By Virginia Beck

IMG_0202Summer is in full swing. Night rains and day blossoms; and a south swell of magnificent power and force arrives. We love its thunderous crashing on the beach and the foamy shore break, but we respect the strength of the entire Pacific Ocean flung at our tiny island.

We don’t want to lose anyone; especially visitors, who don’t realize how different a tiny island beach is from the enormous, protective continental shelf that lines the Mainland coast. We have little off-shore beach protection; no gentle, slow descent to the ocean depths.

We are perched on the tip of a giant mountain, thrust up from the Earth’s core, and as a result, we have massive lava rock cliffs and deep off-shore canyons. These increase the force of the ocean currents; surging into tremendous waves and treacherous undertows with slamming shorebreaks.

Don’t imagine you can swim everywhere our Kaua‘i born kids and surfers play. They are skilled and wise, with years of experience. Pick the protected bays and beaches, and there are many. Ask your hosts for safe swimming places.

It doesn’t mean stay out of the water. It simply means look for safe beaches for children and those who don’t swim often. Trust the lifeguards, and listen to them. We have the most amazing lifeguards in the world. They are smart, trained and they save lives every week.

Listen to hotel concierges; they can be trusted to guide you to safe areas. Stay in their glorious pools and protected beaches. Respect red warning flags. And look inland for adventures. Ziplines, river cruises, horseback-riding or hiking adventures, the landscape of Kaua’i is pure delight. Don’t forget hats and lots of sunscreen

The full moon sailing through misty clouds blowing away to the west, or the new moon glowing under Jupiter and Venus, twilight is as glorious as sunset. Our sky is jeweled brilliance, since we have a really dark night sky, away from the cities.

Birds are going crazy, nesting. Nestlings emerge piping and cheeping in the leafy canopy overhead. Migrating birds make themselves known, from the shearwaters, to the chattering of green parrots, and the Walmart chickens. Mynah birds make an unruly gang of gossips that “talk story” all day long, everywhere.

Our local crew of chickens, (the best fed in Kalaheo, as they pillage our green waste!) target mango trees for their plump, fragrant fruit. We greedily await the avocados swelling into lusciousness for guacamole, salads, sandwiches. Yum! Lychees are ripening. Look for them at the farmers’ markets and roadside vendors.

And then there is romance. Hotels and beaches bustle with the bridal season. The beach at Shipwreck’s flaunts bridal gowns, lacy veils and layers of fragrant lei. Wedding photographers flock like paparazzi, clicking away. Elegance and grace amidst sandy towels and children calling. The surfers ignore the celebration as they skim and slalom, carving the waves with their signatures, curling in the foam.

Virginia Beck

Virginia Beck

Brief rainsqualls visit, while huge banks of grey drift by, dragging small veils of rain across the horizon. The Hawaiian people consider rain, “ka ua”, a blessing. For a tiny Pacific island chain, volcanic rock heaved up from the sea floor; water is everything.

It is life. “Ka wai ola”, the waters of life, precious indeed.

The rain also gives us our famous rainbows, streaming glorious colors across the island. We may get damp, but the trade winds soon dry. I give thanks daily for this, even if I grumble a bit in the wet season. Water will be the new gold of the 21st Century, and I cherish it. Please treat it with respect, for it is most of who you are.

  • Virginia Beck, NP, Certified Trager Practitioner®, is part of the Women’s Health Team at West Kaua‘i Clinics, and can be reached at 635-5618.