It’s almost impossible to fathom Hanauma Bay being anything but perfect. Its clear waters and calm conditions have become the epitome of a classic Hawaiian beach, where golden rays illuminate the bay and reveal an underwater world not known by many.

But when the surf’s pumping on Oahu’s east side, that perfection quickly vanishes. It’s replaced by rough seas and crashing waves that are so dangerous, they’ll sweep up anyone in its path. Strong currents rip through the usual reef safe zone and disturb the peace that majestically dons the bay. It’s considered a form of mass destruction for any pristine pool, like Hanauma.

Since Saturday, the bay has been closed to the public due to high surf. This, according to the state, is the longest closure for Hanauma in decades. Officials will reconvene tomorrow to determine if conditions are safe enough for it to be reopened. Until then, guards will continue to deny access to beach-goers.

Of course, it’s especially disappointing for tourists who’ve dreamed of swimming here. Maybe they’ve seen it in a classic Elvis film or on a postcard. But when a beach closes to the public, that means it’s pretty serious. Be patient and trust in local safety officials, who are just looking out for the public’s well-being.

Getting dissed at the entrance to Hanauma doesn’t have to mean an end to a vacation, however. Head back toward Honolulu on Kalanianaole Highway, and you’ll find tons of beaches at pretty much every mile marker. They may not necessarily be as perfect for snorkeling as Hanauma, but the warm tropical waters surely make it a piece a paradise – no matter what!

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