Some of Hawaii’s scenic beauty is captured in photographs, but the best camera still cannot really capture what it’s like to be at the beach. One of the missing elements is the sensation of the waves rolling to shore.

I was struck once again by the soothing the sound of the waves on my Sunday afternoon walk along Kailua Beach. I can see why such sounds are included in recordings of relaxing or sleep-inducing sounds. No matter how clearly the audio signal of waves is recorded, however, it does not really capture their vibration. The sound and motion of waves is like the pulse of the body — it makes a noise on instruments but you can also feel the throb of blood through veins. Waves are the pulse of the beach. In some places, waves crash ashore, smashing against rocks or cliffs. That has a different sound and vibration than the constant, rolling splash on the beach sand.

The ocean at Kailua has many uses: kite boarding, wind surfing, kayaking, boogie boarding, swimming, floating. On the beach, there is sand castle building, sunning, reading, talking, cooking and (in the evening) fishing. Beneath the Hawaii activities is the constant sound of the waves. It provides a backdrop for conversations, laughter, occasional dogs barking and childish voices pleading to stay just a little longer.

When we are sailing, I feel the roll of waves beneath my feet and hear the occasional splash of water as the boat skims through. That silence is relaxing in its own way; broken by the slap of canvas as the wind hits the sail. But the rhythmic roar of waves as they meet the shore is missing. I feel restored after a walk on the beach, as though the pulse of my body is reset in harmony with the pulse of nature — measured by the waves.

When you go on a Hawaii vacation, allow yourself time to experience its rhythm. Take back a sensation for your soul, as well as photographs and memories.


  1. “When you go on a Hawaii vacation, allow yourself time to experience its rhythm. Take back a sensation for your soul, as well as photographs and memories.”

    Really good advice! I am not on island right now, reading your blog makes me homesick!!

  2. There really is nothing like waking up in the morning and walking out on you lanai to see and hear the waves on the beach

  3. Yes, definitely agree. These days people are always on the go, busy busy busy, must keep moving type of mode. Take some time when you visit to sit under a shady palm or better yet, in the casting shadow of night. Close your eyes and breathe in the sensation of lulling waves and feel the breeze against your face. Once you take away sights distractions, you’d be amazed at just how much you’ve been missing. Hawaii is a perfect place to escape.

  4. Thanks all for the comments. When I think I’m too busy to walk to the beach, I know it’s time for a reality check 🙂

  5. I could not agree with you more. The ocean is like a medicine to me. I try to take a walk on Kailua Beach at least once a week, or at least sit out on my lanai to listen to the waves for a while

  6. Good points, Cindy. Although pictures can tell a thousand words, it’s simply not possible to really convey what it’s like to be a silky-soft white sand beach with the waves giving you the perfect soundtrack. Subscribing to your blog.

  7. There’s nothing like laying on the beach under an umbrella listening to the soothing sounds of the waves crash over the sand and coral. Me and Beach got a meeting this Saturday, don’t we?

  8. While visiting, I often sat and just let the sound of the waves take me away. It’s been almost 2 years since we visited Maui,but I rely on the memory of watching and listening to the waves to relax me if I am feeling stressed. Nothing compares!

  9. I think it is true that once you have taken time to experience the beach, you can always reach back to that memory. But that also makes it possible to miss the beach — and “need” a return visit 🙂

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