Just outside of Waimea on Kaua'i's south shore are the ruins of an old Russian fort. While this place doesn't attract many tourists and there's not really much to see except lots of lava rocks laid out in a star pattern, the grounds would have a fascinating story to tell if they could only talk.
In 1810, the king of Kaua'i, Kaumualii, consented to a treaty of fealty with Kamehameha I, technically uniting the Hawaiian Islands for the first time under one ruler. But Kaumualii chafed under this fuedal bond and really longed for de jure independence (though he was practically autonomous anyway). In 1815, a egomaniacal German working for the Russia America company, Georg Shaeffer, landed in Kaua'i and saw a chance to use his ties to the Russian government to and Kaumualii's desires to meet his ambitions of power. The needs of the two men coincided and Shaeffer (without real authority) promised the protection of the Russian Czar in exchange for power and influence. Eventually, Schaeffer was hoping for Russian annexation of Hawaii, which would (he hoped) put him in prime contention for ruling all the islands.
As part of this scheme, Shaeffer oversaw the construction of a large fort at Waimea Bay, but before he was finished rumors of a Russian-American war started by American traders caused him to flee to Honolulu where he was captured and shipped off to Alaska. The fort remained unfinished behind him, though its still-substantial walls were knocked down in 1864 to prevent further rebellions on Kaua'i. Russia, busy with European affairs andbarely able to hang on to Alaska, never seriously considered conquering Hawaii, despite Shaeffer's schemes.
Kaumuali was eventually kidnapped by Kamehameha's successor and forced to marry the regent, ending and his chances for a realm of his own.
Here's a fantastic view from one of the newer lookout points in Waimea Canyon. This is a shot of Ni'ihau, also known as the "Forbidden Isle." You must be of 100% Hawaiian origin to live here. The other island on the right is Lahua. This was shot from about 3000 feet in elevation near sunset. What a view!!!
Waimea Canyon, 10 miles west of Poipu on Kauai, Hawaii, accessible in Waimea, is the beautiful canyon Mark Twain once called "the Grand Canyon of the Pacific." It has great views and spectacular hiking(and trail maps) from the summit at Kokee Park. On your hike, choose ocean views, canyon views, or jungle. They're all wonderful. A little rugged, but, depending on the hike, not too bad. Ask for advice at the General Store in Kokee.
There are two wonderful lookouts on the 30 minute drive up Waimea Canyon Road to Kokee.
Kauai is my favorite island.
You can find nearly erverything: deep Waimea Canyon, dramatic Na'pali Coast, fantastic waterfalls, rainforest, beautiful beaches, Taro fields and native villages