Maui’s black sand beach

The truth about Hawaii so far: it’s been colder than expected and rainy. Several nights, the wind and driving rain have woken us up. We’re very happy that our little tent is holding up and keeping us dry. It’s all worth it, though. The rain is filling the streams, feeding the waterfalls and glossing the tropical forest.

By morning, the skies are often sunny. We campers emerge from our tents and check with each other to see how the night went. The campgrounds here are meadows some distance from the parking lots. Campers pick any spot they like and set up. This proximity and the rain bring our community together.Tent Waianapanapa

At Maui’s Wai’anapanapa State Park, we set up on a slight rise with a magnificent view of the black lava cliffs and the azure waves endlessly crashing against them. We came here to see the famous black sand beach. It’s a major tourist draw best appreciated before the tour buses arrive.

It was too dark to visit the beach the night we arrived. In the morning, with the sun shining, I stood at the lookout over the beach. I expect dark grey sand, I expected not to be too impressed. I was wrong.

In the cove below the wet sand glistened in the sun, totally black. There was no one on the beach, only a set of footsteps skirting the cliff. Ken and I headed down the long staircase to the beach. The sand is like small smooth micro-pebbles. Walking bare feet, you sink into this peculiar sand while the waves wash bright white sea-foam over your toes. In places, you can hear a distinctive clinking and rattling. It’s the five- or six-foot high waves rolling the larger stones back and forth on the beach, working on creating more black sand. This is not a swimming beach, the waves are too powerful, but one of our camping neighbours couldn’t resist. He’s clearly a powerful swimmer. Over and over, he swam out a few strokes then caught a wave, body-surfing back to shore. It looked like fun, but way out of my league.

Soon, more people arrived and we left with our nearly private visit engraved in our memories.


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