Thursday: The Running of the Rock

First thought the gates, approaching the azure waters of Kua Bay for our morning swim.

First thought the gates, approaching the azure waters of Kua Bay for our morning swim.

You’d think Hawaii would have a lot of big sandy beaches, but this really isn’t the case here on the Big Island. It can take thousands of years for the ocean to make a sand beach, and Hawaii tends to cover them up with a lava flow before that can happen, or after it happens. We’re fortunate to live right on a sandy beach this week in Waialea Bay. Kua Bay, about 30 minutes south of our Hale, is another gem of a beach, with pure white sand leading into crystal clear water, flanked by reefs. We got there just before 8am, beating the crowds and the winds that both tend to fill in by 10am. Andy stayed behind to do some mountain biking, so we were 10 in the water instead of our normal 11.

The concept of doing laps, like in a pool, is not something we often employ on SwimVacation, but Kua Bay is set up nicely to go back and forth between the reefs (it’s about 500 yards) and is actually a lot of fun. Guest Charlie and I noticed all the ripples in the sand were pointing the same direction, and used them for navigation. I saw Heather syncing up with her swimmers, matching stroke for stroke with them, and there was a lot of laughter coming from that gang.

Back at the Hale, we put out a lunch we called Greatest Hits (rather than leftovers - we do special). Ryan gave our guests some SUP lessons at the beach, Heather made some swimmer portraits with everyone in the water, and we generally just enjoyed the weather and the sounds of the birds and the crashing waves. Books were read, naps were taken, cold drinks consumed.

Time for another swim!


Our afternoon swim in Waialea Bay started with a journey to some caves that are great for finding shells.

I noticed the bottom was fairly flat and sandy and about 12 feet deep, perfect for running rocks. I found a decent sized one, probably 45 pounds out of the water, and ran it over to the group. Running rocks is an underwater exercise employed by some of the world’s fittest athletes, including big wave surfers, to increase their stamina and become generally badass. It goes like this: you dive underwater, plant your feet on either side of a big rock, pick it up, and run as far as you can on the sea floor. There’s a technique to it, but our guests grasped it right away, and we had a blast doing it. It would be a crime for me not to mention that 80 year old guest Luise not only ran the big rock, but she ran it far. Twice. We were all blown away. Twice.

80 year old Luise wowed and amazed us with her running of the 40 lb rock in 12 feet of water.

80 year old Luise wowed and amazed us with her running of the 40 lb rock in 12 feet of water.

We finished up our swim around the bay and settled into some mango cooler cocktails before enjoying a Hawaiian Luau meal, expertly and lovingly prepared by our Bobos (Dan and Clare). It’s like a tropical thanksgiving, and Clare, for the 6th consecutive year, cried when she told us the story of poi. After you hear it, you’ll never refer to it as wallpaper paste ever again. Kailua pork and cabbage, lomi lomi salmon, curried purple potatoes, and bok choy salad all graced our table, and when they disappeared, a delightful macadamia nut pie appeared.

We’ve learned over the years that this baby island can both give and take in a whimsical fashion. Today it gave us great swims, amazing weather, and no earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or tidal waves. Mahalo, Hawaii.

- Hopper