Is it moving? No, it's just the memory imbedded in your eyes!

A woman looks at an optical illusion at the Optikpark in Rathenow, Germany. Photo: Michael Urban

Kauai, Hawaii (August 2006)

Last August I had the pleasure of going to Kauai, which is one of the more undeveloped Hawaiian Islands. It boasts as being the wettest place on earth, receiving 180 inches of rain annually on the peaks of its mountains. The second day of our trip we hiked the Kaualua Trail up to the waterfalls, an 8 mile hike that is almost impossible to complete during the wet season. Fortunately, August is the dry season so we were blessed with warm temps and very little rain (but when it did rain, wow!, unlike anything I have ever seen). We stopped at Hanakapiai Beach which has claimed more lives than any other Hawaiian Beach (see photo of sign, this isn't a joke). I can see how people could die hear. The beach is narrow, maybe 100 meters, and has a very steep shoreline with steep cliffs on either side. I can almost picture an innocent tourist standing on the edge of the beach as a rogue wave comes crashing in on the fun and sweeps the unsuspecting tourist into the sea. Once in the ocean the rip currents move quickly because of the steepness of the shore and a person would be quickly dragged parallel to the beach until they reached the cliffs, at which point they would no longer be able to climb to safety and would eventually drown. What a hellish way to go out. Anyway, Kauai is a magical place. We snorkeled with green sea turtles who would come within inches of my face at times. Ate some very strange fruit that was impossible to chew, much like bubble gum, it never quite broke down. Mixed with some of the local surfers who demanded that I give them my savored "electricity" shirt in exchange for one of their hand painted t-shirts, which apparently gave entry into their coveted circle of rough edged surfers. Kauai was a trip I'll not forget soon.
Note: click on images to enlarge, it's worth it!