Aloha! I feel the need to clarify something on this blog. I have posted quite a few pictures of Casey expressing herself freely on this trip, mostly because we find them hilarious. But we only find them hilarious because, actually, she is having a great time. And we are having a wonderful time with her! Yes, she has needed a bit more downtime than the rest of her troops. And she doesn’t seem to be as overwhelmed with as much gratitude and appreciation as her mom and dad when forced to check out places like Spouting Horn or the Waimea Canyon. But, she loves the ocean! She loves getting dressed up so that the four of us can “go places” for dinner. And she definitely loved our tubing adventure on Day 14! We all did!
I had heard about this guided tour on Facebook a couple years ago and added it to my mental list of “Things We Must Do On Our 2017 Hawaiian Adventure Trip.” After I signed up our family about a month ago, I read somewhere just last week that the tour down an old sugar plantation ditch on tubes in somewhat frigid water was not the most exciting experience; ‘you go pretty slow and there aren’t a lot of things to see’. Now that I’ve experienced this myself, I’ve decided that whoever wrote that must be named Debbie Downer and think ice cream isn’t delicious too.
It helps that Casey got the royal (what we affectionately call the “Down Syndrome”) treatment the entire time. Our wonderful guide, who looked ALOT like Dwayne The Rock Johnson (swoon!😍) let Casey sit in his seat up front while we rode in a van for 30 minutes on dirt roads throughout beautiful fields in Hamamaulu near Lihue. The former sugar fields are now owned by Steve Case (AOL founder) with the irrigation ditches and tunnels hand dug in the early 20’s by field workers who dug 3-5 feet a day in the hard clay for just a few cents a day. Tubing down these ditches and through multiple tunnels in “refreshing” water, we used our head lamps to see in the very, very dark tunnels. Casey was again well taken care as another sweet guide held on to her tube and chatted her up the entire ride. She felt like the Queen Bee for sure. I tried to imagine what it was like living and working on these ditches and in these fields; hard labor and difficult living conditions surrounded by absolutely breathtaking views. It was a little sobering, so I quickly went back to enjoying the sight of Casey up ahead in the front of the pack laughing and talking with our guide.
We finished the ride down in about an hour-the perfect amount of time for Casey as it turns out. Her smile was fading into a very familiar hungry/tired expression by the time we exited the river. The guides presented us with an American style luau-salami and ham sandwiches with chips and homemade cookies at a beautiful spot in the valley, before we headed back to town. We really had a wonderful time and it was a nice change of scenery from the long, pristine white beaches of Thursday and incredible canyon vista views of Friday.
Even though we had quite a bit of packing to do, we ditched it all so that the boys could go surfing and the girls could get some pampering. Casey and I treated ourselves to some pedicures while the boys took a surf lesson from Kauai Surf School. They had a fabulous time and apparently the boys “have some talent” according to their instructor, Alex. Being told that you could get really good if you surfed 4 times a week for a month was not what Mike needed to hear. It’s a good thing we were leaving in the morning to head to the Big Island, where the surfing isn’t quite as good, otherwise we might have been investing in a surfboard.