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Menehune Breakwater at Kahaluu Bay- Wall of the Ancients

Menehune breakwater at Kahaluu Bay in Kona, Hawaii

Popularly know by visitors as a great spot for snorkeling and surfing, Kahalu’u bay is home to the Pao ka Menehune breakwater or “Wall of the Ancients”. This breakwater consist of large boulder like stones that stretch almost halfway across the bay.

Hawaiian cultural theory suggests that the wall was built by the Menehune many many years ago. The menehune are known by the ancient Hawaiians as very tiny mischievous people and thought to be one of the original colonies of the Hawaiian islands. The menehune were believed to have enormous strength and capable of great feats of stone construction. There are several structures that were thought to be built by the menehune on the Hawaiian islands, but the most famous of all was the Pao Ka Menehune breakwater at Kahaluu Bay.

Aerial view of the Menehune breakwater at Kahaluu Bay

As you can see from the aerial view, the breakwater stones have been scattered due to large breaking waves overtime.

The Hawaiian tale says that the menehune who lived in the lava caves of the island would only come out at night to work. One night the menehune decided to built a wall all the way across Kahaluu Bay creating a giant fish pond and ruining the surfing break which the Ali’i (Hawaiian rulers) loved so much. They lined up from the mountain to the ocean passing large stones hand to hand all the way from the mountain down into the bay.

One of the Hawaiian chiefs saw what the menehune were trying to do, so he decided to trick the them. The menehune only worked at night and if they did not finish their project by sunrise, they would flee and never return to finish it. The chief knew this so he started crowing like the rooster. The menehune heard this and thought the sun was about to rise, so they fled back to their cave in the mountains and the wall was never finished. Thus, the breakwater stops halfway across the bay creating a safe place to snorkel and a great surfing wave for advanced and beginner surfers.

If you have any stories about the Hawaiian culture of Kahaluu Bay, please feel free to share them in the comments section below! Mahalo


4 Responses to "Menehune Breakwater at Kahaluu Bay- Wall of the Ancients"

  1. James McAller says:

    I heard that the wall used to go all the way across the bay. Is this true?

    • Kahaluubaysurf says:

      Aloha James,

      There are several stories about the creation of the wall, one of which says that the wall was completed and that large surf broke up the wall over time. There are several large stones in the middle of the bay that may suggest that the wall did in fact stretch all the way across the bay at one time. We may never know for sure but it is important to always talk about and keep the stories of the Hawaiian culture alive.

    • Kalyca says:

      No! The wall was never completed! It was only half way finished because the chief was so curious. The chief went to the mountains to ask the Menehune if they can build him a wall because he wanted this area to be the biggest fish pond. The menehune said okay but under one condition. We only work at night & you can’t watch us work. So at midnight they started. But of course the chief was curious. He went down to look. Spell was broken, the menehune disappeared. Hence is why thE wall was never finished.

  2. Mike Brady says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you would be okay with me using your aireal shot of the bay for a blog I am writing about Hawaii. I would be happy to give you credit for it on the blog.

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