There’s nothing like a beach day at Polihale. The clear blue crystalline ocean reflecting a cloudless sky, few places in the world hold the sheer mana as the state park that was closed this past weekend. It’s nearly perfect on a flat day and it’s one of the things I look forward to the most on Kauai, spending time in the source or the “house bosom” as it translates in Hawaiian.
Others look forward to it too, especially on weekends when families and friends have a little unwind time and fill the beach with endless canopies
I’ve heard many times the surf is too rough to swim at Polihale, but every time I go there is always the call to go for a swim, even if it is just beyond the break. I’ve got in arguments as to whether or not you should swim there and have advocated that it is perfectly ok if you know ocean safety. Even then it is dangerous and there are no guarantees.
When I heard the missing swimmer from this past weekend was a sheer 10 feet out from the shore, it got me thinking that maybe swimming there outside of Queens Pond is not the best of ideas, even if you are the best ocean swimmer. I know, there are always those who say that they have the best swimming ability and used to be a lifeguard, but seeing that the man was just 10 feet out from the shore and lived on Kauai and all the personal conflicts with the shore break I’ve had, I’m thinking maybe next time I will think twice, maybe even three times before jumping in for a swim.
Everything carries with it a set of unique circumstances and there is no knowing what exactly took place last weekend.
What we can do is learn from what we are seeing and hearing and one of the things I saw was a shark the size of Toyota Tacomas on the nearby shore cruising the coast off Polihale.
The shark was just doing his thing and probably wanted a little Polihale time himself, but all of that is a stark reminder of the actual dangers involved with enjoying the aina responsibly and walking away from it happy and safe.
After all, we go there to have a good time and spend it with friends and family or go to partake in the sacred nature of the place. When tragedy and disaster strike, and it can happen fast, we are reminded that everything in life can change in a second and to always be cognizant and aware of the dangers involved.
Sometimes when we are having fun or on vacation, there is a feeling that we are invisible and no harm can befall us.
The beauty of Polihale and the danger of it go hand in hand. That’s what makes the place so special is the feeling that there is no place like it on earth and that uniqueness is what is also the driving factor in its compelling nature. I can’t help but offer my condolences to the man’s family and it’s hard to not see myself in him as I have done the same thing many times there.
We are even a year apart in age. What I was told not that long ago, is the thing to do is take the classes on ocean safety and learn how to rescue people in distress that you may personally witness.
The more time you spend at places like Polihale, the more likely it is that you may personally witness someone who needs rescuing, even be it if it is yourself and then you will be prepared to do something when the time comes.
Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.