July 26

Grotto where we kayaked
Today we had scheduled to go to Grove Farm, but a couple of days ago I had had enough of my schedule. I wanted a slow morning. But I didn't really have a choice. This was the hardest part of planning as a group. You can't do spontaneous things well as a group. If you want to go somewhere in the morning, you can't expect that people will all be up at the same time unless you plan it beforehand. You can't get reservations for a large group on the spur of the moment. So everything had to be done in advance. And all the places have a 24-hour cancellation policy. So you can't wake up in the morning and say I'm tired and don't want to go today. Well, you can, but you eat the price of admission. On Tuesday the whole group that had kayaked was tired, and that included me. I didn't want to get up and go to the botanic gardens - though I still wanted to see them. So that day I decided that Thursday I wouldn't go to Grove Farms, but we could all lounge around in the morning and relax. I would have canceled Wednesday's trip, but Ben was too excited about the chance to surf. When I cancelled Grove Farm, so did everyone else. Hmm, is everyone as tired as me?

I took the kids for a short swim in the pool this morning. They had a good time but I was going shopping with my mom so they had to get out - hey shopping, something you can do on the spur of the moment! Beth decided to come with us. We took off to the Coconut Marketplace.

View of Na Pali Coast
The marketplace is a half indoor, half outdoor mall. All the shops face inward toward one another like an indoor mall, but the inside of the mall is outdoors, with trees and grass. All the shops cater to the tourist dollar. Mom was on a mission to buy clothes. I helped her pick out a dress and a shirt. She wanted to get more dresses, but I wouldn't let her. She said she had a closet of dresses that she never wears and probably wouldn't wear the one she already bought! Buy shirts Mom, you'll wear them.

At one artsy knickknack store we both liked some baskets, but one was much nicer than the others. Mom got it. I decided that the others were just not as nice, so didn't get any. But I found some nice shark tooth necklaces for Ben and a pearl bracelet for Beth.

We were starting to run out of time, so zipped through most of the other stores, but ended up stopping at a jewelry store that had Ni'ihau shell jewelry. These shell leis and bracelets were absolutely lovely, but the price was more than I was willing to pay. My favorite was a simple pink necklace about 3/8th of an inch thick. It was a mere $2000, but they would discount it to $1500 for us. For a necklace that I would probably rarely wear, it seemed a bit too much, OK way too much. Now if you are wondering how they get away with charging so much for a necklace, you have to understand how they are made. They are handmade from tiny little shells, all individually collected, cleaned and strung. That 3/8th of an inch thick lei that I liked was comprised of thousands of these tiny shells, strung in beautiful patterns. Supposedly it takes years to make a single lei.

Joel and Ben
Then it was time to go. We had a helicopter ride scheduled at 12:50 (check in at 12:20, all of Hawaii wants you to get there early so you can spend your vacation waiting). We got to the airport at about the right time and we were put in front of the TV to watch a safety video. The basic premise was don't walk behind the helicopter or you will die a horrible death.

When we got on I expected to have assigned seats, because they often do that to balance the weight. But they didn't. Instead they asked us where we all wanted to sit. We gave Joel the best seat in the house, the front window seat, so he could take photos better. The pilot wanted the kids split up, probably so that there was a parent next to each one in case they freaked out. Ben sat next to Joel and Beth and I had the back two seats. Our pilot then helped us strap in and put on our headphones. The headphones come with a little button, that you press if you want to talk. And up we went.

I waited for the big winds my mother talked about, and waited, and waited. The winds increased slowly, not all at once so you got used to them. The kids loved it, as did Joel and I. The pilot was obviously used to people that had trouble with the winds. He kept talking soothingly telling everyone how safe it was and that the wind can't blow us out of the helicopter even if we didn't have our seat belts on. The only way we would fall out is if we were pushed. I told him that must be the real reason he separated our kids.

Wai'ale'ale Crater
Then he started the tour. We flew over Waimea canyon and then over the ridge and up the Na Pali coast. At the beginning of the Na Pali coast he flew us into a canyon then tilted the copter side to side so we could all see down. There were ancient terraces built in the valley. Then he zipped up and over to the next valley. We continued up the coast. The waterfalls were all dry. You could tell that they would be awesome if had been raining here, but this part had been quite dry for a while. Once we hit the north part of the island we started to see flowing water. In fact it had been raining when we left our condo and it looked liked the rain had hit most of the eastern side of the island.

This tour includes lunch and a stop at a waterfall. The waterfall is owned by a friend of the owner of Inter Island Helicopters. There is room enough on a small meadow for two helicopters to land. The other one was already there. When we got out they were in the pool under the falls. The pool was brown. Usually it is clear, but with all the recent rain it had turned muddy. Ah well, at least the falls was going great and it had cleared up and the wet foliage was sparkling in the sunlight. They have a small platform (with a roof, just in case of rain) with benches for lunch. Unfortunately most of the bench area was taken up by everyone's clothing (you wear a lot in the copter to keep warm, but have to strip to swimsuits to swim) so it was hard to find a spot to eat. I had placed orders for sandwiches when I made the reservations and Joel was shocked to find out that he didn't have to pick the sprouts out of his sandwich. They had all been made as requested and were quite yummy. Beth and I didn't want to swim, but the guys did. They got in up to their waists before they chickened out and came back.

Waterfall where Jurassic Park was fillmed
After lunch it was back into the helicopters and off to Wai'ale'ale Crater. Three of the sides of the crater still exist, the other is gone. The existing part of the crater is very green from all the rain it receives and waterfalls pour down into it. It is spectacularly beautiful. Our pilot hovered here for a while so Joel could take his photos and turned the copter around so everyone could get a good view. Then it was off to the next beautiful spot, Hanapepe valley. The falls in this valley are gorgeous. The last one we saw he called the "Jurassic Park Waterfall" because it was used in the opening of the movie. The concrete helicopter pad from the scene in the movie has since washed away, but the falls are gorgeous.

None of us wanted the tour to end. We all had a great time. Ben picked this (along with the Japanese restaurant of our first night) as his favorite activity on the island. I'm still voting for the kayak trip, but this is a close second.

Wailua Falls
We had a little time on the car ride home to stop at Wailua Falls. It was gorgeous too and you don't need wings to see it. We must have seen more waterfalls today than I've seen in years and years.

Back at the condo we debated on where to go out to eat tonight. It was a toss up between Kintaros again or the Caffe Coco. Coco is supposed to have interesting food, but I wasn't sure that it would have food good for Joel or the kids. So we had almost decided to go to Kintaros, until the rest of the gang came back. Mom and Dad had decided to go to Caffe Coco tonight. They had no idea that we had been debating it, but that made up our minds. And Damon's family decided to go with us too. Then at the restaurant Harold and Kay showed up (we left a message on their machine, but weren't sure if they would get it in time). So all 13 of us once again had dinner together.

Caffe Coco is an interesting restaurant. Their seating is outside, but under tarps just in case of rain. The whole place is teeming with plants. They even cover the tarp area and are just gorgeous. You feel like your having dinner inside of a rain forest - without the rain. One bad part of this is the mosquitoes. They didn't bother me at all, but they got Ben pretty good. My suggestion is wear long pants or repellent if you are susceptible to mosquito bites.

The food here was wonderful. Ben had the French Toast which was not like any French Toast I had seen before. It was a mini loaf of bread that had been soaked in custard and I guess baked. Ben said it was awesome. I had the Pacific Rim Platter with the Mahi Mahi. Quite good, and I loved the wontons that came with it. Joel had some kind of Ahi Tuna which was also good. The only bad part was my mother. Again she got a dish she didn't appreciate. Poor mom, she always orders the wrong thing.

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Text and images © Copyright 2001 Joel and Daphne Gould. If there are any problems or questions email Daphne Gould.