Beaches / Coastlines, Oahu
Lanikai beach was actually chosen as the best beach in the world a few years back. This picture is of Nadine, with Waimanalo in the distance.
The beach is less crowded then most of Oahu's beaches, and the farther down the beach you walk, the less people you will find.
Thursday, February 6, 2003
On our flight to Maui, we saw some spectacular scenery from the air, including this one taken by Hans, of Hanauma Bay and Koko Head Crater. You can recognize the Bay because of its horseshoe-like form.
This state monument is Hawaii's largest traditional temple. A word of warning there are no signs off the main highway and its hard to find but well worth it.
From the city of Pupukea head through town to the only road that heads up to the surrounding hills, there is a sign from this road that leads to the site.
I first heard of interesting pools of water by overhearing a group of students as they gathered in our hotel lobby getting ready to go on an outing. They were excited and talking about what they thought they might see in these pools. I had never heard of them and asked at the front desk, where I was directed to a brochure on them. I looked over the brochure and, urged along hearing the students enthusiasm, I decided to check them out too.
Anchialine pools are land-locked bodies of salt water that are adjacent to the ocean. These pools have underground connections to the sea, and show tidal fluctuations in their water level. The term "anchialine" is derived from the greek: [anchi] = near, and [halos] = the sea, referring to the proximity of anchialine pools to the ocean.
Five islands have these pools; Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, and Kaho'olawe. On the island of Hawaii you will find most of the state's anchialine pools (a total of more than 460 pools in about 80 sites have been identified on the ground, and an additional 54 sites (about 170 pools) have been viewed or photographed from the air).This agrees with another published conservative estimate of 600-650 pools for this island. On the other islands, an additional 15 sites have been reported.
I admit I jumped in my rental car and followed the group of students from the hotel and within a half hour was scurrying over smooth rocks with them. They took pictures and water samples, one bent down and lifted out a small, spindly orange starfish, looked at it and carefully put it back. The water in the hole raised every few seconds and then retreated, caused by the ocean waves to which it was connected.
I wasn't a student studying sealife but these pools were unusual and very interesting and I enjoyed them. I also enjoyed the enthusiasm of the teenage students and cheered (silently) with them for each new thing they discovered here.
There are two parts to this one. First, the heiau is a good arcehaological example of what a heiau (temple) is. It is also a National Landmark. The secret to this spot though is down the path. When you get there...walk down to the right and just keep going back. All the way at the end of this path you will find an unbelievable overlook of Waimea Bay. Definitely worth checking out; especially if there are waves. Waimea Bay is where a lot of competitions are held when the waves get huge.
On getting there:
This is on the North Shore and the road you take to get there is right by Sharks Cove. At 59-720 Kamehameha Highway, there is a Foodland and Starbucks. Turn onto Pupukea Road and drive up. Take a right at the sign for the heiau and keep on driving. It is all the way at the end.
To reach Barber's Point Lighthouse take H-1 west from Honolulu, 30-45 minutes, to exit #1. This Is Kalaeloa Blvd. Follow it to the end, then turn right onto Olai St. which ends in Germaine's Luau Parking Lot. You will see the lighthouse to your right.
The 71 ft. automated lighthouse as named for Capt. Henry Barber whose brig, "Arthur," wrecked on a coral shoal off this point in 1796. It is not open to the public but may be photographed from the beach..
Kualoa Beach is located off Kamehameha Highway on the windward side of Oahu. The beach is most famous for its off shore island "China Mans Hat". The beach and island have been the back drop for many hollywood movies.
What most people dont know is that if you follow the beach shoreline east around towards Kaneohe Bay, you will come to a secluded stretch of shoreline, that not even most island locals visit.
From there you can get some great pictures of the windward side of Oahu, and Kaneohe Bay. The beach is perfect for swimming, and private tanning.
Kaena point is the far western tip of Oahu, and it is one of the few truly wild places left on the island. At the very tip lies a wildlife refuge where monk seals relax and albatrosses nest from November through January. You can still see indigenous plants atop the ecosystem and watch the waves erode old lava formations. As you look back towards whence you came, you can view both the Wainaie Coast and the North Shore in the same glance. And you'll be mostly alone. This is even more true for me than normal -- as dogs are not allowed in the protected albatross breeding grounds.
To get there, you have to park your vehicle (make sure you leave NOTHING valuable in it) and walk two miles. This is true whether you start your hike at the end of the Farrington Highway on the Wainaie Coast or the end of the Farrington Highway coming from Haliewa. You can make it to the point from either spot and we've done it both ways.
The Wainaie route is more rugged, with more dramatic peaks and a sharper shore, to include sea arches. THe North Shore route is more beautiful, with a more interesting shore line and an easier walk. Neither side is pristine -- both come littered with garbage until you get to the wildlife refuge an hour into your hike -- and neither side has shade. From either point do the hike early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid becoming a charcoal briquet.
Kaena Point is Oahu's most Northwestern point on the island. If coming from the North Shore side, you will pass some of Oahu's most secluded beaches, such as Mokuleia Beach Park, and Army Beach. Be careful at these beaches, since there are no life guards on duty, and the currents can be very strong. There are also a lot of rocks hidden beneath the water that you can not see until its to late.
To get here coming from Haleiwa, take Kamehameha Highway to the round about and head towards the 930 junction on Kaukonahua Rd. Take a right at the T in the road, and follow Kaukonahua Rd as it turns into Farrington Highway. Follow Farrington Highway pass Dillingham Airfield and Mokuleia State Park, and the road will come to an end. This is the farthest point you can drive to.
For hikers, you can hike 2.5 miles around to the point, or 5 miles around to where Farrington Highway ends on the Southwest most point of the island at Yokohama Bay.
Flat Island is located off of Kailua Beach on the Windward side of Oahu. About 30 minutes from downtown Honolulu. The island is about a half mile off shore, and is easily accessible by kayak.
The island is a bird Sanctuary, and is protected under state law. You are still allowed to visit the island, but must stay along the paths that cirlce the outer perimeter of the island.
From the island you can get some great views of the windward side of Oahu, that can only be seen from this vantage point. Even if only planing a short visit to the island, i recommend renting kayaks and paddling out to flat island.
*Thank you cousin Nick for the pic....
At Pu'u O Mahuka Heiau you can find a great lookout overlooking Waimea Bay. Simply follow the dirt path around the upper part of the Heiau. Follow the path to the left when it branches off into the high grass. On wet days it can be very muddy and slippery so watch your footing. You can also stain your clothes so if you dont want this to happen, dont proceed.
Follow the path about 50 ft and you will come to a drop off that over looks Waimae Bay. From here you can get great pictures of the bay, and of the Northwestern coast of Oahu.
Kawela Beach is located just South of Sunset beach in Kawela Bay along Kamehameha Highway, on the North Shore of Oahu.
During the summer months this beach is great for snorkeling and scuba diving. It also makes a great beach for families. Walking along the beach you can find many tide pools which can be fun to look in.
During winter months, the surf in the area can be very dangerous, so do not enter the water. Waves easily reach over 20ft, and pound against the rocks.
Pu'u Mahuka Heiau State Monument is the largest heiau on Oahu. A heiau is a religious site or temple. Thought to have been created in the 1600's this heiau is believed to have played an important role in the political, religious and social system of Waimea Valley. Made up of 3 adjoining enclosures Pu'u Mahuka is located high above Waimea Valley on a pali. The views can be amazing of the valley and the northern shoreline. Unfortunately it was a bit hazy when we were there. Pu'u Mahuku possibly is a heiau where sacrifices were made. There is a raised mound in the center that may have been an alter. The stonework is really well done and commands some respect. Do Not take any of it away with you. This is Kapu (taboo). As is walking on the rocks or walls. Leave it as you found it. This is one of two locations where wives of ancient chiefs gave birth. When we were there someone had built up an alter and left behind what looks to have been a boars head. Rather disgusting but I am sure it made the the person who left it feel as if they had done the right thing. To get here you need to follow Kamehameha Highway to Pupukea Road and follow the signs to the Heiau. The road is rough and there are alot of dismantled auto parts scattered about as you climb up but don't mind them. **Words to the wise if you get up there and do not feel at ease it may be best to leave** After all this is a sacred place and some do not think of it as a place for tourists. Be respectful!!
Please do yourself a favor if you are ever fortunate enough to fly to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Get yourself a rental car and see the Island outside of Waikiki Beach.
I can't tell you how many times I hear that Honolulu is just a huge city & that people prefer other Islands. Although the other Hawaiian Islands are also lovely, so is Oahu!
So, get your map out & explore!
Make a stop by Waimanalo Beach. It is a local favorite and for a good reason--great body surfing. If you dont have a board, you just need your body to ride some gentle waves.
It's a great beach!
Here is the general warning from the Waimanalo web site:
Monitor ocean conditions closely. This area is usually calm with a gentle shorebreak. Watch for Portuguese man-of-war, stinging jellyfish. Obey all postings and warning signs/flags. A good sign is the locals--if they are in the water, all should be a-okay!
Here's another show of Kualoa Beach, and its backdrop, Kaneohe Bay. On a sunny day the ocean is an amazing blue and green that words can not explain. The Koolau mountains are absolutely breath taking, and you can definitly come away with pictures that most other tourist dont have.