TURTLE BAY HISTORY
Over 50 years ago Las Vegas impresario and former owner of the New York Yankees, Del Webb, opened the Turtle Bay Resort at Kuilima with none other than Bob Hope as the headliner. Since then Turtle Bay Resort has continued to attract Hollywood’s “A-list” both for work and play. Many Movie and TV shows have been filmed at Turtle Bay Resort’s miles of beaches.
Just a few of the hit Movies and TV shows filmed at Turtle Bay shown to the right.
Ever since the demigod Maui paddled far out to sea and cast out his magic hook to raise the Hawaiian islands, Hawai’i has been intricately linked to the ocean. More than a thousand years before the first European arrived, a small group of people braved the vast expanse of the Pacific. With little more than stars to guide their way and paddles to move them onward, these ancient adventurers finally found what we know today as Hawai’i.
By the time Captain Cook arrived in Kealakekua Bay in the year 1779, there was 1 canoe for every 15 Hawaiians. Canoeing or “paddling” as the locals called it was essential for a culture that was dependent on the ocean. Paddling was used in just about every aspect of their life. The Hawaiians received most of their food from the ocean by paddling out and fishing for it. In culture, paddling allowed them to keep in contact with other chiefs and islands. For defense, kings raised large fleets of canoes and paddled them out to protect their land or conquer new ones. Finally as sport, paddling canoes was a learned skill that grew into a sophisticated sport.
It is no surprise that surfing has become Hawaii’s greatest past time and gift to the rest of the world. In honor of these ancient Hawaiian traditions, we at Shaka Kayaks are continuing to listen to the voice of the ocean. By adapting the ancient sport of paddling into the modern era and using modern kayaks and paddles, we can keep the paddling culture alive.
WORLD WAR II
Kayakers interested in WWII history will have a chance to see an actual WWII bunker at the tip of Protection Point. This bunker was one of the many shoreline fortifications that was manned by ground troops to protect the Kahuku Army Airfields. Both B-17’s and B-24’s were based at this airfield. There was a small rail system that moved bombs from the bunkers in the hills behind Turtle Bay to supply the planes landing on the runway. Troops were brought in by train on the Oahu Rail and Land Co. railway until the tracks were destroyed by a tsunami on April 1st, 1946.
Few people know that within a mile of Turtle Bay Resort two of our nation’s most important radio messages were made. Nestled in the hills behind Kawela Bay at an elevation of 532’ was the Opana Radar site. It was here that at 7:02 am on December 7th, 1941 two soldiers were training on a brand new SCR-270 radar set that had just been installed 2 weeks earlier. They detected a large number of planes approaching from the north at a range of 136 miles. They immediately radioed the temporary information center at Fort Schafter to let them know of the unidentified aircraft approaching at “fast speed” to Oahu.
The lieutenant on duty had only been working there for two days and told them “Forget it, don’t worry about it”. He thought it was a flight of B-17’s coming in from California. If the lieutenant had heeded this first warning is one of the biggest “What if” scenarios in US military history. Later that morning the Kahuku Army Airfield’s radio station was Oahu’s only link to the mainland and they had the ominous mission to relay to the rest of the world the infamous message that Pearl Harbor was being attacked. This radio call signaled the start of WWII for the United States of America.