One morning, while staying in Hana, I decided to get up before sunrise and head to Kaihalulu Beach (also known as Red Sand Beach) to take some photographs.
A few things you should know before we get too into this blog, one is that the Red Sand Beach has the well-known distinction of being a clothing option beach. Another thing you need to know is that public nudity is illegal in Hawaiʻi, but it is often overlooked at smaller, secluded beaches. And one final note is that people tend to camp at Red Sand Beach, even though that too is not allowed without proper documentation.
With this in mind, I woke up in the dark and followed the treacherous trail to Kaihalulu Beach. I mention the treacherous part because as recently as July 5th a young man fell fifteen feet from the trail and was in critical condition when taken to the hospital. In my humble opinion, the risk is never worth the reward when it comes to photography and putting yourself in harmʻs way. If the trail was wet I would tried for sunrise another day. Fortunately the morning I chose to take photographs, the trail was dry, the cinders packed tight, and it was as safe as it could be.
As the sky began to softy lighten, I turned the corner to view the Red Sand Beach and realized somebody had pitched a tent…literally, right in the middle of the beach. Nobody was moving, so I tried to frame my shots away from the eyesore of a camp site and focus on the beauty, rather than the beast.
I got a few shots I thought could be keepers, and wanted to try a few more compositions, but the pair of campers woke up and decided to remove their inflatable bed from the tent and place it in the water, ruining every shot of mine from that point forward. At that moment Emily had finished her run and found me becoming frustrated, so we moved to another section along the coastline.
The new location was away from the dangerous trail to the Red Sand Beach, but as I walked out onto the rocks to set up, my feet slipped out and I pulled a Bambi (when he finds the frozen lake for the first time). Although I didnʻt fall, I definitely gave my groin a thorough morning stretch.
Recovering from my near disaster, I took a few pictures at the new location, but breakfast was calling, so I packed up the camera and gear and slowly walked away from the slippery rocks along the waterʻs edge.
I mention the slippery rocks and the walk back because, not wanting to fall, I was keeping my head down, watching my every footstep. Unfortunately, I should have had my head up to see any obstacles in front of my face. A great example would be to look for any sharp objects that might want to blind me by forcing their way into my eye socket. As I walked along, I raised my head slightly to see where I was going and…poke…my left eye felt like it had just been punched.
I immediately covered my eye with my hand and thought the worst for a few milliseconds, but eventually removed my hand and opened my eye to see a teary, but bright world in front of me. Once I realized everything was going to be okay, I surveyed my surroundings to figure out what the heck had just happened.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, needle in a haystack, it is a figure of speech that refers to something that is difficult to find in a relatively large area. I found the proverbial needle with my eye. There was nothing else on this rocky shoreline for twenty feet in either direction, but I happened to find the one sharp stick that was at eye-level, waiting for me to get a very close look at it.
Emily and I walked back to the resort, cleaned up my eye, and had a relaxing breakfast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We enjoyed the rest of our long weekend in Hana and I was able to take more pictures without any incidents.