Tubing the Ditch on Kauai

A less than glamorous name for a pretty spectacular excursion, tubing the ditch is exactly what it sounds like: floating down a water-filled canal.

What makes it spectacular?  First of all, this is no ordinary ditch!  They are really a series of trenches and tunnels dug nearly 150 years ago to irrigate the surrounding sugar cane fields … no small feat, considering they cover the expanse of the massive 17,000 Lihue Sugar Cane Plantation, founded in 1849.

Because sugar cane requires so much water to grow – about 500 gallons/pound of sugar – an efficient irrigation system was necessary. The ditch we’re talking about here was dug entirely by hand and historians estimate it took around 1,000 laborers over two years to build.

What makes it so spectacular? Why, the incomparable Kauai backdrop, of course!  During your trip you’ll float through lush jungle foliage, under old bridges, into and out of dark tunnels (one of which is nearly a mile long!), and past ancient trees.  You’ll get a mesmerizing view of sparkling waterfalls and even stop at a lookout point to take in the Wai’ale’ale Crater.

Bring a waterproof camera!

The tour operator will provide you with a hard hat and headlamp as well as gloves and a large tube to float in. Wear a swimsuit and water shoes or some type of footwear that will stay securely on your feet and you don’t mind getting wet.

Everything will get wet, I promise! Also, don’t forget your waterproof sunscreen, bug repellent, a towel and a change of clothing.

In terms of pace, your ride varies from gentle to, shall we say, slightly exhilarating.  The water’s only about a foot deep and there’s a mild incline to keep water (and people) moving.  There are not class 4 rapids so this tour is suitable for nearly everyone. Check with the tour operator for restrictions.

After you’ve had your fill of tubing, you’ll be taken to a lovely spot for the included lunch.  The picnic spot features a picturesque waterfall and idyllic natural swimming hole – a perfect way to cap off your adventure.

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