One of the nice things about exploring the different cultural sites listed in my book Ancient Sites of Oahu, is that it brings me to different areas of the island that I would have otherwise never explored. One such location was Kaiaka Bay Beach Park in the North Shore city of Hale’iwa. Getting to the beach park is very easy by driving into downtown Hale’iwa and then turning onto Hale’iwa Road. Follow this road until seeing the sign for Kaiaka Bay Beach Park comes into view:
The Kaiaka Bay Beach Park is located on a small peninsula that sticks out into the Pacific Ocean. In the Hawaiian language Kaiaka means “shadowy sea”. This name is understandable considering how murky the surrounding waters around the peninsula are due to the flow of mud from the nearby Paukauila and Kiki’i streams. However, the surrounding waters is not what brought me here, but instead a mushroom shaped rock named Pohaku Lana’i:
This unusually shaped rock I easily spotted after driving into the park since it sat in a large grass field bordered by a few trees:
It is understandable why this rock was of such interest to ancient Hawaiians considering how unusually shaped it is. I have not seen a rock like this anywhere else on Oahu. Pohaku Lana’i consists of one limestone coral rock balanced on top of another one to give it its mushroom shape:
According to Hawaiian legends this rock floated across the Pacific from an island called Kahiki which is regarded as the mystical homeland of the Hawaiian people. Due to its mystical origins ancient Hawaiians used to make offerings of prayer here especially in times of war. This is likely what gave the rock its name Pohaku Lana’i which means “Rock of Day Conquest”. According to local tradition the rock was also used as a fishing lookout. When the spotter saw a school of fish he would hit the rock with a club to warn fishermen along the shore. Today Pohaku Lana’i is largely unknown in the area since there is no sign to explain the rock’s history to visitors who happen to spot it.
After checking out the Pohaku Lana’i my family and I next walked around the entire beach park. Looking across Kaiaka Bay the park offered some really nice views of the nearby Waianae Mountains and the old Waialua Sugar Mill:
As we walked along the coast line along the bay we noticed it was mostly composed of very jagged lava rocks:
Likely due to the murky water and sharp lava rocks we saw no one swimming, but we did see a number of people fishing which appeared to be the most popular activity at this park. As we walked up to the far end of the peninsula the coastline became even more jagged with large oceans waves crashing into the rocks:
As we walked around the peninsula we next came to the beach area of the park where we saw absolutely no one at:
The waves we not ideal for surfing or bodyboarding and the water was so murky I think no one would want to swim in it anyway. Near the beach we noticed there is a restroom facility that was closed because someone had set it on fire. From there we walked across a large grass field back to my truck. Here is a picture from my truck looking back across the grass field towards the restroom facilities:
Kaiaka Bay beach park may not be the best place to enjoy the water, but it does have some nice views and seemed like a very popular local fishing spot. Camping is also allowed in the park though we saw no one doing so. For us the Pohaku Lana’i was definitely the most interesting thing to see in the park. For people who enjoy seeing Hawaiian cultural sites the park does make a nice side trip during a visit the beautiful North Shore town of Hale’iwa.