Honolua Perspective – Chapter II / Dreamland
Once, so very long ago, when the world of surfers was small and close, when the outer fringes of the wave world seemed distant and backward (France, Peru, Australia, some place in Africa …), Hawaii was the Holy Land and the North Shore was Mecca.
In those bygone days, there was occasional talk of “outer islands” – the remote and mysterious sisters of Oahu – and on one of these isles a particular, strangely esoteric surf spot with otherworldly waves that delivered transcendent bliss to the time-travelers who lived in the emerald vales around her. There was the scent of fantasy around this place, its fleeting swells, her cosmic riders. But it wasn’t just a fiction … and it still isn’t.
On the bold northwest shoulder of Maui, Lipoa Point juts abruptly towards Molokai; tucked in the lee of the point is Honolua Bay. A series of undulations cascades from point to bay, and when storm systems move from west to east across the North Pacific, their swells bend around Molokai, some ten miles across the Pailolo Channel. Soon the pulses are aiming straight up the channel.
As the swells move in, the ocean depth rises from thousands of feet to a couple of hundred, then to just a few fathoms. Finally they pour their juice along the tapering coral reef that shadows this fortunate stretch of coast. The waves peel beneath basalt cliffs and ledges and large boulders, past caves and archways, then sweep in over the reef flats, where, during rains, the intermittent Honolua Stream transports fresh water and silt into the bay. Sometimes the waves are tinted green with the jungle tea of the river.
And beneath the waves are the sea urchins, the octopus and damsel fish, uhu and manini , and the triggerfish called humuhumunukunukuapua‘a … and off shore, out in the channel, the blue and humpback whales spouting … a paradise above and below
In bygone times, this was the lair of an intrepid few, pioneers and trippers fueled by passion and psychedelics. Here was a fairyland of escape, a dewy, shimmering wonderland of possibilities, where seers and dreamers would squat on the cliffs at the dusty edges of pineapple fields and watch the swells darken and curl out their white traces across a sanctified canvas of pristine possibilities … as the sun tilted down on Mokokai … as the sweet scent of burning cane seemed to tell a story both ancient and modern … as a rainbow arced over the misty idle of Lanai.
by Drew Kampion