Do You Know the Way to Makalawena?

A few years ago on our first visit trip to the Big Island in Hawaii, we stumbled upon the most gorgeous beach, Kua Bay. We couldn’t believe our luck. The sand was silky white; the water fanned out in front of us in like a peacock’s tail~turquoise, cobalt, aqua and sea foam green. Best of all, the sand was sprinkled with only a few other beachgoers. We thought we’d died and gone to heaven.

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A year later we returned. The beach was a little more populated as the road had been paved. But still, it was pristine as we remembered…

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This time? Not so much. Every tourist and their mother had discovered our little secret. Sadly, Kua Bay was kooked out…

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(Of course this isn’t Kua but just to give you an idea of the claustrophobic feel.)

So, it was back to the guide book for The Ratty Pack. Just down Hwy 19 not far from the Kona Airport, we read, was an epic, deserted beach. The only bummer? The road to the coast was a little uh, bumpy. How bad can a 1 & 1/2 mile, unpaved road through the lava fields be, we wondered?

Bad, it turns out. Thirteen minutes of bone-jarring, chiropractic appointment-inducing hell.

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The view from out our car window.

An eternity later, we arrived at a parking lot that still looked very, very far from the Pacific. Not to mention this foreboding sign…

It was just Jimmy and I on this mission as the teenage half of the Ratty Pack contingent had stayed back at the house to mainline their crack, uh, Minecraft computer games. There were a half dozen cars in the lot so we decided to go for it. Hoofing along the trail, chunks of lava rumbling under our feet, we felt as if we were moonwalking.

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Are we there yet?

See those palm trees waaay off in the distance?

Turns out that wasn’t even Makalawena. We had only reached Mahai’ula, a well-protected snorkeling bay which was pretty, but not the most exquisite beach on the island as our guide book promised.

So we kept on walking, right past this old, red abandoned house which I later read once belonged to a prominent part-Hawaiian family called the Magoons.

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Following the breadfruit trail like the Hawaiian Hansel and Gretel…Image

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Climbing over gnarled tree roots, we soldiered on. Thirsty, parched, hot and dusty, how much longer…we’d been trekking by now 40 minutes.

Then finally we spotted a sandy trail leading to dunes…

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And just beyond, a heavenly crescent of deserted beach! NIRVANA!Image

Giant palms fringed the white silky sand.

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“Aren’t the views just stunning?”I marveled.

“Why yes, they certainly are,” replied Jimmy.

We bodysurfed, walked the beach, and sprawled out on our towels marveling at Makalawena’s beauty. The occasional airplane buzzed overhead and the long walk through the lava field seemed a small price to pay for such serenity.

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Coconuts washed up on the beach.

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Body surfing in the minty green sea.

The beach was so deserted, we had trouble finding someone to snap a pic for us.

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And that’s just how we like it!