Hey Mr. Sandman…The Colors of Hawaiian Beaches

Naive Paula. I thought beaches were just beige-ish. I thought the ocean once it reached the beach was brown-ish. I thought the whole experience was sticky and yucky and never understood people’s delight.

Then I went to Hawaii. Helllloooo Gorgeous!

Let’s Start with the Basics

Brown sand, blue water. Say what? Blue water? Calm, easy, languishing; the only-active-factor-is-the-color water. Meet Waikiki Beach on Oahu. I skipped other plans in order to spend more time here. 100 feet from shore and I could still stand up easily. At the shore break you can collect pieces of coral that broke off of the reef. Ahhh.

Waikiki Beach

Diamond Head is in the background

Waikiki Beach at sunset

Soaking up every ray of sun

Watch a video! The YouTube embed feature isn’t working (grr). This is my very own handiwork, so you’ll surely want to watch.

Beaches Where I’ll Never Swim

You’ve heard of surfing, right? Right. Yeah, those guys are daredevils. And while it absolutely looks like fun, I will never NEVER go swimming in the parts of the ocean that they like. The ocean is angry (what did I ever do to it?) and uber powerful, and I don’t like the taste of salt water all that much.

North Shore Beach in Hawaii

The sign says it all.
Sign photo courtesy of Flickr.

Watch a video of the water’s power–just 30 minutes away from Waikiki. What a difference geography can make. This too, is a Paula original.

A Surfer’s Strength

No wonder they have those abs. It’s hard work! Take a look at the slideshow to see a gaggle of folks waiting to catch a wave at the famous Banzai Pipeline–I don’t know how they don’t hit each other. The two surfers who do catch a wave are a teen boy and a girl–girl power! Then look at the timeline of the wave–it curls from both sides. Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

Watch videos of the pros–first, you’ll experience the waves at their full glory, which happens in the winter. Notice the hordes of people in the water: they’re videographers, and duck under water when the action gets going. And of course the beauty and control of watching someone do something that they’re good at. These videos are courtesy of YouTube–I can’t take this with my iPhone. Ha!

Volcanoes Lead to Black Sand Beaches

Seriously, how cool is that? The lava flows to the ocean. The ocean pounds on the lava rock and sand is made. This was the first beach I encountered in Hawaii and to say I was awestruck is an understatement. Watch the video to see and hear my glee and awe. 

Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

The Volcanoes aren’t Done: Green Sand Beach

On the Big Island, there’s a green sand beach, Papakolea–one of two in the world! The green comes from the mineral olivine, found in the cinder cone, which is a remnant of a volcanic explosion.

To get to this wonder, you have two choices: hike 45 minutes each way in relentless sun; or hire duuuudes in jeeps for $15 round trip. I opted for the latter. I was not prepared for a hike: wrong clothes and shoes, hadn’t eaten, and not enough water. The drive is, well, exponentially bumpy. Damn erosion. It’s also how the driver learns which women are all natural. I fashioned my arms around the girls for extra compression–he said it’s not the first time he’s seen it and the topic is raised on every ride. We worked out a supplemental business plan for him. He can buy sports bras and rent them partway through the trip–I’m telling you, I don’t care that others would have worn it–this was a matter of life and death. Besides; they would wear it over their clothes.

It’s a wonder. You’re driving through dusty reddish clay and then down a cliff is stunning water and iridescent green sand. The green is a bit like an olive, but more yellow and sparklier. It’s soft, powdery. The cove has soft water too–it’s powerful at the rocks, but perfect for enjoying the rise and fall of the waves.

Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

There’s Red Sand, Too!

I mean really! We’ve been so fortunate with all of this, now we get red sand?! On Maui, tucked away on the Road to Hana, is a resort beach called Kaihalulu. Our driver took us to an edge where we wouldn’t disturb the resort; but he was anxious and shooed us along quite quickly. Where do you think this color comes from? The volcano – did I even have to ask? Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

The Constant? Me!

sand in hand


What’s the most beautiful beach you’ve been to?

One Response

I thank my luck because I have been to the La Concha, Spain. I have never seen a beach more beautiful than it. But then I have never been to Hawaii, so I might be in for a bigger, more beautiful surprise! 🙂
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