• Stepping stone trail

    Ala Kahakai

    National Historic Trail Hawai'i

Current Conditions

Cliffs of Kohala
Na pali o Kohala
Courtesy: Mark Grandoni
 

Current conditions were carefully observed to determine what activities could occur during the day or night. The rhythms of the earth align with movements of the sun and moon. These two influences affect tides, weather and other natural elements.

Native Hawaiians were very in tune with nature. By the age of 6, a Hawaiian child could recite all the phases of the moon.

To make your visit fit in with the natural environment, here are some tools to help you plan your experience on the trail.

 
Sunrise in Hawaii

Sunrise over Hawaii

Photo: NPS HALE

Sunrise & Sunset
Credit: timeanddate.com

The sun begins and ends the daylight hours. Plan your days around the instant at which the upper edge of the Sun appears in the east (kahikina) in the morning and when it drops below the western horizon (komohana) in the afternoon.

Blue Pacific Ocean

Shoreline along Ala Kahakai NHT

Photo: I Hanohano

Tide calendar
Credit: tides and currents at NOAA.gov

Tides occur as a response to the gravitational attraction of the Sun and Moon and the rotation of Earth. They are a regular event on every coastline and their timing is predictable. Their occurrence is of great importance to all marine activities, including the natural daily flooding and drying of coastal wetlands, where animals and plants have evolved to thrive in these unique environments. These ocean movements shift according to the weather, time of day and season of the year. High and low tides can define what you may want to do onshore or offshore.

Full moon

Full moon

Photo courtesy: NASA

Hawaiian moon calendar
Credit: Kamehameha Publishing

The moon’s appearance changes over time. As a convenient timepiece that affects tidal variations and plants and animals, it also is a guide in the night sky. Fisherman, astronomers and those who need to know or are just curious look up to see what phase the moon is in. Each phase of the moon was named by the Hawaiians.

Did You Know?

Coconut tree

Did you know the coconut tree was an extremely important resource brought to Hawaii by the early Polynesians. It was a source of food and water, used for building homes and rope making, and was also a musical instrument. Cutting down the coconut grove of another was considered an act of war.