Tens of thousands of years ago, after a lava eruption, a volcanic crater has been formed. 32 000 years ago, after a series of explosions, the walls of this crater began to fall from the ocean side. The bay that is being formed. Nowadays we call it Hanauma Bay.
In 1952, archaeologists excavated a cave, located behind Hanauma Bay’s beach. There they found remains of ancient campfires, fish hooks and other ancient tools. Because there is no fresh water in the bay, probably Hawaiians have hardly ever lived there. However, the found ancient items shows that the bay was certainly used as a fishing spot.
Hanauma bay and the volcanic formations around it also appear in old Hawaiian legends, and there is some information about how it got its name.
The word “hana” in Hawaiian means “bay”. The word “uma” has several meanings. One of which is “curved”. Therefore, the appropriate translation of the name Hanauma Bay is “curved bay”. However, Hawaiians also used the word for the curved canoe stem.
Many years ago, this bay was a traditional gathering place for canoes. There they expected favorable winds before heading to Molokai Island. It was also the place for canoes arriving from Molokai.
Before attempting to cross the canal, canoeists climbed the hill known today as Koko Head to monitor the conditions of the sea and the wind. Basically it was used as an observation point.
From its top you can see the islands of Molokai and Lanai. And on a very clear day you can even see island of Maui and Haleakala.
When King Kamehameha I came to power, the lands around the bay became his property. For many years afterwards, Hanauma Bay was a favorite fishing spot for Hawaiian royalty.