3/26: Kauai’s Great Beaches & Pineapple Dump!

Family and friends,

After spending the first few days of our Hawaii vacation on the island of Kauai’s North Shore, Steven and I headed to some of the island’s most beautiful beaches located on the East Side. In our short time on the island already, we found out that each beach had its own ‘personality’ and often attracted different followers and fans depending on whether people wanted to swim, sunbathe, surf, use bodyboards, snorkel, etc. Before coming to Hawaii, I sort of thought that all the beaches would at least be good for sunbathing at the very least but that wasn’t the case as some had very shallow beach areas or especially rocky beachfront. Two that were OMG stunning to look at, though, were Kahili and Donkey beaches even if neither was easy to get to! I hope you’ll enjoy YOUR mini beach vacation.

All the best to you and your loved ones,


Call me ignorant but I wasn’t aware of how mountainous so much of the state of Hawaii is until we spent some time on the island of Kauai. Some photos from our last morning stroll from our condo on the island’s North Shore: 

Steven and I walked along the same golf course paths we had been on the previous morning hoping to see more of the albatrosses doing their mating dance. All we saw, however, was a very officious golf course employee who said he’d have to call the authorities on us as we weren’t allowed to be there. Pooh on him – guess his bad karma worked as there were no albatrosses in the mating mood!

One of the more deserted beaches we found on Kauai was Kahili down a very steep and winding gravel road. Kahili was Hawaiian for “rock quarry” as the beach on Kilauea Bay was once an interisland steamer landing and a rock quarry. Typical of pretty well all the beaches we’ve managed to find on each of the islands on this trip, there was rarely any signage for any of them even though all beaches are public according to state law. 

Steven was content to just sit and read but I got antsy after a couple of hours and began exploring.

It wasn’t apparent from the middle of the beach where we’d plopped ourselves initially that there was a stream estuary way to the left. It couldn’t have been easy to clamber over the rocks to access the ribbon of water and then the sandy beach but I saw some trying. 

I wish I could remember what this tree in the middle was as I found it so striking. There are millions of them all over the state, too. It may be an acacia but don’t hold me to it.

I then walked to the other end of the beach and was thinking of walking on the rocks until the crashing waves made me think better of it.

As we headed down Kauai’s East Side toward our next property rental in Lihue on the island’s South Shore, we stopped at Kealia Beach. A sign by these bushes proclaimed this was an official historic burial site and preserved as part of the state’s heritage but there was no indication as to who was buried there.

Rather than being beach bums on Kealia right away, we took advantage of the shared-use coastal path that connected Kealia to Donkey Beach further north. The path was known as Ke Ala Hele Makalae and followed the railbed used by one of the largest plantations on the island.

After spending the last three weeks on three islands in the state of Hawaii, we became enchanted with some of the place names we came across as they just rolled off the tips of our tongues. One of my favorites was Kumukumu Stream that we walked over.

A signpost indicated that traditional native Hawaiian agricultural practices involved the production of several staple crops – taro, sweet potato, yam, coconut, banana, and sugarcane – that sustained both commoners and ali’i or royalty. These and secondary crops were planted both along the wet inland valleys and the coast where freshwater springs and streams collected. Captain James Cook and other early European visitors to Hawaii described the Kauai’s bountiful agricultural landscape in 1778 thus: “the higher ground furnishes sweet potatoes that often weigh ten and sometimes fourteen pounds.” He added, “What we saw of their agriculture furnished sufficient proofs that they are not novices in that art.”

As we’d seen elsewhere around the world when foreigners arrive in new lands, the native Hawaiian population shrank drastically in the 1800s as a result of smallpox and other diseases brought by foreigners. When new settlers acquired large tracts of land from the ruling royal families, it dramatically altered the landscape of the islands and old-style farming methods were abandoned. Newly created plantations began planting sugarcane and pineapples that were exported around the world. That prompted the need for dependable large-scale irrigation systems, farmworkers from all over Asia, mechanized farm and processing equipment, and later railroads and harbor facilities.

Teams of bullocks and mules initially transported sugarcane, the most widely grown crop, from fields to the mill and then to the docks before small-gauge railroads came into the picture. 

The Pono Pineapple Cannery in nearby Kapa’a filled as many as three railroad cars a week with waste from trimming pineapples. When the sugar plantation workers in the town of Lihue rested on Sundays, a steam locomotive from a cane train was used to bring the pineapple waste to this concrete pier and toss everything into the ocean. Known as the Pineapple Dump, unfavorable winds and currents pushed the floating pineapple debris back to Kapa’a. I could just imagine the foul stench and terrible mess as the debris washed up on the town beaches.

After quite a long walk along the magnificent coastal path, we finally reached our destination of Donkey Beach. It got its unusual name from the Lihue Plantation Company which used to maintain a herd of mules and donkeys in a pasture next to the beach!

Phil: Guess we’ll need to figure out how to change these up after your comment on a previous post!

The view looking back toward Kealia Beach where we’d started our walk:

Back at Kealia Beach, we found a half-mile-long gorgeous sandy beach that was a favorite for locals who love to sunbathe, surf, and use bodyboards. Because of the combination of northeasterly winds, no protective reef, and rough waters, the beach isn’t generally considered great for swimming. We’d hoped to spot some whales as Kealia is supposed to be a prime whale-watching venue but we didn’t see any.  

Lots of local families had parked their trucks and set up tents and grills at one end of the beach. Unlike other beaches, there were also quite a few dogs at Kealia but the beach was so large, that didn’t matter to us.

Before checking into our next rental we detoured north to Wailua Falls. Located at the south end of the Wailua River, the falls cascade into two streams, dropping anywhere from 80 feet to 200 feet below depending on whom you talk to! The vast difference may be because the size and appearance of the falls are determined by the amount of rainfall farther up the mountains.

If you were ever a fan of the long-running television show Fantasy Island, you may remember seeing Wailua Falls in the opening credits! I read that the falls are just one of the spectacular spots on Kauai used as film locations.

Our condo in Lihue in southern Kauai for the next five nights overlooked a pretty but tiny lake.

When we went out for pizza that night, Steven made sure to try a local beer, his custom when we travel.

Next post: A boat tour of Napali Coast, Kauai’s jewel!

Posted on April 11th, 2022, our last night here on the island of Hawaii and the end of this fantastic three-week adventure. We’re off to San Francisco tomorrow for four nights so we can spend time with our son and his family, but really our almost 23-month-old granddaughter, Max!


4 thoughts on “3/26: Kauai’s Great Beaches & Pineapple Dump!

  1. Those beaches look lovely! I’m not one for lying on a beach but they look great for walks and photos, which I do enjoy 🙂 And I think you’re probably correct that the tree is an acacia – the shape is very distinctive.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s