea begins the north shore which stretches out in a parade of towering cliff faces. One of it's main attractions is The Kilauea Lighthouse." Passing through Princeville you'll come to the stunning Hanalei Bay.
This begins a series of valleys ending at Ke'e Beach (Bali Hai), where the spectacular Na Pali Coast begins. Bring your snorkeling gear when you visit Ke'e Beach.
The Na Pali Coast, helps to make Kauai extra special among the Hawaiin Islands. It's an area about 12 miles in length accessible only by foot, helicopter or small boat. If you can take an excursion here; of all the island I can think of no other place so majestic and truly unforgettable. The 12 mile hike is nothing short of amazing and if you're up to it you will find that it is the experience of a life-time.
She Fed me Tea...
Kauai boasts some of the most beautiful flowers and plants in the world. Almost any vegetable and fruit will grow - some, year-round. I spent many a morning, sitting on the deck of my home, filling my tummy with fresh hand picked bananas, papaya, mango, berries, pineapple and kiwi. What a breakfast. The view wasn't bad either with lush,green, Mt. Waialeale and too many waterfalls to count, looking back at us.
The only thing you need to take along with you on a walk or long hike is water. When you need some energy or you get hungry, you simply look for a mango tree or kiwi fruit growing along the side of the path and snack until you are satisfied.
The aloe vera plant can be found just about anywhere. When the need arises. you simply cut off a piece from the plant in the ground and forget the medicine cabinet. The natives know exactly how to use everything growing in the ground.
Once, a woman that I didn't even know, came to my aid when I was too sick to get out of bed. I remember this dear lady going out to my yard, picking some type of plant and making a tea. She kindly fed it to me and in no time at all, I felt well again. I could hardly believe it.
Aloha My Friends and Thank You
In spite of Hurricanes that can happen, Kauai, The Garden Island, is a spectacular place. I hope you have enjoyed this visit to "The Wettest Spot On Earth", Beautiful Kauai, Hawaii and a first hand account of Hurricane Iwa.
Please come back anytime. Mahalo.
© 2011 Audrey Hunt