May 14, 2011

Hapuna Beach/Samuel M. Spencer Beach

Hapuna Beach, a state recreation area not too far from the Waikoloa resorts on the Big Island of Hawaii. Many beaches on the island are open to the public, and you'd be amazed by how each is a different experience, even when less than 5 miles apart from each other. 

Hapuna Beach is all smooth sand and emerald green shallows. You won't find yourself suddenly jamming your toe into a rock (or unwittingly hurting precious coral reefs). Its consistency makes for a very family-friendly beach. 

The only rocks you see are around the edges of the beach. Follow the rock wall by wading through the water and you can even find a modest little cave! On the other side of the beach, it's a bit rockier, but the plus side is that you will be able to see around 10 different types of fish.  

These excellent fish flip-flops were purchased at Safeway for $5.99.

Not far from Hapuna Beach is Samuel M. Spencer Beach Park, which boasts an entirely different kind of beach. It's relentlessly rocky, perfect for people who like to swim in and look at coral and fish, but less so for those who would rather just splash in the water.

Since it's a state park, there were a lot of people in tents, hanging their laundry on trees.

The inhospitality of this beach is perhaps a blessing in disguise. My heart sinks at the thought of people stamping through the rocky water, harming the sea anemone that live near the shore, and the small patches of coral that still survive further out. I'm surprised the state doesn't put up signs that educate visitors about how fragile coral is; I saw a lot of irresponsible behavior.

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