It rained very hard over night — first hard rain we’ve had since coming to Hawaii. The kids had a lazy moring while we tried to figure out the logistics of fitting together some activities with one of the tour agencies in the area. For two weeks we’ve avoided anything organized, but today we decided it was worth trying a couple activities.
While we were calling and pouring over guidebooks. Roby and Cal went for a quick swim in the pool and then Ryan tattooed (with a pen) Roby and Cal’s backs. Around 11 we went to Kauai Outfitters. Sue, Cal, and Roby rented bikes and rode around the Poipu area. They saw Spouting Horn, rode through a series of resort complexes, along the beach, and ended up swimming at Shipwreck Beach. The waves were huge again, but it was fun to play in the surf and cool off for the ride back to the bike shop. They also stopped at the condo for lunch and a dip in the pool. The plan was to ride until 3:00 or so, then drive to Kipu Falls to meet Rusty and Ryan. Together we would all go to a laua at nearby Kilohana, which started at 5:00. That worked out great.
Just after returning the bikes, the rain came. It was light at first, then started pouring. We stuck with the plan and navigated our way to Kipu Falls. We drove through fields, across a bridge, and ended up outside private property near the Kipu Ranch. We were relieved to see the "Kauai Outfitter" vans parked outside the locked fence, but now we had to figure out our way to the falls. We drove back to where our guidebook suggested (just across the bridge) and giggled our way down a muddy path that resembled a jungle maze. It was a clear path, but thick plants were high on each side, forming a tunnel. It was fun. After a few minutes you could hear the roar of the falls and soon a beautiful view from the top of the falls opened up. It was tricky getting down over slippery rocks and muddy paths, but we were psyched. Only three people were there and it was a magical place. We asked where it was safe to jump off the cliffs and took the plunge! It felt like a high 20 ft. drop and we were all a little scared to step out on the edge. Roby went first (of course), then Cal, then Sue. We each took two turns, hoping to meet up with Rusty and Ryan at the gate by 4:30. Roby said, "It was really high and there was a pretty strong current in the pool. It was hard to get under the waterfall because the current was pushing you away." Cal said his stomach dropped when he jumped but he felt the adrenaline kick in and it was fun afterwards. He didn’t really like the ladder back up, though.
We would have stayed longer and taken time to lounge in the freshwater pools at the top of the falls, but we didn’t want Rusty and Ryan to be waiting for us in the rain. Turns out we got back in plenty of time, waiting in our car for about 30 minutes for the zipline crew to emerge. We had fun watching the ATV tours return to the ranch and listening to the rain pitter-patter on the car roof.
Once back on the highway, heading toward Lihue, the Kilohana Plantation was only a few miles down the road. Our timing was perfect, but the weather was iffy. We arrived at the grounds just after 5, changed out of wet bathing suits and into dry clothes, and headed into the festivities. The kids were a little cynical–especially Ryan– who said, "I don’t want to be here" as we walked through the gates, but, as always it was better than they expected. The ceremony started off with the "imu" which is when they dig up a whole pig that’s been roasting on volcanic rocks underground for the whole day. The food was delicious – particularly the pork. The entertainment was elaborate, but they would have preferred less hula and more fire dancing. As we said, it was clearly cliche Hawaii, but we hadn’t been too touristy much of this trip and wanted to see what a luau was all about. We were home by 9:30, quite tired from another day of activity.