Kayak to Makalawena Beach

This morning we put in our Kayaks at Kua Bay (Maniniowali Beach) right as the park opened up at 9:00 AM. On board we had our snorkeling gear, our waterproof cameras and a cooler with kalua pig sandwiches inside. Our goal was to kayak to Makalawena Beach - a secluded and austere beach that is difficult to access. We talked about attempting this a while ago in a previous blog post but were unsuccessful - today we were determined to do it! Luckily, the weather smiled upon us with calm seas and sunshine. So, we loaded our kayak and carried it down over the rocks from the pavement to the bleached-white sandy beach below and started paddling.

Ahead and to the north there was already a dive boat anchored atop the reef nearby and our curiosity almost pulled us in that direction to investigate the diving conditions there - but we were focused on our goal of reaching Makalawena (many say this is the prettiest beach on the island…) We started paddling to the south and the scenery was spectacular. The waters of Kua Bay are many different shades of blue - from emerald to a light and bright blue, to a darker navy blue where the reef is below. We continued and passed the large mound of a hill to our left and noticed for the first time a row of houses near its base - I wonder, more vacation rentals - or perhaps exclusive beach bungalows for the rich and famous?

As we kept paddling beyond this cove, we began to see the strand of trees that borders the northern end of Makalawena and we knew we were not far. As we paddled, the waters were so clear that we could make out glimpses of the vast reef below us. On several occassions, I lowered myself into the water with a mask and snorkel to marvel at the underwater topography and corals - the reef was beautiful. By now, we could make out a glimpse of thegently sloping dunes at Makalawena. The sand there is a special shade of white and could be seen shining in the distance, surrounded by lava rocks and underbriush. As we stared at the beach we were dissappointed by seeing a few people already on the beach - we were hoping to be the only ones there…

As we approached the northen edge of the beach, we notice a very shallow reef shelf below us with vibrant yellow and blue hued colors. We decided to anchor the kayak and snorkel the reef below us. We dropped our anchor on a patch of sand at the bottom and saw a thriving reef below us in about 20 feet of water. We spent a short while snorkeling and free diving above the reef. Then we finally decided it was time to paddle in to shore - at Makalawena!

We navigated the approach avoiding lava rocks and a shallow reef and were pushed by surging waves the final distance onto the immacculate beach - we were finally there! The beach was better than I imagined and better than any piuctures could capture. The sand was perfect - soft, fine, and firm under our bare feet. The azure waters shined and the white sand contrasted starkly next to the dried lava rocks and surrounding green shrubbery. The waves lapped on shore on the beach and pounded the lava rocks sending sea spray into the air. Makalawena is actually three beach crescents located side by side to each other - we had landed on the center crescent. We spent some time exploring and photographing the beach and eventually sat on the lava rocks to enjoy our sandwiches before paddling back to Kua Bay. It was a wonderful day! Right now, my legs ache a bit because I forgot to add sunblock to them and they are a bit sun burnt…
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