Back where we started

On the last leg of our trip– headed to Roanoke!



Na Pali Coast


Yesterday we hopped on a catamaran and traveled 15 miles along the beautiful Na Pali Coast. We saw sea caves, fluted ridges and amazing waterfalls. We also saw dolphins (spinner and bottleneck), whales, turtles and many varieties of fish. Most of the group rode on the bow of the boat for the majority of the day and were lucky enough to see the dolphins swim directly under their feet. One of the highlights of the day was having lunch with a view of a filled-up lava tube and many turtles. After the boat ride, we went to the beach at the end of Waimea River, a river that carries a great deal of water that drains from the Alakai Swamp. The beach at the mouth is quite different from all of the white, coral beaches that we have seen on Kauai thus far; the beach is scattered with chunks of olivine (a great find since we couldn’t take samples from the green sand beach we saw on the big island) and basalt fragments. After the Waimea Beach, we ended the day by touring a coffee plantation and stopping by Spouting Horn (where waves push through an old lava tube and shoot water into the air). We also went to see The Great Gatsby for James Biemiller’s birthday. We’re headed back to the Na Pali today to hike a bit of the coast. A great way to spend our last full day in Kauai!

Class picture on our boat for the day.

2 spinner dolphins swimming directly under Stewart’s feet!

Part of the Na Pali, which means “the cliff” in Hawaiian.

A portion of the Na Pali made famous for being where a scene of Pirates of the Caribbean was shot. Look familiar?


Spouting Horn where waves push through an old lava tube and shoot water up into the air.

Happy birthday, James!!

Makauwahi Cave

Today we talked with Chuck Blay, a well-known Hawaiian geologist who has written books on both the Big Island and Kauai. Chuck gave us an overview of the geology of Kauai, and we specifically looked at the Makauwahi Cave (where a scene of Pirates of the Caribbean was shot). At the cave, he explained how the limestone formed and how the formation can tell us about past sea levels in the area. We then went to the beach near the cave where we looked at lithified sand dunes. Overall, today was just another great day on Kauai!

The class taking notes while listening to Chuck Blay.

Class picture in the cave.


Waimea Canyon, Alakai Swamp and Polihale Beach

We’ve been without internet and cell service for the past 2 days so apologies for the lack of updates. But while we’ve been out of touch with the outside world, we’ve been loving our time in the amazing Waimea Canyon!

Yesterday, we hiked 7 miles round-trip on the Alakai Swamp boardwalks to the Kilohana overlook. We got to hike through the clouds and even see some carnivorous plants. Today, we got the opportunity to help eradicate ginger, an invasive plant to Hawaii. We’re proud to say that we removed about 5,000 ginger bulbs in the Koke’e State Park! We then headed down to Polihale Beach, the largest (by volume) beach in Kauai, to watch the sunset.

The Waimea Canyon

Hike through the swamp.

Polihale Beach

Fun at the beach

Beautiful sunset at Polihale Beach

Shout out to Chef Hal for some great tacos!