Join us on a manta ray tour which is guaranteed to be an unforgettable, lifetime experience snorkeling with the gentle, majestic manta ray. Not all of Hawaii is considered peaceful and gentle. Megan Shute for Only In Your State on Ka Lae at South Point which is considered a dangerously beautiful spot on the Big Island.
With all the stunning natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands comes a great deal of danger – and nowhere is this more true than Ka Lae. Located at the end of South Point Road near Na’alehu, on the southernmost tip of Hawaii Island, is this picturesque spot known for its phenomenal fishing, and sweeping panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. But it is also known for something a little more sinister.
Ka Lae, Hawaiian for “the point,” is the southernmost post in the entire United States, and is a popular tourist destination.
Over the course of several hundred years, ocean currents that converge near the point have undercut the coastal cliffs, creating a nasty combination of converging currents, and sharp rocks.
While the crystal blue waters may seem inviting, swimmers should heed posted warnings and stay on dry land; the water surrounding the point is home to a swift current.
Named after a Hawaiian chief who was swept out to sea, the Halaea Current will drag unsuspecting swimmers out to sea, and, likely, to certain death.
The site of one of Hawaii’s earliest settlements, Ka Lae is generally thought of as the place where the Polynesians first landed – because the Big Island is the closest of the islands to Tahiti, of course.
Ancient Hawaiians used to drill holes in the rock ledges to use in mooring their canoes – so as to not be carried away by the strong currents, of course. While the methods are slightly more advanced, this practice is still common at Ka Lae.
Fishermen also sit at the cliffs to catch red snapper and ulua, as well as other fish.
There’s no question as to why the entire southern tip of the island has been registered as a National Historic Landmark; you look to the land, you will find scattered temples, fishing shrines and other cultural remnants.
And while many will boast of the incredible opportunities for cliff diving here, please remember that, even if you are cautious and do everything right, you may still be jumping to your death.
To reach this rocky shoreline, visitors will take the narrow South Point Road 12 miles through open land lined with windmills to the point – the road forks near the end, with one branch leading south to Ka Lae and the other leading east to Papakolea Beach, one of the only green sand beaches in the world.