Puddle Jumpers

Enjoying life, off the hamster wheel

Beach Bummin’

On Saturday, I went back down to Big Beach and Little Beach. I took a shuttle from our resort, and as I waited I retook the photo of the statue I think of as “the noble savage” that’s in front of the hotel. I’ll reserve further comment…

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The shuttle picked me up, and as we were driving I noticed the driver had passed my stop, and when I mentioned this, he just shrugged and said he was taking me right down to the entrance of the beach in the park! Wow, nice!

I had better luck today than the previous day – it was gloriously sunny – no rain or rain clouds to be seen.

You climb a short but fairly steep path up and across a little volcanic isthmus. Little Beach was separated from Big Beach by a lava flow and earthquake in 1790. The hill dividing the two beaches is called Pu’u Ola’i, or Earthquake Hill. It looks like this:

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Here’s the path you walk up and over to get to the other side:

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Here’s a view of Big Beach on the way over to Little Beach from the bluff:

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There were lots of surfers out today, and on Little Beach, it was no exception. (Warning: if you’re offended by nudity, quickly skip over the next picture, as the guy surfing is naked and if you take a magnifying glass to your computer screen, you just might be able to see his seriously pixilated…gasp… private parts! And yes…gasp again!…Little Beach is a clothing optional beach. ‘Nuff said…)

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On the beach, I met a whole bunch of interesting people, and as I was leaving, a regular to the beach gave me a beautiful and wonderfully aromatic stem of tuberoses. He cultivates them and brings them down to the beach and gives them away.

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He invited me to come back on Sunday when the regulars do a sunset drumming session. And so, with sweet fragrance and kind words, I went my merry way, intending to come back before we leave the island.

There’s a small section of the beach that has big chunks of coral that have washed up over the volcanic rock. It’s very close to where the surfers played.

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On the way back over to Big Beach, I stopped and took some pictures of some of the plants. There’s a tree that grows on the island that is called “Kiawe” in Hawaiian (pronounced “kee-ava”. It’s mesquite, and it has very large, sharp thorns:

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According to a few locals I’ve spoken to, there are different stories of how this plant come to the island. One story is that missionaries brought it over and planted them in order to make the natives wear shoes, because when the branches fall off, the thorns are so painful if they’re stepped on, you need to where thick soled shoes to walk about. Another is that ranchers brought the tree over from Texas because it produces large seed pods which were used for cattle feed. The growing conditions are so favourable for the Kiawe, that the tree has chocked out many indigenous plants.

I saw a couple of huge aloe vera plants (I think that’s what they were):

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Then I turned towards the sea, and tried to take pictures of the surf splashing on the rocks, and the foam and the sand making marble-like patterns in the water below. When I got back to the hotel and loaded the pictures onto my computer, I noticed something interesting in a couple of them. I looked closely, and I was sure I saw a dorsal fin. So, I zoomed in, and sure enough, there was the unmistakable dorsal fin of a dolphin! I never noticed it as I was shooting, but what a happy accident to capture a picture of a dolphin playing in the surf, not far from the surf-boarders!

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On the way out of the park I noticed a papaya tree growing, heavy with fruit, in a forest of Kiawe trees:

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Walking back down the road, I passed a forest of cacti which I think are called prickly pears, which had “leaves” much bigger than my hand.

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A few locals have told me how the cactus came to Maui. It may have been brought over by the ranchers as a food source for the cattle. Apparently the spines were somehow burned off the plant, and then the cattle could eat the leaf, which was also a source of water for them. The plant may also have been used as a barrier around claimed property.

As I walked, I stopped for some coconut water and meat, and a bag of pineapple slices at a road-side snack shack:

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The coconut water and meat was good, but I didn’t find it great. The pineapple? Not as sweet as so many people tell me it was supposed to be. Maybe the next time will be better.

As I walked along towards the pick-up point for the shuttle, the landscape began to change, and paradise’s golf courses cropped up to my right and manicured lawns to my left, and smooth asphalt ahead.

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Egrets hang out here and there, and I quickly took a photo of one before it flew away. They’re beautiful birds.

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When I arrived at the shuttle’s pick up point at the Prince Hotel, the bellmen all asked if I was the girl who went down to Big Beach the day before. When I said yes, they all said they wondered what had happened to me to the day before. Then the driver who shuttled me back to the Grand Wailea also asked if I was the girl who had gone to Big Beach the day before in the rain, and when I said yes, he said that the bellmen were worried when they hadn’t heard from me that night to take me back to my hotel! Wow! The locals are a wonderful people who seem to really care about the welfare of others. Very, very lovely.

And so, another day in paradise came to a close.

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Stay tuned for more!

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This entry was posted on September 26, 2006 by in Hawaii, Main, Travel.

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