#Kauai: Ahukini Landing

After living on Kauai for over two years, curiosity yet again stirred me into taking the other fork in the road. One day, rather than choosing a destination to which I had become accustomed, I headed for Ahukini Landing, the first commercial seaport on Kaua‘i.

Ahukini Pier

Ahukini Pier

In addition to swimming, fishing, and boating prohibitions in the area between the head of the pier and the end of the breakwater, I found these ‘welcome’ signs at the head of the breakwater.

High Surf, Sudden Dropoff, Waves Break on Ledge, Slippery Rocks

Warning Signs – “If in doubt, don’t go out”

There are actually two sudden drop offs here, one between the breakwater and the line of rocks in the surf, and the second just a little beyond those rocks. As for the water breaking over the edge, check this out: High Surf at Ahukini Landing, 23/06/16.

High Surf

Beyond the Warning Signs

Although swimming is absolutely prohibited, Kaua’i County has constructed a fishing pier along the face of the former working pier creating the Ahukini Recreation Area, a hidden gem for anglers as well as surf watchers.

Hanama'ulu Bay

Ahukini Pier at Hanama’ulu Bay.

I walked along the fishing pier pondering what was once here, and what happened to it? My first inclination was Hurricane Iniki, but there was no definitive answer available at Ahukini Landing.

Deck House

Deck House?

Fixed Boom?

Fixed Boom?

Then I saw the foundation of a building across the pier. There were steps, torn away at the bottom, and a pair of sprockets on a spindle aligned with the structures on the pier.



When I got home, I found this photograph from (?) 1927, which is from the California Historical Society, USC Digital Library. So, it appears that what I thought was a fixed boom was part of the support structure for this huge conveyor, which carried (?) from the building that once stood onshore to visiting ships.



Still, no explanation of what happened here, and then I found an article from The Garden Island newspaper, “The History of Ahukini Landing.” Apparently, progress destroyed Ahukini Landing when Nawiliwili Harbor was competed in the 1930s, and as pointed out in the article, operations ceased in 1950 and the structures were dismantled in 1965.

Nawiliwili Harbor

Nawiliwili Harbor

Nawiliwili of course is a much larger harbor, and today hosts cruise ships, container ships, fuel transfer stations, and U.S. Coast Guard Station, as well as the Nawiliwili Yacht Club.

Meanwhile, simply standing in the wind at Ahukini Landing, watching landings and takeoffs from Lihue Airport is exhilarating.

Windswept Airway at Ahukiini Landing

Windswept Airway at Ahukiini Landing


6 thoughts on “#Kauai: Ahukini Landing

  1. Vivian Gibson says:

    Love to read and see history of a place. If they had maintained the pier, it looks like it would be good fishing place. but I see from the pictures that it is too dangerous now.


    • Brett says:

      Oh, it surely is a great fishing place, some days. Kauai County Recreation Department erected a wooden walkway along the face of the pier, as well as a lean to about halfway along. Fishing is the only activity that’s not prohibited there.

      Since I am a hiker, rather than a fisherman, I may have forgotten to mention that.


  2. M'Shell says:

    So interesting! I love going to new places and learning about the history but I especially enjoy finding out about a place that is fading into history. It is fun when I’m hiking through the woods and I see an old stone fireplace peeking through the woods – the only part left of a house. I think of the people that used to live there and farm the land. I wonder who they were and what their lives were like.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JJ says:

    It’s so cool you were able to find out some of the history of the area. I like how the old photo you found of what you thought was a boom turned out to be something else entirely.


    • Brett Hawks says:

      Indeed, sometimes I feel as though I am becoming the world’s most incompetent archaeologist in retirement ~ things are never what they seem. At the same time, I do enjoy a bit of sleuthing much more than I did in my youth.


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