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HomeTravelA place to go: Oahu, Hawaii

A place to go: Oahu, Hawaii

Imagine being on an island where the culture overflows into the ocean. Hawaii is a place loaded with adventure, community, and culture. When the crystal clear beaches arent enough, many find peace in the vastness of activities on the chain of islands. 

Oahu, Hawaii specifically, is home part of the Hawaiian island chain and home to the state capital, Honolulu. What attracts most tourists are the Punchbowl, a crater-turned-cemetery, a historic Chinatown, and the well-known beach, Waikiki; known for its waterfront dining and acting as a nightlife hotspot on the island for a younger crowd. Oahu also houses many natural marvels, including the mysterious Mermaid Cave.

This enormous area, half-submerged along the west beaches of Oahu island, is riddled with holes of all sizes and views out into the breathtakingly blue Pacific Ocean. The relaxing and captivating ambiance makes it a popular place for adventurous people, helping them transport to another world through what feels like magic.

Alexa Stola, a 2020 Marist College graduate, moved to Hawaii after being recruited by a Hawaiian principal who interviewed education majors to enter into a program where graduating students could move to Hawaii for a few months and teach children at Hawaiian schools. After making her first choice as an adult, Alexa set out to live in Hawaii for six months. 

During her time, she got to experience the land like a Hawaiian rather than as a tourist. Once they arrived at their AirBnB, the group began compiling a bucket list of things to do during their time in Hawaii. They would hear of adventure through not only Google but through the parents of the kids they taught, through their co-workers, and sometimes, even from strangers on the street. The group heard of the mysterious and beautiful Mermaid Cave and added it to their list. 

Alexa described her time in the cave as something she was proud to have done. After saying that, she got a little anxious to enter the cave; the entirety of the people surrounding her encouraged her to experience what they were and helped her enter the cave. Although her time in the cave sounded both pleasant and uncomfortable, she illustrated the cave as hidden at a beach on the west side of Oahu, more of a local beach called Nanakuli beach. 

When asked how she found the location of the alleged secret local’s spot, she googled it. When speaking about how close it was to where she was staying, she said it was relatively close, “it was on the west side. We just had to drive, but if you were in Waikiki or the north shore, which are popular places in Oahu, you just need a car. You can get anywhere on the island in less than an hour unless there’s traffic.”

She described entering the cave as anything but appealing, “I will say it was hard, and when you google it, they don’t tell you how hard to get in and out. You have to crawl your own into the caves that are kinda sharp. You fall, then you get stuck again and have to kind of nudge yourself out to plop down.” Alexa went on to say how she was lucky enough to have been given a stranger’s beach towel to help avoid getting cut by the sharp edges in the small tube she shimmied herself in and out of upon entering and exiting the cave. 

Image showing the vast variance in height of the top of the cave

When speaking about what her favorite part of the cave was, it wasn’t the cave’s beauty or sanctity; it was the way other people interacted with eachother, “People there were all helping eachother. I used someone’s towel to help myself down, and a big Hawaiian man helped launch you out. Felt like teamwork and everyone cheering eachother on.” Alexa spent around forty-five minutes in the cave, taking it all in. She said to stand straight; she had to go into the water. The rocks forced her to hunch over if she wasn’t in the water. 

She said it was crowded the day she and her friends decided to go to the cave. She said although it wasn’t hard to find footing, it’s hard to stand and recommended anyone with claustrophobia try to avoid this spot. Alexa said if given the opportunity to do it all over again, she would’ve bought her own beach towel and a small stool to help her push herself up. Alexa said it was an adventure not for the faint of heart but said that it was worthwhile doing. 

She went on to haste people from going to the caves alone, saying she was lucky to have had the crowd she did on the day she and her friends visited. Alexa recommended to solo travelers who want to experience the cave to make sure someone else is down in the cave so they can help them; if not, bring a stool that you might not be able to take with you upon your departure. 

Alexa went on to say that, unfortunately, there is no possible way to scuba dive or snorkel, nor would it be worth it due to the lack of marine life in the cave. Instead, she recommended adventuring at Sharks Cove for the island’s best snorkeling and scuba diving.

She has since returned to Oahu and gifted herself the ability to experience the island in an entirely new way. Currently working as a teacher in the Plainedge School District, Alexa plans to fill her summer with experiencing more of the world. Some of her summer stops include Cape Cod, San Diego, and hopefully, San Francisco.



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