Tag Archives: Beaches

Spencer Beach Park

The beach at Spencer Beach Park, Hawaii

Lately, I’ve been enjoying Spencer Beach Park, near Kawaihae. It’s a sheltered spot for getting in the water, it’s a great place to picnic, and the sandy beach is backed by shade trees. What’s not to like?

Posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Trees.’ See more responses here.

Pallid ghost crab

A Pallid ghost crab on a beach in Hawaii
A Pallid ghost crab on a beach in Hawaii

I saw this crab on the beach south of Kohanaiki Park. Pallid ghost crabs are small, with a carapace only an inch or so wide. They’re also speed demons, zipping across the sand, usually to disappear into their holes. That’s how I saw this one, on the move. But instead of diving for cover, it remained above ground.

I took some photos from distance before edging closer to try and capture more detail. The crab didn’t move. My biggest challenge was finding it in the camera’s viewfinder. Even though I knew where it was, half the time I wasn’t sure whether I had it in shot or not, they blend in so well.

The top photo shows the best of the close-ups. The second one gives an idea of the crab’s perfect coloration for its environment.

Whatever the weather

Hapuna beach on a sunny day
Hapuna beach under blue skies on a typically warm, sunny day.
Rain pours off a roof in Hawaii
When it rains, it can rain hard.
A battered windsock in Hawaii
The wind and sun can be hard on things, even a windsock.

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Weather.’ See more responses here. Last month, I did a post about our local weather here. Weather in one place can be very different from another place just a few miles away.

The basics are that the east side of the island is wetter and cloudier, the west side, sunny and dry. Both sides are warm, but not as hot as they might be thanks to the prevailing northeast trade winds, though they’re not as consistent as they used to be. Paradoxically, the driest places on the island are also the coldest, the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, which are usually above the clouds.

So here are a few photos illustrating some of the varying weather we get, even if it wasn’t forecast.

A cloudy sky in North Kohala, Hawaii
Clouds tend to build during the day, sometimes bringing rain, sometimes just the threat of it.
A rain shower in the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel between Maui and the Big Island
The ʻAlenuihāhā Channel between Maui and the Big Island can be windy and wet as clouds and rain funnel through.

Kohanaiki Beach Park

The beach at Kohanaiki Beach Park in Hawaii

Kohanaiki, located just north of Kailua Kona, is my new favorite park here on the island. It’s the home of a popular surf break known as Pine Trees. There’s a long, sandy beach backed by trees offering shade (not pine trees though). It’s an historic area, too, and at the south end of the park is a variety of old Hawaiian structures as well as a garden featuring native plants.

For more information about Kohanaiki Beach Park, go to https://bigislandguide.com/kohanaiki-pine-trees.

Waialea beach

A beach at Waialea County Park, Hawaii

Waialea is also known as Beach 69, which is the number of a utility pole at the entrance to this county park. The beach in this photo is one of several there. Unlike many other beaches in this area, Waialea is backed by lots of trees, so there are many shady places.

It used to be a favorite place of mine to snorkel, but the bleaching events of 2014 and 2015 wreaked major damage on the coral. The last couple of times I’ve been snorkeling there I’ve found it a bit depressing, though there are still a fair number of fish and often turtles to be seen. But if you like lounging on beaches interspersed with the occasional dip in the water then this might be the place for you.

A walk around Kiholo Bay

Kiholo Bay sits midway between Kailua Kona and Kawaihae on the west side of the Big Island. There are two main access points to the bay. One is via a gravel road south of the Kiholo Scenic Overlook on the main highway. This road takes you down to Kiholo State Park Reserve where there’s a campground and access to the beaches. I usually go that way, but on my last visit I wanted to try the hike from the main road.

There’s an unmarked parking area north of the scenic overlook. From there it’s about a mile to the coast, along a dirt and gravel road. This passes through scrubby trees where it’s likely goats will be encountered. They’re abundant in this area. The private property alongside the road is well marked, as is the public trail through to the beach. This trail comes out near a funky building decorated with things the tide washed in.

I headed to the right, along the beach towards Wainanali’i lagoon. There are a couple of houses along here, a palm-circled pool, and usually a canoe or two under the trees. Beyond the houses, a small bridge traverses a channel which connects the ocean to Wainanali’i fish pond. This is believed to have been built by King Kamehameha I, as part of an extensive fish collection and farming operation in the bay.

A bit farther along, a blue Kiholo Bay Fisheries Management Area sign marks where the trail forks. To the right, inland, it follows the old King’s Trail to Keawaiki. To the left, it hugs the shoreline heading north alongside Wainanali’i lagoon (top photo). The trail is loosely marked with white coral and/or cairns, but it’s not vital to follow them. I stick to the shoreline.

The lagoon is the remnant of a much larger fishpond, which was around 2 miles across and protected by a 20-foot wide lava rock wall. Much of it was destroyed by a lava flow from Mauna Loa’s 1859 eruption. Today, the lagoon is a prime area for seeing green turtles. They haul out on a rocky island marking the mouth of the lagoon and on the spit that separates it from the ocean. This is where they rest so it’s important not to get too close and disturb them. I also usually see turtles in the water. They putter along the edge in blue-green water, which can give them a wavy appearance. Small fish are abundant here and are often seen.

Once at the head of the lagoon I watched humpback whales splashing and slapping offshore. It’s possible to walk down the spit (not disturbing the turtles), and if it’s calm you can wade or swim across the lagoon entrance back to the trail. Following the coast northwards will take you to Keawaiki, but I retraced my steps until I got back to where I first reached the coast. Then I carried on along the beach.

The waves were rolling in, good news for surfers. The beach here is sandy and vegetation borders it. If the tide’s in a bit of paddling is required. On the other side of this, some private houses border the beach including the Bali House and a sprawling, yellow structure.

Farther along, behind the beach, is Keanalele waterhole, also known as Queen’s Bath. This is a collapsed lava tube, filled with a mix of freshwater and saltwater, where it’s possible to take a dip in the manor of Hawaiian royalty of yesteryear. The parking area for Kiholo State Park Reserve, back in the trees, is followed by the Loretta Lynn house and the campground.

Here, along with several places along the walk, a fair number of birds can be seen including black-crowned night herons, wandering tattlers, Pacific golden plovers, yellow-billed cardinals, and northern mockingbirds.

The southern end of the park is marked by Waia’elepi anchialine pool. Anchialine pools form in volcanic rock and are connected underground to the ocean. The water is brackish, but the pools can be home to a wide variety of species. I saw goats drinking here as well as a variety of birds and insects flying about.

From there, I headed back to the car on the gravel road which parallels the coast and connects to the trail I came down on. My walk was about 5 or 6 miles, but I took more than 4 hours to cover that distance since I do tend to stop a lot!

For more walks worldwide, see Jo’s Monday Walks. Also posted in response to the current Friendly Friday challenge theme of ‘On The Way.’ See more responses here.