Except for a few sailing trips, our time here on Oahu has been confined mostly to walking distance from the Ala Wai Boat Harbor in the heart of the tourist metropolis of Waikiki. This week we rented a car and changed our scenery for a few days.
A bit over an hour driving, and less than 50 miles as the crow files is as far as you can get geographically from Waikiki and still be on land. Karen found a campground in the far North Shore that had small cabins (better described ans “shacks”) on the beach that came highly recommended by our favorite guidebook author. (Oahu Revealed, by Andrew Doughty)
The North Shore of Oahu is famous for its surf. It faces directly toward the huge storms that roil the North Pacific and Bering Sea during the winter months. Swells from these storms travel across thousands of miles of open ocean and crash onto the steep shoreline creating surf of 20 to 30 feet or more. We timed our trip north during a time of “High Surf Warning” with waves forecast of 25 to 35 feet. As we drove from Haleiwa to Kawela Bay the road was crowded with people who had come to watch the action.
One of the strange things to me, was that despite the huge waves, I didn’t see ANYBODY out on a surfboard. Karen explained things to me. There were no tournaments, so no prize money. Why would anybody risk their lives out in that if they weren’t getting paid? Makes perfect sense to me now…
At the campground we had reserved what they called a “suite”. That means you get a queen sized bed with air mattress, a pair of bunk beds and a toilet and electric outlets and lights. Nothing else. No sink. No chair. No table. What you do get is the most spectacular beach I have ever spent time at.
Over on the left of the picture you can see our “suite”. Notice the crowds on the beach. Since this beach didn’t face directly north, it didn’t get huge waves. But further offshore the swells were continuously crashing on the reefs and islands. Instead of a rhythmic surf sound of one wave after another, here is was a continuous roar. Almost like a fighter jet taking off in the distance.
We only had ONE complaint about our stay. The air mattress that came with our “suite” leaked. By midnight the first night we had sunk down to the plywood bedframe. The next day the office loaned us the electric inflator, and we put the bunk bed cushions under the mattress. That wasn’t much better… The third night they gave us a new mattress, it leaked slower. It was 3AM before we bottomed out… Old bones don’t take to that kind of hard sleeping surface too well.
Now we are back in Waikiki enjoying the boat.