Sunday, January 25, 2009

Big Island Beaches

The Devil Dog is always enthralled with the beaches of Hawaii and never more so than at two spots on the Big Island north of Kona that capture the imagination. Above is the perfect crescent shaped beach at the Mauna Kea Resort Hotel in Kohala, one the earliest of the notable pioneering resorts in Hawaii, built in 1965 by Lawrence Rockefeller.  It happens to sit on one of the most beautiful beaches the Devil Dog has ever seen, which I'm sure was part of the plan. The Mauna Kea has always been the most beautifully located, and architecturally distinct of the large resorts on the Big Island. Damaged in the Big Island earthquake two years ago it has just now reopened after a complete renovation and upgrading of facilities, but with the same beautiful style and sense of wonder that it has always had.

Key to that sense is the beach, a gently arching crescent of sand on a natural bay with gently sloping sandy bottoms and lovely shorebreak perfect for body surfing, but with enough depth for longer rides.  In all of Hawaii the beach at the Mauna Kea is one of my favorites, as much for the beauty of the place itself, as for the fabulous shorebreak and body surfing extravaganzas when the surf is up. 

Meanwhile, further south at the Four Seasons Hualalai, their resort fronts a lovely white sand, man made beach, where the real action is offshore.  100 yards or more out, when the Kona swell is rumbling and the surf is up, the waters off the Four Seasons is a rocking local surf spot, as attested to in the photo above.  On this day 3 to 5 foot waves come in all afternoon in beautiful sets that were snapped up and ridden like kids at a carnival. In the picture above a lone surfer rides a wave all the way across its tubular break while another picture perfect wave comes in behind it.

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