This past weekend, Josh and I took our fourth trip to Kauai (which I believe we have 100% determined to be our favorite island). This time, we ventured there to take a boat tour of the Na Pali coast and to hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls.
Our Saturday morning started out bright and early as we had an hour drive to the boat harbor where we would be departing on our tour. We left at 7:00 a.m. and headed towards the Na Pali coast. Our guide told us that there had been a really large swell the past few days that made it impossible to go in the caves and snorkel as well as, made the boat ride an extremely rough one. We lucked out! We were able to do all of the above and had an amazing experience.
One of the things I was incredibly excited about was the chance that we would get to see Hawaiian spinner dolphins. I have wanted to see dolphins out in the open water since I’ve lived here, but hadn’t gotten to experience that yet. I definitely fixed that on this trip! We saw TONS of them on multiple occasions. Our first encounter provided us with a small pod that had a few babies in it. One of them was the size of a football and was so incredibly cute. They were on all sides of our boat and periodically jumped out of the water to spin. It was amazing!
You can see the tiny baby between the two bigger dolphins. So cute!
Right on the side of our boat. Amazing!
Another baby dolphin and the mom.
RIGHT in front of our boat.
We were surrounded by them.
Leading our boat. They also liked to surf on the wake behind us.
Showing off a little further out!
More showing off!
After getting to experience the dolphins, we continued on to the indescribable beauty of the cliffs of the Na Pali coast. To see it from this angle was, to put it mildly, absolutely stunning. Every time I see this landscape, I always think I’m prepared because I have seen it multiple times before…and I will no longer experience the awe of what I am taking in. However, it never disappoints. Every single time it nearly takes my breath away.
The privately owned island of Niihau.
You can see in the rocks where the earth cracked and then new lava filled in. Pretty amazing.
First glimpse of the cliffs.
Waterfall along the coast.
Kalalau beach. Much prettier than when we hiked to it.
The absurd red hill that we had to claw our way up b/c it was a mudslide when we hiked it!
The scary part of the hike…crawler’s ledge. Looks much less scary on the boat.
After we made it down the whole coast, we turned around to head back. On our trip back, we got to venture inside the sea caves and get a little closer to the coast.
Sitting inside the first sea cave.
We went in one entrance and came out of another…we came out practically under this waterfall.
Sea cave. We went in one entrance and out of the other one.
This part of the coast is called the cathedrals.
The entrance to the sea cave framing the waterfall.
This cave was open on the top. Years of erosion from the water hitting the top of the cave made it fall in.
The rock in the middle was the top of the sea cave at one point.
After touring the sea caves and taking more pictures of the coast, we were able to stop and snorkel for a little bit. Oddly enough, only Josh and I snorkeled out of the six people on our tour. It was a little rough, but there were some pretty big fish. Josh also got to see a HUGE sea turtle. I unfortunately got out about five minutes before he did and missed it! He got great footage of it though!
Na Pali Coast Snorkel
The biggest turtle!
After having some snacks and drying off, we headed back to the harbor. On our way back we came across about five times as many dolphins as we had encountered in the beginning of our tour. They were jumping out of the water everywhere, surfing our wake and just swimming all around us.
I love that they just look like they are loving life!
So happy and so free!
Literally surrounded by them.
After seeing dolphins for the second time, we made it back to the harbor around noon. We were both pretty exhausted and starving. We made it back to our hotel and grabbed a bite to eat. After that, we took a ridiculously long nap (I had taken dramamine and was seasick and we were both exhausted from lack of sleep). We woke up, grabbed dinner at the restaurant we ate at after we hiked the Kalalau Trail last year and headed back to our hotel. We packed up our stuff and headed to bed in preparation for another early morning!