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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Getting to Know Hawaii: Spitting Caves

The Need to Knows:
  • Spitting Caves is located in the Portlock neighborhood of Hawaii Kai.  The approximate location of the trail leading to Spitting Caves can be found here:
  • This is a residential neighborhood, so PLEASE be respectful, only park legally, and do not disturb the people who live here (including blocking driveways, littering, and being loud during quiet hours).
  • There is no cost to visit Spitting Caves nor are there any specific hours that it's open or closed.
  • Since it's a bit of a trek to make it down to the rocks and they can be slippery when wet, I'd recommend wearing secure footwear here.
  • There isn't shade out on the rocks, so if you hang out here for an extended period of time, definitely apply sunscreen!

WARNING:  If you choose to jump from this spot or anywhere else on island, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK.  Spitting Caves has had two tragic deaths in the past few months (both young Navy sailors) because of jumping into rough ocean waters.  Please be WARNED and be KNOWLEDGEABLE of the risks of this kind of activity before participating and STAY SAFE.  If the ocean looks rough and/or you aren't a strong swimmer, DO NOT JUMP AT ALL.

Spitting Caves is a beautiful coastal spot tucked away in a residential neighborhood in Hawaii Kai.  It's one of those kinds of places that if you're not sure what to look for, you'd never even know it was there.  But once you do find it, it immediately becomes one of those special places that you really just fall in love with.

After parking, look for these signs in front of an alleyway
I have actually been hesitant to write this post for a while now.  I've been to Spitting Caves a few times, but I've been cautious to put this sight up for all the world to see (not that it isn't already up in other places!).  It's not for a reason like I want to keep it to myself or anything like that.  It's that Spitting Caves can actually be a very dangerous place if you aren't careful.

The pathway to the rocks
This spot, like Laie Point, Waimea Bay, and others, is very popular for cliff diving.  The problem with this is, of course, the unpredictable nature of the ocean.  Because of the way the water gets sucked into the "spitting cave" and because of rip currents, jumping and swimming here is simply not safe.  There have been many deaths over the past few years and they have had a large impact on the local and military communities.  Recently, the local government has been considering putting up "No Jumping" signs at the trail entrance and I'm pretty sure at least one branch of the military (possibly more) is either highly discouraging or stopping service members from jumping at all.

It's a small trek for sure!
But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy Spitting Caves at all.  It is actually a wonderful place to sit and relish the waves crashing on the rocks, relax a little bit, and even catch a beautiful sunset.  Simply put, it's gorgeous, and it's for these reasons that I decided to go ahead and add this place to my GTKH series.  I just wanted to include all of the important safety-related details first.

And then the view opens up to the ocean below you

I do already have this spot listed on my DIY Oahu Driving Tour, and every guest I've taken here has really seemed to enjoy it.  The beautifully curved striations in the rock are stunning and you definitely can't beat that deep blue and magical ocean that stretches out before you.

Spitting Caves is another great coastal spot on Oahu like Laie Point.  These kinds of spots are some of my favorite in all of Oahu, but this one has one additional element to share -- a spitting cave, where this area gets its namesake.

On rough days, the force of the water can be a bit shocking and the ocean puts on quite the show.  The forceful churning and crashing is definitely a sight to behold and adds some uniqueness to this already incredible spot.

However, in the midst of all the scenery, it's hard to miss the makeshift memorials around you on the rock layers.  They serve as a reminder of the power of the ocean and Mother Nature and how easily a life can be lost here.

As with most things in Hawaii though, as long as you remember to respect the 'aina (land) and respect the moana (ocean), you will be all right.  Just enjoy it all responsibly so you can get home in one piece!

View towards Diamond Head
Have you ever ventured to Spitting Caves or a coastal spot like it?

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