This was the third time I went to Papohaku Beach, the beautiful 3-mile sand beach on the island of Molokai. Every time the conditions have been different and this time I felt a bit disappointed when I arrived. The light was more drab than I had seen it and not as golden. The waves didn't light up in the same way. I also heard others say they'd been bigger the week before. Then it dawned on me I should stop my inner dialog of complaints and just look at these waves and marvel in what they had to offer. If I took waves for granted, I might also fail to appreciate and be grateful for my breath and health and all the miracles I see when I wake up with fresh eyes. I decided to watch as if I'd never seen wavs before and though they could have been bigger or brighter, what they did have was an amazing amount of spray and momentum. They were in fact beautiful and even mystical.
The image above was one of my favorites. It is always satisfying to catch the wall of the wave before it breaks. In this case, the spray was ripping off the crest and dancing over and back on the ridge, creating thin wisps of water that almost formed a cylinder to contain the energy and power of this particular wave. The dynamics of each wave are different, which is probably why they are so mesmerizing to us.
This wave had the wall and the spray, again forming a cylinder, but it also had the tension of interacting from the wave before. As I saw the wall in the distance, another wave was breaking on the rocks I was standing on throwing vertical spray and large bubbles. Soon the wall would be doing the same thing and perhaps dancing with another wave behind it. We are always peaking and crashing at different times, creating a symphony of interactions.
This one represented pure uncontainable power to me. The wave crashed on the rocks and shot up filling my frame and obliterating all else. If perfect curls were not to be because of the tides and elements, then what was wrong with appreciating the gifts they were giving us and on of those was a graphic description of force. Water can gently wash things clean, or it can pound and destroy and erase.
Sometimes waves are just plain funny. This one with its huge spray reminded me of a shock top ad. It was a pretty small wave and close to the shore, so I couldn't quite figure out what caused all that spray-perhaps a wind just or the direction it broke in. Then there was a laundry machine full of turbulent water behind it.
For a brief second, we were treated to some light as I remembered it from the last time I was there. Not quite as intense maybe, but enough to reveal the greens and turquoise hues of the water. It wasn't a huge curl, but it hung suspended for a moment creating a shelf with spray that reminded me of the great waves near Mount Fuji in Japanese woodcuts on a more diminutive scale.
The tide was out and the volcanic rock under the surface of the water was readily apparent. It was fun looking at the rocks and the tidal pools, but you had to be ready to run as the waves are not entirely predictable. Suddenly one can be coming right at you and you have to run to avert it. I suppose this one another life lesson about staying on your toes and being ready to dodge or avoid on oncoming obstacle at a moments notice. Always best to stay flexible and also to never dismiss something amazing because you are too bent on comparing it with past experiences.