Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kauai: Sailing and Whale Watching

One thing that we really wanted to do with the kids (the older 2 anyway) was take them whale watching. Steve and I did that in Maui last January and while it was extremely different because we were in an old outrigger canoe without a motor... we enjoyed it so much that we just knew the kids would love it.  So, Steve's mom and Barry came over early that morning to watch Cohen and Kelan for us.  (SO thankful for them!!)  We booked a 6 hour whale watching trip that went up the Napali coastline on the west side of Kauai.  We had breakfast and lunch on the trip and stopped to snorkel once too.

Here are Kanyon and Scarlett once we had set off.  It was early in the morning, so a little cool.  But it warmed up right away and was a perfect day to be on the water. 
We had stopped at the spot to snorkel, but Steve was the only one that did it.  I'm not a fan of snorkeling really and Scarlett doesn't know how.  Kanyon had learned at swim lessons before we came on the trip, but he was not into snorkeling in the cold water.  ;)  He's our comfort kid for sure.
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While Dad and everyone else on the boat were in the water snorkeling, the Captain told the kids that they could break the rules for a minute while we were stationary in the water and jump on the trampolines on the front of the boat.  :)
Of course they took him up on that! 
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We did get to see a huge turtle right off the boat while we were waiting and the kids thought that was cool.  This was one of the times I was wishing I had brought my big lens, but I didn't because I really didn't want to be worried about it the whole time.  So, the big turtle doesn't look so big here with his little head poking out of the water.
Right after leaving the snorkeling spot, we came across hundreds and hundreds of dolphins.  I have never seen so many in my life and the kids were in awe and just squealing with excitement.  I wish I had gotten a picture, but I was so mesmerized that I didn't want to run grab the camera and miss even a second of it.  They were Hawaiian spinner dolphins, so they were jumping and spinning a lot.  They were swimming right underneath the trampolines that we were sitting on with the kids in the front of the boat.  The Captain said there was actually about 5-6 dolphins below the surface of the water for every one that we could see above it.  That means that there was probably a couple thousand there.  Honestly, that was such a fun experience, I would have been happy to not have even seen one whale at that point! (although we did, and many!) 

And the gorgeous scenery begins!!  There were tons of places where they pointed out that Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Carribean had been filmed.  These pictures really don't do it justice...
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We met a nice family on the boat when we first got on there... they were so sweet, always looking out for us and making sure we had a seat for the kids, etc when we needed it. The picture below is of Kanyon talking to the dad.
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You can see this little cave-like tunnel part carved out in the rock in the photo below... that was one spot that they mentioned Pirates of the Carribean, but I don't remember which of the movies now.
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I had only seen the Napali coast by helicopter the first time we ever came to Kauai (you can see that here)... but by boat it is a much different experience.  Aside from hiking, those are the only two ways you can even see this side of the island.  One day I'll hike it, I'm sure... once these babies of mine grow up a bit more.
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The trampolines... where we spent most of the time.  
It was specifically for whale watching and I didn't take one picture of the whales either... we saw a ton though.  Lots of little babies too.  We saw one that was so new that it was the lightest color the Captain said he'd ever seen.  The lighter they are, the newer they are... so this baby was fresh.  :)  I wasn't surprised that the mama with it was being really protective.  
I was surprised at how well the kids did because they were by far the youngest on the boat (mostly tweens and teens if any kids were there) and 6 hours is a long time out on the water.  No sea sickness either and we didn't even take Dramamine.  I'm so grateful for Brenda and Barry for offering to watch the little ones so the kids could experience this with us!  It was such a fun day with them!  Definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

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