Interesting story about those steep volcanic cliffs on the north side dropping down to the bay. If I have a few details mixed up, forgive me, this is essentially what they tell at the local NP historical site Pu'uhonua o Honaunau (the City of Refuge).
When a Big Kahuna or Chief died, a volunteer was lowered over the edge of these cliffs on a rope to bury the bones in an undisclosed location in one of the natural crevasses in the volcanic rock. The bones were believed to hold the spirit of the dead (the mana), so this was very important stuff to make sure nobody found the bones and stole his power. The guys belaying him over the cliff could not see what he was doing so nobody but the volunteer knew where the bones were hidden. Once the bones were hidden in a secret spot on the cliff face, the volunteer gave the okay shout to pull him back up. In the interest of security, the rope was then cut and nobody knew where the bones were hidden. Hence the famous saying, "people who live in grass houses shouldn't store bones." Okay, I made up a bad pun, but the legend is apparently true.
This location is where the Hawaiian Islands were "discovered" and the end of the cruise for the great Captain Cook. He was killed in a misunderstanding over a row boat. When the natives returned his bones to his ship docked at this site, they thought they were being respectful, but it wasn't taken that way. The crew thought the natives ate their beloved Captain and went on a revengeful killing spree.
I was just there snorkeling about a month ago. My parents live nearby in Kona so we get there a lot. The snorkeling here is widely thought to be the best in all the Islands. We concur, but there are lots of close seconds. Three ways to get here: a scenic 2 mile hike with a 1,300 ft decent, kayak across Kealakekua bay and probably see dolphins swimming with you, or take a tour boat snorkel trip. We've hiked many times and kayaked also. Love this place. Thanks, Wagga.