The Legend of Kauila at Punalu’u
Kauila is a magical sea turtle that lived in Punalu’u, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Eons ago, Kauila’s parents queitly arrived on the black sand beach at Punalu’u. Her mother built a nest and laid an egg from which Kauila would hatch. Then, together her parents dug a spring into the black sand where Kauila would later call her home. The spring was named Ka wai hu o Kauila, meaning the rising water of Kauila.
When the spring bubbled, children playing in the spring knew Kauila was sleeping. Sometimes Kauila transformed into a child and played with the children, proving that she was no ordinary sea turtle! She became known as the guardian of children because she always kept a watchful eye over them. Kauila lived long ago but sea turtles can still be found basking in the sun at Punalu’u, oblivious to the visitors who come to admire them!
Punalu’u is known for its black sand beach which formed from volcanic lava. Fresh mountain water bubbles through the black sand, the way the spring would bubble when Kauila slept! Hawaiians used to dive to the bottom of the bay to collect fresh spring water which gave Punalu’u its name, meaning diving spring.