Good morning and greetings, photo blog fans. Sunrise Santa Cruz is back from the lovely South Pacific and we are ready to pick and roll. Ah, there’s nothing like being on vacation, getting away from the daily grind of shooting mainland sunrises and sunsets over the blue Pacific. It’s a different world on the the North Shore of Oahu. Take it from a rugged outdoorsman like me, it’s not easy going from a cold water paradise on Monterey Bay to the crystal clear 80 degree water on Sunset Beach. Somehow, I was able to make the tropical transition and relax Olympic style at the place known as the Jerusalem of surfing.
After a five hour flight from San Francisco filled with delicious airline snacks (well, a can of soda and a napkin, anyway), we landed at Honolulu International Airport, remembered the Alamo and headed to the North Shore. It’s about a 40 minute drive past the Dole Plantation thru the pineapple fields to surfing’s holy land. The most famous coastline of surfing on Earth lies at latitude 21,950 north, longitude 158,112 west. The Hawaiian islands comprise the most isolated archipelago on the planet, located more than 2,000 miles southwest of the United States and light years away from the layered sweatshirt dominated climate in Santa Cruz.
This geological miracle called the North Shore is home to waves that are considered the most powerful on earth. Or in the words of oceanographer Dr. Ricky Griggs, “The swells hit the northern shore of Oahu with their power intact, not slowed by any other island chains or continental shelves. What breaks on the North Shore is North Pacific power, pound for pound the most powerful wave on the planet.” Fortunately, the good doctor is referring to wintertime action. That is why yours truly brings his family over in the summer, when the swell is as gentle as a kiss from Oprah.
So we rented a house right on the sand at Sunset Beach. As you can see from photos #1 and 2, the beach and landscape are spectacular with very few people in sight. The third shot is the view from our deck and the colors are just dreamy. The weather and sky would be in constant flux. One second it would be deep blue and then a minute later the warm rain would come, bringing rainbows (photo #4) and then back to blue within minutes. Like they used to say when I lived in Boulder, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.”
Speaking of Boulder, my Colorado-based brother Brad made it to the North Shore and forced me to accompany him on early morning snorkeling trips to Shark’s Cove (photo #5), a five minute ride from Sunset and right across the street from the wonders of Foodland. Just 50 yards off the Kam Highway, a different world lies beneath the water’s surface. Fish of every race, creed and particularly every color swim in the coral reefs right off shore. We’re talking orange, yellow, pinks and purples, just super exotic colored fish available to anyone with a mask. What I liked most was the feeling of being surrounded by a group of hundreds of silver fish. It was surreal feeling and just an incredible display of what God has put into his sea collection. Just an awesome way for a land based former hand model to start the day.
The North Shore is also home to legendary surfing spots like the Pipeline and Waimea Bay (photo #6.) In honor of our 50th state we’re going to go with the Hawaii theme thru the Olympics and beyond. On Wednesday we’ll take a look at some of the wildlife on the island. And let me welcome a bunch of new people to the blog. I think you’re going to like the ride. So enjoy the day, the beach views and we’ll catch you for wildlife Wednesday. Aloha, mahola and God bless chocolate. Later, macadamia nut fans.