Jul 2

Makapu’u Head

Category: Hawaii

Today I took a drive from Waikiki east past Hanauma bay, past Koko crater and up to the eastern-most part of the island where the endless trade winds make landfall. This area is called Makapu’u and there is a park, containing a small mountain area with old military fortifications and a lighthouse. From the top, you get a great view of the ocean between Oahu and the next few islands (Moloka’i, Lana’i and Maui). I was able to see the islands but they were difficult to distinguish from clouds.

The real treat was the way the sun played on the water, causing it to alternate between deep blue and brilliant aqua as the clouds raced overhead in the astonishing wind. Climbing down the side of the hill overlooking the lighthouse, I had trouble remaining on my feet.

This is supposed to be a good place to watch for whales in the winter, but in the summer there are none. I did see some Laysian albatrosses, and plenty of the ubiquitous zebra doves, foraging by digging scrapes in the ground:

On the way to Makapu’u, there are a number of lookouts and beaches that are beautiful and also great places to take pictures of birds. The highway views reminded me of route 1 in california, but in a more volcanic way. I saw the appropriately named common red-crested cardinal and common mynah (where don’t you see them in Hawaii?).

From the hill overlooking the lighthouse, there is a really good view to the west, towards Waimanalo, Kailua, and Kaneohe. There are two small islands immediately offshore, the larger named rabbit island and the smaller kaohi-ka-ipu. I liked the way the setting sun played on them.

There is also a set of blowholes called the Dragon’s nostrils in this park, but they weren’t blowing this day. I think you could spend many days in this park, which is a great place to explore, photograph birds, and get some exercise. It is much less traveled than the other points you’ll see on the way here from Waikiki, and more rewarding.

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