23 Jan Pu’u Keka’a & Chief Kahekili
This famous dark lava rock promontory is named Pu’u Keka’a in Hawaiian (which translates as “the rolling hill,” probably in reference to people at one time observing stones rolling down from the top without any known cause). It is said that in ancient times, a heiau, or temple, was located at its summit. To this day, it is revered as a sacred spot known as “ka leina a ka ‘uhane” – the place where a soul leaps into eternity. Each island has these significant places.
One of Maui’s most famous high chiefs was Kahekili (ruled circa 1766-1793,) who excelled in the game of “lele kawa,” or cliff jumping. He was known to have jumped into the sea from heights of 300 to 400 feet. Kahekili gained respect from many warriors for his leaps from Pu’u Keka’a, as most were frightened of the spirits who lived in the area. These days, every evening at sunset, a Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa diver gracefully leaps from the top of the rock into the ocean, symbolizing the great chief’s dives, as torches are lit for the coming night to honor the souls of the departed.
Source: Ka’anapali Historical Trail & History and Legends Tour, Pip Holo Ka’ao (A well told tale travels far and wide)