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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

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Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

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Monday
Sep192011

Sail Kayaking along the South Shore

Ocean kayaking is an exhilarating, challenging endurance sport for the brave at heart. So what were we thinking when we decided to kayak Kauai's south coast from Koloa Landing, Poipu and paddle to the Port Allen Small Boat Harbor, a distance of 7.8 miles?

Kyle Brown would take us. 

Eddie Aikau is turning in his watery grave as he hears us chant "Kyle would go! Kyle would go!" Brown, an avid adventurer and outdoor enthusiast, who volunteers on conservation teams to save the forest, to help archaeologists dig, and to save endangered Monk Seals, had been asking us if we would accompany him on a open ocean paddle somewhere in our neck of the woods, which happens to be close to Poipu.

Logistics are key in a one way sail and we spotted a car at Port Allen then took Kyle's truck with the boats to Koloa Landing - the perfect spot to launch a couple of kayaks. Kyle and I opted for the two man, while Ellen Coulombe (owner of Wings Over Kauai Air Tours) was delegated to a light weight one man kayak with a rudder. She was on her way to Tahiti before we even got launched, remarking how fast and easy the one man kayak was to manoeuvre.

We waited for Ellen to rejoin us closer to shore but far enough out to avoid the backs of some nice sized rollers going humpity bumpity along the reef. With a nice 10 knot trade wind breeze over our right shoulders, we scooted past Spouting Horn and soon arrived just outside the bay that fronts the Allerton area of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. This is the real Lawai Beach.

Several huge Green Sea Turtles popped to the surface to check us out along the way. Sea cliffs below the McBryde coffee fields made up the coast until we came to Palama's Beach.  Here, a fish aggregating buoy is anchored in waters just off Kalanipuao Rock, a point marked by a shrine with an owl statue on it. The Palama's are an old Hawaiian family with ties to Walter McBryde, who owned McBryde Sugar Company, and who granted the family this ocean side parcel.

Behind and west of Palama's Beach an ancient volcanic crater rims the landscape above the ocean with high conical walls that once housed an ancient heiau. Sloping downward into a brackish pond called Nomilo Fish Pond, this geological feature is said to be tied into volcanic activity on the Big Island, possibly by deep tubes running through the tectonic plate near the volcanic hot spot.

Just off the crater our wind was perfect for rigging up the kayak sail that Kyle purchased. I was skeptical at first, but my old windsurfing skills kicked in and soon we were flying along the sea, surfing the backs of the huge rollers with many hoots and hollers. Not wanting to be left behind, Ellen tried out the sail on her one-man kayak and we held on to her for the ride.

All was well until I accidentally let go of Ellen's kayak and she slipped away but only for a few minutes! A nice squall and some rainy gusts gave us further momentum and we soon could make out the cliff faces near Waihiawa Quarry Beach and Glass Beach near the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative's electric generating plant. Please be horrified to note that Kauai's entire electrical grid is run by using diesel fuel. It is one of the most expensive means of generating power known to man.

With only a short way to go, we sailed and paddled around the long jetty that protects Port Allen large boat harbor and headed in to the small boat ramp. It was a glorious trip! Including shuffling cars the entire trip took about 5 hours.

Kyle can assist those interested in ocean kayak trips. Please email ellen.coulombe@gmail.com  for more information and write KYLE KAYAK TRIPS in subject line.