Saltwater Santa arrives at Kalapaki by canoe

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Santa is surrounded by his outrigger paddling crew as he prepares to push off Kalapaki Beach to return to his sleigh and Christmas Eve duty of delivering presents Sunday fronting the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kuma and Alvin Uchida patiently wait for an opportunity for a photo with Santa Sunday following the North Pole visitor’s arrival via double-hulled canoe at Kalapaki Beach fronting the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A sand sculpture created by Jeff Haigh of California paints a Christmas scene at Kalapaki Beach near the site where Santa paid a visit via double-hulled canoe Sunday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Jeff Haigh of California speaks with an infant while touching up a dolphin’s nose in the sand sculpture created at Kalapaki Beach near the site of Santa’s arrival Sunday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kristen Richey and her grandmother Diane Flack of Virginia are flocked by photo bombers from Santa’s crew as they get a photo with Santa following his arrival by double-hulled canoe Sunday at Kalapaki Beach fronting the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Santa gets a treat refill from his elf Sunday while his many fans wait for a visit and photo following his arrival by double-hulled canoe to Kalapaki Beach fronting the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Santa, eager to greet his many fans, is surrounded by the double-hulled canoe crew securing the landing Sunday at Kalapaki Beach fronting the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Santa overpowers the sound of the pu, sending his greeting over the water at Kalapaki Beach Sunday as paddlers of the double-hulled canoe stroke their way to the sand fronting the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

NAWILIWILI — Hundreds of people followed the sound of the pu announcing the arrival of Santa on a double-hulled canoe to Kalapaki Beach fronting the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club Sunday.

Santa was greeted by the throng, which surged to the water’s edge even before the canoes touched sand, the jolly North Pole visitor overpowering the pu with his “Merry Christmas!” greetings.

A sand sculpture created by Jeff Haigh of California marked the spot where Santa was supposed to land, Haigh tending to the Mele Kalikimaka creation using a spray bottle to keep the sculpture intact as dozens of groups stopped for a picture of the unique Hawaiian greeting.

“This is so much fun,” said Beth Kauwe, one of Santa’s paddling crew members and coordinator of the line of visitors anxious to visit Santa and get a treat and a photo before his departure to tend to Christmas Eve deliveries. “To hear all those little kiddie sounds of delight, and even those who are not too sure about this guy — it’s just so much fun,” she said.

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