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Dangers to avoid?

Boston...
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Dangers to avoid?

I've been browsing a number of the topics on this forum and other internet sites and I am surprised by how many dangers there are on Kauai. These kind of dangers are very foreign to me (ex. I've been turning my back to the ocean on New England area beaches since I was 2), and I want to make sure that I don't put myself in danger through ignorance.

Here are the locations / activities that I know are - or at least have the potential to be - very dangerous for an "average" fit individual:

- Queen's Beach if there are any sort of significant swells

- Jumping or rope swinging into Kipu Falls

- Hiking to the bottom of Wailua Falls

- Hiking to the top or bottom of Opaekaa Falls

- Any activity that has a sign posted saying not to do it (or a fence blocking entry)

I'll also be perusing the following website to get safety tips:

- http://www.kauaiexplorer.com/

If you know of any other dangerous tourist activities or good safety websites to review, I'd appreciate it if you could share them. I'm not talking about the everything-could-be-dangerous kind of danger, I'm talking about the kind of danger that makes the average (knowledgeable / local) person go "they shouldn't have been there in the first place" when someone get's hurt or killed.

Also, I read somewhere that "all maintained trails are signed." Is that true, and if so, does that mean if there is no sign explicitly saying "XYZ Trail" or "ABC Falls/Pool/Etc." the trail, pool, etc. should be avoided?

Side note: I know that different people have different risk tolerances, but (if it's okay for me to ask this) please don't respond that something someone else has posted isn't really dangerous. I'm looking for a relatively comprehensive list and would hate for this thread to turn into a debate about whether something is really dangerous and should be avoided. Thanks!

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1. Re: Dangers to avoid?

I wouldn't do the ultra lites.

Kaua'i, HI
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2. Re: Dangers to avoid?

Aloha from Kaua'i!

So many things here are simply "common sense" - would you jump off a cliff onto a rope swing into a murky pond at home? (Kipu Falls).

Likewise, Queen's Bath is one of the most dangerous spots on the island - just google it or search it here on the TA site and you will get all the information you need to figure out that it isn't worth risking your life to go and see. I've lived here for over 13 years now and I've had rescue personnel tell me that they would NEVER go in there, regardless of the time of year.

Stay out of areas marked "stay out" - don't go on unmarked trails to the bottom of a waterfall - or the top.

Listen to the ocean safety warnings on the Visitor Channel here on the TV - they can save your life - only swim at lifeguard manned beaches (check ocean conditions daily also before going in the water), "when in doubt, don't go out" and..."don't turn your back on the ocean" - all are old adages, but true.

Again.....use common sense here. This is a beautiful place full of amazing beauty and sights - you don't need to push the envelope and go to places that are considered by most experts to be dangerous in order to have an amazing time here!

Malama Pono,

Janet

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3. Re: Dangers to avoid?

Swimming at Hanakapi'ai Beach or Polihale, even in the summer.

Moorpark, California
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4. Re: Dangers to avoid?

I would include what you have posted and 2nd all of the previous posts. The power hang gliders are definitely something to avoid! I don't go into the ocean in California if it's too rough. Common sense seems to be the rule of thumb but for some reason, folks leave that at home when they vacation.

La Mirada...
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5. Re: Dangers to avoid?

Leptospirosis in freshwater.

hawaii.gov/health/search/index_html…

Look up before you sit or stand under a coconut palm! Seriously, falling coconuts can kill you.

Read the do's & don't on shark safety:

http://hawaiisharks.com/

3Chihuahuas

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6. Re: Dangers to avoid?

I believe the most dangerous activity that the typical tourist does is driving in a car. If you want to lower your risk profile concentrate your energy by improving your driving skills, bucking your seatbelt, lowering your speed, eliminating alcohol prior to driving, and increasing your following distance.

Louisiana
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7. Re: Dangers to avoid?

Tunnels is the best snorkel on the island but it's really for advanced snorkelers. The surge can be pretty bad and the coral can be very close tothe surface. We saw numerous folks getting slammed into the coral by the pass. But it was a great snorkel just be aware. Ke'e Beach wasmuch calmer but crowded. Other than that, doing any hiking after hard rain. Very slippery.

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Boston...
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8. Re: Dangers to avoid?

"So many things here are simply "common sense" - would you jump off a cliff onto a rope swing into a murky pond at home? (Kipu Falls)."

Koloagirl, honestly, if I saw other people doing it (and I hadn't read about the dangers here), I might. Lepto isn't a concern where I'm from and most ponds that I swim in are murky but safe for swimming. If I saw others swing in and make it out safely I'd figure that the water must be deep enough to swing into, which is the only danger related to rope swinging that I've previously considered. I've used a rope swing to jump into ponds/lakes before and thought it was great fun. Now, I obviously know better at this point and will avoid Kipu Falls, but I wonder how many other things there are that I would think are okay that are actually dangerous.

Thank you (and everyone else who has replied) for your insight! I'll definitely check those websites out, too.

Wailua
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9. Re: Dangers to avoid?

In light of the recent death at Kipu falls, I was discussing this with my wife last night. She had a good example: when we go backpacking in the Sierra, there are a ton of dangerous things there (bears, terrain, weather, giardia, etc). But we know we are in the wilderness and we are aware of and atuned to the dangers, and we plan well in order to address them. And lot of people go backpacking (and skiing, etc) every year without incident. I'm sure there are a few incidents too, but they usually don't make the news like deaths in Hawaii.

There are two sides to tourism in Hawaii: the tourist circuit and the "gems" promoted to sell guidebooks. The circuit is the usual tourism: condo, car, lookout, life-guarded beach, and various activities where everything is (generally) safe without thinking. You can let your guard down, relax, see beautiful things, and have a great vacation. I think in this case, what Chinon says about driving being the most dangerous is true--you still have to keep your wits about you on the road.

The gems are the "new tourism," where people want to specifically get off the tourist circuit and see new things and have an adventure. These activities and places have an element of danger in them, some more than others--that in itself is not a problem. The problem is that unlike my backpacking trips, the people aren't prepared for the danger because they are still in "tourist circuit" mode. The cause of the problem is the guidebooks that mix the two kinds of destinations without enough warnings. People don't know to judge their abilities and be prepared when they get out of their car for a "gem" or an "adventure."

When I go backpacking, my survival sense is on and finely tuned all the time. It it both necessary for safety, and ultimately part of the enjoyment that makes backpacking a break from regular life. When you describe the potentially deadly perils of an off-trail hike in the same glib and joking tone as the rest of the book (as Dougherty did the Opaekaa Falls hike), it doesn't trigger the readers' survival sense. In many cases, the visitors/readers are aware enough to avoid dangers, even turn back if they feel uncomfortable, but others are not, and don't.

And granted, some people may be very aware and prepared, feel everything is OK, and still have an accident. Accidents happen, and certain places are more dangerous and will lead to more accidents. So while this thread is very important, finding out what places are more prone to real accidents, I think people should also realize that when they go for a hike or even an adventure, they need to turn on their survival sense.

My big question is: does this also apply to official, signed trails, and what about so-called "easy" hikes like Maha'ulepu? And I think the answer is yes. Even the easiest of the signed trails, say Kuilau, has places where you shouldn't wander off-trail. And Maha'ulepu is easy and safe, as long as you don't go near the cliffs, and don't climb on the sharp formations, etc. When you leave the pavement, you should be watching your every step, and be responsible for your own safety.

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10. Re: Dangers to avoid?

Aloha from Kaua'i!

"KauaiHiker" - totally spot on!

"The gems are the "new tourism," where people want to specifically get off the tourist circuit and see new things and have an adventure. These activities and places have an element of danger in them, some more than others".......this is absolutely true IMO and people come here wanting to push the envelope so to speak - and there are danagerous places and activities to do this. Unfortunately some of the Guide Books also promote these places as well.

Well put!

Malama Pono,

Janet