One of the most legendary spots on the south side of Kaua’i is Spouting Horn. This magnificent blowhole is quite the spectacle when the Poipu surf gets big (the Hawaiian word Poipu translates to “crashing”). The seawater channels into a lava tube that erupts with a roaring, spitting spout of water that reaches fifty feet. There’s another nearby hole that emits only a groaning sound and no water, with Kauai real estate only a stone’s throw away across the pond. Spouting Horn is part of the 10 mile hike called the Koloa Heritage Trail. The original name of Spouting Horn was puhi, which means “blowhole” in Hawaiian.
Legend has it that the hissing and roaring is comes from a giant mo’o, lizard, named Kaikapu. The ancient Hawaiians believed Kaikapu protected that coastline, and would eat anyone who tried to fish or swim in the waters there. But one day a brave young boy named Liko leaped into the ocean, and when Kaikapu tried to eat him, Liko stabbed the mo’o with a sharp stick. Then Liko swam underneath a lava shelf and escaped back to the surface through a small hole. Kaikapu tried to follow and became firmly stuck in the lava tube. To this day, Kaikapu’s hissing and roaring can be heard, as well as her angry breath surging from the hole as the lizard complains of her hunger and pain.
There was once a blowhole named Kukuiula Seaplume that shot water 200 feet into the air. It was adjacent to Spouting Horn. But the salt spray damaged a nearby sugar cane field so the blowhole was destroyed with dynamite in the 1920s.
At sunset, the photographs of Spouting Horn can be particularly magnificent as the colors of the fading day turn the leaping water all the brilliant colors of the rainbow.