When not at the base pool, our family went to Waianae Beach, an Army beach, located on the leeward side of the island. Waianae was one of the best beaches on Oahu, limited to military personnel. It was isolated, with a few small houses in the area. There was a cafe where you could buy a hamburger or a hot dog to eat. If you went inside the cafe there was a game that was sort of a miniature version of bowling. It was very popular with the teenagers. There was always music playing and usually loud music blasting through a speaker onto the beach, coming from the cafe. The songs played were usually the top twenty tunes.
Water safety at the beach was one of our first lessons. There were rip tides and since I had been to the beaches in California, I had already been taught what to do in what is now called rip currents. One of the dangers I had never thought about was a tsunami. Tsunami's, called Tidal Waves in the 1950s, were very common in Hawaii. The Hilo Tsunami of April 1, 1946 killed 159 people in Hilo, Hawaii and caused 26 million dollars in damage (1946 dollars). There had been a tsunami on March 9, 1957, several months before our arrival. The tsunami had followed an 8.3 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands, which sent the tsunami racing across the Pacific Ocean. The resulting tsunami resulted in $5,000,000. in damage (1957 dollars). So the fear of a tsunami was a very real threat, and one of the first things I was taught, was if the ocean water recedes dramatically, exposing area's that are normally submerged, get to high ground as quickly as possible.
Sharks were also a problem in Hawaii. The blue shark was the most common predator. Whenever a shark was spotted, which was fairly often, the lifeguards would put out a red flag and order everyone out of the water. Most people moved rapidly once they saw the red flag.
One day at Waianae, the red flag was raised and everyone rushed to get out of the water. Two Hawaiian lifeguards grabbed their surfboards and paddled out toward the shark. When they reached him, they killed him with a spear. It was all quite dramatic. I spent the rest of that day bowling in the cafe.