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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 4 of 4)




4:47 p.m.—High tide (+1.3 feet). Lots of swimmers.


5:30 p.m.—Lifeguard Kent Brown goes off duty, but lingers to talk story with friends. Sunbathers thinning out. Joggers sighted.


6:00 p.m.—Clouds gathering.


6:20 p.m.—A woman in a bikini does yoga in the sand. A bride, a groom, a photographer and her assistant have taken over the lifeguard tower to shoot wedding photos. A Japanese television crew sets up a camera on the beach to record the sunset. The TV people say they were on Maui this morning, taping the sunrise from Haleakala. Helpfully, they write down the name of their TV show. It is: “Chikyu Zekkei Kikou,” which translates as “Most Amazing Scenes of the World.”


6:28 p.m.—A brief rain squall appears just offshore. The setting sun is an anemic yellow. No awesome sunset tonight.



Nightfall at the Natatorium.

6:33 p.m.—Sunset.

6:45 p.m.—Three fisherman set up fishing poles in the sand. They look more serious about catching fish than the fishermen observed earlier.


6:52 p.m.—A surfer showers.


6:55 p.m.—The wedding party by the lifeguard tower struggles in the wind to light a candle inside a flying paper lantern.


7:00 p.m.—The bride and groom carry the flying paper lantern to the water’s edge. It is lit, but before enough hot air collects inside to carry it aloft, the groom fumbles and drops it in the water.


7:01 p.m.—The wedding party leaves the beach.


10:29 p.m.—A tractor drives onto the beach, towing a sand-cleaning machine.


10:32 p.m.—Low tide (0 feet).


10:37 p.m.—The tractor leaves the beach. It has cleaned about 250 feet of Kaimana’s 500-foot-long stretch of sand, leaving the state’s half untouched. Contact is made with the driver, who declines a request to check the sand cleaner’s contents for sunglasses. Even if they were there, he says, they would be so scratched you wouldn’t want to wear them anymore anyway.


Midnight—Nobody on the beach. All’s quiet.



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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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