Kauai at night: The heart of darkness.

I thought I knew what dark looked like. Night is night, yes? Well, not exactly. I quickly learned that night on Kauai is a darkness like which I had never known before. It’s wonderful. But if you’re driving, be prepared. 

Shortly after we landed in Lihue from a long flight from the mainland, we found ourselves in an unfamiliar rental car on the road to the home we’d rented on the south shore for our stay. The highway is a good one, but you quickly discover that the speed limit is much slower than that which you might be used to back home. And for good reason. It’s not the widest road, but what you quickly notice once you leave town is how dark the night can be. I can only describe it as driving inside a black velvet bag. It’s that dark. If you’re tired from your flight, the big challenge is that the lights from oncoming traffic seem blinding on a moonless night. Add to that the fact that the roads are pretty narrow, and in many places, there is no shoulder to the road. In short, you have to concentrate and be on your game.

Oh, and know that chickens roam everywhere on Kauai. Even on the roads. 

So if you’re going to drive at night, be alert, be prepared, and if you just finished dinner, get some fresh air, and a cup of coffee or tea before getting behind the wheel might be a good idea. 

Once we got to the home we rented from the outstanding Parrish Collection (who we highly recommend), dropped our bags and got settled in, I took a walk in the back yard. It had been a long day, fraught with a missed flight, a five-hour flight and the drive to the south shore. But one look up into the stars on a moonless night changed everything. I am used to stargazing in an area of Southern California beset with light pollution.

By contrast, much of Kauai is free of so much civilization. Gazing upward to the heavens above Kauai is nothing less than stunning: on this cloudless night kissed with trade winds gently rustling the palm trees, I looked up at countless brilliant stars, planets and other stellar bodies gleaming like diamonds. I was left speechless.

Tired though I was, sleep suddenly became the last thing on my mind. The overwhelming darkness of the Kauai night gave me a front row seat at one of the most amazing views on earth. Suddenly, my travel stress evaporated. I was left speechless. I had arrived, and Kauai was working her magic. 

If you travel to Kauai, and I hope you will, remember to drive rested, alert and sober. And set aside time to find a beach, oceanside rocks or a special place away from light to stargaze. It might sound trivial. After all, there’s partying to do or TV to watch, right? My advice: skip that and go outside. You can drink or watch TV back home. But on Kauai, the most amazing sights of your life await you if you just look up. 

Black is indeed beautiful. On Kauai, even more so. 

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