Thursday, January 02, 2014

Sealodge Beach, Princeville

Here's out first adventure of the new year. Like I rambled about in my last post, my resolution this year is to go to all the places in The Ultimate Kauai Guide Book. 

We headed North--a big and allegedly interesting part of the island that I tend to ignore because the snarl of Kapaa stands between me and It. But, Resolutions. So, North.

The ocean was blue and flat this morning-- through Kapaa, Anahola, Kilauea, and then to Princeville. When we turned at the giant crumbling Poseidon statue rising out of a chipped roundabout, MP, in her three-year-old astuteness, said, "ooh, this looks like Utah!" 

It did. Enormous matching houses, wide swaths of manicured green, shiny SUVs. The only giveaway is the empty horizon that marks sea rather than mountain, and the occasional Nene standing sentinel. 

We followed Kamehameha road to the end and found the Sealodge subdivision, and the path behind building A. The girls were in oversized slippers and swim suits, and I was carrying a heavy grocery bag of beach sundries: towels, water, hats. It soon became evident that we were not properly suited up. The "path" was a slick muddy groove in a shear cliff. Sharp-edged pandanus slipped underneath our feet, and every step sent a puff of Mosquitos up around our legs. RJ and MP are happy to call themselves nature girls and I reminded them like a mantra how much they loved rocks and trees and roots and mud and bees. 

We could see the ocean from the cliff side. It was shallow enough to see the yellow texture of the coral and the slabs of smooth black rock beneath the surface. A perfect spot for turtles, but no apparent sand. Once we were nearly at the bottom, we stopped and sang an oli--"Liuliu." It is a short chant for asking permission to enter a place, like a forest or a garden. We sang, and then listened for a "pane" or answer from nature-- birds calling, a loud wave-- some sort of response from the place itself.

A heavy-flying albatross flew low in front of us, up the cliff face. Good enough for me...

From the bottom of the cliff we made a sharp left and RJ scrambled ahead over craggy black rocks, about fifteen feet above the waves. One last sharp left and a treacherous climb over boulders and slick roots above the surf and a wide open curve of beach was before us. A few other families were already there, snorkeling or sitting in the shady beach.

The girls jumped right in-- the water was perfectly clear and shallow. The sand was oddly large-grained-- individual grains retaining their coral pink or urchin spines. It was soft enough to bury the girls in, and shape into mermaid tails and great white sharks around them. 

Next time we'll need snorkel stuff-- I've never seen so much actual coral that close to a beach. 

The girls got hungry so we scrambled back up the hill and headed to another new-to-us-spot: Duane's Ono Char Burgers. Honestly, I've been reluctant to go there since an ER doctor warned me off, but Burgers, fries and shakes! 
It was very tasty and bountiful and the gastrointestinal distress afterwards can probably be mostly attributed to overheating. Hopefully.

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