Kalalau Beach Reveals Her Secrets
The next morning we see a curious sight on the beach. There are people queued up in two different spots on the beach with big garbage bags, near the water and facing the ocean. We met a Swiss man on the hike in the previous day and he mentioned that was going to take a boat out instead of hiking back on the trail. We saw mention of this in our research, but it seemed like an isolated and obviously illegal thing to do. He mentions, however, that he has already arranged it with a well-known local captain that does this sort of thing. Sure enough, this is what we see now unfold in front of us. Especially since the hike-in was grueling, our gang decides that while it was beautiful and a great experience, we rather not burn another day retracing our steps and can instead move on to different (e.g. less strenuous) activities. That being the case, we see the ritual unfold, when the boats come to shore. The people in queues strip down to bathing suits, grab their garbage bags, get into the water and swim over to the boats, throw their garbage bag on the boat, and then climb aboard. We observe the action and decide that this is where we make our “reservation”. So, we jump in the water and swim out to one of the boats. We ask the guy if he’s willing to take the five of us tomorrow back to Ke’e Beach, where we began the journey. He says “no problem, brah! It’s going to be early, though, like 6:30am”. We say that’s perfect and swim back to shore excited that we just got ourselves a fun ticket back to town! After we get back to shore, we think that we should also ask him about the cost. So, we swim out again to him, get the pricing and confirm things. We also take the opportunity to snag a garbage bag that he has, for our own use tomorrow morning.
There is a beach further west from Kalalau called Honopu that is supposed to be the prettiest in the islands and perhaps even the world. The only problem is that Honopu Beach is only accessible by swimming and these waters are hazardous. We decide to go to the end of the beach and check things out and make a decision. As we walk about a half mile to the end of Kalalau Beach, we see a more pristine and beautiful area of rocks going into the ocean, a large crumbling back wall and many huge boulders in the sand. Here, we reach the end and we get a glimpse of Honopu. It really is spectacular. Regardless if we’re going to do the swim over to Honopu or not, this is an amazing little spot and there is nobody around and we can do some great body surfing with the fun wave action here. We surf for a few hours and see a couple of people either going to Honopu or coming back that have fins, snorkels and masks. They say that it’s fairly mellow and doable for us. We think about it hard, but ultimately think it’s safer not to try as getting there should be relatively easy, but coming back against the current may prove tricky without fins.
We are now thoroughly worked out, our skin is pruned up & salty, and we are really hungry. So, we start walking back to our camp on the beach to get a fresh water shower on our salty bodies and lunch into our growling stomachs. After we round a corner, we notice that there is a really strong wind blowing right into us. It just gets stronger as we walk back to the original part of the beach. Eventually, we’re basically walking against a painful sand blaster. As we head closer to our camp, it doesn’t quite look right in the distance. A couple of people walk across the beach and intercept us and say “we did all we could”. Uh oh, that’s not a good sign. The wind appears to have ravaged our camp with one tent a couple of hundred yards down the beach and the other two collapsed, but still present and not in the water heading towards Japan! These nice folks had thrown big rocks into our tents to keep them down, but the tents have also accumulated pounds and pounds of sand. Great. So, we need to make a decision, stay on the beach or head towards the trees and get shelter from the winds. We reluctantly decide the trees are the best option and drag our sorry tents a quarter mile on the beach and set up a new camp in what turns out to be a nice spot in the trees, back towards the beginning of the beach.
We still need to clean up and cool down from all of that salt water and sun, but we are now at the opposite end of the beach and have no access to the shower. So, we head to the last river crossing just before the beginning of the beach that we passed on the hike in yesterday. Here, we slip into the river and just soak for a while, cooling down our bodies, and getting sand out from all of those magical little places. That night, as we have dinner, we plan for an early start to get all of our stuff packed up and ready to go in garbage bags for the swim to the boat. We go over our strategy, packing tips, morning timing and other details. A couple, that were also on the beach camping and that took refuge in the trees next to us, also don’t want to hike the trail back. They ask us about boat possibilities and we give them the story on what we have. That night, as we finished dinner and got ready to go to bed, the rain that we’ve thus far avoided becomes unchained and it rains pretty well all night.
Continue reading: Part Seven – Exit Beach Right