Private beaches - Shipman Beach

One of the most private beaches on the Big Island is Shipman Beach. I've been there three times, and I love it. But to get to this beautiful beach, is about a mile hike. The first part of the walk is on a trail of lava rock, through the grass, and it’s very hot with no shelter from the sun.

Private Beaches Shipman

After about fifteen minutes of walking, comes the jungle part of the hike. The ground is made more of dirt, than lava, and there are tall trees canopying over you. It’s like walking through a tunnel of lush forest. Parts of the trail are very wide, because it use to be a road a long time ago. However, some parts of the trail are very narrow.

After a long walk in the woods, the trail gradually turns into an ironwood forest, where the ground looks like a light brown carpet, because of the fallen pine needles. By now, you can see and hear the ocean a short distance away and you know you're not far away from this private beach.

Soon, comes a field with tall grass, and a very narrow pathway. Before you know it, you can see the beach. If it’s high tide, there is no beach at all, but if it’s low tide you can see the sand - and let me tell you, this is some really neat-looking sand! It’s not exactly white or black, just sort of a swirly mix of both. In some places it sinks easily like quick sand.

There are tall palm trees along the ocean, and on one side, there are trees with branches going over the water. A rope is tied to one of the branches for people to swing into the water with. While you are there, you will probably see some Nene Geese, the rare Hawaii state bird.


This beach is protected by a wall of rocks that break the waves and currents. However there is a space where there are no rocks blocking the water from the open ocean, so if you swim out too far, you will get caught by the current.

The last time I went to Shipman Beach, I witnessed a group of people swam out too far and caught caught by the current. They kept trying to swim back in to shore, but were not getting anywhere. So, some very nice people swam out to them, in attempt to save them. Their intentions were good, but unfortunately they weren't much help...they too, found themselves stuck, fighting against the current. So, another group of nice people swam out to rescue everybody. Of course, they only added to the group of people who needed help! There were about 15 or 20 people swimming in place...(if it weren't a rather dangerous situation, it would have been quite funny). Eventually, a smart group of people decided to walk out on the rocky wall sticking out of the water, and pull everyone out onto shore. So in the end, everybody was safe and nobody got hurt. But learn from their mistakes, and don't underestimate the power of the ocean....especially when at private beaches, where there is no lifeguard on duty.

Private Beaches - Shipman Beach




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