To keep Sam out of trouble from the sun and the surf, today I decided to take him mountain tubing. It’s something we’d always wanted to do as kids, but we never got the chance. Now that we’re adults, I figured there was no time like the present. So I got Sam in the car and off we went to Lihue and beyond.

Mountain tubing is a weird adventure, definitely different than you would expect. You see, over a century ago the Lihue Sugar Plantation hired a bunch of laborers to build the Hanama’ulu ditch system. This means that a series of canals and tunnels were cut from the rock and designed to bring irrigation water to the plantation from the waterfalls and streams on the other side of the mountain. Many of those tunnels are carved right through the mountain, so it’s kind of like spelunking but with water!

Using giant inflatable rings, tubers can follow the flow of water through the mountainside flumes and tunnels and finally emerge at the plantation. Along the way, you get to see many unique sites and remote locations on the island, which was definitely a lot of fun. I mean, I thought I’d seen the whole island by now, but Kauai is always surprising me. We had a grand time swapping stories with other tubers and laughing our way through the island, though Sam forgot to take off his watch and it got pretty wet. As I write this, he is in the bathroom with my blow-dryer trying to make it work again. Luckily for him, I remembered to bring the bug repellent, so at least he doesn’t have to use his Surfer’s Salve again.

If you are planning to visit Kauai, I can now beyond a doubt recommend mountain tubing to you as a great activity. Anyone over the age of 5 can go, though I wouldn’t recommend taking children who are afraid of the dark. And remember that you are going to get wet! So remove your watches and where a swimsuit. If you want more information, you can visit Kauai Backcountry Adventures online.

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