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Posts Tagged ‘beachcombing on the North Shore of Oahu’

Oahu’s Famous Banzai Pipeline

Posted by Jody on August 27, 2013

The most famous, and arguably the most dangerous, surf site in all of Hawaii is the Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu.  The world-renowned Banzai Pipeline is just west of ‘Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea.  We never did happen upon any sign announcing the Banzai Pipeline or ‘Ehukai Beach Park (the public access point to the celebrated surf site).  What we did come across were lots of cars parked along the road and packed into the parking lot of what seemed to be an unsigned beach, across from Sunset Beach Elementary School, off of Kamehameha Highway, on the North Shore of Oahu.  That’s exactly where our friendly lunchtime server at Hale’iwa Eats Thai told us we would find what the locals call “Pipeline Beach”.  As confusing as all that sounds…  the  celebrated Banzai Pipeline with its epic waves is an absolute must-see if you are on Oahu!

'Ehukai Beach Park, aka: Pipeline Beach with Banzai Pipeline to the left

‘Ehukai Beach Park, aka: Pipeline Beach with Banzai Pipeline to the left

You probably won’t want to head out into the water in the winter unless you are an expert surfer.  That’s the time of the Banzai Pipeline’s most towering wave heights (up to 20+ feet). Swimming is hazardous in the fall and winter months, so feel free to scope out the perfect place to spread out your beach towel, settle in, and enjoy the thrilling spectacle that is the Banzai Pipeline.

The spring and summer boast a wider, gentler sand beach at ‘Ehukai Beach Park, and then the crystal blue water is often just right for swimming.

Any time of year is perfect for beachcombing on the sandy shore of “Pipeline Beach”. You may find a few treasured shells and beach glass, but the real beach treasure here is snail opercula.  An operculum (meaning “little lid”) is the structure that serves as a little trap door, closing off the opening of a snail’s shell. These little mineralized pieces are similar to smoothly polished small buttons. Like mini, ivory-colored worry stones!

~In the Hawaiian language, “puka” means hole, opening, or door. I’m guessing that a case can be made that there are a few “puka” shells in the mix, too!

Opercula found on Pipeline Beach

Opercula found on Pipeline Beach

If you are staying on Waikiki Beach you can easily hop on The Bus and enjoy the ride to the Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore. It’s certainly not quicker than renting a car, but it’s way cheaper and a great way to see the beautiful Island of Oahu while you sit back, relax, and let someone else do the driving.

See you at the Banzai Pipeline! Aloha!


Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Seashells, Surfing Beach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Beachcombing & Sea Turtles at Hale’iwa Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii

Posted by Jody on October 20, 2011

Hale’iwa Beachcombing, Oahu, Hawaii (©Jody Diehl)

Hale’iwa, about a one hour drive from Honolulu, is the biggest little town on the North Shore of Oahu.  The minute you drive into Hale’iwa, you know you’ve entered serious surfing territory.  Everything, from mail boxes to address signs, is themed with brightly colored surf boards.

The community of Hale’iwa is known as the “Gateway to the North Shore.” After traveling through this artsy, laid-back surf town you’ll cross over the Rainbow Bridge, which spans the Anahulu River.  The Anahulu River has beach parks on both sides of its banks. Hale’iwa Beach Park, located just over the bridge, has a very large grassy area on the shore side of Kamehameha Highway.  The North Shore views from this beach are picture perfect.

Hale’iwa Beach Treasures (©Jody Diehl)

We’ve never seen anyone swimming here, though it isn’t against the rules. The water can be a bit cloudy, and the ocean bottom is quite rocky, and (especially in winter) the surf can be treacherous.  Hale’iwa Beach Park does have a narrow strip of golden sand, and with shore shoes on, it’s an excellent beach for beachcombing.  Here you might find snakehead cowry snail seashells (the most common cowry snail of the Hawaiian Islands), cone snail seashells, pieces of coral, assorted surf-tumbled shell bits and multicolored sea glass jewels. Beachcombing at Hale’iwa Beach Parkwill reward you with a striking combination of colorful beach treasures!

View from Hale’iwa Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii (©Jody Diehl)

Hale’iwa Beach Park is also a very good place for green sea turtle spotting. You may want to bring along your binoculars to get a better view of the honu, as they are known in Hawaii. We’ve sighted sea turtles swimming near the shore every time we’ve visited this area of Oahu’s North Shore. It’s been quite exciting each time!

Sea Turtle, Hale’iwa, Oahu, Hawaii (©Jody Diehl)

Please keep in mind that, in Hawaii, the green sea turtle is listed as a threatened species under federal and Hawaii state law. Remember to always observe sea turtles from a distance and never attempt to touch, ride, or feed sea turtles.

Just a note:  You will definitely want to treat yourself  to a world-famous Hawaiian Shave Ice while you’re in Hale’iwa!

EGD’s Hawaiian Shave Ice (©Jody Diehl)

Have a great day at the beach! Aloha!


Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Sea Turtles, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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