It is no surprise that Lanai's beaches are some of the most popular attractions on the island. Shipwreck Beach is certainly one of the most interesting ones on Lanai, making it a great beach to add to your Lanai vacation itinerary. Stretching for eight miles along Lanai's northeast coast, the windswept Shipwreck Beach Lanai is ideal spot for beach walking and hiking, beachcombing, fishing, and of course, seeing a shipwreck in Lanai. The area's intriguing history of shipwrecks makes it a fascinating beach to explore.
Shipwreck Beach lies along the Kalohi Channel, which separates the islands of Lanai and Molokai, and the very strong currents of this channel and other nearby channels hit Shipwreck Beach Lanai very hard. In addition to the extremely strong currents, the waters here are home to many coral formations, and the combination of the currents and the shallow, rocky channel have caused many ships to run aground here over the course of Lanai's history. These wrecks provide the reason for the beach's name.
Shipwrecks have been occurring in this shallow channel since at least the early nineteenth century. The first documented shipwreck here was that of the Alderman Wood, a British vessel that crashed in 1824, and you can still see another old shipwreck in Lanai at Shipwreck Beach. As you walk the beach, you can't miss the rusted hull. This ruin was a World War II Liberty Ship, a concrete oiler that has found its final resting place here. In truth, this vessel did not run aground on the coral reef by accident: Following World War II, the ship was given residence there as an easy way to get rid of it. Some of the other ships that have wrecked here certainly did not intend to crash. For instance, the London, an American vessel that was said to be transporting no small amount of gold and silver, sank here in 1826, and it's not clear that all the valuable cargo was recovered. So it seems treasure seekers may have a reason to come to Shipwreck Beach.
However, the strong currents make swimming extremely dangerous to do at Shipwreck Beach Lanai. For swimming and other water sports such as snorkeling or diving, consider instead other Lanai beaches such as Hulopoe Beach, which is on a protected bay and is safe for a number of water-based activities. Luckily, beachgoers will find many other diversions on land to entertain them at Shipwreck Beach. There are lovely views of Molokai across the channel, and many opportunities for scenic photographs. Shipwreck Beach is also a great shore for shell collectors, and if walking or hiking is your cup of tea, you'll be more than happy with the eight miles of picturesque shore to explore. If you're interested in ancient history, you can also take a short walk inland from the parking area and see ancient petroglyphs.
Shipwreck Beach Lanai offers many activities to its visitors. You can enjoy hiking, photography, beachcombing, treasure hunting, or simply relaxing and enjoying the stunning views of Molokai and the massive ship hull just off shore. The giant shipwreck in Lanai certainly adds an interesting, unique dimension to any trip to Shipwreck Beach.
Image: Hawaii Tourism Japan