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This is What It’s Like to Spend 24 Hours at Kaimana Beach

A day in the life of one of Honolulu’s favorite stretches of sand.


(page 3 of 4)

Kaimana beach


10:52 a.m.—Low tide (-0.1 foot).


11:07 a.m.—Young and Bernstein shower after their swim. A man and a woman play backgammon. The man sits in the sun, the woman sits in the shade of the lifeguard tower.


11:10 a.m.—Young and Bernstein converse with lifeguard Brown. They are joined by another regular swimmer, Marion Nishi, 79. “She’s always bringing food!” Brown says of Nishi. “Musubi, pastries … today she brought long johns!” Nishi says she has been swimming at this beach since she was a little girl, when an old shack stood where the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel now stands. “I don’t remember seeing anybody else on the beach then,” she says.


Noon—Lots of sunbathers. A sand castle is under construction on the Diamond Head end of beach. A sand castle on the Natatorium end of beach is already falling into disrepair. No joggers.


Sunsets draw wedding photographers.

12:30 p.m.—An older Caucasian man sweeps sand from the steps that lead from his condominium to the beach. He confirms that the woman with the giant rake is employed to keep the grounds around this building clean. He confirms that the rake is very heavy. He complains about people leaving trash on the beach, and asks how they would like it if he left trash in their front yards? He complains about the county contractor who cleans the beach at night, asserting that the contractor stops at the county line, leaving half of the beach, which is under state control, uncleaned. He insists that neither his name nor the name of his condominium appear in this report.


12:56 p.m.—A man in a beach chair is observed pouring beer and water into a plastic container and offering it to the very large dog sitting next to him. The dog laps up the beverage. In a subsequent interview, the man says his name is Michael Monteiro, the dog’s name is Fu Man Chu, and that Fu, who is a cane corso, the smallest of the mastiff breed, likes Coors Light, the same beer he likes. He says he comes to Kaimana Beach regularly. “Some of my best friends I met here at Kaimana,” he says.


2:00 p.m.—The following are observed from a third-floor lanai of the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel: surfers and swimmers showering, a stand-up paddleboarder entering the water, a few one-man outrigger canoes landing on the beach, many sunbathers, no joggers.


3:00 p.m.—The following are observed from the bar at the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel: a Japanese wedding party at a table in the hotel’s Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant; a crew from a French reality television series videotaping three women eating salads and caring for a baby at another table in the restaurant; many sunbathers on the beach.


3:16 p.m.—An older Caucasian man, shirtless, wearing thick glasses and a Speedo, reaches over the railing between the beach and the Hau Tree Lanai Restauant to hand a hau tree flower to the Japanese bride. The bride takes the flower, but she does not smile.


3:30 p.m.—A French television producer refuses to divulge the name of the reality TV show being taped in the restaurant. Hotel staff say it’s called “Queens of Reality,” only in French.


3:45 p.m.—The older man in the Speedo identifies himself as Mike Powers, a two-time candidate for Honolulu mayor who is now “doing some writing for Newt Gingrich.” He says he picks hau tree flowers and gives them to Japanese brides all the time. “They love it,” he says. “This is the most magical beach!”


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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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