The Hukilau

Ever since we left Hawaii I’ve had this song stuck in my head:

And so I thought I’d share the joy! Now you can spend all day singing “Are you going to the Hukilau, the huki, huki, huki, lau?”  Even my cat has gone somewhere to hide.

Hawaii is one of the many places I’ve been to that I really didn’t want to leave. However, at times the angry sea didn’t seem to want us to stay.


Thirty to forty-five foot waves which during high tide on a full moon night literally came knocking at our back door!

We stayed on the North Shore of Oahu, a laid back haven for surfers from all over the planet. Aside from the Turtle Bay resort, this area has strongly resisted over-development and prides itself on retaining some of the old Hawaii feel. geyser


Sometimes the monster waves would collide far off shore and spout into the air like a geyser.  A surge this large hasn’t happened for decades and so you can imagine the excitement it caused, particularly as the timing coincided with one of the North Shore’s most beloved events: The Eddie Aikau Quiksilver Invitational.

From the Eddie Aikau Website

From the Eddie Aikau Foundation web site

“Eddie” was one of the first lifeguards at arguably the most beautiful surf spot in Hawaii, Waimea Bay.  He gained fame not only for rescuing people from the deadly surf but also for his skill on the long board. However it was his final, selfless act that gained him the most fame.

In 1978 Eddie joined the Polynesian Voyaging Society on a second migration attempt from the Hawaiian to Tahitian Islands in a traditional voyaging canoe.  Twelve miles south of the island of Molokai the canoe capsized and it was Eddie with his long board who volunteered to paddle ashore for help.  He was never seen again.  Today it’s quite common to see people with teeshirts and bumper stickers reading “Eddie would go” on the North Shore – a testament to this amazing and charismatic guy.


Waimea Bay when the waves are gentle (well, relatively).


Waimea Bay during the storm surge – it looked like a washing machine with too many suds!


Debris washed ashore. Who knows what it was!

So many people decided to take the trek out to the North Shore to witness the monster waves that they had to close Kamehameha Highway.  If the two lane road wasn’t flooded, it was jammed with slow driving lookie-loos!


Since we couldn’t go out in the waves, we built a sand castle.






28 thoughts on “The Hukilau

  1. Wow, I hope my visit (not yet scheduled) will be as somewhat peaceful and exciting as yours. The story about Eddie Aikau is interesting. So nice they haven’t forgotten him. Heh, now that you have forced it into my mind, the huki, huki, huki, lau to you, too.

  2. I remember getting to see Don Ho years ago and enjoying the show immensely. He was a great entertainer. As much as enjoy Hawaii—and I love the islands, plus my father in-law did reviews of shows that came out there for the Star Bulletin—I’m not sure I could get used to living there. I think I would crave the idea to wonder back to the mainland a little more often. But I do love Hawaii. Loved this post, Jan.

  3. I know this song – Don Ho was from another generation. The one that gets stuck in my head is Iz’s Hawaiian version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” But most all of his music is great; another one who died young.

  4. The picture of the waves is stunning!
    Eddie’s story is so very sad. He was a great swimmer and I can only guess what had happened. Thank you for your blogs!

    1. Billie Morton who wrote the post about the seahorses is an Australian writer who’s very passionate about animal welfare and very obviously not afraid to state her mind! Hope you are well Sloanie!

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