Near Palaoa Point on Lana’i’s southwestern shores a wave-eroded islet peaks just above water line, facing pali (cliffs) ranging between 100 and 350 feet tall. These steep and continuously changing cliffs tell the story of how Lana’i island was built with layer upon layer of lava flow recording the tale and making it visible in this wind- and wave-created cross-section.
The shoreline here, as in much of Lana’i is arid, having little vegetation above as the result of over-grazing, wind, and soil erosion. Under the water, giant pieces of hillside have settled on the ocean floor after falling away from their stronghold.
Nearby is Manele-Hulopo’e Marine Life Conservation District where, in stark contrast to the relatively lifeless coast, the water teams with fish and a vibrant reef community.
If you’d like to read more on the Lana’i’s coastline, check out U of H’s fine write up.