We play on waves in Hawaii: surfing, paddling and sailing. Listening to the waves crash in on themselves is relaxing while they sound like nature’s flute when they spout through blow holes. And yet, waves take lives. In just the past few weeks, two Hawaii visitors have died in Hawaii waters. They did not drown in high surf, they were swept from land into the sea by waves.

In each case, a couple of basic tips might have made a difference. First, never turn your back on the ocean. Even if you think you are safely beyond the reach of the surf, random waves reach farther with more intensity than you might imagine. Not only do those waves surprise with a h3 slap of water, they drag you back with just as much force into the undertow. By the time ocean waves reach the islands of Hawaii, they have traveled far across the ocean, picking up energy as they go. Ocean waves are mesmerizing to watch but best from a distance.

Second, it is tempting to venture to the edge of the rocky shore along Hawaii’s coast for a climb or a hike. That’s where the blow holes are, because they have been worn by the action of the water. But the rocks can be both sharp and slippery. It makes for a dangerous combination. The water keeps the area slick, so that it is easy to slip and hard to maintain a hand-hold if you fall. The sharp edges cut feet and, again, are hard to hold onto. Although many guide books list the locations of blow holes or “hidden” outlooks, there is no special benefit to standing directly beside them. Stay at a safe distance for photos.

It seems like a special tragedy for people on a Hawaii vacation to experience difficulty. It pains locals to have anyone injured in the islands – local or visitor. It is especially painful when the injury could have been prevented by prudence. Hawaii may look like a movie back drop but it is a complex ecosystem that can be deadly without malice. It is up to the humans to protect themselves while they enjoy the view. Stay safe and use the camera zoom to get the close shots.


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