Ganesha scuttles my sunset sail

The historic one-way Hanalei Bridge. Photo by David Lansing.

Well, obviously Ganesha and his gang of Hindu gods are still pissed at me for taking photos of the Kauai monastery temple. Things just seem to be going from bad to worse. The fact that I couldn’t get into my room at the Hanalei Colony Resort for several hours was just a minor inconvenience compared to what happened next.

Yesterday I was supposed to go out on a sunset sail aboard a traditional Hawaiian sailing canoe with Trevor Cabell who owns Island Sails Kauai. Trevor keeps his sailing canoe moored just off the beach in front of the St. Regis hotel in Princeville which is only about four miles down the road from my hotel (I can see it from my lanai). Normally you’d give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to go that distance, right? But the thing is that not only is most of the road a very narrow two-lane country affair but between the resort and Princeville there are at least six one-way bridges you have to cross (seven if you count the double L-shaped bridges over the Wainiha River).

Trevor had told me to look for his red canoe on the beach just north of the resort and be there by 5:30. So I figured I’d leave my hotel at five (to drive four miles) to make sure I wasn’t rushed. So here’s the deal with the bridges: You stop in front of them and have a long, hard look to make sure no one is coming the other way, and then you cross. If cars are coming the other way, you wait. Island etiquette says after five or six cars pass over a bridge one way, you stop and let cars going the other direction pass over. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, but generally everyone is pretty laid-back about things and you get a lot of shaka signs flashed from drivers on each side of the bridge.

I only mention this because even on Kauai’s North Shore, there is what amounts to rush-hour traffic around five on a weekday so it’s not the best time to be making your way over the bridges if you’re in a hurry. Which I didn’t think I was until I realized I’d been driving for half an hour and I still hadn’t cross the Hanalei Bridge, which is the last (and, I think, the prettiest). Anyway, by the time I got to the St. Regis, I was late. And then I had to find parking (they allow public access to the beach but the only parking lot is a little dirt affair outside of the resort that can handle maybe ten cars max). Luckily for me, a local surfer was just pulling out so I was able to grab a space. Then I started following the signs to the beach, bounding down the stairs in a half-run, only to realize there were a shit-load of stairs. To be exact, 240 (I counted them on the way back). When I finally made it down to the beach, it was about 5:45. I immediately spotted Trevor’s red sailing canoe just off the beach. But no Trevor.

I sat on the sand and waited and waited, watching the sun slowly sink over Hanalei Bay. A truly spectacular sunset. But not aboard a Hawaiian sailing canoe. Trevor never did show up so after the sun went down, I trudged slowly up those 240 stairs from the beach and back to my rental car. Knowing full well that Ganesha, that little punk elephant god, was laughing his trunk off at my mishaps.

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1 comment

  1. Angeline’s avatar

    I really have to thank you for your sufferings so that I can be spared when I’m there next month. I would have taken photos in the monastery too, were it not for you. Whew! I’ve been saved from the wrath of Ganesha. And by the way…could you send me copies of the monastey photos? I figure I shouldn’t have a problem looking at them second hand….or would I?
    Never mind.

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