On Wednesday we ventured to the North side of the island, about an hour away, to see my dad's friends Dick and Noreen. They own a condo in Princeville and stay about 2 or 3 months every year. They fed us lunch, showed us around their place, and then we all ventured on to Ke'e Beach at the very end of the road. It's wild and lovely and everything you would think Hawaii should be. My snorkeling boys -- all three of them -- saw sea turtles, and Tim and Tucker saw 3 reef sharks, about 4 feet long each. Tim wanted to stay and check them out, but sensible Tucker retreated quickly -- good boy! We had dinner at Bubba's Burgers, where they had a picture of Steven Tyler on the wall from his visit to Kauai. I loved Bubba's before seeing Aerosmith's lead singer on the wall of fame, but love it even more now.
Yesterday we stayed close to home, rented surfboards, played in the water, and cooked dinner at our condo. And we decided that Dick and Noreen were our Wednesday and Thursday friends. Today we followed a crude map to Kipu Falls. We didn't have too much trouble finding the spot, and there were many others there to enjoy the falls and the rope swing as well. I'll post pictures when I return, but I have to tell you that I jumped off a 25 foot cliff into the water and I couldn't have been any more scared before I jumped, or more happy after I did it. Of course, the rest of my family jumped off the same cliff with no shaking legs or thumping hearts -- that's my adventurous clan for you. And they all also jumped off the rope swing. But Austin set himself apart from the bunch when he climbed 60 feet up into a banyan tree and jumped into the water. He wanted to do it in the worst way, and being the agile, coordinated boy/man that he is, we decided to let him try. And our friend for today, though he doesn't know it, is the local boy who climbed the tree many times before Austin did and by his successful jumps, assured us that it could be a safe thing to do.
You should have seen Austin's face as he came out of the water. He has a wonderful smile in normal times, but this smile was extraordinary! He told us he was more scared than he's ever been as he looked down from the tree, and that he couldn't breathe as he jumped off the branch. But it was almost like a rite of passage for him, where he faced his fear and did it anyway.