White and Magic Sands



The amazing shades of blue seen on approach to Kua Bay.

We woke to no surfers in Lyman's Bay this morning. The swell is down! Up and going early, we loaded the van with our cooler and took off for Kahalu'u beach, just a couple of miles down Ali'i drive. Here's a good chance to talk about what we put in said cooler: Perrier, water, gatorade, various types of granola/power bars, apple bananas, cookies, chips. Perrier has been the most popular drink on all of our trips for several years now; it feels kind of decadent to me to pop one open in some beautiful place after exercising. At this point in the week, we keep reminding our guests of the importance of applying sunblock and drinking lot of fluids while in the Hawaii sun.

Back to Kahalu'u. It's a little black sand beach with a lagoon of sorts, protected by an outer reef. It has an old-school lifeguard tower and a neighborhood feel to it. Our plan was to swim from there to Magic sands beach, just a mile and a half away. We had McGuckin lead the group over the reef, Heather in the middle, I hung in the back with guest Hugh at a more leisurely pace. The reef was amazing, the healthiest and most diverse I've ever seen. We arrived at Whitl...


Heather here. Hopper fell asleep and I am taking over blogging duties...

_HPP1135White Sands, Magic Sands - two names for the same place. It's a tiny little in-town beach with beautiful white sand and a few tall palm trees. The magic part comes from the way the beach changes in composition after any major wave event. Hopper, Ryan and I were here on our guide prep day - when Hopper plummeted from atop a 20 foot wave and I was nearly buried by another. Today the beach looks different here - more rocky, much of the beautiful white sand washed away. Especially in a place like this we are so grateful to have a McGuckin. He knows every trick of these shifting sands, and as we make our approach from the water, he directs us expertly into shore so that no one washes up against the rocks. At last a successful point to point swim along Kona's stunning shore - clear water, abundant, healthy reef life, all laid out before us in a swim made possible by the end of this swell. It feels great to be able to swim so close to our Hawaiian home like we always knew we could.


But not too much lollygagging here gang, back into the van! We head home for a replenishing of the cooler, and head up just north of town to Kua Bay, one of our discoveries last year when we were running from swell. This beach is so beautiful and fun we've decided to make a morning of it. As we approach the beach from atop the adjacent lava flow, we look out onto this small bay of impossible blue. This is how tropical water looks when it's bottomed by pure white sands. We have no agenda - it'll be body surfing, rock running (what surfers do to stay fit - run along the sandy bottom carrying large lava rocks), perhaps some stroke video, definitely some pictures, definitely some fun. It's like one of those great family beach days only we've left the kids at home and acted like children ourselves in these brilliant turquoise waters.




Our guys body surfing at Kua.


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McGuckin demonstrates classic rock running. Amy and Hugh excel on their first tries.




McGuckin shows us the jumping rock, does so with style. Jeff and Hugh not far behind.



The gang after a morning of play at Kua Bay.

Home to lunch - a fantastic salad and watermelon fizzy concoction by Clare. Everyone eases into the relaxation portion of our program with reading, group conversations , a spectacular cheese plate and, yes, massage by two of the islands best massage therapists. Picture yourself under a soft white sheet on a beautiful green lawn, eyes closed, the sounds of gentle waves just yards away, having your muscles tended to - after all, they've been propelling you through these fantastic waters for a few days now. That's where you would have been this afternoon if you were on a SwimVacation.


Massage on the lawn at the Hale.



A home made watermelon refresher, an exquisite cheese plate, and a very satisfied Hopper seeing to the comfort of our guests.






While everyone took their turns on the table, i hopped on my bike and snuck back to the guide shack for some editing. When I returned, i visited with each of our guests one by one - the changes in their faces was amazing after such a relaxing massage. I swear each of them looked 10 years younger. I took advantage of the peaceful glow and did some portraits of our swimmers, bathed in the warm Hawaiian late afternoon sun. I like to think that a day of fun and relaxation like this uncovers the truth in a person; the beauty and the calm. I think it shows in these portraits.

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Amy & Jeff, Leslie, Jenny - all post massage and looking radiant.







We casually rolled on to Lava Flows - a sweet rich pina colada with strawberry puree at the bottom. Lovely to look at, delicious to drink. Soon Ryan returned to us with wife Natasha and adorable sprite Malina in tow. They joined us for a spectacular dinner of short ribs and mango crisp. The crisp had two different kinds of local mango, in case you were worried. Again, we try to keep this thing above the level of suffering.

I love that this group has gelled so well socially. I really enjoy spending time with them swimming and chatting, but it's also gratifying to see that they are totally engrossed in laughter and easy conversation together as I sneak out the door tonight to hit the laptop and edit the day's take. It's cool to get an instant replay on the day and see how a fitness, play and relaxation can make a group of people look so much like their most beautiful selves.


It's almost tomorrow and we've got another early start planned. We'll head south to what i think is the most beautiful swim on the Kona coast. These guys shed some layer of themselves over the course of today. I can't wait to watch what tomorrow will look like on them.

- Heather