Even Paradise has its bad days and disasters. Everyone we met all over Kauai had stories, books and videos to tell about the disastrous Hurricane Iniki which devastated the island in September, 1992.

It was the most powerful hurricane to hit Hawaii in recorded memory; at one place attempts to measure the winds were thwarted when gauges were ripped out of the earth and hurled far away. At another place, engineers estimated that a house which had been ripped asunder was hit with winds of nearly 240 m.p.h.!

Iniki stripped the lovely and lush island of much of its trees and growth, and did damage to an estimated 50 percent of its buildings. Thousands of people were left homeless, and several native birds on the endangered list literally disappeared as a result of this storm.

But true to the "aloha" spirit that you find all over the islands, the people of Kauai are very proud of how they coped with the disaster, and how they helped each other. One local D.J. did a series of hilarious bits on locals coping with Iniki. Many folks reported these were the bright spot they looked forward to in each day of recovery. Their radio worked when all else failed! Looting was minimal and recovery fast. According to one source we spoke with, when insurance agents arrived on the scene they all were impressed with how everyone was helping out—a great contrast to the hurricanes they had to deal with on the East Coast of the U.S.

Another unusual aside is that — according to the locals—Steven Spielberg had been filming "Jurassic Park" on the island just before Iniki struck. He reportedly "came through" with help for the islanders, even though he could just as easily have abandoned them.

FACT: The mosquito can be found—or rather it can find you—all over Hawaii. But like much else on the islands, this member of the lower rungs of the food chain is also an import, having been introduced in the early 1800s by a Mexican ship.

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