While this rock might not look like much, it actually has a very storied past not known by many.

Puu Kilo Ia sits on the edge of Kauai’s south shore, right next to the world-famous Allerton Garden. Today, it’s not uncommon to see beach-goers hanging out at the base of this rock. Some set up their tents, while others soak in the sun near the chilly river mouth.

However, in ancient times, Puu Kilo Ia served a purpose crucial to a village’s survival. Legend says that someone would climb to the top of the rock every morning in search of fish. Lawai Bay had been known to be a popular spot for fish to hang out; they would come in large schools, eating up the nutrients surrounding the bay.

Upon spotting a school of fish, the fish spotter would signal to the fishermen waiting anxiously below. Because they were most likely using throw nets, the fishermen had no choice but to wait until the schools of fish swam toward shore.

I learned about this legend during a tour of the Allerton Garden. Our wonderful guide shared this piece of history with the rest of us, and I was so glad he did. Now, whenever I visit the garden or nearby beach, I glance over to the rock and imagine what it was like to live back in ancient Hawaii. How simple – and liberating – it would have been to spend the day helping each other. An idea that often gets overlooked in today’s society.


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