What is a blowhole?

If you guessed a whale’s spout, then you’re partially correct, but the blowhole we’re talking about is the one that shoots water into the air, like a geyser. This happens by way of an underwater lava tube found along Hawaii’s rocky shorelines. Water gets forced through the tunnel with each wave that rolls in from sea, and the only way out is up.

That’s when spectators from shore see a powerful stream of water shoot up into the air, sometimes as high as 30-feet! The rougher the ocean conditions, the more dramatic the geyser.

It’s a spectacular show in nature that attracts hundreds everyday. Usually, there’s an established lookout to the side of the road, with plenty of parking and viewing space. Make sure to bring your camera, too, but don’t get too close. Stay in the designated viewing area to avoid putting yourself into harm’s way. Sadly, several people have died after getting hit by the blowhole’s force and swept out to sea. Locals on Maui have made an effort to warn those uninformed about a blowhole’s danger by posting handmade signs along the access point.

Here are some of the popular blowholes in Hawaii:

  • Halona Blowhole (Oahu)
  • Spouting Horn (Kauai)
  • Nakalele Blowhole (Maui)
  • Honuapo (Big Island).

Hawaii isn’t the only place to see a blowhole; other world-famous ones include Alafaaga Blowholes in Samoa, Kiama in Australia and La Bufadora in Baja California, to name a few.

Enjoy the show!


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