Waikiki beach is like that ageless movie star whoâ€™s had so much work done you canâ€™t tell if sheâ€™s 45 or 75. Yes, itâ€™s true–this iconic stretch of sand has been eroding away since the early 1900s and compensating with plastic surgery. Well, beach-sand-surgery, anyway. At present, its sand is almost entirely artificial. Heavy use by tourists has definitely helped speed up the erosion, but much of the sand would naturally be swept away just by the flow of the tides and especially by storms. Beaches are dynamic geologic forms by definition, and though jetties and piers can help slow down the migration of sand, sometimes they need a little help. Like Joan Rivers, and Waikiki.
This winter, a 2.5 million dollar effort is underway along a 1700 foot stretch of Honoluluâ€™s most popular attraction. Between The Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Duke Kahanamoku Statue, thousands of tons of offshore shoal sand will be spread. The beach will be closed in 200 foot increments for minimal impact on the visitors while the 25,000 cubic yards of sand are situated.
The new sand is being held in the East Kuhio swim basin and will be â€śpumpedâ€ť via under-beach pipeline to the areas in need of a little bulking up, (like cheek implants when those jowls get a little droopy). Hopefully the finished project will boast prime sunbathing real estate thatâ€™s over 37 feet wider at high tide (approximately the width you would have found in 1985).
One of the most interesting things to notice about the project will be the drab, gray sand that is placed on the beach. The projectâ€™s engineers say that once the sand dries out and is left to the strong Hawaiian sun for a couple of weeks, it will bleach to the much prettier golden that will match the rest of the beach.
Itâ€™s been almost 40 years since the last attempt at sand replenishment; in the mid 1900s, they would barge new sand over from Manhattan Beach, California! Though officials and their geologists are always looking for ways to mitigate the erosion permanently, Mother Nature has other plans, and will continue to shift away Waikikiâ€™s youthâ€”I mean, sand.
Sections of the beach will be closed through March, but there are still over two miles of Waikiki to enjoy! Find your hotel booking on Waikiki Beach with Excellent Hotels and get in on the action this winter. If you keep putting your trip to a luxury hotel in Honolulu off, the beach may be gone once you get there!