The sun broke free about noon on our first full day here on the North Shore of Kauai. We’d spent the morning strolling a couple of Barry’s favorite beaches, scanning the surf line for shells and pretty pieces of coral. After lunch at the Hanalei Gourmet, blue skies sparkling over an even bluer ocean, we headed up to Queen’s Bath – a giant tide pool billed as a “real gem” in the guidebook. I envisioned soaking in this pool on the rocky overhang soaking up views of endless ocean pounding on the golden sand.
The guidebook failed to mention that soaking like a Queen while gazing out at the ocean is, for the most part, a summertime activity.
We’d never have guessed as we approached the peaceful-looking pool from above. We’d hiked down a verdant trail after parking in the pricier section of Princeville. Expensive homes and resorts lined the wide streets, but once we ducked down the trail we were back in a wild paradise. Rushing waterfalls streamed alongside us, splashing into a burbling creek. Huge ferns and grew above our heads and flowers as big as my hand hung from the shrubbery. Once we reached bottom about a quarter-mile of clambering over gentle lava rock brought us in view of the Queen’s Bath pool.
But as we approached, deciding on a nice flat rock ledge to sit and enjoy the view for a while, the heretofore quite waters below us billowed up in a swell, rising into a huge wave that crashed against the rock wall sending up plumes of spray. Beautiful!
“Look!” Tim cried. “Look where we were just walking!”
I turned to see the lava rock ledge we’d just traversed awash in water and receding foam. Another big wave swelled up below us. Hmm, we thought, maybe we’ll move back from this rock ledge just a bit. CRASH. We all jumped up and began stepping backward.
“Guess you’re not going to be doing any soaking in there today,” Tim said, pointing to the Queen’s Bath. The pool, so tranquil just moments ago, foamed and roiled, looking like it had been transformed into a piece of the ocean.
Umm, no. I guess not.
I wasn’t too bothered though. We’d found a safe-looking spot to sit and soak in the balmy air while watching the Pacific shimmer and dance in the afternoon sunlight. The pool returned to its former calm, only to be transformed back into a section of the sea every five minutes or so.
The sun caught the top of each crashing wave as it hurtled toward shore, creating a glowing rainbow in the spray that hovered above.
We’ve arrived in Paradise.