Already the sea runs red. Even among some of the lightly wounded who jumped into shallow water the hits prove fatal. Knocked down by a bullet in the arm or weakened by fear and shock, they are unable to rise again and are drowned by the onrushing tide. Other wounded men drag themselves ashore and, on finding the sands, lie quiet from total exhaustion, only to be overtaken and killed by the water. A few move safely through the bullet swarm to the beach, then find that they cannot hold there. They return to the water to use it for body cover. Faces turned upward, so that their nostrils are out of water, they creep toward the land at the same rate as the tide. That is how most of the survivors make it. The less rugged or less clever seek the cover of enemy obstacles moored along the upper half of the beach and are knocked off by machine-gun fire.
The turn onto the first Kalihiwai Road (there are two) comes so abruptly that it’s easy to pass it up – which is exactly what we did. But after backtracking a bit, we finally got on the right road to the Secret Beach trailhead. And then the real adventure began…
It’s a short and steep hike down to the beach, but it’s well worth the effort. The journey is quite picturesque, and at the end of the trail you emerge right on one of Kauai’s loveliest – and least crowded – north shore beaches.
The first stop was in the water for a swim, of course. It was a bit odd swimming in salt water after being so acclimated to Lake Michigan. But the ocean was crystal clear and the water temperature came in at an amazing 82F. Also, we were fortunate to have much tamer waves as is the case on the north side during the summer months.
But the real treat was yet to come.
A short walk to the west the beach comes to an end at the lava flows. If you hike over these for a short distance, there are several natural tide pools you can swim in if the sea is calm. Luckily for us, the conditions were ideal. So we checked out several of them and even did some snorkeling in the larger ones.
And the best part was that we pretty much had all of them to ourselves!
“I hope people remember there were many men who sacrificed their lives and youths. We were young when we went over there, but we came back old men. It was a supreme sacrifice. I hope people remember, there were some of us willing to die for democracy, because we believed in it.”