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Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

Punalu'uPu-nah leu-eu is in the Ka'uKah-eu district of the Big Island.  Ka'u is one of the most sparsely populated districts on the island due to its mostly dry climate.  You really get the feeling you are in a remote location driving through the Ka'u district.

Punalu'u used to be more than just a beautiful black sand beach as there used to be a village of Punalu'u as well before the tsunami and earthquakes of 1868.  Puna is the Hawaiian word for spring (fresh water) and Punalu'u roughly means a spring that requires diving.  The Hawaiians would dive down to the fresh water springs with gourds (upside down) to collect water for drinking. 

This area of the beach is where the green sea turtles will come out and sun themselves as well as lay their eggs.  The turtles are an endangered species and are protected by both Federal and state law.  You must stay 15 feet away from them.

 

On the other side of the beach is this wonderful pond.  The ducks find it a great home.  

There is a large pavilion that has complete kitchen facilities, large tables and restrooms for a large group.

Also there are a couple of smaller pavilions with grills.  You need to bring your own charcoal, available in nearby PahalaPah-hah-lah or Na'alehuNa ah-lay-hou, but probably better to get in a larger town if you want to use the grills.

 

There was this memorial and plaque at the park.  The plaque is inscribed: 

 

KAUILA AND THE SEA TURTLES OF PUNALU'U


THE  MYSTICAL TURTLE,  KAUILA,  MAKES  HER  HOME  IN  THE  KA'U DISTRICT  AT  PUNALU'U  BAY. 
ACCORDING  TO HAWAIIAN  MYTHOLOGY,  KAUILA  WAS  EMPOWERED  WITH THE ABILITY TO TURN
HERSELF FROM  A  TURTLE INTO HUMAN  FORM AND WOULD PLAY WITH THE CHILDREN ALONG THE
SHORELINE AND KEEP WATCH OVER THEM. THE PEOPLE OF KA'U LOVED KAUILA AS THE GUARDIAN
OF  THEIR  CHILDREN  AND  ALSO  FOR  HER  SPRING  THAT  GAVE  THEM  PURE   DRINKING WATER.

THE  PRESENCE  OF  KAUILA  CAN  STILL  BE  FELT TODAY  BY THE SEA TURTLES THAT INHABIT THIS
SPECIAL  PLACE.  THE HAWAIIAN HONU (GREEN  SEA TURTLE) CAN BE REGULARLY SEEN IN THE  BAY
FEEDING  ON  LIMU  GROWING IN THE SHALLOWS.  IN ADDITION  THE  HONU'EA  (HAWKBILL  TURTLE)
SOMETIMES ENTER THE BAY AT NIGHT TO CRAWL  ASHORE AND DEPOSIT EGGS IN THE BLACK SAND.
BOTH SPECIES OF SEA TURTLES ARE FULLY PROTECTED UNDER THE U.S. ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
AND  WILDLIFE LAWS OF THE STATE OF HAWAII.  ENJOY WATCHING THESE MARVELOUS CREATURES
BUT DO NOT TOUCH OR DISTURB THEM IN ANY WAY.

 

Posted by Richard Binckley at 3/9/2006 9:20 PM | View Comments | Add Comment |