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Sand Castles, 2004
Early January is not usually "sandcastle time" in my part of the country - but there are places where the weather is just fine during the first week of the year. I was in Hawaii for the last few days of 2003 and the first few days of 2004, and brought along a limited selection of castle building tools (in checked luggage, of course.)

The sand on Waikiki Beach is replenished periodically, being brought in from a couple of the other islands, and its coarse grains limit the detail that can be carved. The beach is also very narrow and crowded compared to what I'm used to, but I did manage to put together a small castle. The water was only about 30 to 40 feet from the hotel's back door, and most of this space was taken up by people in beach chairs and a sea of umbrellas, but there was a little bit of sand left over for castle building. I wouldn't recommend traveling to Waikiki Beach solely for the sandcastling, but there are plenty of other things to do in the islands, which is why I only spent one day building a castle in the sand on this trip.

The castle, with the dormant volcano Diamond Head (Leahi) and a few tourists in the background.
If you like hiking, walk from where this castle is, to the far side of Diamond Head, through the tunnel, and up to the lookout at the top of the crater. This makes an interesting half-day hike, but inside the crater it is hotter and drier, so remember to bring a bottle of water!

If you want a photo at Waikiki without lots of tourists, this is the angle you need to use.

This image shows the castle gate and some of the towers. The conditions did not allow tall towers; about 12-15 inches high was the maximum unless the base was very wide. I managed to build one about two feet high, but it crumbled before the rest of the castle was completed and the camera was brought out.

In this shot the large sand grains show up well. They didn't hold water well, so the castle started drying out quickly.

The base of the tall tower was re-formed into a smaller tower when the tall tower collapsed.

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Frederick Monsimer.

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