Posted by: lokahipath | March 25, 2010

Getting to Larsen’s Beach is half the fun – according to Kauai Underground Guide

Kauai Underground Guide

Larsen’s Beach

Getting to Larsen’s Beach is half the fun. A right-of-way-to-beach road wanders through pastureland, where horses grazing peacefully seem sketched into a landscape portrait of silvery green meadows. At the end of the well-graded, sandy road is a small parking area and a gate leading to the top of the cliff, where the beach below seems a slender ribbon of white against the dark blue water. Although a second, smaller gate seems to direct you to the right, walking through it takes you to a steep path ending in rocks. Instead, walk down the hillside to the left on a well worn path with a gentle slope. A five-minute walk brings you to a long, lovely beach curving along the coastline and disappearing around a distant bend – perfect for lazy afternoons of beachcombing and exploring. Although a rocky reef offshore seems to invite snorkeling, Larsen’s Beach is extremely dangerous.
. kauai underground guide larsen’s pix
Larsen’s Beach, a great spot for beachwalking and shell collecting, even if winter surf is too strong for safe swimming.

Before you begin the hike down, observe the ocean carefully and locate the channel through the reef, just to the left of the rocky point where you are standing.

The churning water caused by the swift current makes the channel easiest to see from this height, and once noted, it can be recognized at sea level. Once you see this channel, you can also pick out the smaller channels which cut through the reef at several other points. Swimmers and snorkelers should avoid going near any of these channels, particularly the large one, because currents can be dangerously strong and even turn into a whirlpool when the tide is going out.

Remember, Larsen’s Beach has no lifeguard, and help is not close by.

Currents can be exceptionally treacherous at any time, but particularly in winter months, and four years ago two experienced local fishermen drowned here.

The watchword is caution: swim in pairs, never go out beyond the reef, try to stay within easy distance of the shore, and examine the surface of the water carefully to avoid swimming near a channel.

If you snorkel, don’t get so absorbed in looking at the fish that you lose track of where you are, and don’t go out at all if surf conditions don’t seem right to you. Sorry about all the ‘don’ts,’ but safety is a key issue here.

A trip to Larsen’s Beach does not require swimming or snorkeling. If you bring reef-walking sneakers to protect your feet, you can walk around in the shallow water and watch colorful fish who don’t seem afraid of people. Or walk for miles along the magnificent coastline of this pictureperfect beach. Hunt for shells, or simply lose yourself in the spectacle of nature’s beauty. You will probably encounter only another person or two.

The drive back is wonderful, with spectacular views of the rolling hills, lined by fences and stands of trees, and beyond them the dark and majestic mountains reaching to touch the clouds.



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