Sunday, September 11, 2011

Driving Under the Rainbow, Magical Afternoons on Kauai

No matter where you are in the world, the late afternoon is a special time to enjoy the outdoors. Temperatures cool, the sun sets, the sky lights up, and the world quiets down, except of course for the banter of the birds. This time of day seems to be especially magical on the island of Kauai. When the trade winds blow and the sun heads for the ocean, the temperatures start to drop a few degrees and a brief afternoon shower is cued. The combination of afternoon showers and sunrays that are low on the horizon is what creates these magnificent rainbows.

The neat thing is that afternoon rainbows can be enjoyed in many different settings, each with its own unique magic. On an afternoon walk in the hills, rainbows can be viewed between valleys, with one leg touching the ocean. In the ocean, they can be seen from the water cascading across the sky against the dramatic peaks of Kauai’s cliffs. While sipping an afternoon cocktail on the lanai, an afternoon rainbow may sneak up behind you, because no doubt you are looking toward the setting sun. One of my favorite ways to view afternoon rainbows is in the car. It seems as if you will never catch them as they keep moving forward and then all of a sudden, YES!, you get to drive under the rainbow as it vanishes behind you.

I like to watch them change as the misting rain becomes heavier and the sunrays more intense. The rainbow will brighten and reflect itself into yet another rainbow right on top of the first. It seems as the day gets later the rainbows take on more red hues and just as the rainbow vanishes, the sun sinks for its final descent only to light up the sky with afterglow. Oh, it is a magical time of day. If you are visiting with kids, you may want to play a game betting on how many rainbows you can count during your stay.

You can see rainbows on any side of the island at any time of day, but remember the sun sets in the west, so you should be looking to the east for rainbows. That means if you are watching the sunset, look behind you. The best beaches for watching the sunset include, Poipu, Salt Pond, Kekaha and Polihale, but you can catch afternoon rainbows anywhere, as long as you keep your eyes and your mind open.

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