This past weekend, Mrs. Occasional Nomad asked what I intended to do while YaYu was studying with her Mandarin tutor, and I told her I thought I might explore another little beach near Lihue. However, on my way to the Ninini beaches (there are two), I was distracted by the sight of a little lighthouse. By following the “Shoreline Access” signs from the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort I arrived at Kukii Point, across from the breakwater at Nawiliwili Harbor.
Parking was available at the end of Kalapaki (double-yoked egg) Circle, and I walked from there around the loop surrounding a huge ficus to get to the somewhat steep pathway and stairway down to the 16th hole of Kaua‘i Lagoon’s Kiele (Gardenia) Golf Course.
At the turnaround for golf carts, there was a short rubber-clad stairway that ended only a little closer to the shoreline.
A blue warning sign was waiting at the bottom of the stairway, where the path simply disappeared into bushes and guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus), also called buffalo grass or elephant grass. If, like I was, you’re wearing shorts, you won’t want to go this way because this tall grass bears fine, whisker-like stickers the first few feet above ground, and the upper blades are just that: blades. I walked around the berm between the bunker and green to my left and found a more inviting, though steep, descent.
Once I was down to the harsh pumice field (where my hide would have remained in perpetuity if I fell—probably should have recommended running/hiking shoes earlier) I could see three channels scouring away the point to the left of the lighthouse.
Both the two narrow channels and the broad channel up the middle of the pumice field afforded spectacular demonstrations of the hazardous surf at work here.
Rip-rap dumped at the head of the broad channel created interesting random click-clack sounds like the colliding balls on a pool table at the break.
Intense wave action on the other side of the point often makes for some decent surfing at Kalapaki Beach, but at the same time the surf rips into the jagged stone that supports the foundation for the lighthouse.
I could spend hours—weeks, months, years perhaps—exploring and sharing photographs of these rocks, and the wave action, but know that may not delight everyone. If you enjoy geomorphology as much as I do though, I invite you to come on over to my island sometime and watch the shoreline tumble into the Pacific.
After watching rocks and surf for a while, it was time to proceed back up the stairway, pick up YaYu, and head for home.