Moonrise can be a beautiful alternative to Sunrise on Oahu.
I have the same conversation over and over with my friends who live on the Leeward /Honolulu side: Me: oh how I wish I was over here more often. I so miss seeing the sun set over Waikiki. Them: We never get to see the sun until its well up over the mountain. Sunrise over on your side of the ocean is marvelous, even if it is really early.
Actually, the fact that the sunrise and sunset can be only about 18 miles apart (or 40 minutes) is amazing to me anyway – certainly both could be enjoyed in one day fairly easily, even if your transportation is the bus. But let’s add something else into the mix when it comes to seeing celestial sights. And that would be moonrise over Lanikai Beach, specifically the full moon rise.
This past month, the full moon was on September 22 and it was a Harvest Moon to boot! In hopes that it would be the huge orange ball that it was forecasted to be, I met up with some friends (one leeward resident) in Lanikai for a sunset/moonrise picnic. We weren’t the only ones. Just as residents and visitors gather on the jetties in Waikiki for sunset, so do people in Kailua on full moon nights. The night we were there, we were not disappointed that we made the effort to stick around for the later moonrise. It came up big and orange and round, just like a Halloween pumpkin.
But every full moon, when visible (windward skies can be cloudier than leeward) is quite a site, rising over the water with the Mokuluas in the foreground, with shadows cast on the ocean by them. An alternative for those not wanting to come quite as far as Kailua is a trip to the Pali Overlook. Here you can look down on the town and ocean behind it and see the moonrise, if it’s before closing time of 8pm. Or the next overlook farther east down the road will also give a good view. But really, it’s prettiest when you are straight face on with it as it rises over the water . Can’t make it over on the exact day of the full moon? Our picnic was actually the third night after the official full moon and we still had a fabulous view of it and it still appeared very large as it rose.
So do plan ahead. If you are visiting Honolulu, and know you will go windward, check the moonrise calendar for times and maybe you can hit it right. But honestly, even if it isn’t full, any moon stage is beautiful to watch from the white sands of Lanikai.