Finding History at Waikapuna

John and I have made a point of 'getting to know' our Island during the 20 years we have lived here. It is a wonderful place to explore and was a joyful playground for our two sons when they were young. One of the places that has continued to draw us back time and again is the coastal shoreline from Kaalualu Bay to Kii. For those not familiar with the Big Island, I am speaking of the district of Kau, along the coast, near what is commonly known as South Point.  We travel there several times a year, to camp, to fish, to hike, and to explore. Our last visit to the area was this past week.

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Now, I must quantify that four wheeling in this area is not a riotous romp across the countryside.  It is a slow and cautious journey across a'a'  and pahoehoe lava fields. Usually we get distracted by something we see and hop from the Pathfinder to go explore on foot. But as I said, it was unusually windy on this particular day.  As a result, we explored in our Pathfinder much farther than we had ever gone before.

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Armed with both modern and really old maps of the area we pinpointed several locations by name, something we had been hoping to do for years. But the peak of our adventures was to reach the end of the tidal areas and come face to face with the southern end of the Kau Cliff line. What makes this area so special is that long ago it was home to a small fishing village, known as Waikapuna.

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This area is actually privately owned, but we know the owners and land managers and ALWAYS ask before we go for permission. Asking first is not only the right thing to do, it is the local thing to do. We had a wonderful time exploring the remains of old walls and buildings and of course the beautiful bay and ocean.

Waikapuna is testament to the changing nature of the Big Island. Waikapuna had been a thriving fishing village with fresh water springs located on old lava tubes. A series of earthquakes in the area changed the water table and ended the fresh water supply. Thus ended the once thriving fishing village. This all happened in the late 1800’s. It is still a beautiful spot, though it’s remote And difficult location makes it a place few can enjoy. Hopefully you may enjoy it vicariously though our photos.

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The winds swept the coast with more force than we were accustomed to (and the area is know for it's wind), as a result we did less hiking and more four wheel driving (NOT for the faint of heart or rental car) over sharp lava fields. Trust me, the last thing you want to happen in a remote area is to be blown over onto sharp lava.  

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