Basket Making at Wailua Falls
One of the classic scenes of Hawaii is the “twin” waterfall, Wailua Falls, near the east coast of Kauai. It was made famous to early TV viewers by the opening credits of “Fantasy Island”. We chose to make the short 4 mile drive into the foothills off the main highway to see this waterfall after a night and day of frequent rain. The amount of water in the river had increased to the point that the falls swelled from “twin” falls into one torrent. The power of the cascade sent up mists thru the lush foliage at the bottom of the falls, causing a rainbow.
In the parking lot at the falls, one artisan had set up an area to make and sell baskets woven from coconut palm fronds. He described how he uses shoe spikes to climb to the top of the tall palms to harvest coconuts, cut fronds for his baskets, and perform maintenance pruning for tree-owners. He admitted that his method of climbing was not as safe for the trees, but added that the people who used non-invasive cable systems charged twice as much per hour. The coconut bunches are lowered down by ropes for the protection of those below.
The basket he made for me, complete with decorative additions of a rose and a grass-hopper, can be used to steam vegetables and give them a coconut flavor, warm and serve bread, or, in my case, join the other baskets displayed above my kitchen cabinets. He said the fronds will turn brown in time, but the basket will last for 100 years! All for $15.
Given our Packless Travel system, we plan to mail the basket home in a flat rate US post office box. Much better than trying to pack around it (and pack it around!) for the rest of the trip.