My wife and I joined Lopaka Kapanui, of Mysteries of Hawaii, on a “three hour tour.” Lopaka offers the “Waianae I Ka Po” tour only a couple of times a year so we were thrilled. Lopaka has great insight to the local legends and supernatural happenings, since he grew up in Maili (near Kaukama Road).
There were only three stops on the tour but Lopaka, a great native story teller, kept everyone entertained and a little nervous during the bus ride. He literally met his wife in a graveyard. No, they weren’t just randomly strolling, she was on one of Lopaka’s tours!
According to legend, Ku’ilioloa (the long dog form of Ku) was constructed by a priest from Ra’iatea (Society Islands) who arrived between the 11th and 12th century. One of the major functions of Ku’ilioloa was for navigation but…
Lopaka said there was a different use for the heiau. It was also used for sacrifice. When a Hawaiian baby was born, if there were any defects or flaws detected, the newborn would be sacrificed at Ku’ilioloa.
A few lucky volunteers stood in front of the heiau while the rest of us took pictures of them…nope, no ghosts, orbs or strange lights seen in our photos.
Kaena Point Night Marchers
We pulled into the parking lot at Kaena Point (this is as far as you can drive on the Leeward side of Oahu). We walked towards the mountain and stopped at the tall grass. If you look up, you can see the Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station. Here is where the night marchers emerge after winding down the Waianae mountain range.
Lopaka said if you see the lights, from the torches, and hear the drums, run like hell! If you are in their path, it is best to shed your clothes and lay face down until the night marchers pass. He said no worries since they only march during the last four Hawaiian moon phases.
Again, everyone took photos and I was one of the lucky (or not) volunteer models but there was nothing supernatural in anyone’s pictures.
Kaneana (Makua) Cave
According to Hawaiian legend, Kaneana Cave is the home of a shape-shifting shark god by the name of Nananue (Son of Kamohoali‘i, a brother of Madame Pele). Nanaue, disguised as an old man, would trick travelers into dining with him in the cave, turn back into a shark and eat them. Back to the present!
There’s nothing like hearing chicken skin stories, in a cave that is TOTALLY dark. Lopaka told many stories but the one that stood out was about a teenager from Pearl City. She ran away from home and was partying with a friend near Kaneana Cave.
Somehow the teen, from Pearl City, and her friend were separated and a group of young men began harassing her. She ran away, from them, and hid in the cave. Unfortunately, the men were locals and soon found her. They raped and killed her. Her spirit still remains in Kaneana Cave. She had beautiful long hair and loved combing it. As soon as we entered the cave, Lopaka told us, “If someone asks you for a comb, do NOT go be them one!” Her spirit may follow you home.
We finally were able to visit the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge! On our last trip we did not know that the park is closed on Sunday and Monday. Boo hoo! Just remember that the refuge is open Tuesday Through Saturday 10am to 4pm. It’s generally more crowded in the morning than in the afternoon. It is well worth the $5 entry fee and you will spend at least 30 to 45 minutes taking in the scenery and snapping those selfies! Most important, the refuge has a clean bathroom.
The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge has been operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1985. Even when the lands were in possession of the Coast Guard, the area was already a natural habitat for different species of sea birds such as the red-footed boobies (‘ā), the white-tailed tropicbird (koa‘e kea) and the wedge-tailed shearwater (‘ua‘u kani).
The refuge staff re-introduced the nēnē (Hawaiian goose) which was on the brink of extinction. Thankfully, the sate bird population has been growing steadily. The Laysan Albatross (mōlī) returned to Kauai’s north shore in the mid 1970’s. Refuge management created a safe nesting environment protecting the laysan albatross from predators.
Since Kauai was the first landfall for vessels coming from the west, the U.S. government searched for a location to build a lighthouse to aid navigation. After discussions and consultation with experts, Kilauea Point was chosen. Since the elevation of the peninsula was 180 feet, the lighthouse need not be tall and at only 52 feet is one of the shorter lighthouses in the U.S.
Constuction of the lighthouse began on July 8, 1912. Kilauea was one of the first towers that used reinforced concrete technique. Metal fabrication was constructed in Ohio. The Fresnel lens (invented by Augustin-Jean Fresnel) was shipped from Fance. Remember, Kilauea Point is 180 feet above sea level so it was difficult to offload materials from ships and haul them up the steep incline.
Kilauea Lighthouse, while important to marine traffic, also aided aviation from the late 1920’s forward since its beam was visible for up to 90 miles. In 1930, radio towers were added to broadcast directional signals for ships and airplanes. After the attack, on Pearl Harbor, by Japan on December 7, 1941, the lighthouse went dark for the remainder of World War 2.
Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site
62-3601 Kawaihae Rd, Waimea, HI 96743
Daily Hours – 7:45 AM – 4:45 PM
Pu’ukohala Heiau is one of the most famous temples in the Hawaiian Islands. This heiau was an important part of Hawaiian tradition which encompassed social, political and religious life.
Pu’ukohala Heiau is a national historical site managed by the National Park Service. I was happily surprised that there was no entry fee. I was unhappily surprised that short trail to the Heiau was closed. I did come across this sign with an explanation.
Building the Heiau
The kahuna or priest told Kamehameha that if a heiau was built, at Pu’ukohala, and dedicated to the war god Kuka’ilimoku, (along with a human sacrifice) he would conquer all of the Hawaiian Islands. Keoua Ku’ahu’ula, Kamehameha’s rival, was slain and sacrificed on the alter to fulfill the kahuna’s prophecy.
Pu’ukohala Heiau was constructed between 1790 and 1791 by Kamehameha. Thousands and thousands of men toiled for almost a year to completed the heiau. Tradition says that the lava rocks used were brought from the Pololo Valley, over the Kohala Mountains, by a 25 mile long human chain of workers.
The Nana Stone was a sacred stone that tested the leadership potential for those of the royal line. Whoever could move the 5000 pound stone contained the necessary “mana” or spiritual power to rule the land. Though Kamehameha was not of the Nana chiefly line, he was determined to put this belief to the test.
A large procession of ali’i (royalty) and common folk followed Kamehameha’s procession to the Nana Stone. As he gripped the stone, Kamehameha said, “You are naha, and the chief who frees your kapu is naha. I am nī‘aupi‘o, a smoke arching in the wilderness.” With this, Kamehameha not only moved the Nana Stone but turned it over. The sacred stone now resides in front of the Hilo library.