{ 9. } Waiopili Petroglyphs
(WHY OH-PEE-LEE) “water against”
In 1887, Kauai resident J.K. Farley discovered carved drawings or petroglyphs on a rock at Mahaulepu Beach near the mouth of the Waiopili Stream. The carvings were exposed for ten days as waves washed over the area to clear off the sand that covered the petroglyphs. Sixty-seven pictures and markings were noted, with glyphs ranging in size from twelve inches to six-and-a-half feet in length. The carvings are normally covered by beach sand, but if tides and ocean conditions are right the petroglyphs can occasionally be seen.

North of Mahaulepu Beach is a large petroglyph boulder which contains two cup-like carvings at the top. One of the carvings contains a pecked out groove from the cup and runs along the edge of the boulder. The function of these cups in the boulder is unknown. There are also distinct archeological markings on the basalt rock exposed in the surf just out from the Waiopili river mouth. Most of the markings are near-parallel grooves formed by the sharpening of rock tools (adzes) throughout the years. Waiopili is the name of an interior pond at the source of this stream, so named because the pond abuts against the limestone cliffs (wai is “water,” and pili “close” or “against”). The spring giving rise to this pond is named Kapunakea, or “white spring.” The reflection of the limestone in the background of the water may have given the illusion of the water being white, thus its name.
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Photo: Jo Evans

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