Shipwreck Beach is a small beach located in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel on the South Shore of Kauai. It has plenty of sand for relaxing in the sun and lots of great scenery to keep your eyes occupied.
The cliffs at far end of the beach are a focal point for visitors. They are famed for the Harrison Ford and Anne Heche plunge from the cliff in ‘6 days and 7 Nights’. Clearly some of the locals watched that movie.
The cliffs are also popular spots for weddings and photo sessions.
The steep shore break on Shipwreck Beach make it a local favorite for body surfing but result in challenging conditions for swimming. Fair warning given that the waves can slam you around pretty good on this beach if you aren’t a strong swimmer or know how to time your entrance and exit.
I watched this lady after she jumped off the cliff and then swam around to get out on the beach. I was actually a little concerned (the former lifeguard in me) when she got caught between some rocks on shore and a large incoming wave but she got out okay. I latter zoomed in on the photo and got quite a chuckle out of the look on her face as she watched that big incoming wave starting to pile up.
During one visit to Shipwreck Beach, my wife and I went swimming to cool off after sitting in the sun. We were looking behind us at incoming waves to time our exit and to my delight (and my wife’s great concern) we could see the image of a green sea turtle riding the wave in. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my wife get out of the water so fast. We had a good laugh later about it. That image was so cool it will remain in my mind forever.
The frequency of waves on this beach make it a good location if you are interested in shooting some longer exposure wave photos. You will need a tripod, polarizing filter and at least a 3 stop ND filter to cut down the light enough to shoot at 1/4 to 1/2 second shutter speed required to give the waves the impression of motion. Shoot at the lowest ISO your camera offers.
Public access to the beach is between Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course & the Hyatt. Also, the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail starts here and is a great hike to explore the otherwise inaccessible coastline. This is a spectacular trail and will be the subject of my next post.