Flume Hawaii

KOHALA, HAWAII — Flumin’ Kohala offers a unique and exclusive adventure deep in the historically rich and verdant mountains of Kohala. There you will explore the much storied Kohala Ditch, a 110 year old system of hand-wrought tunnels, elevated flumes, and concrete channels that once supplied millions of gallons of fresh water to the vast sugar cane plantations of Kohala. On a leisurely kayak float through 3 miles of the system, you will have the rare opportunity to access lush private lands, streams, waterfalls and other natural and man-made wonders kapu (forbidden) to all except guests of Flumin’ Kohala.

Flumin’ Kohala has exclusive access to the Kohala Ditch Company’s century-old irrigation system:  the Kohala Ditch.  Once used to irrigate vast fields of sugar cane, The Ditch provides a unique means of experiencing two great wonders of Hawai‘i. First-amid the gentle sound of dripping and cascading water-its natural, wild and largely undisturbed up-mountain beauty. Secondly, the great engineering feat that is The Ditch itself; a 22-1/2 mile long system of irrigation tunnels, elevated flumes, and open concrete channels hand-drilled and blasted out of solid rock. Floating in a kayak along the Kohala Ditch is a fascinating trip through some of the most beautiful and remote land in Hawai‘i.  Truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

Once you leave the paved highway, through locked gates and past No Trespassing signs, you enter lands that are forbidden to all except those with permission from the Kohala Ditch Company.  Here you will find world-class vistas, plentiful water falls, wide open pastures, and finally… the much storied Kohala Ditch.  A short hike across a 150′ flume, over a beautiful waterfall, and besides the flowing waters of The Ditch brings you to your waiting kayak.

Once underway in your floating time machine, you’ll glide back to the early 1900’s when the sugar plantations of Kohala, desperate to stave off the devastating effects of unreliable rainfall, sought a solution.  That solution was an engineering masterpiece of hand-built tunnels, flumes, ditches and intakes to bring the abundant water of the rugged windward canyons to the thirsty fields of Kohala.  Supervised by famed engineer Michael M. O’Shaugnessy the system’s initial 13-1/2 miles was completed in a mere 18 months.  Sadly, it also cost the lives of 17 Japanese laborers…lives lost to falls, explosions, and other accidents.  A life a month, a life a mile.

As you cruise along 3 miles of The Ditch, your guide will share with you his knowledge and the folklore of this much storied masterpiece. The long, dark tunnels whose quiet is disturbed only by dripping water from the ceiling;  the flumes that soar over murmuring streams and cascading water falls;  and the open ditches that carry you through emerald green light filtering through the forest canopy.

At the end of your float you will step back into your waiting van to complete your journey back to civilization. A 15 minute drive through a macadamia nut plantation and a working-class village built by the sugar plantation for their employees (each lot originally sold for $1), you will arrive at headquarters. There you will be able to change into your dry clothing and take some souvenir photos with your guides before bidding everyone a fond Aloha and Mahalo for this amazing and unforgettable experience.  (www.fluminkohala.com)

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