Hawaii, January 31, 2008
If only Kauai could export rainbows
Before Amy and I arrived in Kauai for our honeymoon, we read that this small island in Hawaii was the rainbow capitol. That rainbows would be visible at all time of the day. What we did not appreciate was the two sides of the local saying: You can't have rainbows without rain.
Because it rained every day we were in Kauai. In fact, Mount Waiâ€™aleâ€™ale, in the center of the island, is the wettest place on earth with an average 460+ inches of rainfall. Knowing that, I expected a tropical rainfall pattern - steamy heat all morning with a hard downpour every day at 4pm. Such was not the case.
Kauai does not have a typical tropic rainfall pattern. There isn't a large landmass to aggregate heat for an afternoon shower. Instead, the volcanic ridges in the middle of the island are so tall and so sharp; they physically scrape moisture from passing clouds. In our week in Kauai, I never did see the peak of Mount Waiâ€™aleâ€™ale, it was always encased in clouds.
Back down on the beach neither Amy nor I saw a full day of sun. We experienced random five minute bursts of sun, clouds, rain, clouds, sun, rain, sun, and clouds due to a constant trade wind blowing "trade showers" across our honeymoon spot.
For me, it wasn't that big of a deal as I was out surfing. Reaching back to my squandered youth, I rented a longboard and hit the waves with renewed vigor. Enjoying the long rides of Hanalei Bay, I surfed every day until my arms were jelly and my belly was wax-rashed.
For Amy, swaddled on the beach in a sweater, or when it rained, hiding under a rattan mat, the hot sun never quite compensated for the cold rain showers. While I surfed, she suffered, and when I finished, we both would scour the island for a sunny, calm, and warm beach.
This we finally found at Secret Beach, which, like the name suggests, will have to stay that way. It was the only secluded yet warm and dry spot we found on the entire island. And it was way more relaxing that the Na Pali Coast "walk" we attempted one rainly morning.
The upper northwest coast of Kauai is a jagged escarpment of sharp cliffs that drop from mountainous heights to crashing surf. A truly stunning sight made all the more breathtaking when your sliding along a slippery and rocky trail several hundred feet up, alternating between sweat and chills as rain showers and baking sun tag-team the heavens.
While Amy and I decided to take a short walk quickly, dressing in running shoes and shorts, others were both more prepared in full hiking gear, or woefully out of their element in full length skirts or all white attire. Even at our skill level, we had a few spills and will never quite wash out the Kauai's reddish-brown mud.
Life was not all bad, though. We did have views of stunning beauty, meals of surprising freshness, and people with remarkable kindness. Kauai is the garden isle in its natural and human wealth.