This Is Why we go to HawaiiJune 28, 2016 in the United States
Why do we go to Hawaii? Is it the warm and beautiful weather? How about to eat unique Ohia Lehua blossom honey, drink Kona coffee, or to dine on the finest spam loco moco on the planet? Is it to go to an “authentic” luau? Maybe it’s to see lava flowing from a volcano. Certainly it must be the snorkeling. Well, those all are great reasons, but the beaches and the ocean water make it to the top of my list. The varieties of beach opportunities are incredible. If you’re a person who doesn’t like the water, and being in it, then I recommend you just plan your next vacation to either Nebraska or Kansas as these are the states that are farthest from the Pacific and the Atlantic.
We went to the beach often while on the Big Island and on Maui. The beaches on the Big Island are fewer and more difficult to access than on Maui. I felt like a kid that was on his first trip to the ocean, in awe of its vastness and its power. I remember that first ocean experience, in Naples, Florida when I was about 13. I can still see all the white sand, feel the hot sun, warm water and count all those sea shells. When I was in college I went back to the ocean, this time in Virginia and North Carolina during my internship at NASA. The ocean at Virginia Beach was brownish green and the water not very clear or warm, but boy did I love riding the waves on that little inflatable raft. I still have that raft in a box in the basement. Every time I rummage through boxes and come across it I smile and remember. The thing would probably disintegrate if I exposed it to sunlight again.
The beaches in Hawaii come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors. On Maui we went to the Red Sand Beach near Hana. This tiny beach has red sand the diameter of those dip-n-dots you get at a baseball game. Being just a brief stop on a long drive that day, I didn’t have my water gear with me, but wish I had as there was a marvelous sheltered cove to swim in. On the other side of Maui near Makena was an orange sand beach. Maybe it was brownish orange but in the light that day it was orange. Across from our condo in Kihei was a brown sand beach. On the Big Island we went to several black sand beaches. The best one was in the Waipio Valley (what a gorgeous view from the viewpoint) near Honokaa (make sure to stop at Tex Drive-in for a Malasada – the best on the island). We needed our Jeep to drive down to the beach here, but one could walk it in 30 minutes downhill. On the other side of the island was Hapuna beach with its white sand and beautiful sunsets. Then there was the green sand beach. This beach was at the southern tip of the island. The sand is really green and is one of only two green sand beaches in the world. Again, it took a 4x4 to get to the beach, but there were plenty of people walking the 2.5 miles one way and others were paying locals $10 a person to drive them there.
Every one of these beaches was wonderful. The water was that aqua blue you see in pictures and in your dreams. The water temperature was around 80F and felt a little cold getting in, but once in the water it was the perfect temperature. When we went to the beach I spent the entire time in the water diving through the really huge waves, boogie board riding and body surfing the others. I smiled so much that my teeth got sunburned. I can’t remember when I’ve had so much fun. But, there was a price to pay. No, I wore plenty of sunblock and managed not to get burned, but the waves beat me up. Several times I found myself at the top of a big wave one second and falling off of it the next. I felt my body twist and bend in ways that only a yoga instructor bends, and finally being washed onto shore like some piece of soggy driftwood. Can a person drink sea water and not get sick? Yes. The answer is yes. I had water forced up my nose and down my throat countless times. Tastes very salty. But, back in again I went. The good waves come is sets of 3 or 4 so you have to get back out there quickly or end up waiting another ten minutes. The biggest price to pay was exhaustion. After one or two hours in surf like this I was absolutely worn out. Oh, but what fun it was.
The biggest waves were at Hulopoe Beach on the little island of Lanai. We took a ferry there from Maui one day. This island used to be part to the Dole pineapple empire, but is now owned by Rupert Murdock. The beach is a short walk from the ferry port and we had two hours to kill after our island tour and before our ferry ride. I am not kidding when I say that the highest waves were 12 to 15 foot high. Close to the shore were all these little kids, 6 to 12 years old or so. There was a birthday party going on. They laughed and screamed and got pummeled again and again. I felt like one of them and probably acted like it to. At one point I was able to body surf for about 50ft or so and came right up onto the beach next to all those kids. Covered in sand with a huge grin on my face, I opened my eyes looking right at a mom holding a baby at the edge of the water. Was she laughing at me or smiling with me? I’m sure she was smiling with this big kid.
Kim faithfully watched me as I wore myself out. She took a few photos and videos, got a great tan and was always there to give me a smile after one of those incredible rides or crashes. Yes, she got in the water. Yep, right up to her knees that one time when she timed her run away from the wave wrong, or was that when I held her from running. Go to the beach often when you’re in Hawaii. Act like a kid. Get thrashed by the waves. Put it on the top of your list of things to do and enjoy the sunsets at the end of the day.Read more