Every year we set out to capture the first sunset of the new year. This year was no different. The first sunset of 2018 was cool, calm, and collected.
I love exploring the north and west shores leading up to Kaena Point, primarily because I think it is the last stretch of wild coastline on Oahu. Once you step beyond where the paved roads end in both Mokuleia and Waianae, you are instantly surrounded by beautiful coastal terrain, cultural sites, and remnants of a historical past once dominated by plantations and the military.
I guess that if you do one thing enough times, it becomes a tradition. It has become a tradition for Exploration: Hawaii to capture the first Hawaiian sunset of every new year. In 2012, we said hello to the new year at Waimea Bay. In 2013, we found ourselves on an empty beach in Maile. In 2014, we caught a beautiful sunset at Ko Olina. And in 2015, we ushered in the new year by driving the farthest west that we could, to Keawaula Beach on the Waianae Coast.
It was one of those, “hey, let’s go shoot the sunset” kind of days. Of course, there’s no better place to catch the sunset on Oahu than the west side. You’re guaranteed a show from any beach along Oahu’s Leeward Coast, really. We chose Pokai Bay, with the hope that we would get to see one of those purple and pink cotton candy sunsets. It wasn’t meant to be. No complaints, though, as the sunset was spectacular nonetheless.
I recently got my hands on the new Olloclip Macro 3-IN-1 Photo Lens, designed specifically for the iPhone 5 and 5s. I decided to head out to Kaena Point, the westernmost location on the island of Oahu, to test out the new gadget. The clip-on device features three levels of magnification, 7X, 14X, and 21X. For the shots below, I used either 14X of 21X lens. To use the 7X lens, you simply unscrew the 14X lens on top of it. For a device that retails at $69.95, I was rather impressed by the results. In comparison, a good macro lens for a DSLR could set you back hundreds of dollars. If you want to get your feet wet in macro photography, then the Olloclip Macro 3-IN-1 is a great place to start.
By completing the Kuaokala Trail, I was able to strike off another Na Ala Hele maintained trail off of my list. Kuaokala terminates at a lookout that overlooks Makua Valley, however, the best views are to be had before reaching this lookout. Our crew had previously reached this same lookout point via the Kealia Trail in Mokuleia. The Kuaokala trailhead is located in Waianae, far from the trailhead of Kealia. Access to the Kealia Trail is open, whereas you will need to get a permit from the Hawaii Division of Forestry if you want to hike the Kuaokala Trail. That said, I believe that Kuaokala is a better hike, with much more varied vistas.
I rarely hike a trail twice. This is becoming increasingly difficult, though, as I complete more and more of Oahu’s hiking trails. In search of a unique hike to do, I began skimming through the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club’s (HTMC) outing schedule. I noticed that local author, Stuart Ball, would be leading a hike to Puu O Hulu. Without hesitation, I decided to revisit this little puu on the Waianae Coast that looms over Maili, with the added benefit of being able to pick the mind of a local hiking and backpacking legend.
Having spent most of the first day of 2013 cleaning house, Michelle and I were itching to get out and do something. We decided to try and catch the sunset from Keawaula Beach (Yokohama Bay). Sunset hunting would be our first adventure ouf 2013.