Travel Blog #107 – Kayak Kauai Outbound, Napali Coast Kayak

Feb 8, 2020 | Activity Information

If you are in decent shape and want to do something worth telling your friends about once you get home you should consider doing a Kayaking trip down the Napali Coast on Kauai. While it is a long trip (17 miles), the majority of it is normally with the current, which makes the paddle quite a bit easier then it sounds.

To get the best conditions possible this tip departs very early in the morning. Let me give you a tip on something I learned when going on this trip. When you’re driving up to Hanalei in the morning remember to eat before you go. I made the mistake of thinking something would be open on the way which turned out to be a near catastrophe if it had not been for a powerboat I had in my truck. We checked in at the store in Hanalei Town, and then as soon as our guides and the rest of the passengers showed up we loaded into the van began to make our way towards tunnels beach.
Tunnels Beach is the closest and safest place where you can launch to paddle the Napali Coast. There was a little bit of shore break and we had to time it just right to make it through and get into the deeper water. We all met up in the middle of the bay before we began to make our way south towards the Napali Cliffs.

As soon as we passed Ke’e Beach the cliffs started. It wasn’t long before we reached the first beach at Hanakapiai. We paused for a few minutes and drank some water before we continued down the coast. We rounded the next point and found ourselves at the mouth of a large cave. We all grouped up before we made our way inside.

Once we were in the cave I jumped into the water to take a float break in the shade. I closed my eyes and allowed the life jacket I was wearing to float me and just enjoyed the stillness of the cave. After we rested and swam around in the cave for a while we got back on our boats and began making our way down the coast. We passed some amazingly scenic areas as we got closer to the infamous Kalalau Beach, this beach also has a high rating on the Adrenaline.

Kalalau is easy to spot because of the huge rock formation on the cliffs above it that is known as Cathedrals. Cathedrals is one of the most beautiful sights on Kauai. This is the place where the hiking trail ends. All the things that we saw past Kalalau are only viewable from the vantage point of a boat, or an aerial tour.

Soon after Kalalau we reached the Honopu Arch, and soon after we stopped for a swim inside the “open ceiling cave”. This was one of my favorite parts of the day. I have driven in zodiacs as well as other vessels through this cave, but I have never gotten to swim inside of it. That was an experience that I will not soon forget. Soon after the “open ceiling cave” we were at our lunch spot.

I though that the adventure would calm down as soon as we hit the sand. I was wrong. We set up lunch in the shade under a tree and as our guide passed out our sandwiches he explained that we were going to be on the shore for a while and we were free to explore the beach, or the short trail up to the waterfall in the valley above the beach. I eagerly ate my sandwich, and then began to explore the area.

Breaking away from the group to explore the trail up to the waterfall was great. With no one else around it was so quiet. I saw some pilings of rocks that were most likely the footing of an ancient Hawaiian home. I took some pictures and spent a couple of minutes observing the scene and thinking about what might have been here many years ago. Eventually I made my way back down to the beach and soon after we were back in the boats making our way down the home stretch towards Polihale Beach.

As I pulled my boat up onto Polihale Beach I felt a sense of accomplishment from the days activities. 17 miles later I had burned thousands of calories and explored some of the most beautiful places on earth I have been to thus far. This is a trip that can only be done on very flat days during the summertime and if you are lucky enough to be there during this time and capable of doing the trip, it is something I would recommend making it a point to experience.