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Up a Royal River

Hawaii Special: Kauai

Kayaking the Wailua, an ancient waterway with grottoes, rope swings

March 23, 1997|STEVE BRYNES | Brynes is a freelance photojournalist living in Rockville, Md

That night, our last in Hawaii, we dined at Brennecke's Beach Broiler in Poipu Beach. The steak, seafood and service were outstanding.

Leaving the restaurant, we fell in behind young honeymooners and heard them agree to endure a time-share pitch to obtain a half-price fare on a helicopter ride. My wife whispered an idea to me. Catching up with the couple, we offered them a book with coupons that might allow them a similar fare without the sales spiel. They excitedly accepted.

We wistfully relinquished our Entertainment Discount Book for Hawaii. "After the helicopter ride, see if you can't find a coupon for kayaking," we told them. "There are some good memories waiting for you on the Wailua."

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GUIDEBOOK

Kayaking Kauai

Getting there: There's connecting service only from Los Angeles to Lihue, Kauai, changing planes in Honolulu. Fly Hawaiian Airlines all the way, or take any other nonstop service to Honolulu, connecting to Hawaiian or Aloha Airlines. Round-trip fares begin at about $410, including taxes.

Kayak rentals: Most kayak rental companies in Kauai have a daily rate of $45 to $55 for a two-person kayak and $25 to $35 for a single. Generally, the charge includes the kayak, life jackets, paddles and car-rack setup. If not included in the price, coolers and dry packs (to protect cameras and other valuables) are available for a small fee.

We rented from Wailua River Kayak Adventures (310 Kihapai St., Kapaa; telephone [808] 822-5795, fax [808] 822-2148) primarily because they delivered the kayak, fully outfitted, to the Wailua River. The daily rate was $50.

Among other companies that have kayak rentals: Outfitters Kauai, 2827 A Poipu Road, Poipu Plaza, Koloa; tel. (808) 742-9667. Kayak Kauai, 1340 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, and 5070 Kuhio Highway, Hanelei; tel. (808) 826-9844 or (800) 437-3507. Chris the Fun Lady, 4-746 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa; tel. (808) 822-7759. Pedal 'n Paddle, Ching Young Village, Kuhio Highway, Hanelei; tel. (808) 826-9069. Paradise River Rentals, Highway 50, Puhi; tel. (800) 66-BOATS.

What to take: Sunscreen, swimsuit, suitable footwear (such as Aqua Socks), hat, sunglasses, towels, food.

For more information: Hawaii Visitors Bureau, 3016 Umi St., Suite 207, Lihue, HI 96766; tel. (808) 245-3971.

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