Aha! it's Kuiaha
Paddling past the cliffs of this section was reminiscent of the area of Molokai before Mo’omomi -- low cliffs, dry and weathered with boulder beaches. We reached Pilale where we pulled our boats onto a steep boulder beach and had lunch. Pilale has an extensive heiau with decent campsites in the grassy area behind the boulders and a very dry streambed, but the decision was to continue on to the unknown bay 6 miles down the coast. The winds were now to our backs, and Francis and Wayne were flying their kites while Doug and I took the lead, not really knowing where our final destination would be. When we got to a very prominent point, I suggested that we wait for Doug to catch up since it looked like Pauwela Point except there was no lighthouse. Sure enough, it was the point that Doug remembered and we pulled in past the large guardian rocks at the mouth of the bay. The rocks are known as Wehiwehi, the guardian stones that the inhabitants of the bay and the gulch would study from their village on the slopes of Haleakala to get an idea of the ocean conditions. We landed and saw nicely trimmed grass. We were finally going to sleep on grass in an area where we would be able to dry our tents. To the right of our campsite was a natural spring in the cliff and some of the paddlers filled their water bottles.
Immediately to the side of our tents was a really toxic-looking pond filled with pea-soup colored water. With our tents pitched and dinner served, there was a jubilant sense that rippled through the campsite. The maika’i feeling was temporarily interrupted by a cow’s moo, at first faintly and then a second more distinct bellow. Not paying much attention to the calls of stray cows, I looked up on the hill and saw 5 Black Angus steers watching us. Soon there were 5 more, then 10 more, and then 10 more, and they were all heading towards our campsite to get to the water. We were apparently camping in the herd’s sleeping area! Down the hill came cows, bulls, and their keiki, some the size of a compact SUV, splashing in the toxic pond and drinking the water. Some of the herd went up to the spring to drink but most of the cattle preferred the stagnant pond for their bathing and drinking needs. The herd was soon becoming large enough that they were encroaching close to Andy’s tent - they were running out of space in the pond. All of a sudden, just as gently as they came, the lead bull took the herd back up the hill. Andy had a large present from one of the animals that was standing by his tent. That night I discovered the name of the bay, Kuiaha.
Mama’s, Here We Come
The next morning, nobody had to tell us to get going as we all packed our kayaks and headed to Mama’s Fish House in Kuau. The wind was light in the morning, coming directly from behind, and I decided to fly my kite. It turned out to be a good decision because, by the time we reached Ho'okipa, the wind was whipping and I was really moving. Turning into Mama’s was tricky because now the waves were picking up and there was a “Trust me, Doug. This is the route we have to take” says Gary. Cave at Makaiwa small channel between the breaks which varied in size. But if you kept an eye out for the prominent blue roof of Mama’s, you couldn’t get lost.
After washing down our kayaks, our attention turned to eating! We were hungry and ready to consume food in mass quantities. Some of us ate at Mama’s Fish House (where the fare was raved about) and the more budget-conscious took a walk down the highway to Kuau Market. When we arrived at the tiny shop, Aunty took one look at us with our unshaven faces and asked, “You guys from Hana? ‘cause your Councilman stay right here!” pointing to a man serving plate lunches. Apparently, he came to pay a visit to Aunty and ended up lending a hand. “How much for the plate lunch?” I asked curiously. Aunty told us $4.75 and we could ask for all three entrees (shoyu chicken, fried fish, and hamburger steak), potato salad, and all the scoops of rice we could eat. The shoyu chicken was really ono, and the quantity was bambucha size. That night we all slept well.
The next morning Debbie and Paul came rambling down the back road to pick us up. As we headed to the airport, I reflected about the paddle. It was a trip that had elements of adventure that we do not experience on a typical neighbor island trip. The conditions of the campsites, or if we could even land at our take-outs were uncertain. Some of the sea caves that were readily navigable in the past were awash in white water, and the land was extremely dry despite the torrential rains that appeared at Waianapanapa, Wailua Iki, and Makaiwa, making our water supplies very limited. Large houses in the middle of nowhere occasionally broke the otherwise breathtaking scenery (one house looked like it was a turret from an English castle). It was a paddle of unexpected and bountiful adventures. One thing was certain, though - the week sure went by fast!