The summer of 2011, my family decided to take a trip to Kauai, Hawaii for one week. My parents, my college-aged brother Ian, my twin sister Abbey, my grandfather Al and I crowded into a suite at Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club in the beach town of Poipu, on the South Shore.
I slept on a floral futon on the floor of our suites living room, next to my sister, who dominated the couch, and woke up to the crowing of wild roosters every morning. Despite the little sleep attained during the trip, and the inevitable family spats, our time on Kauai was wonderfully memorable. Our days consisted of everything from swimming at the beach, to tubing at the old sugar plantation, to exploring Hanapepe’s nighttime art walk, to relaxing outside with the wild chickens that roam the island at all hours.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
My very favorite memory though, was the day we packed an afternoon worth of food and towels into our rental van, and drove to Ke’e beach. The road was thin and twisty, and we bumped our way over progressively smaller bridges until we made it to a parking lot overlooking the ocean. We settled next to a long thick ironwood tree branch that had separated from the rest of the tree and was trailing across the sand as if it, too wanted to jump into the warm, clear water. My parents and Ian donned snorkel masks immediately, already in the water by the time I had my book out, and I knew I wouldn't see them surface for a while.
I was content just enjoying the sun and giggling as brave hens meandered their way down the beach, crossing over my towel, close enough to touch. The beach was the most beautiful yet, my favorite of the week from first sight. Behind us and to the left were cliffs dripping in greenery; palm trees swayed in the breeze and behind us sat the ironwoods, hiding the beach from the road.
Once I was warm enough from the sun, I snapped on a snorkel mask and stepped carefully over the slimy slabs of black rock where the short waves broke, and slid into the water. I watched the fish for a while and then surfaced. I took my mask off and jogged to the beach where my sister was reading. Mom was describing a fish to grandpa, and toweling her hair dry. I ditched the mask and snorkel but jumped back into the water. I was making my way towards my dad, bobbing with the current, when it started to rain. I turned my face up to the sky and stopped swimming for a moment. The rain was warm, warmer than the ocean. I faced the beach, and the looming green cliffs, and wondered what it would be like to wake up to this view every morning.
The rain fell harder, and the sky darkened, somehow managing to make the cliffs seems even more vibrantly green and alive. I straightened out so that I was floating on the water, my back to the sky. I dipped my head underwater and opened my eyes slowly. A fish darted past my vision, and I could feel the rain pattering on my back. I surfaced just as the rain began to let up.
Within seconds, the clouds had passed and the sky was open and blue once again. I grinned at Dad, and then made my way back to the now damp beach.
That moment in the waters off Ke’e beach only contributed to my enthusiasm for travel. I realized that I want to feel the rain from all four corners of the world. I even want to be snowed on in the Arctic. And I greatly look forward to the day I will be able to return to Kauai, and swim in the rain once more.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.