Exploration, Queen’s Bath, and the Japanese Bon Festival (Kauai, 2010)

This post is part of a series where I’m incorporating old travel journal entries into this blog. This part of the series is from my 2010 trip to Kauai. I hope you enjoy it! Stay tuned for more tales of our adventures! Didn’t catch the first post in this series? Start from the beginning!

34522_454807956717_7874277_nYesterday was a fun-packed day. First we headed over to the Poipu area to check out a few things. There was a shopping center that advertised dining, shopping, and art. We wanted to see what was in there so we walked around a bit. The stores and restaurants weren’t that interesting, but they had many beautiful plants that I went around photographing.

Next was Prince Kuhio Park. Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, Delegate to Congress and tireless worker for native Hawaiian rights, was born along the Po’ipu coast at Kukui’ula in 1871. He was the last royal heir to the Hawaiian throne. The foundation of his royal home and fishpond is part of Kuhio Park. The Ho’ai Heiau is also located here toward the back, left side. The Prince was so beloved that his birthday, March 26, is a state holiday and celebrated with island-wide cultural events.

We also checked out the little cove next to the park. We saw crabs scurrying about, little fish swimming around the rocks, and a sea turtle poking its adorable head above the 34522_454807961717_3177341_nwater. We thought about grabbing our snorkel gear and jumping in, but ultimately decided not to. Instead, we headed up to the north shore to check out the elusive Queen’s Bath. Along the way we stopped at a little awesome Chinese building located on the grounds of Kauai Community College, and since we were in the spirit of it all, as also stopped at a Chinese food buffet restaurant, which had fairly decent Chinese food for really, really cheap. Nice. We then checked out a little open air market and bought a few things, including another delicious pineapple…mmmm…..

When we reached the North shore, the parking area for Queen’s Bath was just as crazy as last time, but we decided this time to just wait it out, and eventually some people came back up and left, finally giving us the opportunity to park and go to this place. (You can’t park anywhere else for quite a while, because it is a neighborhood, and other than the parking area, you can’t park anywhere on the street for a very long time…then you reach the highway, and who knows where you will eventually be able to park).

After parking, there was a little hike down to the shore area. It was a bit muddy, but quite a pleasant hike. It took us through jungle and past several small waterfalls. When we got to the end of the trail, it dumped out onto a large lava formation. The rest of the hike to Queen’s Bath was on the lava. We saw another sea turtle in the water while we were on our way, though this one was in an area that didn’t look safe to swim in unless you are a sea turtle, so no snorkeling for us!

37676_454810036717_8349744_nQueen’s Bath really is quite interesting. It is a pool created out of the lava and filled with sea water. Every now and then a particularly large wave will crash over the part of the pool closest to the open sea, but otherwise it is very calm waters. I suppose in the winter, when the swells are higher, the sea is not so forgiving. We hopped into the bath along with many children who were playing in the water. I swam around a bit and then got out to take some pictures of Norwood in the pool. When he got out we explored the lava area a bit, noticing the sea life that lived in many little pools in the lava. There were tadpoles (which I assume were from a freshwater flow down to the area), little fish, and crabs. It was really interesting.
When we were finished, we hiked back up to the car (stopping at a waterfall along the way), and headed over to Kapaa for the Bon Festival.

The Bon Festival is a Japanese Buddhist celebration. (“Bon-Odori” or Bon dance, a religious folk dance, was originally given to comfort the spirit of the dead during the o-bon season, which can be described as sort of a Japanese Dia De Los Muertos. It is enjoyed by men, women, and even little children. It is generally held in temple or shrine compounds sea or river shores or other convenient public places. A raised towerlike stand is erected and around the stand the people dance all night with the music.)
We arrived at the Kapaa Jodo Mission to watch the Bon Dance take place. All sorts of people participated, and it looked really fun. After encouragement from a little old lady who was sitting next to us, I decided to join in on the fun. I had SO MUCH FUN dancing around all night long. It really was one of the highlights of my trip to Kauai.

We got home really, really late and passed out after that. What a long, amazing day!

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