Kauai flaunts it

Every place has its beauty.  But Kauai’s beauty struts. It’s almost indecent. Nothing subtle. Everything’s on display. A luxuriant lei bedecked trench coat thrown wide open–its liner, succulent with blossoms.

Kauai is about all or nothing beauty. If it can’t be dazzling, it seems to say, bring on old Wai’ale’ale’ and cover me in lava rock and black ash. Give me Bali Hai and the celebrity of South Pacific or give me anonymity. Give me fire-cracker red Hibiscus or give me death.

But death by volcano isn’t likely. Kauai is the oldest of the chain of Hawaiian islands and so has drifted the farthest off of the continental hot spot. But age hasn’t changed its provocative ways.


It lures you with guava and mango. It drapes itself in velvet green grottos, it rouges itself up in pink Noon flowers, and gowns itself in a flowing kaleidoscopic rainbow of sea life. Not enough? it accessorizes. Pearl strings of water fall from its basalt neck, circle and run down every cleaved island outcropping. While on a beach walk we spotted a hint of a trail. Navigating past banana plants, screw pines, a dozen species of palm, and ten foot blades of Iliau, found us at the base of an 80 foot ribbon of water. Just like that. And on the way back we noticed head-high plant stalks supporting leaves the size of dinner tables. It’s no wonder Jurassic Park was filmed on Kauai.

The island is one great fragrant Plumeria ready to turn African tulip, jasmine or jade, ready that is, to be anything you want. Promiscuous beauty.

The local ads have this thing about this being Paradise. Of course Kaua’i, is known to be the "Garden Isle", so okay, the garden of paradise. And who’s to argue. Not me. Even their wanderlust chickens, of which there are a Polynesian ship load, are feathered out in okra greens and vintage tans and midnight blues.

Kauai…if you got it, flaunt it.


  1. so glad you got over to hawaii! i’ve never been to kauai, just the big island and maui (haoli island). but your story entices me and if i’m lucky enough to escape west coast rain this year i’d like to make an attempt at visiting kauai and molokai.

    you never know for certain if kauai is the oldest island. geologists say the north part of the big isle is the oldest but hawaiians say it is the south part, and they have their good reasons.

    throw lemuria into the tune and here’s where you get glimpses of the lost island (akin to atlanta and pan) and where the ‘real’ hawaiians emerged from. they will tell you about lemuria being a peaceful place sans politics , war etc.. when lemuria sunk and what was left became a volcanic hot bed , it is there and then the tahitians came over with their warring ways.

    great pics, steve!!

  2. This is a beautiful description. It makes me want to be there. I don’t know if you heard, but it snowed here yesterday and the snow is still on the ground today, along with some ice. Cold and windy vs lush and tropical….hmmm tough choice.

  3. Hi scout, Thanks for adding that bit of history/tradition. It’s a fascinating place no mater how you slice it, considering that these are the most geographically remote islands in the world. I guess geologists disagree as well. I read that Kauai is the oldest by virtue of the continental shift moveing the island chain a few inches northeast each year, and so effectively moving every island in turn off of the “hot spot”. Accordingly, that’s why the “big island” is still the most volcanically active. But I’m sure there’s more to it than that. Thanks again W.

    Teryl, thank you for commenting and for letting us bask in the comparison. Who said comparisons were odious?

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