This always happens to me when I’m on an island: I get to the last day and think, Crap, I haven’t spent nearly enough time in the water. Even if I’ve been in the water every day. It just seems like never enough.
Late this afternoon, after returning from a kayak trip up the Hanalei River (you can only go about two miles upstream until the water becomes too shallow to continue, but there are a couple of swimming holes along the way and it’s fun just to slo-o-o-w-ly paddle up this lazy river), I realized that this was it: My last afternoon on Kauai.
Fortunately for me, my hotel, the Ko`a Kea, fronts one of the best beaches on the island, Po`ipu. What I like about Po`ipu is that it’s got something for everyone. There’s a little protected bay right out in front that is perfect for kids and some excellent snorkeling around the point, and there’s even been some good surfing while I’ve been here.
While I was walking into the water I noticed some kids and their parents with their snorkeling gear heading into the water carrying a bag of frozen peas to feed the fish. The fish seem to love the peas but it isn’t really good for them since they’re not able to digest them.
If you feel like you really have to feed the fish (and I’ll admit it is fun to watch the colorful schools go crazy), either give them stale bread, sparingly squeezed through a hole in a sandwich bag, or, better yet, fish food available at pet shops or some drugstores. In any case, be sure not to leave the sandwich bags in the water as turtles, whose main source of protein is jellyfish, tend to confuse zip-lock bags with Portuguese man-o-wars.
Anyway, I got into the water and what did I do? Nothing. Just closed my eyes and floated on my back letting the small waves rock me about like a baby in a cradle while listening to the excited cries of children playing in the surf. Kayaking the Hanalei River, hiking Waimea Canyon, Zodiac tours along the Na Pali coast, an ATV trip to a hidden waterfall—it’s all good. But, frankly, nothing beats just bobbing along on your back in the ocean.