Halona Cove Beach

Location

Halona Cove Beach (also known as Cockroach Cove and Eternity Beach) is a small pocket of sand nestled in a lava rock shoreline on the Southeastern shore of Oahu, Hawaii, just 20 kilometres from Waikiki. Most people come here to have a look at the unremarkable Halona Blow Hole–though I’m told it becomes a spectacle when high tides and strong winds are present. There is a free parking lot which fills up with tour buses and other people having a look at the blowhole.

While the blow hole may be the draw, the real magic can be seen from the opposite end of the viewing area is the Halona Beach Cove itself. The access point to the beach is back towards the road from the parking lot. Here you will find a sign that warns of tresspassing, which no one heeds. Descending down the hill to the beach is very easy.

Halona Cove Beach as an Extra

This beach is not a secret by any means as several movies and videos have used the beach as a backdrop. In 2012, the beach was featured in the music video for “Starships” by Nicki Minaj. It was also one of the locations used for Whitecap Bay in the 2011 film Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides. The romantic setting of the beach was the perfect location for a kissing scene between Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler in the 2004 movie “50 First Dates.”

But no movie or video comes close to its feature film debut. Way back, in 1953, the beach was made famous for the first kiss scene between Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster in the Academy Award Winning Film, “From Here to Eternity.”

Sunrise at Halona Cove Beach
A behind the scenes look at Halona Cove Beach

A behind the scenes look at Halona Cove Beach

Being here at sunrise is magical. More than likely you will have the place all to yourself, save for another photographer or two, but they are harmless.

It is only natural to use the lava rocks on either side of the cove to frame the image. And there are so many different rocks on the beach to use in the foreground as the subject.

"Halona Cove" The large rock in the middle of the beach was perfect focal point for this sunrise image. Purchase a print of this image in the shop.

“Halona Cove”
The large rock in the middle of the beach was perfect subject and gives good leading lines for the sunrise. Purchase a print of this image in the shop.

"Eternity Beach" The view from the road above Halona Cove Beach (aka Eternity Beach) at sunrise. Purchase a print of this image in the shop.

“Eternity Beach”
The view from the road above Halona Cove Beach (aka Eternity Beach) at sunrise.
Purchase a print of this image in the shop.

One of the other things I really tried to include in these shots, is the movement of the water. A shutter speed of 1/6 usually does the trick, though getting the timing right is the key. Here’s a couple of shots, that show the surf coming in.

"A Morning Wave" The movement of the a wave coming onto the beach at Halona Cove at sunrise. Purchase a print of this image in the shop.

“Incoming”
The movement of the a wave coming onto the beach at Halona Cove at sunrise.
Purchase a print of this image in the shop.

"Incoming" The movement of the surf coming over the rocks and onto the beach at Halona Cove at sunrise. Purchase a print of this image in the shop.

“Incoming”
The movement of the surf coming over the rocks and onto the beach at Halona Cove at sunrise.
Purchase a print of this image in the shop.

Halona Cave

There is also a pretty cool and long cave that runs from the beach, under the highway to the other side. The tunnel was a lava tube formed millions of years ago. The cave is dark, rank smelling, and as you go deeper you can no longer walk upright, kind of like the theory of evolution in reverse. To get through to the other side you need to crawl through a narrow passage way.

I used the entrance of the cave to frame one of the shots as well. I especially like how the swirl of the entrance of the cave rock spirals to the centre and draws you in to that point and maybe even a subtle reference to the swirl of the heart of Tafiti from Moana.

"Halona Cave" The cave on Halona Beach. Purchase a print of this image in the shop

“Halona Cave”
The cave on Halona Beach.
Purchase a print of this image in the shop

Beyond the Cove

While the water in the cove can be calm, outside the cove the waters are treacherous and feature some of the strongest currents on the island. The Ka’iwi Channel runs between Oahu and Molokai and is commonly known as the Molokai Express.

"Turbulent" The water beyond the cove is treacherous, with high surf and strong currents. Purchase a print of this image in the shop

“Turbulent”
The water beyond the cove is treacherous, with high surf and strong currents.
Purchase a print of this image in the shop

The One-Stop Shop

If you’re looking for a quaint beach with calm waters, a cave for the adventurous, a blow hole, some sand to roll around in with either your significant other or just yourself, or just a breath taking back drop for some pictures or video, this might be your best bet on Oahu.

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