Legend – Oahu, Hawaii

In the time of the Ancient Hawaiians, on the island of Oahu, Kaneana Point was often a place of rituals and sacrifices, often human sacrifices. At this time there was a shark who lived in a sea cave directly below Kaneana Point. The cave is called Makua Cave. This shark, known today as Makua Charley, is rumored to have a taste for human blood and flesh because he fed on the human sacrifices. The cave is also close to a popular surf spot on the island. Although the cave is now above water and the reaches of the tides it is still believed that a giant under water lava tube passage may be the residence of Makua Charley, waiting for an unfortunate person to be sucked in by the undertow.

Sam’s father told him this story after he first learned how to surf in Hawaii. His dad was taking him around the island showing him some of the good, locals-only surf spots when he was told about Makua Charley and his appetite for blood. Sam claims that the story scared him a little bit at first and fed to his innate fear of sharks while surfing. But because the cave is no longer submerged and the story is hundreds of years old, he is not really scared of the ancient shark.

This legend serves many purposes, principally demonstrating a relationship with nature. First it establishes a fear and respect for nature; fear of the shark and his hunger for humans but also respect for the shark as he was more or less fed the sacrifices. Also, the friendly name Makua Charley establishes a more friendly relationship between the

humans and shark. The name Charley doesn’t have the connotation of a blood-hungry shark but rather an old friend.

As Sam mentioned, surfers today who surf near the Makua cave do not feel threatened or scared by Makua Charley. He also mentioned that Makua Charley has become more of a joke or term used when someone does something really wrong in relationship to surfing. For example, if a surfer is absolutely crazy and unsafe someone might say, “He’s on his way to visit Makua Charley.”

I think this legend evolved from a scare tactic used to keep certain people from disrespecting a beautiful point of the island (which is now protected) to an ominous story used to teach young surfers to be respectful of the ocean and its inhabitants. The legend is commonly passed down through families and friends all with the same intention. The ties the Hawaiian people feel with their islands are constantly exhibited in their mythologies and legends. The Kaneana Point/Makua Cave legend is no exception.