A Walk on the Wild Side
Kaena Point is my favorite spot on the island. It’s a far cry from Waikiki with its vibrant palms, loud aloha wear, and bedazzled cocktails. Kaena remains a wild place. Salt spray immediately assaults you as you step from car to take in the big views and pounding surf. The sun seems hotter here. The vegetation thirsty. Most of the point is designated as a Natural Area Reserve affording plants and animals who live there special protection. Intense, decades-long efforts to protect, restore, and attract coastal plants and animals have resulted in a special place. An island within an island where you can glimpse into Hawaii’s past. I can’t think of anything more magical.
The Magestic Laysan Albatross
In February, Kaena is an extra special place. Oversized eggs tucked under oversized birds begin to pip and slowly hatch as bits of fuzz with oversized feet and beaks. Laysan albatross. Once called gooney birds due to the ease you could approach and slaughter the guileless creatures. That description seems callous and unfair, but then again, I’m no hardened sailor. Watching them dance and moo (I mean come on, how can you not love a bird who moos?) makes me indescribably happy. Other bonuses for a wintertime visit : whales breaching offshore, endangered monk seals lolling in the tidepools, and thankfully, cooler temperatures. The birds hang out until mid summer so there’s still time to visit and watch the chicks grow plump and then awkward as they transition to adults.
We headed out a few hours before sunset armed with water, snacks, headlamps, binoculars, and a camera. We made our car look as unappealing as possible to would-be thieves and wished it luck. The parking area is distressingly littered with broken glass. Any concerns were quickly dampened by our first albatross sighting. One majestic bird soared overhead and we were off.
You can view the video from our trip to Kaena here
And the images here
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