the salt encrustation; salt land; salt pan

Keālia is an ahupuaʻa in the Puna moku on the island of Kauaʻi. On the southern boundary lies Pōhakupili then Makaleha further up mauka. The waters from Puʻu ʻEu flow down to form Keālia stream which eventually meets up with Kapaʻa stream and meets the ocean at the southern end of Keālia Beach.

In the past at Keālia beach, low-lying shoreline areas were sometimes flooded by high surf and high tides. Shallow ponds would form and after several days of exposure to the sun, the water that had inundated the flats would evaporate, leaving behind a thin layer or occasionally a pocket of salt. Salt from the deeper pockets was gathered to satisfy a variety of domestic, medicinal, and ceremonial needs.

The Keālia Top is fondly named after one of the first beaches I visited on the island of Kauaʻi. I was in 8th grade and my dad wanted to show us to his favorite island for our Spring Break. We touched down in Lihuʻe, hopped in the rental car, and headed for Kapaʻa town to grab some bentos at Pono Market. We were gonna make the drive North, to the end of the road, stopping at all of my dad's favorite spots along the way. Keālia was first on the list.

We pulled into the parking lot at Keālia Beach. At the time, I didn't know what beach we were at or anything about the area- just that my dad loved this island and he picked this rad lil spot to have lunch with his girls. It was really windy at Keālia, so we finished our bentos in the car then hopped out to go check the waves.

Little did I know that a few years later, I would have met the love of my life who just so happens to be from Kauaʻi. Keālia is his home break. Where he spent most of his days surfing, bodyboarding, stand-up paddling, biking, and jogging. Where he grew up. When he brought me to his favorite beach, it felt so familiar. Then I realized where we were- like it was meant to be. Whenever I came to visit, he would go surf and I would lay on the beach reading or combing the sand for puka shells.

Keālia will always be a very special place for me.

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Keālia: the salt encrustation, salt land, salt pan
Ahupuaʻa: land division usually extending from the uplands to the sea, so called because the boundary was marked by a heap (ahu) of stones surmounted by an image of a pig (puaʻa), or because a pig or other tribute was laid on the altar as tax to the chief
Puna: spring (of water)

Moku: district, island, islet, section (in this case, moku means district)
Pōhakupili: joined stone
Makaleha: eyes looking about as in wonder and admiration
Mauka: inland, upland, towards the mountains
Puʻu ʻEu: rascal hill

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Beaches of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau by John R. K Clark

Keālia. Digital Image. Go Hawaiʻi.

Nā Puke Wehewehe ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi by Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert