Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Maui: The Walk of Shame

You may have noticed that throughout this chronicle of our trip to Hawaii, I only entered the ocean twice in two weeks. We had spent a great deal of energy searching for a calm, clear spot to snorkel, but only found rough, rocky shores.

We drove down the shore of Maui, passing through a lava flow at the base of Haleakala. You can see the cinder cone and the path of the flow.


We found a good snorkeling spot, but it was rocky and turbulent. A local surfer told us that we should come back in the morning when the seas were calmer. “This time of day, things can get kind of gnarly,” he said. It was the first time I had ever heard the word “gnarly” used in an authentic context, without mockery.


However, one of our drivers told us about a great snorkeling spot. “It’s at the end of Little Beach,” he explained, “But you might not want to go there.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because it’s a nude beach.”

He went on to give us directions. “First you drive to Big Beach. At the north end, you’ll see a cliff extending into the water. Then, you’ll notice a bunch of hippies climbing a rocky little path up the cliff. On the other side of that cliff is Little Beach. The snorkel spot is at the north end of Little Beach, so you’ll have to do the Walk of Shame past all the naked people to get to it.”

We decided to give it a try.

We found Big Beach without too much trouble. And here is that cliff at the north end.


At the base of the cliff is the start of the steep rocky path to get over it.



From the top of the cliff, we had a scenic panoramic view of Big Beach.


We also had a somewhat less scenic view of Little Beach, which was covered with the bodies of about 200 naked gay men. Yes, that is one tiny detail our driver omitted. Oh, there was a sprinkling of grandmas and a few giggly 20-something tourists looking for a story to tell back home in Des Moines. But about 95% were gay men in couples or small groups. Some were boogie boarding or surfing. I would just like to say that it is fun to watch someone surf, but not if they are surfing naked in that squatting-crouch posture that surfers use.

We took the Walk of Shame, only to discover that the water was too rough at the north end of the beach for snorkeling. So we took the Reverse Walk of Shame. Climbing cautiously down the rocky cliff path ahead of us was a guy carrying four boogie boards slung across his back.

“Why four boogie boards?” I asked.

“I rent ‘em,” he replied.

What a genius. He does nothing resembling work all day, and gets to watch naked people to his heart’s content. He probably makes $100 a day, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.

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