EXPLORING THE EAST COAST OF OAHU
The east coast of Oahu is full of adventure and we had a blast jumping off rock walls and diving into tide pools.
TEXT BY JACKSON GROVES // IMAGES BY JACKSON GROVES // VIDEO BY JACKSON GROVES & JUST ANDREAS
One of the greatest things about having a moped on Oahu is being able to cruise along the East Coast. The drive takes you past Koko Head Crater Trail and winds along a scenic, cliffside road. There are so many amazing beaches and hidden spots along this route but on this trip we decided we felt like doing some jumping. While there are other spots along this side of the island with much bigger jumps like Spitting Cave, we decided to enjoy a few of the smaller options.
Our first stop was China Walls which is hidden in the Portlock neighborhood. China Walls has a popular surf break when the conditions line up and on those days it is a definite no swimming zone. However, on a calmer day you can climb up the rock wall and make the 10ft jump over and over again. The water is clear enough to see the bottom and it is pretty deep for the most part.
Sometimes you have to time your climb as you attempt to clamber up the rock wall and wait for a break in the waves to quickly make your way out of the water. We saw a seal and a turtle while we enjoyed jumping for over an hour at China Walls. After ten or so jumps each we hopped back on our mopeds and took off to the next location.
Alan Davis Beach is a short detour off of the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. What is so cool about this beach on the east coast of Oahu? Wedged into the rocks on the side of the beach are two wooden planks that lead you out over crystal water deep enough to accommodate all the diving and flipping you can handle. Unfortunately the day we went, the crowds were a little much for us, so we decided to head to the Makapu’u tide pools.
We opted to head along the coast, climbing over the rocks and discovering small tide pools along the way. Being a lover of all creatures, we decided to stop and save a fish that was in a warm tide pool that was evaporating quickly.
If you’ve already explored the east coast of Oahu you might like to check out this pillbox hiking trail on the west side of the island.
After my Steve Irwin style life-saving heroics we took off again wondering how much further the Makapu’u Tide Pools would be. Finally we began to see some tide pools but they weren’t what we were expecting. They were hidden halfway between Alan Davis beach and the Makapu’u tide pools. The water at these pools was incredibly clear and we had this whole little paradise to ourselves for an hour.
Although we had already enjoyed our own private tide pools we decided to continue along the east coast of Oahu, towards the more popular Makapu’u tide pools. We climbed through a cave and, clambered up boulders before finally arriving arriving to join the crowds of people floating in the natural pools of water.
Despite the crowds, the backdrop of the cliffs and the opportunity to do some more jumps made it worth the walk. These pools are not as clear as the tide pools we first dipped into and they also seemed a little bit dirty.
There are a couple of huge blowholes here that shoot water 30 ft into the air. We waited for a photo opportunity for some ten minutes before finally giving up. As we walked away the biggest spurt of the day shot out from the blowhole, a small lesson for the day is the need to practice persistence.
We decided to climb up the rocky path and check out the Lighthouse at the top of the trail and were rewarded with a great view of Makapu’u Beach. We walked back down the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, which only took about 25 minutes.
We were back on the mopeds and headed home after more than enough time spent on the east coast of Oahu, jumping into the ocean and climbing over rocks. But I am sure that one little fish is glad we did.