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Discovery Harbour – A Piece of the South Point Story
Discovery Harbour … a good name, a name of historic significance. It’s located in Waiohinu, near the southernmost point in the United States where the Polynesians discovered Hawaii.
Historians have found historic evidence of settlement at South Point dating around the year 100 A.D. A stonewall encompasses the area where the first settlers established a small village; the location is preserved on the National Historic Register. Nearby are several important archaeological sites from that time: a fishing heiau, burial place, mooring stones, salt pan, and a Palahemo.
The walled fishing heiau, where fishermen left a fish offering to express their thanks for a successful catch. The burial place is respected as are all cemetery plots. Mooring stones are smooth holes pounded through huge rocks; they are amazing to see and to learn how early Hawaiians tied long ropes from their boats to these stones to safely anchor and be able to use both hands while fishing offshore. The salt pan is a flat hollowed-out stone where sea water could evaporate and salt be collected. Palahemo is a huge fresh water hole, quite close to the sea, a very unique site and something essential to support a village. It is said, “No one has been to South Point if they haven’t been to Palahemo.” Sonny Ramos told the story that has been passed down through the generations about early settlers discouraging European voyagers from stopping there for water by having their children jump and play in the water hole. The heavier salt water is on the bottom and the water floating on the top is fresh. Children jumping and playing in it would rile it up and make the water undrinkable. Later, after it settled, the salt water sank and the fresh water was once again on the surface and ready for use. Today, people go there to rinse off the salt after swimming in the ocean.
South Point was an excellent location for fishing. Some Polynesians stayed and established their lives there, but like many adventurers, others moved about to further explore and settle the island. Some went to Waipio Valley which was, and still is, a …Read More