Hidden away in the jungles of South-East Hawai’i is a gem of a spot called Shipman’s Beach. The east side of the Big Island isn’t known for its expansive beaches, and that’s part of the reason why there’s so few tourists. This particular place is located next to a large area of private property, which means that there’s a hike to get in- about 3 miles.
These factors come together to make a truly exceptional experience. After hiking through lush rainforest, groves of banyan trees and beautiful views of the pacific ocean, we arrived at a practically deserted, completely protected cove of reef and crystal clear water.
There’s a river that feeds into the cove making a terribly refreshing cool water system. After a three mile hike in 80 degree weather the first plunge into this water made us feel infinitely beautiful and boundlessly happy. It took us a moment to gather our bearings to take in the spot, but our jaws continued to drop further and further. This beach was something more, something special.
We settled in with a group of friends that joined us on this adventure and then explored a little more. The trail continues past the beach a bit and leads you to a grove of trees on the far side of the beach. Here we found a stunning ecosystem where the freshwater and the salt water met. It’s pretty amazing that life can survive in such a diverse environment.
After a few hours of eating, laughing, playing a uke, and wading in the ocean it was time to pack it in and go home. We left a little sad, this was a place that we both felt truly connected to on a deep level. Knowing that it would be a long time until we return, leaving was hard, but the experience was worth it. This isn’t a beach, it isn’t just a cove, it’s one of those places in nature that has the reverence of a church. We are both grateful for the experience of being here for the short time that we were. Mahalo, Hawai’i!