19 August 2018

Kaua'i HI, USA

Part 4 of the Pirates-series, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES, was filmed in London, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Previously I wrote about the locations on O'ahu, this blog post is about Kaua'i, nicknamed The Garden Island.

Na Pali Coast, Kaua'i, 22 June 2017
Kaua'i is known for its high annual rainfall. The island owes its nickname to the heavy rain, nature is lush with thick, dense jungles and there are deep valleys worn out by the rain. These turned out to be the perfect backdrop for the tropical island where the pirates end up in search for the Fountain of Youth. In April 2010, a casting call for extras in Lihu'e, the capital of Kaua'i, attracted hundreds of local residents, many dressed up as pirates.

Filming was done at the Na Pali coast, the Allerton Garden, the Kipu Ranch, Grove Farm at Lihu'e, Valley House at Kealia Valley, the former Coco Palms Resort and the Waikapala'e Cave, a cave in the film seen as the entrance to the Fountain of Youth. During our stay we were not able to visit all locations.

The first day of shooting was on 14 June 2010 at Honopu Beach. In this scene Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) discovers the stranded ship of Juan Ponce de Leon, the Spanish conqueror who according to legend had been searching for the Fountain of Youth. Honopu Beach has a rock formation with a natural arch and is part of the Na Pali Coast. The coastline in the north of the island consists of green cliffs and are difficult to access, there are no roads or trails. Johnny Depp was brought to the beach with a helicopter. We watched Honopu Beach from a boat and also by helicopter.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides, 1:19:40
Honopu Beach, Kaua'i, 22 June 2017
Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides, 1:19:42
Honopu Beach (helicopter view), Kaua'i, 22 June 2017
Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides, 1:19:49
Honopu Beach, Kaua'i, 22 June 2017

A one minute video on the first day of shooting at Honopu Beach is on YouTube.

On their way to the Fountain of Youth, a stop is made at a group of trees with roots that grow above the ground, Moreton Bay fig trees. The trees are in the Allerton Garden, a tropical botanical garden in the south of Kaua'i. The only possibility to see the trees is during a 90 minutes tour with a guide for US $ 50, every hour from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
We arrived at the end of the afternoon on our last day at Kaua'i and could not do the tour anymore, unfortunately. We did get a brochure with a picture of the fig trees on the cover. The same trees can also be seen in Jurassic Park.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides, 1:21:53
Brochure Allerton Garden

Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) have been captured and are tied to palm trees. This scene was filmed at the Coco Palms Resort, once a luxurious hotel where films like Miss Sadie Thompson and Blue Hawaii were set but there was little left of its former glory during our visit. Because of the damage Hurricane 'Iniki caused in 1992 it had to be closed and left the hotel in decay. However, plans to renovate the Coco Palms Resort are well advanced, there is already a new website. The grounds were not open to the public in 2017, but part of the site was visible through the fences. Coconuts were removed from the palm trees during production of the movie to prevent people being hit by falling coconuts.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides, 1:35:49
Coco Palms Resort, Kaua'i, 20 June 2017

The movie ends with Jack Sparrow and his first mate Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) walking on the beach towards the sunset. This beach is Ke'e Beach and is also part of the Na Pali Coast. Besides from the sea, it can also be accessed on foot by following the Kalalau Trail. We saw the beach from the sea; note the shape of the mountains to see the similarities.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides, 2:07:03
Na Pali Coast, Kaua'i, 22 June 2017

Information about the filming on location comes from The New Kaua’i Movie Book: Films made on the Garden Island by Chris Cook published in 2015.

Screenshots © Walt Disney Pictures