As one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines—and the second fastest eroding—there’s no question: if you find yourself in Kauai, you have to dedicate time to exploring the Na Pali Coast. Tour operators around the island offer various ways of seeing the jagged emerald coastline, and options include everything from an eleven mile hike to a helicopter ride to a boat tour.
Given our budget and lack of interest in walking six hundred million miles, we knew we’d go with the boat option, and thanks to a year and a half of saved up credit card points, we eventually found a tour through Captain Andy’s Sailing Adventures. Early one morning, we woke up, drove to the other side of the island, and boarded a little rubber raft with five other travelers.
Our captain—Ted, not Andy—and his first mate, Courtney, kept our small group in line, and as we made our way from Kiki`aola Small Boat Harbor to the Na Pali Coast, they shared stories about the island. Though their tales ranged from personal quips to local gossip, my favorite was learning about the legends and lore of the gods who once ruled Kauai.
Full disclosure: these are recalled from memory with the help of the hubs. Even after diligent (drunk) Google searches, I couldn’t actually find any of Ted & Courtney’s tales, so if you know a different version, please share!
Children Behaving Badly
As we reached one of the most recognizable portions of the coastline, Courtney told us about one god who was a little overprotective of his children. Naturally, as sheltered children tend to do, they loved to find little ways to make their dad nervous.
Out of all of his rules, the one they were most expected to follow was that they report home before sunrise each morning. Though they could do whatever they wanted while the sun was down, the goddess Pele had a terrible temper and would not look kindly upon any children found out and about playing in the morning.
The children pressed their luck each day, always waiting until the last possible second to return home. The goddess got wind of their pranks, and one morning decided to surprise them. She began to peek out over the horizon, ready to catch the children and show them her wrath. Their father realized what was happening, and tried to beat the goddess at her game—but unfortunately, he was too late. The children were frozen in time, eternally part of the Na Pali Coast.
If you look at the photo again, all of the points are his children, and the father is at the top, holding out his arms as he tries to shield them from the sun.
Because abstract thinking may be difficult for you (I married the most logical of hubses, I know you people exist), I’ve assisted with some SERIOUSLY incredible editing skills. I don’t want to brag, but I am available for hire:
You are welcome.
Carrying on down the coast, Courtney and Captain Ted asked if any of us have plans for little troublemakers of our own. Unfortunately for me and the hubs, we were really the only targets for this story, as the couple to our left had just gotten engaged the night before annnd the couple to our right were, um, past their prime.
Though no one spoke up, Courtney told us that they’d be happy to dip anyone who was interested under the “Fertility Falls”:
They don’t look like much, but apparently, that water will impregnate you faster than a poorly timed one night stand.
Legend has it that the falls contain a magical power, and if any water drips on you, you’re guaranteed a womb full of babies. Or something. I don’t really know, I wasn’t that into the idea of having fertility water dripped all over my head.
NATURALLY, we somehow ended up passing through the falls and SOMEHOW I was the only one who actually did get dripped on. When I pointed this out, Captain Ted declared that I would be pregnant with twins in no time.
I’ll keep you all posted.
The Lava Goddess
Further down the coast, after we stopped for lunch, Courtney led us to a former fishing village called Nualolo Kai, which is now only home to a few sea turtles and some seriously stinky fruit called noni (apparently it heals all that ails you, but you have to get past the fact that it smells like rotting feet.)
Eventually, someone pointed to a giant X carved into the rocks and asked how that got there.
Courtney explained that long ago, the goddess Pele (that same cranky biatch who turned annoying kids to grassy peaks) tortured each of the islands of Hawaii, spewing lava and killing crops. Finally, the locals became so frustrated that they asked what they could do to make her stop. In exchange for a sacrifice from each island, she would cease the madness and lay off the lava spewing.
As each island complied, Pele committed to her promise with a large “X” somewhere on their land. Only one island—The Big Island—stood up to Pele and refused to make a sacrifice. Joke’s on them, because, as you might know, The Big Island is the only one to still have lava activity, and this is the only island in Hawaii that does not have a large, visible X slashed into its surface. Girlfriend is so protective of her lava rocks, she inflicts any tourists who dare take a piece of Hawaiian land away with them with a lifetime of bad luck.
By the time the tour was over, I assumed I’d somehow pissed Pele off and was wondering what, exactly, I’d need to sacrifice to keep her off my back (eyeing the hubs curiously as he still tried to figure out which part of the coast was the dad and which were the children). Captain Ted, on the other hand, rolled his eyes with each tale and told us that those native Hawaiians really had a story for everything.
No matter what you believe, the legend of Pele’s Curse does seem to be thriving, so I would at least be wary of removing any sand/rocks/stinky noni from P-dawg’s hangouts. Unless, of course, you need to rid yourself of a few of the children you may have procured from the Fertility Falls.