Posted by: Anna Webb | February 17, 2010

Kehena Beach: The Naked Truth

Early morning shot of Kehena Beach

Located on the Red Road, Rt. 137 along the lower Puna coast, Kehena Beach (also known as Dolphin Beach) is a prominent landmark for both local residents and visitors.

Its one of Hawaii’s Big Island “power spots” and for good reason as it is situated just down the coast from Kilauea and the lava flow of the Pu’u’O’o vent. The energy at Kehena Beach changes somewhat depending upon the crowd (or, the crowd is drawn there due to its fluctuating energy).

The ocean activity at this beach is as energetic as the people who frequent it. Brilliant blue waves crash against black lava rock and a beach of black sand inclines down into the water line creating a strong undertow and, in my opinion, a strong electromagnetic field. The entire beach is enclosed by a 30 foot high rock cliff and surrounded on both sides by rocky peninsulas jutting into the ocean, creating a cove, encapsulating this energy.

The beach itself is gorgeous with fine black sand amidst hosting several large rocks and boulders and a nice grove of ironwood trees.  The hike down is NOT easy by any means but moderate on a scale of mild to difficult. A good sturdy pair of shoes is important as the trail descends through uneven rock.  Near the bottom, round smooth rocks have sand on them making them deceivingly slippery, as well.

Rainbow over Kehena Beach

Ultimately, Kehena Beach is not for the faint of heart. In addition to the steep descent into it and the strong ocean and powerful current, it is a clothing optional beach and most people take advantage of the option. There is not a sense of taboo in this respect. In fact, the seclusion of the beach itself and the attitude of its visitors make it seem quite natural. People from all over the world gravitate to the natural energy hotspot. Whether local or tourists, they are not there to ogle one another, and are simply there to gather and visit or to swim.

There are no life guards at Kehena Beach and the waves are dangerous. Locals seem to have developed a technique for entering the ocean at the right pace, diving through the shoreline waves at just the right time to make it past the breakline which  constantly changes. However, it’s possible to get pummeled in the wave breaks and rolled around like clothing in a washing machine.

Dolphins often frequent the waters off Kehena Beach. One of my first experiences after moving to this area nearly three years ago was spotting the dolphins while driving along Red Road. We came upon a rise just above the beach and saw the dolphins playing off shore. A woman with a long scarf swam out to meet them. A dolphin took the scarf she handed to them and they swam with it and exchanged it between them. It was a most surreal experience.

The morning crowd seems to be an older group. Some can be found doing tai chi or other forms of energy work. The morning sun is warm and welcoming and there is less chance to get burned. By 10am, the sun’s rays becomes hot and those who do not have a full body tan would be wise to cover up the parts that are not accustomed to being exposed to it.

The mid to late afternoon crowd encompasses folks of all ages. Children build sand castles while young people play like water sprites along the shoreline. Middle aged people swim with a child-like playfulness and older folks sit and chat with one another and greet old friends. Some bring instruments and drum or play flutes.  It’s an interesting mix of the eclectic and mainstream, all of whom revel in the openness of the right to bear it all in a natural setting.

Sunday afternoons brings a crowd of regulars together to drum, sing and dance. It’s quite crowded at this time so if you are in the mood for a quiet, private experience, Sunday afternoon is not the optimal time to go. However, if you are in the mood for a group gathering, visiting Kehena Beach on a Sunday afternoon will be a unique experience to remember.

Kehena Beach sits unassumingly along the Red Road. There is no sign announcing its presence. A small unmaintained parking area, which the local community keeps quite clean, accommodates about 10-15 cars at most. Overflow parking is allowed along both sides of the road.

If you decide to make Kehena Beach a stop on your vacation remember to respect the land and the power of the ocean. People have died there and people have learned how to live life to its fullest there. There is no “in-between”. Last year the area lost a local icon, “Uncle” Manu. As it was told to me, at one point that day he said, “Today is a good day to die.” Later, he entered the ocean and drowned.

Interesting place, Kehena Beach. Visit it with abandon and play with caution.

Blog article about Uncle Manu

Article about strong current at Kehena Beach sweeping 6 people out to sea

Another blog about Kehena Beach

Free music downloads from Kehena Beach Sunday drum circle

Posted by: Anna Webb | August 6, 2014

Genevieve Becomes Typhoon Fenghsen

Genevieve is located in the left area of the image

Genevieve is located in the left area of the image

Genevieve passed by the Hawaiian Islands today only to grow in strength and become Typhoon Fengshen. This system promises to be a force beyond reckoning.

Watch this system as it grows in strength….

Battle between Pele (yellow, warm dry air) and Iselle (blue, moist cool air).

Battle between Pele (yellow, warm dry air) and Iselle (blue, moist cool air).

A hurricane warning has been issued for Hawaii’s Big Island in addition to flash flood warnings throughout the islands.
If, in fact, Iselle is a hurricane when it makes landfall on Big Island, it will be an unprecedented “first” and meteorologists aren’t sure what will happen.

Here is a good article to read “What to Expect from Hawaii’s First Hurricane Landfall in 22 Years”

Posted by: Anna Webb | August 6, 2014

Hawaii Hurricanes – Update

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 5.35.54 AM

Check out Hurricane Julio’s 5-day forecast and batten down the hatches!

Tropical Storm Iselle is making landfall right now. It is reported that HPP (Hawaiian Paradise Park) has a lot of damage. Even though this weather system has been downgraded to a tropical storm means little with regard to heavy rain and windspeed.

In addition, there are many tree species on the  island that are not indigenous to the area which makes them vulnerable to wind damage. 15-25 ft. waves are being observed with up to 70 ft. high splashes! Best to stay away from the beaches and avoid coastal roads if possible.

It’s recommended that you shelter in place at this point – however, here is a list of shelters for your information should you decide it is too dangerous to stay in your home because of damage.


Posted by: Anna Webb | February 6, 2014

Winter on Big Island

Yes, Paradise has Winter weather and this past week brought snow to Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

Hawaii's Big Island from Space - Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa snow capped.

Hawaii’s Big Island from Space – Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa snow capped.

Photo of snow covered road to Mauna Kea.

Photo of snow covered road to Mauna Kea.

It’s truly an experience to be able to ski at 12,000 feet elevation and be back on the beach in about an hour. And, a spectacular sight to see the snow capped majesty of the volcanoes that formed the island.

Winter’s not over yet – and freezing temps will stick around for a while. Please be mindful of the dangers of hiking the mountains. One hiker had to be rescued after being stranded for two days. Enjoy and stay safe!

Mauna Kea Hazards

Mauna Kea Forecast


Posted by: Anna Webb | January 23, 2014

Pacific Ocean Buoy Array Data Drops to 40 Percent

Meteorologists and Scientists from around the world depend upon data sent from the TAO/TRITON array of buoys in the Pacific Ocean to predict weather patterns around the world. Once 80-90 percent operational, by the end of 2013 that information has dropped to around 40 percent.

This data has been used in the past to create weather models and provide early alerts likely saving both lives and money specifically with regard to El Nino events. Droughts, flooding and severe Winter weather can all be attributed to the El Nino and La Nina patterns.

But why the sudden collapse? In simple terms, U.S. funding cuts and the retirement of one of the U. S. ships key to maintaining the buoys caused the rapid collapse of the array. Concerned Scientists from around the World will be meeting in San Diego next week at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to discuss what’s needed to salvage, sustain and maintain the array of buoys and hope to announce new funding sources.

Red Buoys are stations with no data

Red Buoys are stations with no data

Funding will not likely come from the U.S. unfortunately demonstrating its priority regarding climate change and the environment and will more likely come from Asian countries such as China and South Korea, also affected by Pacific Ocean weather patterns.

Good Article from, Australia

You can see all the buoys with no data from the NOAA National Data Buoy Center


Posted by: Anna Webb | January 23, 2014

Largest Swell in a Decade Arrives on Hawaii Island Shores

It’s a surfer’s dream and a homeowner’s nightmare but regardless of perspective, 40-50ft. swell and record waves keep rolling in on the North Shores of several islands.

Buoys in the Pacific Ocean are an excellent way to get a head’s up on what to expect and rightly predicted the largest surf in a decade. Even though extremely dangerous current threatens, this is the stuff of which surfer’s dreams are made, especially on Oahu’s North Shore. Surfing “Pipe” is IT and with the Volcom Pipe Pro 2014 beginning on January 26th – February 7th, you can believe that many arrived early to take advantage of these ridiculous waves.

Bonzai Pipeline

Image from Pipe Masters 2013



This competition provides the opportunity for non-World Tour surfers to qualify for entry into the ultimate Pipe Masters event.




Meanwhile Southern California beaches brace for big surf, as well, and you can be sure every North Shore wanabe will honor the sport this weekend by rippin’ there, as well.

So far minimal damage is reported but with high winds and possible storms making landfall, anything is possible. After all, that’s what Winter is in Hawaii.

Central Pacific Radar

National Data Buoy Center

Posted by: Anna Webb | January 23, 2014

Surfing Pipe: Impressive Video

This Winter Season has been an incredible opportunity to catch big wave. This video taken with a Drone and a GoPro is probably the best surfing video I’ve ever seen.

Had to share!

Watch Video Here

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 4.53.24 PM



Posted by: Anna Webb | December 30, 2013

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,200 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by: Anna Webb | November 5, 2012

Tsunami: Missed Again

Once again, the Hawaiian Islands got “lucky” and the tsunami generated from the 7.8 earthquake in British Columbia was a non-issue. Back in February of 2010 an 8.8 earthquake in Chile generated a tsunami that threatened the islands.

Residents of Seaview Estates gather in wait for the February 2010 tsunami from Chile to arrive

Hawaii is a sitting duck in the middle of a large ocean. An earthquake in any area of the Ring of Fire could send a large series of waves moving through the Pacific Ocean with only a body of land to stop it. Central and South America, Asia, the Philippines, Russia, Alaska, Canada and the U.S all have had earthquakes strong enough to impact Hawaii. History says that it’s only a matter of time before a big one hits again.

The tsunami warning system headquartered on the Island of Oahu is impressive.

Civil Defense Tsunami Evacuation Zones

Working with local civil defense, they’ve created a system to warn residents of an impending tsunami with usually an hour or more to act and move to safety. In addition, they’ve worked with various countries, and positioned a series of buoys throughout the Pacific Ocean measuring ocean waves on a regular basis. PacOOS Voyager. Once an earthquake happens, they pay close attention to the buoys in the area and can utilize the data to alert the islands of an approaching set of large waves. They can even estimate the time of arrival to the minute.

On the first business day of every month at 11:45 am HST the sirens are tested. If there is an issue they have the opportunity to fix it. During the event on October 27th, some of the sirens didn’t sound and many are wondering why. In addition, Hawaii’s Civil Defense has a call service to alert those who’ve signed up for tests and warnings.

Hawaii Tsunami Evacuation Area Warning Sign

My friend Sonia Martinez of Honomu is signed up for the service. Here was her comment on November 1st:

Just now 3:38 pm – received the phone call from Civil Defense about the test conducted at 3:10 pm – according to the call, they issue the warning at 3:20 pm…the procedure seems to be a bit backwards, don’t you think?

Sonia Martinez

She decided to send a letter to them questioning their procedures. Here’s what she wrote later that day:

To: <>
A little bit ago, 3:38 pm – I received the phone call from Civil Defense about the test conducted at 3:10 pm – according to the call, you issued the warning at 3:20 pm…I received a second call at 3:42 pm….

I still haven’t received any e-mailed notices.

The procedure seems to be a bit backwards, don’t you think?

On Facebook everyone was panicking or wondering what was going on.

I do appreciate the service and I do know you need to test them if they were malfunctioning, but why not send the warning an hour or two AHEAD of the test?

Just saying…..

PS…I think you need to have an active presence in Facebook. The Facebook coconut wireless around the island is faster than anything you’ve experienced ;-)

The service isn’t perfect and, in fact, 13 of the 71 sirens aren’t working as of November 1st according to a recent report. Hawaii in general is still in process of fine-tuning their technologies but feedback from users of their service will certainly help in achieving success. Ultimately, they strive to protect the Islands’ residents and hopefully when the next tsunami heads toward Hawaii, all sirens will be operable and residents will have plenty of time to get out of harm’s way.

Civil Defense Tests Reveal More Siren Failures

Posted by: Anna Webb | March 1, 2010

El Nino Predicted to Continue At Least Three More Months

The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center announced the latest data on Pacific Ocean water temperatures and trends, predicting at least three more months of El Nino conditions.

In their prognostic discussion for long-lead  Hawaiian outlooks, they predict continuation of below normal levels of precipitation for the islands. The end of January 2010 found Hilo Airport measurements at 10% of normal rainfall received for the year. Based upon personal observations, I conclude that those levels remained the same through February until yesterday. A system passing north of the islands toward mainland U.S. brought a “tail  whip” of wind and rain to the islands yesterday.

According to the Department of Meteorology at the University of Hawaii synoptic discussion, this rain and moisture should continue through the week. This system will help the islands catch up on rainfall amounts but according to the overall outlook, we should fall back into dryer conditions once this system moves off to the East.

Mid-March the NOAA meteorologists will post their findings for March to inform us, once again, of their El Nino predictions. Meanwhile, Hawaii can anticipate lingering drought conditions while areas in the 48 states can expect more moisture. Going forward, experts will be announcing the effects of El Nino on hurricane and tornadic activity should it continue past the Spring season.

Stay tuned for further updates on this blog and remember, all comments are welcomed!


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