Friday, April 29, 2011

Beaches: Waimanalo Bay

Not to be confused with Waimanalo Beach, Waimanalo Bay Beach Park is just a few miles down the road.  Officially known as Waimanalo Bay State Recreational Area it has the same amenities as it's sister beach, but it's bigger.  This long, narrow beach is known for white sand, bodysurfing, boogieboarding, and it's ironwood forest nicknamed "Sherwood Forest".

Waimanalo Bay Beach Park is across the street from the Waimanalo Polo Fields.  The northern part of the beach touches Bellows Field Air Force Station.  Bellows is a good surf spot in the winter, but closed to the public during the week from Monday through Friday.

Watch out, the T-intersection to the beach comes up quick and you'll miss it if you're not paying attention.

The parking lot is bigger than at Waimanalo Beach.  On the weekends, the parking lot also gets full faster than the other beach.  There is some off-pavement parking and there's another parking lot at the back up the round the bend, so there's plenty of space.  

The bathroom is bigger and they have more showers.  There is also a dishwashing sink here and a public phone over by the caretaker's house.  This makes it nice if you're camping. Each campsite has it's own table, grill, and trashcan.  There are 12 camping spots between the forest and the beach, but you must call for a permit.  Permits can be obtained through the Department of Parks and Recreation at 808-523-4525. 

This place is nicknamed "Sherwood Forest" or just "Sherwood".  Years ago, the ironwood trees provided hiding places from the police.  Originally part of Bellows Field until 1966, when the Air Force transferred 76 acres to the State, this undisturbed stretch of land became popular for stripping stolen cars.  The criminals there were compared to Robin Hood and his Merry Men.  Hence the forest became known as Sherwood.  Today, the ironwood trees provide shade for picnics and swimmers.

Like most state beaches, lifeguards are on duty.  Check with them before going in the water.  

Just be aware of the conditions.  Since this was winter, the northern shore of Oahu gets hit by storm systems and strong waves, but not today.  Also, watch out if they post signs for jellyfish.  Occasionally schools of small jellyfish (Portugese Man 'O War) will be in the water.  

As you can see, the waves aren't that big.  Waves are too small and blown-out to go surfing, but good enough for boogie boarding.  There is a shallow beach break that makes it good for boogie boarding or body surfing.    

The white sands gently slope down towards to ocean.  It's a sandy bottom, so you don't have to worry about rocks or corral.  

Looking east back towards Waimanalo Beach, Rabbit Island, and Ko'olau Mountains.  

Looking west towards Bellows Field and Kailua Bay.  Waimanalo Bay is a nice beach to hang out or swim in the water.  Just be sure to check the weather before you go.  

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