Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One small step for man

That's molten lava.
As far as the eye can see.
What would possess anyone to walk 1 mile across this rocky, God-forsaken moonscape?

The answer is Makalewena Beach, described by some as the most beautiful beach on the Big Island and all of Hawaii for that matter.

Thanks to my diligent wife, we started the trip to Makalewena completely prepared.

Snorkel gear: check
Towels: check
Sunscreen: check
Water: check
Fruit and snacks: check
Cell phone: check
Camera: check
First aid kit: check. (We had aloe vera, that's good for everything)

We turned off Highway 19 and spotted the rocky road that lead to the staging area. We conveniently ignored the clause in the rental car contract that forbids driving on roads marked for 4x4's and gently eased the cream puff Chevy Malibu over the cratered terrain. It took about 20 minutes to cover the 1.5 mile drive.

Turned out the drive would be the easiest part of the trip to Makalewena.

We followed a dirt trail towards the water, where a surfer told us we'd have to hoof it another mile to reach our destination. "Just walk across the lava field behind the hut," he said.

Now I've been blessed with a hearty wife and two equally hearty daughters who are up for any adventure, particularly if some author of a travel book promises a handsome reward for the treacherous journey. What I wasn't blessed with was the proper footwear. Unfortunately, I had left my hiking shoes back at the hotel and was sporting a pair of paper thin water shoes.

So I balked. And suggested we stay put at the unnamed beach, where the turquoise water and powdery soft sand could hardly be surpassed. We caught some waves, body surfed and cracked open our lunch at a nearby picnic table. There wasn't a soul in sight and the setting was just perfect. I just didn't realize how perfect.

There, under the table, as if sent by Providence, was a pair of inch thick flip flops. I tried them on. And though they were a size too small, they certainly offered enough protection to brave the rocky path you see pictured above.

30 minutes later we landed at Makalewena. Where we were greeted by two German women, going au naturale, and easily the most beautiful beach any of us had ever laid eyes on.

It turned out to be a fabulous day. The mysteriously-sent, but ill-fitting flip flops protected the heels but cut a nice gash across the top of my feet. But we did have aloe vera. And best of all, on a day trip where I had expected none, I got to see bouncy, unsheathed boobies.


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