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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.