Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sandbar Kaneohe

Kāneʻohe Bay is the largest sheltered body of water in the main Hawaiian Islands. This reef-dominated bay constitutes a significant scenic and recreational feature along the windward (northeast) coast of the Island of Oʻahu. The Bay is approximately 8 mi long and 2.7 mi broad, with a mouth opening of about 4.6 mi and maximum depth of 40 ft in the dredged channel. Features unique in the main Hawaiian Islands include one of only two barrier reefs (the other being the 27 mile barrier reef of Molokaʻi island) and extensive development of shoaling coral reefs within a large lagoon.

Prior to last weekend I had never actually been to the bay.  I've played golf over near Kaneohe and the Valley of the Temples is over there, but I had heard the bay is gorgeous.  Anyway, last week the group of people I met at the pro bowl decided to go sailing and invited me to tag along.  They have a 43-foot sailboat that they take out every once in a while and anchor it out at the sandbar in the middle of the bay.  The sandbar is also something I had heard about but had never seen.  

The Kaneohe Sandbar, also known as Ahu o Laka, is a popular picnicking spot among local Oahu residents, particularly among those who have a boat or access to a boat or kayak. It’s the only sandbar of this kind in Hawaii. During low tide, it emerges and forms a shallow and temporary land. During high tide, the water is about hip-deep and deeper towards the edges of the sandbar. People come here to picnic, swim, snorkel, dive, play ball games, or to just relax.  The water is calm and clear and the views are amazing. While you're out on the water you can see the entire Kaneohe Bay from an ocean vantage point, the Koolau Mountains and the small offshore islands of Chinaman’s Hat, Coconut Island and Kekepa (Turtleback Island).

So while we were out there, we had snacks and booze and sun.  What more could you possibly ask for?  We also threw the football and frisbee around just to entertain ourselves.  The real fun came at the end of the day, though.  I suppose everyone just got so caught up in the fun that no one actually seemed to notice the tide change.  Check the tide table before heading out to the sandbar so you know in advance if it’s high or low tide. The activities that you can do on the sandbar vary slightly during these different ocean conditions. You can take out your chairs and put them on the sandbar only during low tide, for example.  Well, your boat can also get stuck in the sand if the tide goes from high to low and you're not paying attention.  This happened to us.  To make a long story short, everyone had to get off the boat and push it out of the sand.  Initially that wasn't enough.  We had to put the sails up, start the motor, and THEN push.  It was all pretty hilarious.  It looked like a Chinese fire drill with about 8 people jumping on and off the boat to get this thing un-stuck.

Overall, it was a fun day.  We are actually going back this weekend!

No comments:

Post a Comment