So, yes, when I got on the beach that first Saturday morning, I had some irritation that needed to be forgotten. I think by the time 5 waves had fallen onshore that was accomplished.
Oh sweet beach of Turtle Cove! From Lahi Lahi Point (the rocky promontory on the left) lies a curve of luscious sand, all tiny grounds of pulverized seashells, that rounds up to the north where it becomes rocky again. The Hawaiian Princess condos, and the Beach Cabanas take up half the space against the sandy part of the beach. Some lucky homeowners have the rest.
As you walk out into the water, there are no rocks under your feet, and though it is not shallow for long, the water is most often gently rolling. It’s a wonderful spot to snorkel, and to bob on the waves – my favorite water activity!
Then back to your chair in the sand to sun, and read, and to watch the waves…I’m always surprised at myself that I am so satisfied to just watch the water go back and forth…I find it perfectly relaxing and so restful!
Despite this being one of the best beaches on Oahu, it is not a busy place. This is a picture of the busiest time we experienced there.
With the light population on the beach, and those being mostly residents of the Princess and Cabanas, you can leave your chairs and mats to go up to the condo for lunch. And, of course, when you stay at the Princess, you don’t have to walk a block or two to the beach. It is right at the foot of the building… just down the elevator, and out into the sand.
After months of anticipation, and a long day of travel, it was a dream come true!
We spent the first 2 days of our vacation just sitting on the beach. Our only interruptions were to go to the local L&L Drive in for some BBQ with white rice and macaroni salad. Oh, those Hawaiians love their starches! And then we did have to pace ourselves in sun exposure. We didn’t want to get fried, so we had to take some breaks to go sit on the lanai and watch the turtles swimming in the cove, and the whales breaching outside it.
Caitlin had determined and declared before our arrival in Hawaii that she would NOT be getting the water. We looked at her askance, and demanded, “WHY?” Apparently, she could not imagine immersing oneself in a soup of salt water and sea creature excretions. We predicted that once she saw the beautiful blue water, she would change her mind. She remained unconvinced.
However, on the 3rd beach day, after observing that even her fraidy-cat mother got in the ocean and bobbed on the waves, she figured she could do it. She joined me at the water and said, “Show me how to do this…”
Imagine! ME teaching her to do something physical! She quickly became a fan of the activity.
A couple of beach days later, Cait and I were out bobbing and we turned to see turtle legs poking up out of the water just a few feet away from us! At first it didn’t register with me…it looked like bird wings…A bird floating by? Of course, we began to flail our way out into the waves further from this creepy reptile. They are more fun to look at when they can’t get close enough to touch you! The turtle decided he wanted no part of the panic and went underwater, which made us feel even more panicked. As soon as we could get onto the sand without risk of encountering the turtle, we made our way out of the waves. We were done for the day!
But Cait and I did get back in the water again. I think one of my favorite memories is the six of us out bobbing on the waves, talking and laughing…My favorite people with me, enjoying Paradise.
As the week went on, some weather systems approaching the islands began to cause an increase in the size of the waves. No more snorkeling, and I was reaching my maximum for risk-taking in the water. It is fun to ride a big tall wave straight up, and then find yourself down in the trough that follows…but when I could see waves starting to break over the kids’ heads, I knew that the only water I’d be in was the pool, or the shower.
On our second to last beach day, we had a sobering reminder that one must know their limits when it comes to water play. The waves were pretty vigorous and a gentleman was trying to get back on shore when we realized he was calling for help. He had become too tired to fight the rush of water pulling him back into the cove. A young burly fellow who had just made his way out of the water, went back into the waves to grab him, and hold on to him so that he wasn’t swept back out. It took multiple waves to get him moved to where he could sit on the sand away from the pull of the retreating water. Others had also come to help the young man retrieve him. The rescuee was completely spent, and sat for 20 minutes in that same spot before he had the energy to walk back to his condo.
It was scary to think that we had been watching him in the water, unaware that he was in distress until we heard his weak cries for help. A number of us stopped what we were doing before we all began to move toward him…was he really calling for help? Fortunately, we did hear him, or a tragedy could have occurred.
On our last day at the beach, the storm had finally arrived, and the waves were the biggest we had seen -- big enough that a bunch of locals showed up to ride them in the cove. Since it was our last day, the kids (except Caitlin) wanted to ride the waves just one more time. After what I had seen the day before, I was pretty nervous about the danger in the water so I stayed on the beach, in the rain, as the spotter.
(This video was taken the day before the waves got really big, but it shows the kind of fun they were having.)
Dillon, Tiffany and Jess were having fun, and doing pretty well riding the waves until Tiffany drifted a little too close to shore, and found herself in that danger zone. She saw it coming, and did her best to dive into the wave and away from the shore break, but after it broke I saw Dillon’s head pop up, and Jess’ – but no Tiffany for a few more seconds. (Seemed much longer than that!) By the time she got up she was in a bad position for the next one, and got rolled again. This time she escaped and got up on shore. Her hair had been in a pony tail when she went under. Now her hair was free and the elastic was nowhere to be found. She decided she was done with the waves.
I was glad.
Jess and Dillon wanted just a couple more…and soon, Dillon had drifted into the danger zone and got slammed onto the sand. His ribs did not feel so good. Jess bobbed a couple more, and managed to escape unscathed. I was very relieved that they were done. And I don’t doubt that the pain Dillon and Tiff were feeling made it easier for them to leave our sweet beach later that day.
In the days since, we have learned that Dillon broke 2 ribs. Tiffany has a cold that Randy insists must be a consequence of ocean water in the sinuses – because he got a cold after inhaling salt water in his snorkeling adventures…and Jess still loves the big waves too much in my opinion.
Caitlin and I seem to demonstrate the truth that sometimes retreat is the better part of wisdom…because we are just fine.
Despite the painful ending to our days at the beach, we do love it there in Makaha. So far, we haven’t found a beach we like better. And we’ll be back…Good memories of great beach days are already calling us there!