Kaena Point

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Coordinates: 21°34′31″N 158°16′57″W / 21.57528°N 158.28250°W / 21.57528; -158.28250

Aerial photo of Kaʻena from the west
Kaʻena Point as seen from Kāneana on the south shore near Mākua Cave
Panorama of the Kaʻena Point Trailhead, as seen from the east side of O'ahu, past Mokule'ia Beach in 2013

Kaʻena or Kaena Point is the westernmost tip of land on the island of Oʻahu. In Hawaiian, kaʻena means 'the heat'. The area was named after a brother or cousin of Pele. The point is designated as a Natural Area Reserve. Some ancient Hawaiian folklore states that Kaʻena Point is the "jumping-off" point for souls leaving this world.

History[edit]

In Hawaiian, kaʻena means 'the heat'. The area was named after a brother or cousin of Pele who accompanied her from Kahiki. The State of Hawaiʻi has designated the point as a Natural Area Reserve to protect nesting Laysan Albatrosses and wedge-tailed Shearwaters, Hawaiian monk seals, and the fragile (to vehicular traffic) native strand vegetation that has been restored there.

Some ancient Hawaiian folklore states that Kaʻena Point is the "jumping-off" point for souls leaving this world.[1]

In 1899, the Oahu Railway and Land Company constructed a railway that encompassed 70 miles from Honolulu through Kahuku to transport sugarcane. Most of the tracks were destroyed due to a tsunami in 1946. Parts of the railroad tracks are visible along the Ka'ena point trail.[2]

Ecology[edit]

Ka'ena Point sustains an ecosystem that is home to many native Hawaiian plants and animals.[3]

Plants:

Animals:

Preservation[edit]

USFWS Director Dan Ashe entering Kaena Point State Park through a gate in the predator proof fence
USFWS Director Dan Ashe entering Kaena Point State Park through a mantrap-style gate in the predator proof fence.

In 2011, the United States' first predator proof fence was constructed at Ka’ena Point, costing about $290,000.[4] The fence is approximately 2,133-foot-long (650 m), and encompasses 59 acres (24 ha) of land.[5] The population of Wedge-tailed Shearwater fledglings, Laysan Albatross fledglings, Ohia, Sandalwood trees, and several other species has risen significantly.[6]

Access[edit]

Ka'ena Point is a park and hiking site, and is also known for snorkeling. This spot has a white sandy beach that begins from the western tip of Oahu to the Waianae Mountains. A 5-mile trail (8.0 km) can be entered from Keawaula Beach or Mokuleia.[6]

During the winter months, Oʻahu's North Shore is typically bombarded by large, powerful waves that attract surfers from around the world. It is rumored that Kaʻena Point typically has waves (up to 15 metres or 49 feet in height) larger than those at Waimea Bay, one of Oʻahu's world-famous surfing locations. This has not been confirmed; however, during the famous "Swell Of The Century" in 1969 and on the day of Greg Noll's famous wave at Mākaha, Greg himself took a picture of a gigantic wave breaking at Kaʻena Point. Until "Biggest Wednesday" on 28 January 1998, when professional surfer Ken Bradshaw was photographed riding a wave with a reported 85-foot (26 m) face, it was believed that Noll's picture showed the largest wave ever photographed. During that famous swell in January 1998, several persons reported seeing waves with 60–80-foot (18–24 m) faces at Kaʻena Point.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ka'ena Point". State of Hawaii. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  2. ^ Nate Yuen, "The Waianae Coast to Kaena Point – Part 1 Hawaiian Forest," Hawaiian Forest, 3 February 2009, retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Plants And Animals Of Ka'ena Point," State of Hawaii, Division of Forestry and Wildlife website, 7 November 2014, retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  4. ^ Christopher Pala, "Fence Is Behind an Explosion of Life in a Wild Corner of Hawaii," The New York Times, 16 April 2012, retrieved on 18 November 2014
  5. ^ Eloise Aguiar, "Fence sought for Ka'ena reserve," The Honolulu Advertiser, 24 August 2009, retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  6. ^ a b Toth, Catherine E. (2013-08-19). "Point Taken: Exploring Oahu's Remote Kaena Point". Hawaii Magazine. Retrieved 2022-03-05.

External links[edit]