The sun sets slowly over Waikiki, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the richly colorful sky and its reflection on the waves and sand. As the sky changes from blue to orange to black, the pace of the beach also changes.

During the day, the beach is filled with activity: swimming, surfing, boating — every type of human activity with water. Young children dig in the sand or run from waves as their families watch from beach chairs beneath umbrellas. Older children display amazing balance as they maneuver surf boards or boogie boards along the waves. It is a carnival: fun to watch… and sometimes a little too much.

We went to Waikiki Beach last evening as the sun was setting. Sail boats out for the Friday evening sail dotted the horizon. A few surfers caught evening waves and a handful of people still played in the water. Couples and families staked out places on the beach in hopes of seeing the Friday evening fireworks but the mood was quieter, even more relaxed than during the day. As the sun set, we watched dinner and cocktail cruises depart and return.

Much of the activity moved inside. Lights and tiki torches marked the restaurants and bars serving drinks and food over vibrant conversations. The sidewalks of Kuhio and Kalakua Avenues now hosted the people who had earlier filled the beach.

Back on the beach, darkness brought fishermen setting their lines. Even this very busy section of Waikiki slows enough at night that fishing is productive. The men wore flash light headbands as they cast out long lines, then propped the fishing rods into stands with little bells on the lines to signal a catch.

This change of pace gives the exact same patch of sand a very different feel. A recent guest was quite dismayed at how busy the Waikiki area is, with its line of hotels, shops and restaurants. She wished for a deserted section of beach to enjoy alone. And she found it — right outside her Waikiki hotel, at sunset.

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