|Deep in the pool of Waimea Falls, is believed to be a temple that is home of a akua that claims the lives of divers as a sacrifice.|
Natives to the area have believed this island to be sacred for hundreds of years. Ceremonies were held there to appease the god or akua, believed to live at the very bottom of the pool in a hidden temple. It said that every so often the akua gets restless and is in need of a sacrifice. So the akua takes the life of a diver who jumps into the waters from the cliffs. In most cases, the body is not recovered at the time the ill fated diver disappears into the water. The days later, the akua will release the body of the victim and it will rise to the surface of the water. This pattern has been repeated over centuries.
The ominous history of the valley deepened in the Spring of 1792 when Captain Richard Hergest anchored his ship Daedalus in the Waimea Bay. Having visited the area over a decade previously, he had a wonderful experience and warm welcome by the Waimea Valley's inhabitants. However, this time his welcome was not so warm. He and another sailor who made the shore landing where captured by fierce native warriors, while another escaped back to the ship. It is believed that Captain Hergest and the other crew member were sacrificed to the akua at the Waimea Falls.
Around the end of the 19th century, the Waimea Valley fell out of native Hawaiian hands and exchanged hands several times, becoming a commercial attraction. When World War II broke out, the area was taken over by the military and an outpost established there. The deaths of divers continued at the falls, oddly enough, mainly the victims were non-natives and coincidentally, sailors. At some point, diving was prohibited from the rock cliffs at Waimea Falls. Only professional, experienced divers were allowed to dive and a park was established where the divers would do shows for visitors to the falls. It was during one of these shows that a visitor snapped a photograph of two divers jumping simultaneously from the rock face. However, in the photograph, there were distinctly shadows from three divers. Two in a tuck position which were the show divers, and a third diver clearly shown in full body extension. There was no third diver! Many believe that visitor captured a shadow diver or spirit from one of those who lost their life to Waimea Falls.
|Professional divers make the plunge into the pool at Waimea Falls which is thought to be haunted by a akua spirit. Photo credit: Sandcastle VI|
When the water is low at the falls during the dry season, it is said that the outline of a skeleton can be seen which is formed from the shapes on the cliff face combined with their reflection in the water. Perhaps a warning by the akua to stay away from the pool. At one point in the park's history, it was turned into an adventure park that offered ATV trail rides, etc. Another death at the Waimea Falls brought on the banning of diving at the pool altogether.
Today, the Waimea Falls Park is a botanical garden and bird sanctuary which shows off some of the archaeological history of the Waimea Valley. Events such as weddings are held there as well. The valley is owned by Hawaiians again, with respect to the nature of this sacred place restored.
Location: Waimea Valley Rd, Haleiwa, HI 96712
(located across from Waimea Bay)