UFOs could restrict use of Sand Bar
A POPULAR beach in the middle of Kaneohe Bay known as the Sand Bar is under threat of being made off-limits to boaters and picnickers (or at least having access restricted) partly because of the presence of UFOs.
These UFOs aren't the flying kind but the floating kind. Those who want to curtail recreational use of the Sand Bar contend the floating objects, are, to put it delicately, the product of human defecation. Proponents of recreational use of the Sand Bar, one of the few places boaters can pull up and spend the day (or even the night) in relative safety, contend the Unidentified Floating Objects are probably launched by the many large sea turtles that inhabit the reefs and sand bars in Kaneohe Bay. Because of prevailing winds and currents, human-generated UFOs at the Sand Bar would tend to migrate toward the windward shore of Oahu, while turtle-generated UFOs from along the oceanside reefs would sail toward the Sand Bar and beach themselves there at low tides.
I know this subject might be a bit off-putting to some readers but it is important that some kind of scientific analysis be conducted of the UFOs. I'm not suggesting a CSI team be dispatched to the Sand Bar to collect forensic evidence, but something needs to be done.
ACTUALLY, the UFO problem is just one of the reasons a bill is being floated, so to speak, in the state Legislature that, if passed, could severely curtail recreational use of the Sand Bar, also known as Ahu o Laka. But before we get into those details, perhaps a description of the Sand Bar is needed for those not lucky enough to have ever visited this unique island feature.
Kaneohe Bay is dotted with shallow reefs and sand bars. But THE sand bar - Ahu o Laka -- is an amazing place. At low tides, a pristine, white sand beach appears in the middle of the bay. Boaters drive their boats right up to the sand and anchor there. On weekends, there will be many boats, side by side, anchored there. On the Sand Bar people sunbathe, barbecue, fish and generally do all the things one does at a traditional beach.
I have been to the Sand Bar many times and have celebrated several family functions there, including my daughter's birthday and Fathers Day. I've found those who visit the Sand Bar to be respectful of the beach, the ocean and each other. I've never seen anyone deliberately litter or, more importantly, launch UFOs. In fact, unlike other beaches, there are more "restroom facilities" at the Sand Bar because just about every boat comes equipped with a "head," or sea-going lavatory.
But a few times things apparently got out of hand. Impromptu rock concerts drew hundreds of people who (cover your ears, children) drank beer and got rambunctious.
Critics say these incidents of idiotic behavior are disrespectful to the former Hawaiian sanctuary still known as Ahu o Laka. These rare episodes of misbhavior seem to be driving a bill to make Ahu o Laka a state monument and restrict its use. It would outlaw amplified music and open containers and presumably limit the number of boats there. And it supposedly would curtail visitations by those pesky UFOs.
But here's the thing: We can't stop rare incidents of bad behavior at island natural attractions simply by making them kapu or turning them into monuments. There already are laws in place to regulate public drunkenness, drinking and boating, littering, public defecation and fighting. If we are going to restrict recreational access to beaches in Hawaii simply because a few knuckleheads occasionally misbehave, this is going to be a pretty dreary place.
KANEOHE BAY is one of the few places where recreational boaters who do not want to risk the dangers of the open ocean, can cruise, swim, picnic and spend the night on their boats in safety. You'd be hard-pressed to find a group of people who care more for the ocean, reefs and beaches than the recreational boaters, paddlers and fishing enthusiasts of Kaneohe Bay.
When a woman recently disappeared while windsurfing in Kaneohe Bay, it was the boaters and kayakers, including myself, who helped search for her body. Most regular users of Kaneohe Bay, including those who visit Ahu o Laka, see themselves as stewards of the bay and either report misuse to authorities or intervene personally to stop offending activity.
UFOs aside, a law does not have to be passed to protect Ahu o Laka. Thanks to the traditional users of Kaneohe Bay, it already is one of the most protected water attractions in the state.
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