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Mahukona Street

  • Mahukona Street

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This park is so noteworthy that I’m featuring it in an article about the best beaches in Hawaii when it has no actual beach. Instead of sand, Māhukona is a cement slab that used to be part of a pier. But this cement slab is the gateway to an underwater paradise. Once you park on the slab, you’ll be face-to-face with the great Pacific Ocean. In the winter months, parking here is like going to the drive-in, but instead of a motion picture, the show is humpback whales. If the whales aren’t around, stick your head over the slab and peer into the water below. Because of the resident yellow tang population, the water at Māhukona is a tie-dyed mixture of yellow and blue. It’s basically the most impressive aquarium you’ve ever been to. The entrance into the water is from a ladder on the right side of the right parking area. Approach the steps to the ladder in your best reenactment of an overcautious grandma going to get the mail. Those two stairs are slippery. Swim beyond the yellow tang wall and out into the great open blue. The cement slab was once part of the Hawaiian sugar cane industry. Sugar cane harvested from the north part of the island was brought to Māhukona by train for processing and shipping out. Swim out far enough and you’ll be able to spot some leftover sugar cane milling equipment as well as remnants from the steam cargo ship, the SS Kauai, that ran aground on the reef.
The last time I snorkeled here was in January during Humpback Whale season. After spotting a spotted eagle ray cruising around the bottom of the ocean, I dove down a few feet to get a closer look and was welcomed by the songs of humpback whales swimming nearby. If you get to experience this, all bets are off for the rest of the day. You’ll be here trying to grow gills so you can stay underwater to listen for as long as possible. Don’t forget to apply some reef-safe sunscreen before embarking on this underwater adventure, because you won’t be getting out anytime soon. Māhukona, above and below the waterline, will not disappoint, despite not being a real beach.

laurenallain 2 years ago

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