Day 10 Kauai - Wailua River kyake and Hiva Pacifika Luau

Date: 2006-06-23
Location: Hawaii 06

First thing in the morning, after we ate our breakfast, we went to Wailua River and made afternoon reservation for kayaking over the Wailua River. While we waited for our turn, we also made reservation for the evening Luau at Hiva Pacifika.

Once we were ready, we were given a tall blue. We were very excited even our upbeat spirit didnít get dampened by the fact that Fern Grotto was closed for visitors due to fallen rocks. With a small wheeler, we took our triyake through the side road, passing under a large belladonna that was loaded with large elongated trumpet like white flowers, crossing a small bridge, and finally arrived at the pier. Here I saw a freshly dropped coconut floating in the water.

Once we pulled our triyake into the water, we all jumped in. I settled in the front, Seyo was behind me in the middle, and my husband on the back of the triyake. It worked out great. Once we took off, however, Seyo insisted that he and I should share the paddle. So several time, I had to give the paddle to him. The surface of river was clam and in a deep hue of green. Trees of various shape dripped their green majestic canopies over the water. Among them were some large Hawaiian cotton trees. Their twist roots and branches extended partly over the water and some yellow or orange colored bowl shape flowers have fallen and floated on the surface like some prayerís candles. Our paddled gently stirred the water and our triyake seemed to be gliding along. On the bank of the river, we saw coconuts trees that were loaded with large ripe coconuts. I wondered why havenít anyone picked on these delicious fruits yet.

Once the river forked, we took the right turn. The lake became narrower with more trees overshadowing our path. A couple of kayakers who had left way before us have decided this was a wrong turn and turned back. We continued our path. The water was much stiller and I got a few glimpses of some giant gray fish the length of my full arm swam around slowly. If we were in somewhere other than Hawaii, the thoughts of Alligator or Crocodile would immediately came to mind. However, lacking these large lake predators did not give us any protection under the constant buzzing of mosquitoes.

We paddled until we saw rows of kayaks ducked on the side of the river. We parked our triyake next to an old tree and climbed up to the path.

Even it was hot and sunny outside, the path was under the shadow of the old forest. The area was cool and humid. With some exotic birds chirped loudly on the background, we really felt that we were in the middle of a tropical jungle. Passing some ferns, wild gingers, tee leaves, we hiked a little over a mile and reached our destination. As the sound of fallen water grew louder, the sight of Secrete Fall appeared in front of us.

Surrounding by trees, ferns, rocks and a cool green pool, the water fall was majestic. We sat on a nearby rock and had our light lunch. A few feral chickens visited us. It was amazing to see these wild creatures walked among people and looked at us with curiosity. Once we dipped our feet in the pool, we found the water was icy cold. Most people retrieved to the bank and only to admire the fall from the distance. A few went inside the pool and got close to the cascading water.

We turned around sometime around two and started our return journey. On the way back, however, we wondered into a wild pigsí path and before we know it, we were in the deep part of jungle where a whole field of taro extended in front of our eyes. We turned and found two groups of hikers were following us. At the sight of the taro field, they also realized that we have drift away from the trail. Two young couples turned around. Since we were still next to the water, the three other hikers and three of us decided to force our way out. Along the path, we could see pigs have dug the whole area out, leaving taro leaves scattered around the newly opened ground. We walked carefully along the pigís path until it ended abruptly where the running water met a tangle mess of cotton trees. We could almost see the docking area just some yard away. As matter of fact, voices of other kayakers were heard. While the three hikers decided to splash their ways to the other side since their boats were ducked on the other side anyway, we backtracked a bit and found an opening under the tense branches. Once on the other side, we found the trail. Miraculously, both parties arrived at the ducking area at the same time but on the opposite sides of the river bank.

We got back into our triyake and paddled our way back. The return trip was proven to be more difficult since we were paddling against wind. Several times, the incoming tour boat had stirred up a giant current and our little triyake rocked back and fourth hopelessly.

Then I heard singing voices. When I looked up, I was puzzled by the image before me. Three people, two men and a woman, were standing on the surface of water and pushing leisurely toward us. Upon closer inspection, I saw that each of them was standing on top of a surf board and paddling with a long paddle. I exchanged greetings as we passed.

Because our evening laua, we by-passed the small cultural center located on foot of the mountain. Even that, it was after 4:00 when we got back to store.

Back in the hotel, we cleaned ourselves and changed to some clean clothes, then went straight to the Hiva Pacifika Laua. When we got there, we were relieved to find that we had gotten there just on time. We joined the line of people who were waiting outside the entrance. Once we were adored with shell leis and our happy family picture was taken in front of the entrance, we were ushered toward one of the many tables around the stage. Here fresh cut pineapple and a tropic flavored alcoholic beverage was served to adult and juice for little kids. We talked to a family of Floridians who sat next to us.

Outside the Imu was prepared. Imu is the Hawaiian style cooked pig. The whole prepared pig was wrapped in banana leaves and roasted under the fire in the underground oven. As music and dance proceeded, the rich aroma emitted from outside and we all heard our stomach growling. Table by table, the guests went to the buffet line and piled their plates high with food. There were freshly made garden salad, pasta salad, fruit salad, ribs, roast pig, chicken, fish etc. When we got there, we couldnít help but to laden our plates as well. I particularly liked the rice pudding. It was not too sweet, not too rich, and made with perfect consistency. I even allowed myself for a second server of it. As dancers in various customs paraded in front of us, everyone ate and talked.

Then as four panels of share metal sheets unroll around the stage, all the lights around were dimmed. Following in the drum beat, A man casually walked into the center of the stage. On his hand, he held a long knife and a torch. The crowd went silent as anticipation built up. Then the pace of the drum speeded up. In a few swift movements, the man lit both ends of the knife and started to twirling it around and toss it into the air as if it were somehow a part of his arm. As the drum beat goes faster, the twirling goes into an insane speed. All we could see were an ever changing circle of pale blue light. All jaws were dropped as sound of awes came from every corner. Even Seyo, who had became impatient with the continue flow of music and dance earlier, stopped fussing and transfixed on the figure that was wrapped in fire circles on the center of the stage.

As if that wasnít impressive enough, the man exchanged his fire knife with two new knives. Once lit the both ends of the two knives, he started to twirl the two knives around. His agile movement and impressive skill made the whole place alive. As the fire knife dance ended, so was our evening bouquet. At the exit, we were glad to find the man who performed the fire knife dance. Since the skill actually took years of practice to perfect it, I was surprised to see how young he was. Standing next to him, we took a memorable picture. To this day, Seyo still cherishes this picture.

Under the brilliant moon light, we strolled through the plumeria and Tahiti jasmine scented night air, and returned to our hotel room for one last time.

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