HANALEI — Michele Davis and her family have cruised on Hanalei’s Black Pot Beach every summer for the past decade, but the Kilauea native said the atmosphere at Black Pot has “definitely changed” in the past five years.
“I understand the generations and the kids, and they want to enjoy as well, but there’s a change in the culture and the culture in the respect of Black Pot,” Davis said. “I understand that there’s change, and you gotta grow with the change, accept the generation for what they are, but when there’s disrespect and violence — not good.”
Davis, who visits Black Pot with her family at least two to three times a week in the summer, said she was saddened by the incident at Hanalei Pier on May 30 reportedly involving 20 people attacking a group of visiting eighth-grade students and teachers. Sarah Blane, Kauai County spokeswoman, said the case remains under investigation.
Davis and her family were at Black Pot on a sunny Sunday, along with hundreds of beachgoers.
Junior Gacusan, a Kauai County employee and Hanalei resident of 17 years, said he’s heard of fights at Hanalei Bay, but has never seen an incident similar to the one on May 30.
“It’s sad, what happened,” he said.
Gacusan said weekends and holidays at Black Pot attract more people, which means more liquor.
“To me, the young adults need common sense,” he said. “Liquor is stupid. There (are) young adults and school kids who come around and act stupid, especially around Saturdays and Sundays. It’s unfortunate. I feel bad for the group. It makes Hawaii look bad.”
Ray Ortiz, Kauai County Parks and Recreation Department ranger who patrols Black Pot on weekdays, said the beach “is usually mellow.”
Of the 20 incidents at Hanalei reported to KPD this year, the May 30 alteration was the only one reported from Hanalei Pier.
“Usually the weekends and holidays get more people and more action,” he said.
Nelson K., Hanalei resident of 20 years who declined to give his last name, has seen fights in Hanalei, but nothing involving a large group.
“Twenty people, that’s not a fight, that’s a riot. There’s a lot of people and that’s basically what it comes down to … the beach never used to be like this,” he said. “Too many rats in the cage, something’s gonna happen.”
Dawn Donnelly, a California native who has visited Hanalei annually for the past 10 years, said she couldn’t believe what happened after hearing the story from The Garden Island.
“I’m highly, highly shocked because I’ve never ever had any incidents in Hanalei,” she said. “Never on North Shore, and I’ve gotten stupid, I’ve had a good time, but I never had a problem in any of the areas here, ever.”
Last Winter, Davis said she encountered a group of five local boys who destroyed a picnic bench after they repeatedly jumped on it.
“I scolded them, and they rebutted back: One kid told me, ‘(Expletive) you, aunty. You like fight?’ I was so shocked. I was so appalled,” she said. “In the island, we think … we take care of each other and chastise and we scold to help to learn and teach the kids, but he wanted to fight me. I’m certainly the same age of his mom, I’m guessing. I have kids the same age as him, and that was an eye-opener, for me, that it has definitely changed.”