After days and weeks of planning and research, I found myself on the Garden Island of Hawaii-Kauai, amidst some of the most scenic spots in the world like the the Na Pali coast (world's most beautiful coastline), the Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the Pacific), stunning beaches, picturesque waterfalls, impressive hiking trails and also the largest coffee plantation in the USA - the Kauai Coffee Company.
Initially the thought of taking a solo trip to Kauai was exciting but as I began my research, I was somewhat intimidated. I had downloaded the Kauai Shaka Guide App and was overwhelmed by the number of places one must visit on their first trip to Kauai. I had never driven in the US and did not plan to rent a car. Someone suggested that I could get around the island using a combination of bike and the local bus system. However, once I landed in Kauai and checked into my hotel (the Hilton Garden Inn, Kapaa), I was sadly informed by the hotel's concierge that buses in Kauai were not as reliable as I would have liked them to be. Also, they did not go everywhere on the island. After a few attempts of trying to figure out what bus number to take where, I gave up and hoped that some miracle would take place and I would still be able to see everything on the island. Surrendering my sightseeing plans in the invisible hands of Faith, I decided to focus on the two activities I had signed up for before leaving for Kauai-a photography workshop with Kauai Photo Workshops and a doors-off helicopter tour with Jack Harter Helicopters. I did send out a few emails trying to hire a day guide, but everybody was either busy or too expensive and the one person I could have toured the island with, was sick.
The doors off helicopter tour was simply amazing. I was enthralled by the beauty of the island as we circled the Waimea Canyon and flew over the beautiful Na Pali coast. After 60-65 minutes of being in the air, we safely landed at the Lihue airport where I ordered an Uber cab. I was still quite dazed by the helicopter tour when the cab pulled up before me. Seeing my Nikon D810 hanging around my neck, the Uber driver told me that he too had the same camera and started talking to me about cameras and photography. I told him that I was doing a photography workshop with Kauai Photo Workshops to which he replied that he had also done a workshop with them. As we continued to talk, it turned out that the driver whose name was Gerald, was in fact a professional photographer! I suddenly found myself asking him whether he would be interested in driving me around the island and also take pictures of me. I was not sure how much it would cost but I knew I couldn't afford more than $100. As if reading my mind, he said that if I could give him 100 bucks for the whole trip, he would be very happy to show me the island and also click my pictures! I was overjoyed! My silent prayer was answered! When he picked me up from the hotel a half an hour later, he told me that he had downloaded the Kauai Shaka Guide App (the same app I had referred to before flying to Kauai!) and that we would take the route that the app suggested! We did a complete tour of the North Shore of the island going up to Ke'e beach which is as far as the road goes on the north shore.
I have to mention here that as we were taking pictures, suddenly two full semi-circle rainbows formed in front of us. As Gerald clicked pictures of the rainbow, I almost had tears in my eyes because I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life! Then as we sat in the car the FM radio started playing, "Over the rainbow, where dreams come true!" Truly, the Universe was making my dreams come true! And Gerald said to me, "You have no idea how long I have waited for these rainbows....and this song....this song...it's part of the deal! What's happening here!"