Saturday, December 4, 2010

Things to Do: Halona Blowhole

One of the sights on O'ahu is the Halona Blowhole Lookout.  This is one of the bigger lookouts on the island and is a stop on some tour buses.  During the winter whale migrations, you can see humpback whales in the distance.  The Halona Blowhole is located on the southeastern end of O'ahu, about 20 to 30 minutes outside of Waikiki past Diamond Head and Hanauma Bay right along the Kalanianaole Highway (Route 72).
What if the kids ask "what's a blowhole?"  Just tell them it's a hole in the roof of a sea cave.  Waves enter the mouth of the cave and are forced upwards towards the hole which we see blowing out the top.  This cave was formed when lava cooled and formed tubes by the ocean.  High winds driving waves through old lava tubes produces the best results, so it's better to go during high tide on a windy day, otherwise you could be standing around for 20-30 minutes in the sun.

While you wait, you can walk around and enjoy the scenic view from the lookout and the nearby beaches.  Be mindful of the signs, DO NOT venture past the wall and down to the rocks.  A few people get swept out to sea when a rogue wave unexpectedly breaks and washes them out.

Off to the right (south) of the parking lot is Halona Beach Cove.  This small and scenic spot is the famous beach in the movie "From Here to Eternity".  It's where Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr filmed their famous kiss as the waves washed over them.  If you decide to venture forth, the walk down is steep and rocky, so be careful.  Swimming at this beach is NOT RECOMMENDED and there are NO LIFEGUARDS.  There are strong and unexpected currents that can sweep you out to sea.  Also, there are no bathrooms.  For that, you have to go a mile down the road to Sandy's Beach.

Speaking of Sandy's, it's off to the left (north).  At that beach, there's bathrooms, showers, parking, and lifeguards.  You can swim, boogie board, and surf but use caution.  The shorebreak is steep, there's rocks, and currents can get strong.  

It's a nice beach, just be aware of the conditions and check with the lifeguards before you jump in the water.  

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