Our destination is the noted Waikiki Beach, three miles distant.
We leave our unpleasantly
rolling and rocking vehicle gladly, to wander along the beach.
Here we find bath-houses, so, donning the suit usually worn by the men, a pair of swimming trunks, I plunge into the ocean, and enjoy the mild temperature and fine surf.
The reef, about two miles seaward, protects this inland bay, where the swimmer may enjoy a frolic with old Neptune unmolested by the thousands of carnivorous sharks which inhabit these waters.
stories are told of the experiences of the natives with these dreaded fish.
A Kanaka will often row his boat out beyond the reef, and, seeing a shark, will dive into the water and engage in battle with him ;
and it is always the Kanaka who kills his enemy.
Surf boating is
one of the many pleasures afforded by the sea, to resident as well as native.
Through the kindness of my good friend, Colonel McF , I am invited to join in one of these novel sports.
The canoes used are very long and narrow, being kept in place upon the water by two long outriders which support a heavy
Our party, consisting of my friend, three native Kanakas, and myself, dressed in bathing costume, and each provided with a paddle, row out to the reef, where the waves are high and powerful.
Here we await one unusually large and strong.
When such a
one appears, and
we hear it hissing in our ears, with its white crest close upon us, we
begin to paddle all together towards the shore ; as soon as the wave strikes
the canoe we are carried with great speed upon its crest, at the rate of
fully a mile a minute.
We reach the beach alive and unharmed.
SURF BOATING, HONOLULU.
This is a very
exciting and sometimes dangerous amusement, for, while the canoe cannot
sink, it often capsizes, throwing its occupants into the water, where the
force of the waves is so great as to render swimming a hazardous experiment.
The sport is repeated many times until fatigue ends our enjoyment.
One day while
sitting on the beach reveling in the beauty of picturesque Diamond Head,
and the tropical plants and trees that fringe the shore, I observe a party,
consisting of two young girls and a very old woman, each carrying a salt
sack carelessly at her side, enter the water, and swim at least half a
Then they dive, and remain a long time under water.
I time some of these dives, and perceive that fully two minutes elapse before they return to the surface.
They are gathering sea moss, and having filled their bags, swim ashore with the precious load.
This moss is eaten by the Kanakas, and is quite palatable.
The old woman is at least ninety years of age, and an athlete in strength.
Vacation Days in Hawaii and Japan
George W. Jacobs & Co., Philadelphia, 1898.