Posts Tagged ‘frank sinatra near drowning’

Kauai 2022 – P.S. – Did I mention how dangerous rip currents are?

March 13, 2022

I was done with the 2022 Kauai blogs, right? Took you on the whole 10-day ride through seven blogs from our doorstep in Idaho Falls on January 19 to home again January 30, safe and sound, and hunkered in till spring (which always seems to be just around the ‘next’ corner).

Except over this past week I received some terrible news from Kauai. Two swimmers were reported missing and assumed drowned at two of the very same beaches we visited in January (and I blogged about). I made such a big deal about the surfers on Hanalei Bay (including the ‘Surfin’ USA’ YouTube video) in Part-3, even teasing that I was shopping for a suitable bathing suit and surf board because surfing was just too much fun! Then in Part-4, sunbathing on Kahili beach with Megan, watching the surfers, capturing photos and video, while David and Eric hiked to Hissing Dragon. Then my last blog, Part-7, the photos and videos of the teenagers at Lumaha’i beach, jumping into the waves in the high surf, their heads bobbing on the surface. Although I did also mention that Lumaha’i was one of the most dangerous beaches on Kauai.

Well, last weekend, a swimmer disappeared at Lumaha’i beach. There is no lifeguard there and if you read up about Lumaha’i you will be advised only to walk the beach, sunbathe, maybe dip your toe in the surf, especially a high surf, and most especially during winter months. I don’t want you to read my blog, and then decide to race to Lumaha’i and hop in the surf! Oh no!

The danger lies in the rip currents, channeled currents of water flowing away from the shore. They generally begin from the shoreline (yikes!) and head through the surf zone – past the line of breaking waves. Here’s an informative link giving you answers to such questions as, What is a rip current? How do they form? How to spot a rip current? And most importantly, what to do if you find yourself in a rip current? http://www.kauaiexplorer.com/guides/beach/rip_currents.php

Here is a diagram of a rip current

From this link: https://www.kauai.com/images/2013/09/rip-current-diagram-1.png

As far as how to spot a rip current, here’s an interesting YouTube link:

(Planning to visit Australia?)

This YouTube presentation comes to you from Australia, but I don’t think rip currents discriminate! According to this surfer, 70 % of people can’t spot a rip current, good luck with that! If you find yourself caught in a rip current what do you do? (You probably want to know this BEFORE this happens).

Per the kauaiexplorer.com link above:

The best thing to do is learn to spot rip currents and avoid them. (Yeah, right) However, if you do find yourself in a rip current, remember the following. It could save your life!

  • Don’t Fight The Rip Current – Conserve energy, keep calm, float, breathe, don’t panic, and wave for help
  • Go With The Flow – You can easily float in the current, there is no undertow. Allow the current to take you away from the beach. In weaker rips, swim parallel to the shore until the current has completely relaxed. Otherwise, the current will eventually release you offshore. Once this happens swim perpendicular and towards the beach 
  • Wait For Help – If there is large surf or shoreline hazards, wave your hands for help and wait for assistance

I’m making such a big deal about this now in contrast to how casual I was about the surfers with not a worry in the world. I posted a video of surfers on Kahili beach (also known as Rock Quarry Beach). But a few days ago we received even more terrible news from Victor and Stephanie, who live in Princeville (we stayed with them on our visit). Another surfer went missing on Kahili Beach just this past Monday.

https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2022/03/09/multiple-agencies-search-surfer-who-went-missing-waters-off-kauai/

This hit Stephanie and Victor really hard, as they know this man and his family. They purchase their coconut water from them. Huy Nguyen and his wife have a big farm and three children. He had been surfing before handing his board off to his son, saying he was going to swim to shore. Multiple agencies searched for him until they finally suspended the search this past Friday (two days ago).

So, yeah. Just want to get the word out there about the danger of rip currents on the beaches of Kauai. Here’s an interesting link:

https://www.civilbeat.org/2017/09/brittany-lyte-the-deadliest-beach-on-kauai-might-surprise-you/

A researcher, Chuck Blay, analyzed drownings in Kauai from 1970-2012. All told, 316 people drowned in the island’s waters during this 42-year period.

75 per cent of the Garden Isle’s drowning victims were tourists. Drowning is the leading cause of death among visitors to Hawaii.

One more interesting tidbit in the “deadliest-beach’ link above … In May 1964, Frank Sinatra nearly drowned in Wailua Bay while filming the WWII flick, “None But the Brave.” He was staying at the iconic Coco Palms Resort (boy that’s another story) and unknowingly swam himself straight into a riptide. By the time firefighters reached him, the Hollywood icon had been carried 200 yards out to sea. “Sinatra’s face had reportedly turned the same color of his famed set of eyes.”

Yeah, so, the most dangerous thing you can do when you go to Hawaii on vacation is go to the beach and jump in the water.

Although you can still drive past the old iconic Coco Palms Resort on Wailua Bay near Kapa’a, built in 1953, where Elvis Presley filmed “Blue Hawaii” and where Frank Sinatra stayed often (and swam in the bay). Here’s a wiki-link to the resort: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coco_Palms_Resort

“Coco Palms Resort was a resort hotel in Wailua, Kauai that was noted for its Hollywood connections, Hawaiian-themed weddings, torch lightings, destruction by a hurricane, and long-standing land disputes…”

Destruction by a hurricane? Yep. Hurricane Iniki, a devastating category 4 hurricane, with 145 mph winds, struck the Island on September 11, 1992 – 30 years ago. The immense damage done by Iniki closed the Coco Palms for good. Up until 2015 there were several attempts to redevelop the resort, but it’s way too far gone. Here’s an update on the resort from July 28, 2021: https://beatofhawaii.com/coco-palms-kauai-update/ The Plan was for Coco Palms to reopen in 2020 with 273 rooms, 77 suites, 3 restaurants, a cultural center, 12k feet of retail, and more. The last round of attempts disintegrated with multiple developers unable to make it work. I also blogged about it after our Kauai trip in 2019. Here’s the link: https://decompressionofaboomer.com/tag/coco-palms-resort/

And photos of what it looks like today.

Boy, nature can be cruel!