New Year’s Eve on Wailea Beach

New Year's Eve on Wailea Beach

When Michelle and I decided to get up at 5:30 so we could drive down to La Perouse Bay to catch the sunrise, we did not know we would be staying up until well after midnight. 

After our morning in La Perouse Bay, we learned that there would be a fireworks display at midnight off shore from the Grand Wailea Hotel on Wailea Beach.  Michelle was not thrilled with the idea of being up for sunrise and staying up past midnight, I was insistent on the rare opportunity of photographing and enjoying fireworks in warm weather.  While we have fireworks on the Fourth of July in Anchorage, it is still light because the midnight display occurs only about a half an hour after sunset.  Fireworks displays are just not the same unless it is dark.


We were warned that parking would be a challenge, so we went to Wailea at about 8:30 to catch dinner at the Shops in Wailea.  Upon entering the parking lot, we were greeted by private security guards who asked us if we were coming there for dinner.  “Yes, we are,” I responded.  After dinner, we tried to find our way to the beach.  Unlike Kihei, Wailea was designed from the beginning to be a destination resort.  Most of the shoreline is occupied by high-end resort hotels: the Grand Wailea, the Four Seasons, etc.  As a result, all of the shoreline from where we were parked is blocked by fences protecting these resorts, and their guests, from outsiders.  We started one way along these fences, but could not find a way through to the beach.  We turned around, heading toward the Grand Wailea.  Each time there was some sort of access, it went through the resort areas and was guarded by private security.  We eventually found our way to the public access, about a mile down the road, to the beach. 


We found a nice spot on the beach, laid down a blanket, and waited for the fireworks.  While we waited, other users of the beach could not, almost constantly setting off fireworks and sending massive plumes of smoke out into the harbor.  I became concerned that the smoke would obscure the official fireworks show.  But, I spent time photographing the beach scene and the multicolored lights on the palm trees at the Grand Wailea.  When the fireworks came, I worked furiously for the five minutes of the display, working hard to get both the fireworks and the surf together in the same frame.   

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