Hana to Kuau Cove Paddle
Kevin K.L. Ching DDS

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"I guess you all made it OK! No body died right?" asked Paul the outfitter from Adventures in Paradise. We all were looking pretty much the same as when we left about a week before when Paul and Debbie dropped us off in Wainapanapa in a torrential downpour. We may have all looked the same, but we were not the same, glowing in an aura of mai ka'i.

The rain was just beginning to fall at Keanae as Paul and Debbie was delivering our kayaks and us to Hana. By the time we reached Wainapanapa, the rain was really coming down and we were totally saturated from head to toe as we downloaded our gear and kayaks off the truck. After setting up our tents, Paul asked if there was anybody who wanted to paddle from Koki beach to Wainapanapa. Looking at the cove, a large set was crashing on the coarse black sand sending flecks of white clouds up on the dark shore. Just then another squall was coming in and the horizon was totally grey. That sealed the decision with me, no way! But not for Maghna, Rusty, Doug, Andy, Jodie and Gary, they were apparently having a real serious paddling withdrawal and decided to paddle in the storm. Off they went leaving the rest of us to arrange the campsite, zipping up tent windows that were hastily left opened as the "Storm Riders" rushed off to their appointments with oblivion.

Wainapanapa Cave

When the Storm Riders returned to rainy Wainapanapa, the excitement of a wild ride wasn't enough, they needed one more rush before the sun went down, and that would take the form of a little spelunking. The "wet" cave at Wainapanapa is the stuff of legend, and many people have gone into the first chamber, but as I listened to Andy, Jodie and Gary get softer and softer as they went deeper and deeper into the wet cave, my interest was peaked. It was also getting darker and darker as dusk was about to begin. All of a sudden, the trio emerged at the top of the hill, looking like they had one heck of a climb through the mountain. When Andy and Jodie offered to take Ellen, Danny and myself through the same trip, I had second thoughts. After all, it was a lot darker now and the water looked bone-chilling cold, which was confirmed when I jumped in.
Fig. 1: Waianapanapa Cave front (section)We proceeded to the back of the cave and went under the rock ledge. (Figure 1) There the rocky platform where the legend says the Queen hid from the Alii is clearly visible. Proceeding to the very back of the 1st Chamber, we entered the puka at the back of the cave, feet first. A slide to the 2nd chamber lead to another cold shock in a surprisingly deep pool. We swam to the back of the 2nd chamber and proceeded through a small submerged opening in the back of the 2nd chamber. (Figure 2) where we had to swim under the rock ledge a short distance. Fig. 2: Waianapanapa Cave rear (section)The 3rd chamber was deep, and in the very end, there was a lava tube going up at a 45-degree angle, the rocky ascent to the last dry chamber. The upper opening of the cave was on the left on top of a 15-foot wall that required some rock climbing to descend from, to get back to the starting point. If you try this yourself, go with someone who has done the climb before, and take waterproof lights, it gets very dark in there!

Getting to the 2nd chamber was a tight fit for some! (125 Kb) Miles underground, Rusty and Jodi become suddenly blinded (125 Kb)

The launch at Wainapanapa

The waves were pounding on the shore with the same intensity as yesterday, and our kayaks were pointing towards the ocean anticipating the rough take-off. One by one the paddlers took off though the surf. As we waited for the group to join us outside of the cove, some 8-ft. ocean swells lifted the front of our kayaks. Before long, we all were on our way to the next campsite at Ulaino. Not wanting to stray far from the coast, we clung next to the lava formations that dotted the Hana coast. Turning one of the corners there was a nice lee that appeared to have a campsite with a freshly trimmed lawn. Could this be Ulaino? Andy went down to scout and it looked like he was ready to set up the next campsite, when I got a call over the radio from Maghna that a campsite was clearly visible around the next point. Signaling to Andy that we were going to the next cove I paddled on. Here now was Ulaino, the fishing village and site of the largest Heiau on Maui, which kayakers have nicknamed Fish Camp. The other campsite was someone's private property.

Bob had already landed in the mouth of a stream and was saying that he was going to stay there. To the left was Douglas, with his kayak high on a boulder beach. Of the two spots, the river mouth actually looked like there were larger swells in the shore break, so I choose to paddle down to where Douglas had landed.

The campsite had a fisherman's shed that proved to be a nice area to cook, but it was in such terrible condition, it's hard to imagine it will be there the next time we return. Most of the Hui choose the shed over the river mouth, and soon we were making our way over to where Maghna, Bob, and Gary were spending the night in the path of what seemed like an endless line of day-tourists visiting the Helele Ike Oha Falls, better known as the "Blue Pool". The Blue Pool is a beautiful pool that has a small waterfall surrounded by exotic flowering plants of red, yellow and blue. 'Ape and 'awapuhi added a very tropical appearance to the flora. The whole area appears carefully manicured causing Danny to say it looked like something out of Disneyland.

The Wailua Iki Adventure

The next morning, Gary wanted to be on the water by 8:00 AM so we all packed our kayaks and were underway. The paddle to Nahiku was slow as we examined all the caves that we could. The ocean was very busy, crashing into the cliffs. One cave was hidden in a cove that looked rough, but once we approached the entrance, it became clear that the deep and large cave was navigable. The rough Opuhano point revealed the large and calm Honolulunui bay at Nahiku, a broad and calm body of water. The next campsite was supposed to be Waiohue bay, but the 4-ft. break 25 yds off shore killed that idea. Gary had landed in a small bay earlier and wanted everyone to swim to shore to see a big pool close to shore. Maghna and I were more concerned about the next campsite so we paddled on. Along the way was a good sized pod of dolphin, and Maghna couldn't resist jumping in to swim with them.

After leaving the scouting group in the relative calm Honolulunui, I went ahead to look for Wailua Iki. Papiha point was bumpy and it looked like the next campsite was way off. Paddling past Makoloaka Island, I viewed the lee of the point and it looked calm! I radioed to Maghna that the landing was easy and soon they all joined me in the bay. Most people wanted to camp at the river bed on the right, while Francis, Wayne, Ellen, Doug T. and myself decided to camp on the steep rocky area on the left affectionately described by Maghna as the "grungy" side. The rain began to fall right on schedule at 6:00 PM and did not stop until about 8:00 PM.

The next morning, a group of us returned to Waiohue Bay, now nicknamed "Three Falls," to do some hiking and water fall climbing. The waves in the bay were still breaking outside the bay and careening in over rolling boulders, making the landing and launch a challenge. Gary, Rusty, Andy and Doug T. watch as Jodi helps Maghna recover her dignityIntimidated to the limit, we all still made it out safely. Later, we packed our kayaks and were off for the next paddle to Makaiwa bay.

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