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Lana`i: Polihua Beach

From the Garden of the Gods, the road gets rough — then it gets rougher — and even rougher until one begins to wonder why am I doing this? There is no speed limit sign — it is not needed. Even with a 4WD Jeep, the maximum safe speed is about five miles per hour.

Just as one begins to think about turning around, you catch a glimpse of the beach and the ocean beyond. Curiously, the quality of the dirt road improves for that last quarter mile and you forget about the hardship you experienced to get there.

Polihua Beach is the longest white sand beach on Lana`i — about a mile and a half long. The beach is subject to strong winds and rough surf — making swimming and other ocean activities problematic. For these reasons and because of its remote location, Polihua Beach will likely be deserted when you arrive. However, a visual bonanza awaits the adventurous wonderer — the beautiful beach, the hypnotic waves, the gorgeous ocean with mountainous Moloka`i in the distance. It is truly a photographer's delight.

There are no facilities here — no rest rooms, no showers, no water, no food, no shelter. Oh, there is one empty steel drum used as a trash barrel. But there are kiawe trees among other vegetation. It stands out because there is so little vegetation along the road just traveled.

But wow! No people and no development to spoil this magnificent beach and the views of Moloka`i across Kalohi Channel. I also kept a careful eye on the clouds — I certainly did not want to get stuck down here because of a muddy, impassable road home should the rains start in earnest.

I was privileged to share the beach with a pair of Sandpipers...

and this unusual camouflaged crab. I was surprised that he let me get so close and take my photos — before he scampered into his hole.

Off in the other direction, I finally saw other humans — a dive boat — and a number of scuba divers. My friend Darlene said (when i shared my photos with her and Larry) that they were not supposed to be there. I guess they got away with that one.

But as you can see, the clouds were getting darker and I decided that it was time to head back home. I enjoyed my visit — although, I wished the weather had been a bit more cooperative.

So I bounced along the bumpy dirt road, back past the Garden of the Gods when a light misty rain began to fall. The 4WD began to kick up a bit of muddy spray, even at low speeds. Eventually I returned to civilization with a Jeep that was a much red (mud) as yellow (paint) — only to be treated to some dreamy views of the misty hills behind the Lodge at Koele.

Even the horse pasture provided an intriguing view, worthy of a photo. A wonderful conclusion to a wonderful day.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc.