There are many wondrous, enigmatic and fascinating attractions on the Big Island of Hawaii, some better known than others, many out of the way and generally off the beaten track. Tour Guide Hawaii has produced an encyclopedic collection of the most up-to-date information, presented as short GPS-cued videos, in an app downloadable to iPhone and iPod Touch that covers the entire Big Island, highlighting the popular and the uncrowded, the famous and the secluded, the adventurous and the relaxing.
Anaeho’omalu Bay, Waikoloa Petroglyphs and Kapalaoa Beach
The most photographed sunset view on the Island of Hawai’i, Anaeho’omalu Bay is the icon of what most visitors envision Hawai’i to be like before they get here…swaying palm trees, a clean beach fronting warm, safe, swimmable ocean and hordes of eager beach boys bearing large, tropical drinks with comical names like “Malahini Wahine Wahoo”. Here at the bay, one can rent snorkel or surfing gear, sign-up for sailing trips, snorkel tours, windsurfing lessons or scuba dives, order food and drinks, or just lounge pleasantly in the niumalu (shade of the coconut palms).
Named for the ancient fishponds behind the beach from the words anae (“mullet”) and ho’omalu (“to protect”), Anaeho’omalu Bay is known as “A”-Bay by locals. In addition to swimming, snorkeling, diving, windsurfing and just plain hanging-out, the area around A-Bay is also rich with archeological sites, including section of the Ala Ali’i (King’s Trail), fish ponds, heiau and petroglyphs.
Ku’u ali’i (the southern fishpond) and Kahapapa (just to the north) fishponds are actively maintained and there are informational signs all along the paved walkways and trails. Ku’ula pohaku (sacred standing stones honoring Ku’ulakai, god of fishponds, and his wife, Hinapukui’a) and a coral pile made for offerings form the temple area where the kia’i loko, the keepers of the royal fishpond, performed their sacred rituals. There are numerous other archeological sites in the A-Bay vicinity, including a hale noa (dwelling place for a man and his wife) and a mua, or men’s eating-house.
Walking the trail south from A-Bay to Kapalaoa Beach will take one along not only shoreline vistas of incomparable beauty and wildness, but also reveal numerous rarely-visited petroglyphs. There is good snorkeling along the farthest south pocket of sand on Kapalaoa Beach. One can follow this trail several miles all the way south to Pueo Bay and Ke-awa-iki Beach along lava flows and shoreline, but it is a long, hot hike with no water for drinking available. For more about Ke-awa-iki Golden Ponds and Pueo Bay, look here.
Walking north along the beach trail (shoes required) over sand, lava and coral, to the Hilton Waikoloa Resort is an unforgettable sunset stroll, and a good introduction to the wild beauty of the Kohala Coast. There are numerous tidepools, a couple with resident Honu, Hawai’ian Green Sea Turtles.
The immense Waikoloa Petroglyph Field lies in the center of the golf course; follow the signs through the King’s Shops. The best time to view the petroglyphs is just after dawn or just before dusk, because the angle of the sunlight accentuates the carvings. Due to their fragility and antiquity, rubbings and casting of the petroglyphs are forbidden. A self-guided tour brochure is available from many locations in the Kings Shops. More information about Hawaiian petroglyphs can be found here.
At the 79 mile marker, turn toward the ocean and follow the Waikoloa Resort road to the intersection just opposite the Kings Shops and before the Hilton Waikoloa; the left turn is clearly marked “Anaeho’omalu Bay”. Turn and proceed to the parking near the restrooms at the end of the road. Restrooms, showers, drinking water, picnic and other facilities and services are available at A-Bay and on the Resort Grounds. There are no lifeguards are on duty.
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All media copyright 2009 by Donald B. MacGowan. All rights reserved.