Day Five / Kaua'i
We got a late start this morning, getting up at eight in the morning. The rooster didn't crow—we hope everything is okay.
Our day had us driving an hour and a half south, on Highway 56, to Port Allen for a catamaran sail along the ā Pali Coast. It gave me the chance to do something I've always wanted to do: act like Simon Le Bon in the Duran Duran video for "Rio." Once aboard the Northern Star, our captain, Tony, gave us a quick safety rundown and then let us move to grab our seats. Sarah and I went to the very front and our ship set sail.
It is considered winter in Hawaii, and the northern waters are considerably more choppy than they are in the summer months. We were assured by the deckhand, Tyler, that although were front and center, we had the driest area of the boat. It sure seemed like it as the catamaran sailed over the waves, dousing all of the other passengers. By the time drink service started, with the catamaran sailing at sixteen knots, in a headwind, I was astounded to see Tyler navigating the deck spinning, twirling, and expertly balancing an entire tray full of drinks. We were having trouble just getting the liquid into our mouths, but our man Tyler was putting on a performance worthy of the ballet at Lincoln Center.
Forty-five minutes into our journey, with me in full Simon Le Bon mode, all of the passengers had their eyes on the beautiful coastline to our right. As a matter of happenstance, I was looking off to the ocean's horizon. And then it happened: a northern humpback whale jumped out of the water, with its fin in the air as if it was waving to me, and then majestically splashed back into the water. Unable to contain my excitement, I pointed and yelled "OHHH SHHH..." and before I could finish the expletive, the entire boat was catching the whale as it splashed back into the water. Tyler ran up to me and asked, "Did you see it?!" I told him I sure did. He said he hadn't seen one in the year he has worked on the boat, but that he caught the end based on my excitement and saw it before it splashed back. Tony, the captain, told us that the whales normally come a month later to mate or give birth. It seems like this whale wanted to get a head start.
For the next half hour, the passengers were now fixed on the water, looking for activity in the ocean. And, as luck would have it, a pod of dolphins approached the catamaran and started to put on a show. It was, to put it mildly, a great sight for a couple of city kids.
In order to get around to the ā Pali Coast, we first had to navigate through extremely choppy waters. We went back to our dry area to ride it out. The wind was strong and the waves stronger, but as the other passengers were getting annihilated by the spray I commented to Sarah that I was still bone dry. "You just jinxed us," she responded. And did I ever. Moments later, as the boat was starting its turn, the waves got very rough and we were doused with an entire wave's worth of water. Head to toe, we were drenched. The brochure said to bring a change of clothes. It's a dinner cruise, we thought, and that seemed unnecessary. Welp, with two hours remaining and dinner service still to come, we were sopping wet. It was some consolation to head to the back of the boat to dry off and see a woman horribly seasick. We'd rather be wet.
The rest of the adventure had stunning views of the coastline as we had dinner and drinks. The boat turned around to head back to the port with a nice tailwind and calmer waves. We had the tough choice of viewing the sunset to our right, or the beautiful coast during sunset to our left. We chose the coast.
After the trip we got back into the Jeep, still wet, and drove the hour and a half back to the hotel. We pulled into the valet of the resort and got out. "Apologies, the seat is wet" I told the valet, as I handed him a wet five dollar bill. "Fun night?" He responded. I just nodded.
Here's to you, Ahab!