Decades ago, an old, wooden ship crashed in waters offshore of Poipu on the South side of Kauai. It may not have been as exciting as The Pirates of the Caribbean, but the nautical wreckage became a common sight for beach-goers, who eventually named the beach, Shipwrecks. Hurricane Iwa dismantled what was left of the boat in 1982, leaving behind only a few pieces, including its rust-strewn motor.
The Hawaiian name for this beach is Keoneloa, which means “the long sands.”
It’s difficult to believe that Shipwrecks was once a hidden beach. Today, it’s usually crowded with locals and tourists staying at one of the two nearby resorts. You’ll most likely see bodyboarders, surfers and bodysurfers shredding the beach-break line-up, which is definitely more suitable for the experienced as it’s a powerful wave over sharp reef. The h3 currents and sizable surf don’t really also don’t make a good combo for leisure swimming or snorkeling, so I’d suggest enjoying Shipwrecks in other ways.
Soak in some Hawaiian rays, look for shells or go on an easy hike. Whenever I’m on Kauai, we always make an effort to hike the sea cliff trails at Shipwrecks. Most of the walk is sheltered by rows of ironwood trees; beyond them, a gusty wind can send your do in a topsy-turvy mess. My boyfriend and his friends like to jump off of the 50-foot sea cliff. I wouldn’t recommend this large leap for those inexperienced and unfamiliar with the jump; I’ve heard there are a few rocks you you have to avoid. Instead, you may want to get your thrills filled like I do – by watching other daredevils take the plunge.
(Left) Majestic sea cliffs decorated with naupaka. (Right) A Flyin’ Hawaiian.
The trail takes hikers on a coastal walk between the outer edge of a golf course and Keoneloa Bay. Look for native flora and fauna, but also be on the look out for several Hawaiian cultural sites. You’ll come across ancient petroglyphs carved into the beachrock shelves and a giant heiau (Hawaiian place of worship), which can easily be identified as it looks like a garden of round black rocks meticulously stacked and gathered together. Please be careful not to walk on or disturb any cultural sites; it’s not only disrespectful, but it’s said to be bad luck.
SHIPWRECK BEACH • Poipu, Kauai