Kauai: Our Last Day

We dropped our hostess off at the airport early on our last day on Kauai.  We were taking the overnight flight so had a full day to spend on the south side of the island.

We stopped first at the Kauai Museum.  We learned that the Polynesians were early inhabitants on Kauai.  They purposefully brought in pigs, dogs and chickens around 400 AD.  They accidentally brought rats.

These poi stones are unique because of the handle.  This type has been found only in the Marquesas and on  Kauai. Archeologists use artifacts such as these to show Polynesian migration.   (Side note on poi:  We learned that poi should be allowed to ferment and that is how locals eat and enjoy it.  Poi served to tourists in luaus is generally not fermented.)

In Polynesian history, men and women did not eat together and women did not eat pigs.  Women did the weaving (and probably a lot of other things!) and men were the farmers, birders, boat builders and warriors.

Royal capes were decorated with thousands of feathers from four native birds.  The birds were humanely trapped and only a few feathers were taken from each so as to do no harm.  Unfortunately, at least one of those native bird species went extinction in the 1830s due to mosquitos.  

Another native bird, the nene, was about 25,000 strong in the late 1700s.  Due to hunting and introduced predators, the nene was almost extinct in the 1950s with only 30 remaining birds.  The nene has rebounded well with intervention and has upgraded to “threatened” with just under 4000 birds worldwide.

There is physical and anecdotal evidence that Hawaiians were surfing centuries ago!

For better or worse, Captain Cook landed in January 1778.  The native peoples thought he was the Hawaiian God of Peace. When Cook returned again in 1779, the people had figured out he was not a benevolent god and killed him and some of his men.

Then the missionaries came. The families of some stayed for generations and became part of the power structure of the islands.

Communities of Chinese, Filipino and Portuguese workers were developed – primarily to work in the sugar plantations. (The Portuguese brought the ukulele to the islands.) We visited one of those former plantations for the rest of our activities of the day!

We went to the Kilohana Plantation for a rum tour, train ride and luau!

We joined the guide and our fellow rum tasters in the buggy.

We drove by a stand of rainbow eucalyptus.

We walked deep into the tropical forest…. well kind of deep.

We found our first rum sampling.  

We had small samples of gold, dark, vanilla and sugar, coconut and chocolate rum. The first two weren’t very good and the last two were quite tasty!

I don’t remember what this drink was, but it had rum in it and was delicious!

Randy looks like he enjoyed it too.

We saw a few sights from our buggy along the way. 

We learned that pigs outnumber humans 7:1 on Kauai!  There are about 400,000 feral pigs posing environmental problems. Control measures are being considered.  

There is no current attempts to control the Kauai chickens!  

This was our second rum sampling destination

We had passion fruit, orange and tumeric daiquiris – and chips and chocolate. Afternoon snack of champions!

We were returned to the 1935 plantation house to await our next adventure – a ride on the Kewahuana Train.  A 1948 diesel from Colorado pulls the cars over 3.5 miles of track around the former plantation. 

Sugar plantation were agriculturally and economically significant on Kauai. Production began in 1835 and by 1910 there were ten massive plantations on the island. Over time other countries produced cheaper sugar because of proximity to where it was needed. 

This plantation stopped producing sugar in the 1970s. There is no more sugar cane grown on any of the Hawaiian islands – the last being on Maui in 2018. .

Currently 105 acres of the plantation’s land is operated under long term leases. The subcontracting independent farmers are trying to farm diverse crops in sustainable ways.  Currently Hawaii imports 90 percent of its food. 

Our last activity was a luau held on the plantation grounds. Fortunately it was held in a covered space!

We were additions to a table of luau VIPs. Nearly every luau performer and staff came by to speak with them at some point. The family was very gracious and included us in their conversations. The patriarch of the group was playing in the band, as he has been for decades.

.The main course was, of course, shredded pork!  It was delicious but at this point in the week, we’d had shredded pork several times.

We enjoyed the singers and dancers…

but we especially enjoyed this little girl enjoying the dancers!

Following the luau we headed to the airport and our red-eye flight to Phoenix. Despite the rain, our week on Kauai was great. Our flight home…..not so much…..but we survived it to nap the next day!

About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
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5 Responses to Kauai: Our Last Day

  1. Mark McClelland says:

    Looks like you guys covered all of the bases in Kauai. Unfortunately introduced plants and animals have eliminated most of Hawaii’s native flora and fauna, but it’s great to see the recovery of their Goose. Was the flight home just the normal annoying long flight, or was there something “extra” that made it even less fun?

  2. Teri McClelland says:

    The rainbow trees are beautiful. We see them a lot when we’re in Central America.
    You had a jam-packed trip!

  3. tinkersimmons says:


  4. A passion fruit, orange and tumeric daiquiri sounds yummy.

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