I am proud to say that Phil and I completed our personal challenge -sea kayaking almost 18 miles around the Na Pali coastline to land on Polihale Beach. This area is very remote with no services and only one beach landing for the day, which was at a beach designated only for kayakers. No way to hike or drive in! The entire day was an adventure I'll remember the rest of my life.
So here's the short version. We arrived at the beach around 6:30 and I knew right away I was probably the weakest link. Most were younger than us but it ended up that our strongest paddler was by far our oldest member - Jerry - around 65 years old and still running ultra marathons! We couldn't keep up with him! We launched from Haiena Beach park on the far northern area of Kauai to head around the point. As we headed out to sea in our tandem kayaks I will admit to being a bit fearful. There was no turning back at this point and we had been warned of seasickness, fatigue and sunburn. I wanted to finish the day well and it was a challenge to pace ourselves yet still keep up. As you can see above the first bit of sea was smoother but we were constantly riding 5 foot swells. We saw wonderful scenery and amazingly close views of pods of dolphins and many sea turtles and even the endangered Monk Seal, which is native to Hawaii. (he crawled right up on our beach!) We went into a sea cave and stopped here and there for a swim. I loved getting out of the kayak and swimming out in the open ocean. The water was so clear you could see all around you - it was amazing. UNTIL I tried to "Superman" my way back into the kayak and dunked Phil! Oh well, he needed to get in for a swim anyway! We would capsize two more times that day! We stopped for a break nearer our lunch site - about 8 miles into the day - in a sea cave without a top, if that makes sense. It was beautiful. But when we came out we had to go straight out to sea because of a reef we were trying to avoid. We were on the windward side of the island and the wind had picked up, making it about a medium chop. We were also near a cliff, which meant the waves bounce back and you catch them from both directions. I didn't feel like we were making much progress and then when we got tipped over by a wave I really struggled to get back in with all of the waves around us. I don't have any pics of this part of our journey as we were struggling just to paddle!
This is a picture of our secluded beach. The only people there were kayakers - and at 11 miles from the nearest put in point there weren't many of them there. We found tons of beautiful shells and had a great lunch of fresh pineapple (out of this world) and sandwiches. Phil and I hunted for shells, walked around and reapplied our sunscreen. By this time it was unbelievably hot. We were on the west side of the island and it was about 1:00. Only 1 1/2 hours of paddling to go, and it was fairly smooth, but we were exhausted. It was the hardest paddling of the day and the beach seemed like it was SO far away! The sun and wind were scorching hot and my arms were so sore. This is the part of the trip that Phil and I had to really focus to finish. (I don't guess we had a choice but it was hard to keep going) I had to make myself count in sets of 200 strokes and promise myself a respite afterwards. We jumped out one more time to swim and then - finally - we approached Polihale and made a "surf landing", which seemed fairly simple with some help. We had done it! I was so amazed that I could do this very physically taxing thing given how sick I had been in the past two years. Even tired, hot and sore, I was proud and thrilled.
We showered, changed and piled into the van for the two hour trip back to our cars. You can believe I bought the tshirt and when you see me wear it, know that I wear it proudly and with thanksgiving for a healthy body and a strong husband! :) Seriously, last night was killer. I thought maybe I had broken something in one of my arms, but a little med, a hot bath and some sleep and I am still sore but fine. Today was a slow day as a result, but we had an adventure not many people will ever have and I am really amazed by that. This may not make sense to you, but I really did enjoy the creation of God that is my body during this adventure. I am thankful that I am strong and healthy enough to do all of this. I can only say WOW! Thanks for your prayers!
We will be home Saturday night!