Beach Heaven Is By Pole 67
For a moment, the sparkling light on the water felt like it was sparkling light around me; like a fade-to-white. Beaches "Pole 67" and, visible from "shore," snorkeling strand "Pole 69" are a heaven-on-earth.
Pole 67 is a gay clothing-optional sandy nook on the island of Hawaii's northwestern side. The nook-name comes from the utility pole you must find to find it! It's warm enough to bare skin almost every day of the year (mid '80s). Always cool night times, in the high 60s, are perfect for bonfires.
We were pretty sure we had reached beach 67 when we saw an unmarked dirt clearing with a few cars, and made our own parking; we were inside a panorama of amber grasses and shade trees in gently sloping hills and valleys that seem to stretch out nearly as far as the ocean's horizon, which is where the vision of the sun melts at the end of the day.
The clarity of turquoise color and calm tides were gently stunning, as we reached soft, cream sands and timelessness. Spongy, white coral with maroon tints had washed up in piles. The skies were serene (no airplane or helicopter noise pollution).
"What are you cleaning?" I asked a young man by a blue tide-pool.
"Puka shells," he told us. (They're the shells, that already come with hole, "pukas," in them, that Keith Partridge wore in a necklace.)
"Do you want to hike the trails?" asked my boyfriend Mike. I went back to get just my sandals. Walking to the edge of the cove, we both looked through a massive arboreal arch that framed 67's view for us. We held hands while ascending a beautiful cliff. From that height, we could see a great distance in every direction: shallow azures, a wide view of the sail-away seascape, and a black cave meeting a pastoral scene inland that reminded me of The Wind in the Willows. The trail was lined with more shady Acacia trees that dropped fuzzy, pale-yellow seed pods that looked like Tamarind husks, with a pulp that the ants had discovered smelled sweet too (But, beware of their thorns, one bit through Mike's flipflop.). We saw someone walk in waist-high waters to a private mini-cove to get away from the crowd of seven (including himself), he told us later. His name was Kimo.
You know what's weird? We understood. On this island, there are too many little beaches one can have all to themselves.
"My parents used to take me here years ago," he recalled. He was born on the Big Island, "You know (Pole 69) used to be nude beach too," he said, pointing to it from on high, "but they turned it into a state park." Kimo missed the prevalence of families on the natural beach. We reassured him that on the east side (though 2 1/2 hours away by car), Kehena beach was well-visited by families exhibiting healthy body-acceptance.
I submerged in a shallow tide-pool with baby waves rolling in. I forgot it wasn't a bathtub until I got a strong taste of brine, because I forgot to close my mouth. I guess I was really relaxed.
Inside this part of the Pacific you can spot long-lived green hawksbill turtles, some six feet and more, schools of brightly colored fish, and pods of spinner dolphins that, we hear, love to hang out. And a whole cast of others, especially farther out, depending on the season.
Pole 67 beach has no Pepsi-logoed trash can, no Jackson Pollock poo-slung port-o-potties; yet it's clean. So many people who live here melt my heart with their living, breathing care for the environment---to malama the 'aina. We find one empty, floating water bottle, and removed it in gratitude. No message.
Near beach 69, there are restrooms (and they're the prettiest public beach restrooms I've seen).
Postcript (The next day, we triple-layered our clothes to climb through the clouds on Mauna Kea, to go to the free nightly Star Party, and take pictures of Jupiter with our own camera. Mauna Kea is the world's tallest mountain frome sea floor to spire, and home of the Keck, the best telescope outside of the orbital Hubble. You can also visit the earth's molten edge up-close on a lava field; it's fun here!)
Directions: Head north of Kailua-Kona on the 19, exit at the town of Puako, take the first right turn and count down the numbers of the poles. Pole 69, the popular beach, is the next over. No Pole 68 beach in between.
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