The Big Island
Kahalu’u Beach is the closest snorkeling place to Kona and has easy access into the water. As a result it is heavily used – most of the coral was dead and there were few fish to be seen. Even the turtles seemed lethargic. We pulled the plug quickly and headed for Makalawena Beach which turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made, although there were times along the way that we questioned our sanity.
One guidebook said this was the most excellent beach on the island. It also hinted that because of the long walk to it, people traveled light and maybe didn’t bring a bathing suit. However, access is over a rough lava road and most sources recommended using SUVs to get there. We had a tiny Ford Fiesta with very low clearance- what to do? We drove to the un-paved access road, looked at it in horror and decided there was only one thing to do – drive slowly. Undoubtedly the worst, most rutted, road I have ever driven, with potholes the size of craters, it took almost an hour to go 1.5 miles to the small parking lot. There were about 12 other vehicles there, all SUVs. The people stared at our little Fiesta as if a UFO had landed.
Then it was still a mile walk to the beach over lava fields. But it was worth every scintilla of effort we put into it. The beach was spectacularly gorgeous. At this point I could spend several pages describing the ineffable beauty of the place (the curving white sand beach, the coves, the shade trees, the high dunes) or you could just look at the pictures below while I describe the happenings of that memorable day.
The snorkeling was great, the boogie boarding even better. Beach goers were in various stages of attire from fully clothed to fully nude. Our spot was fairly secluded so J took off her top. After a while she felt emboldened by the circumstances and strolled toplessly down to the water and snorkeled for a while. When she returned to the blanket, 3 young women sat down nearby, stripped and began playing their ukulele.
Shortly after noon a sailboat fetched the beach and anchored off shore. A couple paddled surf boards to the opposite end of the beach from us. A few hours later when they tried to return to the boat, one of them struggled to overcome the current and could not get back. Eventually her partner came back and together they were able to get the surf board back to the boat.
A little while later a nude dude wandered past and told us about a nearby fresh water pool. Late in the day a group of young men arrived and set up a slack line. We watched them until it was time to go, then found the fresh water pool and washed off the salt water, before the long walk back to the car. Once safely back on the paved road, we agreed it was the most sublime beach day of our lives.