Ah, winter in Hawaii. I’ve been asking locals about this season since we moved here, wondering if it *really* gets cold or how much it actually rains. Following the Honolulu Marathon, our lovely island began the transition into winter weather and I’m enjoying experiencing this season for myself.
As I write, it’s 73 degrees, there’s a misty rain coming down and the winds are blowing hard enough to knock over my plants on the lanai. Yesterday was warm and sunny with only the slightest breeze until a downpour (during my run, thank-you-very-much) left Kailua chilly and damp. By the time we went to bed, a cool 65 degree breeze was blowing in our window. I dig winter in Hawaii.
Rain Clouds over Kaena Point, with just a bit of sun peeking through. Winter in Hawaii.
The Gentleman and I recently took advantage of the weather to visit Kaena Point, on the northwest shore of Oahu and were treated to another wintertime spectacle: high surf. I’ve been struggling to communicate these waves to people who’ve never seen them. Photos don’t cut it and my words sound unimpressive. Still, I’ll try, because these waves are an awesome, booming, frothing show of force and deserve to be shared.
A trail run along Kaena Point is bound to be interrupted for photos. Notice the mist kicked up into the air by the powerful waves.
The wave in the picture below has a 20-25 foot face and is 15 feet “thick” from front to back. That means that if you were standing in the water in front of the wave, you would be 1) insane and 2)looking at a crest almost the same height as your two-story home and as wide as an 18-wheeler. These waves crash with tremendous force, throwing plumes of water 40 feet into the air and pounding the shore into a churning pool of foam.
The water’s motion is so violent, it can punch holes through solid rock, leaving formations like this natural bridge and “blowhole”. Water pushes through the blowhole with such force, it can be heard at a great distance.
Standing on the shore, we noticed that these waves, more than the ones we’ve already seen along more popular North Shore beaches, were so powerful they made the ground rumble under our feet and sounded like distant explosions. I’ve included this video in an effort to share this strength. Please note: the video is NOT in slow motion. The waves are so big they appear slow compared to “normal” waves because the water has to travel that much further to crash!
As if the incredible waves weren’t enough, we were delighted to see a pair of crazy-endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals resting on the beach and tons (ha!) of humpback whales frolicking just beyond the breakers. UPDATE: This seal is named Kaena (appropriately) and was on the beach with another guy : either Noa or Kerby. They’re regulars on Kaena’s beaches.
If you visit Oahu, especially in winter, take the time to trek up to Kaena Point. The trail is easy (great for a trail run!) and the show God puts on with his oceans and animals is second to none.