It was 5 a.m. in Kapaa and still very dark outside when Patrick came to pick me up from the Hilton Garden Inn hotel where I was staying. The roosters had just started crowing. I had spent a sleepless night owing to jet lag and not knowing what to expect with Patrick the next morning. I was traveling solo all the way from India and before leaving home, had signed up for a photography workshop with Patrick Shane Kelley, a National Geographic photographer (www.pk-worldwide.com) who runs Kauai Photo Workshops (www.kauaiphotoworkshops.com). However, the moment I saw him, all doubts disappeared and I was inwardly assured about having made the right decision. Patrick is very enthusiastic about what he does and is a brilliant photographer.
Secret Beach, also known as Kauapea Beach, is located in Kalihiwai, Hawaii, on the north shore of the island of Kauai. It is known for its pristine beauty and seclusion. It took us about 25 minutes to drive to the beach from the Hilton Hotel in Kapaa. A short hike brought us to the Secret Beach Waterfalls where we set up our camera and tripod for shooting the sunrise. Patrick explained to me the various camera settings and how to get the perfect sunrise pictures. I tried to listen intently to what he was saying but my mind was continuously getting distracted by the beauty that was surrounding me: the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the gentle ocean breeze and the waterfalls splashing on the rocks behind us. I thought I was dreaming.
Within a few minutes the sun started to appear above the horizon and its gentle rays began lighting the ocean coloring the whole landscape in streaks of mellow golden light. I was filled with wonder and delight to witness such beauty and grandeur. Joy filled every particle of my being.
After a series of sunrise pictures, it was time for some adventure. Getting carried away by the magic of the moment, I stood under the waterfalls and swam in the tide pool. I felt like I was living my dream and that I was wonderfully alive.
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Here are some facts about the Secret Beach:
It is situated between the Kilauea Lighthouse and Kalihiwai Valley. It is not easily accessible and there are no public roads leading directly to the beach. You have to hike downhill for ten minutes (in good weather) before getting to the beach.
Activities include surfing, snorkeling, fishing, sunbathing. Swimming is advised only in the summer months and even then it is risky due to unpredictable currents. Tidal pools on the west end of the beach form good kiddie pools. There are no facilities at the beach.
Driving directions, source: Wikipedia.
To find it, take the Kuhio Highway past Kilauea and turn right on Kalihiwai Road. Follow the road for about 50 yards and then turn right into an unmarked, unpaved road. Proceed to the end and park. Nearby is the foot path leading to the west end of the beach.