{ 2. } Makahuena & Makawehi
(MAH-KA-WHEY-NA) “ROUGH FACE”
(MAH-KA-VEY-HEE) “CALM FACE”
Facing west, the formations at the far end of Keoneloa Bay are known as Makahuena, the southernmost tip of Kauai. The lithified sand dunes that form Makawehi (also known as the Paa Ridge) accumulated as sand dunes during the last “high stand” of the sea, about 125,000 years ago. As sea levels lowered at the peak of the Ice Age (about 18,000 years ago), reaching its lowest point of around 360–400 feet below the present sea level, the dunes occupied a more inland position. From there, volcanic ash deposited onto the dunes and a coastal forest began to flourish. Rain percolated through the sand which partially dissolved some of the skeletal and coral grain sands. Calcite crystals grew around the sand grains and within the pore space between the grains, locking together to produce the cement that changed the carbonate sand into carbonate sandstone, also known as limestone. As the Ice Age ended, huge glaciers that had covered much of the earth melted, resulting in a rise in sea level. Waves eroded much of the dune and formed what is now Keoneloa Bay. Prior to that erosion, the sand dunes would have extended almost continuously between the two points. Today Makawehi point is being undercut by continual wave erosion. The huge blocks of limestone that lie at the base of these cliffs are examples of that erosion. Caution: Stay well back from the edge. Jumping (or falling) into the water has caused serious injury and loss of life.
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Photo: Robert Rekward

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