|*For those of us touched by winter, sometimes it is nice to recall that somewhere the sun is shining on a tropical
beach. With this in mind, we have chosen for our photo of the month an image of beautiful Lumahai Beach, on the
island of Kauai, the "Garden Isle" of the Hawaiian islands. Lumahai Beach is located off the Kuhio Highway
at Wanina, in the beautiful Hahalei Valley, and is one of Kauai's most popular North Shore beaches. From a foreground
of pandanus trees, this lovely beach stretches toward the rugged tropical mountain range of the Na Pali Coast,
just visible in the background. The slight tint of green on the sand is due to minute particles of olivine. It
is perhaps surprising that the view does not show the beach crowded with people. The reason is that due to a lack
of protective reefs, the waters are treacherous to swimmers and snorklers, with rip tides and high surf.
The pandanus trees, or screw pines in the foreground are a common sight on many pacific islands, and are of interest in themselves. The pandanus, called in Hawaii the hala tree, is the only definitely native trees to the Hawaiian shores and lowlands. To us, its distinctive silhouette is a symbol of the tropical island. The long, saw-toothed leaves of the pandanus were gathered, soaked, and dried by early Hawaiians to produce a strong, pliable material that was woven into sails, mats, baskets, and hats. The ancient art of "lauhala" weaving continues to be practiced in Hawaii today.