Beyond the Ripcurl (Hawaii Pt. 2)

(Part 1 of this trip can be found in my prior post, Don’t Be Salty, Brah.)

The Na Pali coast, which is on the north end of Kauai island, is very mountainous and very beautiful.  Tourists just flock to the area for the big waves and the trail hiking.  The hike around the edge of the mountain range right along the coast goes for miles, with many lookouts that pepper the trail.  Initially I had a hard time challenging the trail as I get some vertigo with heights, but after forcing myself to face the problem I was able to get through our hike with some conviction.


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It was impossible to not get a good shot in this area.  The waves hit the mountains so aggressively that it created a huge mist spray.  What I failed to capture was some of the more intense parts of the trail, where little mountain streams and dense canopies would sop layers of smooth rock.  Had to channel our inner billy goats for those situations.


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Post trail, my buddy took us to an overlook that was much closer to the crags and crashing waves.  We thought that we were at a safe enough height to look over the maelstrom, but soon the waves were kissing our shoes.

You can imagine how dangerous it can be there if you’re not careful.

The picture below is of the bottom of an uprooted tree, with a crashing wave in the background.


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This trip would not be complete without some camping.  My friends took me to Waimea on the west side of the island, which is known for it’s giant canyons.  The Waimea canyons are known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  The canyons were carved into the land through volcanic lava.  That’s a LOT of lava.


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As somebody who has never seen the Grand Canyon in person, I was absolutely stunned with how vast the view was.  We spent half of our time at the lookouts trying to spot goats bouncing around, 500 meters below us.

Exposure was tough.  Lots of shadows, lots of light extremes.  I was fortunate enough to nail the panorama above with balanced exposure, sun somewhat behind me.

Camping was another amazing experience.  I was curious at how camping would be on a tropical island.


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What I (and perhaps we) didn’t expect were rats and boars. We encountered rats inspecting our food, who were not perturbed by our presence whatsoever.  Once we went to bed, we heard boars roll into our campsite, snorting all around our tent.


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The last experience I documented below are from the last day of my visit, where we drove up the east side of the island for one last day trip.  We spent some time at Kalihiwai Beach, which was rather choppy that day.  The waves were so extreme that the tide snuck up on us so quickly that Mike nearly lost his slippers.


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Lots of tourists were there with 500mm lenses.  I don’t understand (I don’t think they do either).

Anyways, the atmosphere was very cinematic.  Absolutely one of my favorite parts of the trip.

The shot below is from Tahiti Nui, the famous bar/restaurant that was included in The Descendants with George Clooney.  The Mai Tais ARE amazing.


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2 thoughts on “Beyond the Ripcurl (Hawaii Pt. 2)

  1. Misty says:

    Bryan, this is absolutely stunning. Both your photography and your narration.
    Thank you for sharing and for being such a dear friend to The Berries! 🙂

    Warm Regards,

    1. Bryan Johns says:

      Thanks for taking the time to look at the blog! I really appreciate the kind words 🙂 Hope you are well!

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