Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In the Last Days of 2012

8 December 2012: Visit to Aunty Donny's

The first sight.

The sounds of nature.

Our visit to Aunty Donny's kuleana lands was truly one of the highlights of the LAIP internship. As soon as we set sight on the secluded land at the foot of the mountains of He`eia, time had turned back. 

I don't remember too many moments in my life where all the sounds to hear was the wind, birds and water running from a nearby stream. It made me think of the land before the arrival of Westerners and the change they brought with them. 

Uncle Wally had taken us up to the water source, one of the contributors to streams that flow into He`eia fishpond. We walked through groves of chinese bamboo, brought in and planted by the military in order to create the conditions for "jungle combat training." As we approached the division in the forest, Uncle Wally performed a chant asking the akua for permission to pass and for safety. His words seemed to echo  from the air itself. I do not know Hawaiian language, but in that moment in the forest with a stiffled breeze, sunlight peering down through the leaves, and the steady stream of water before me, I felt the power of those ancient words. 

The water source.
We reached the source of water, right at the fold in the Ko`olau's. The aged walls of the mountain seemed to cradle in light as we sat back and drank the freshest water on the island. The idea that Native Hawaiians hundreds of years ago may have done the same thing gave me shivers.
Here, I realized that people like Aunty Donny, Uncle Wally, Paepae o He`eia, Judy, and Sherril are the reason the land won't ever be lost. Not just because they combat invasive species and promote the health of the land, but they also promote Hawaiian culture. I think as long as people value Hawaiian culture and live it true, the land will forever be in good hands. 

At the fold.
Thank you everyone for an amazing internship! Paepae o He`eia (Hi`ilei) for hosting us on our workdays, teaching us fishing, and showing us the meaning of physical labor. Aunty Donnie for giving us a different perspective and opening up your family and home for us. Judy and Sherril, you guys are the center of it all and it would not have happened without you.  Interns, it's been real. To you all, thanks for the good times that were had and I hope to see you again in the future. .

2012 Fall LAIP interns. Back row (left to right): Ka`ua, Andrew, Laura, Me (Ky). Front row (left to right): Brian, Ikaika, Ty, Lissa.
This was a great experience for me and I don't think I'd be able to fully state how you all affected me. Cheers, Ky
Me, having a "lucky you live Hawai`i" moment.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Working the Worksheet

This particular blog entry is stepping back in time a bit... rewind to October 16, 2012.

We stayed on land and filled out a worksheet that included naming the parts of a crab, critically thinking about a scientific experiment, and a Thursday level crossword puzzle.


We were graced by the presence of the fabulous Sherril, whiteboard in hand.

The ever-smiling Sherril :)
 We discussed diatoms, plankton, heterotrophs, and how crossword puzzles work :) Some of us kept trying to make new rules...

Hmm, silence for once?

 We all seemed a bit lethargic... some had to channel their energy mid-worksheet to complete the task.

Andrew, reaching deeper within for answers
Others channeled energy into other tasks.

Ty's lovely drawing of our Fall 2012 LAIP-ers
Clearly, we are the best "fishterns" ever!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Makahiki Day!

So Tuesday was a pretty ordinary day, we got split into groups for our final presentations we will be doing at the end of our internship that is coming up(sad face). All the cool stuff happened this past Saturday when we were given the greatest opportunity to participate in a Makahiki day with Aunty Donny and her ohana on the Marine Corps Base at Pyramid Rock Beach.  We were asked to bring a ho'okupu from the land or what we made/grew. That night we were able to learn about the history of Donny's ohana and eat some delicious food. It was a great experience that we were able to participate in with learning local Hawaiian culture.

Aunty telling us what is going to be going on that evening
Ky the "Burnt Marshmallow" and Laura the "Laura" being ever so serious with Pyramid Beach in the background

Ky and Brian being gansters with their kihei

LAIP Interns :D

LAIP Interns PLUS Sherril comment...except these are some of the ho'okupus that were to be given later that evening

The grinds everyone brought

Monday, November 5, 2012

 Sherril and Brian having a friendly conversation while setting up our water sample supplies. 
Ikaika getting equipment ready and so is Kai, while Tai puts her face into the sample
 Ikaika wearing his Lauhala hat in the Lab on Coconut Island.
Me collecting water samples near reef out side of Coconut Island.
All the different water samples collected getting ready for testing of the oxygen level.
Tai just got tatted up in the lab by artist Kauakea
Took a picture of the Pualu and Toao during our free time on my free dive session near Coconut island over the reef.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ancestral Musing

This past Saturday we had an epic community work day at He'eia, which I'm sure someone will blog about.  My focus here is on the latter portion of the day with Aunty Donny. 

We were asked to deconstruct a word.  I took the liberty to deconstruct meaning.  Aunty Donny asked us to write our mo'olelo about the beginning of our time at the pond, until now.  I'm a little hesitant to share, and I am not completely through with editing, but I was inspired to write this about the connections I've made with the mo'olelo Aunty Donny has been sharing with us. 

The rain has come
silence and stillness
life and sound
gently she falls
smiling sweetly
caressing the earth
generous with her love

You are here to walk the path of your ancestors
the truth you seek has already been sown 
Your gut feeling
your instinctual urge
this is your lifeline

Residual knowledge from dusty bones I’ve never known
I am the new crop of them
a seedling
far removed from the reality of history
of struggle

Planted under another sky
indeed on the other side of the world
My roots I must dig deep
to find fertile ground
connecting to ancestors I may not recognize

This is my story
this is what I found
That though I look a certain way
and I put an “x” next to such and such race
that if I am you and you are me
We’ve walked the same paths
and felt the same pain

All over creation, creation is the same

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

25 September 2012: Fishing Day

Upena papa`i: crab net fishing

Another awesome fishing day was had. This time, Hi`iliei and Noelle taught us about crab net fishing, or upena papa`i
attaway to dress for the occassion, Ty
First, we had to get our crab bait ready. Today we were using awa `aua, (Elops hawaiensis) a carnivorous fish.
bait prep
Next, we learned about the net. The net has a wire circle frame with the piko at the bottom. Bait lines hold your bait in place; they should not have knots in them so tie a slipknot to hold your bait and untie it to remove your bait. There are three stabilizing strings that keep the net level when you pull it up. There is a floater that keeps your three lines above the net so nothing gets tangled in them. Then there is a runner line that can be adjusted for depth. Finally, the top floater is used to help spot where you dropped nets and also is how you pull your nets up.
Hi`ilei teaching us about the net
Be sure to check your nets for any pukas, and if you find em, Ikaika can patch it up for you. 
patching up. photocred: Andrew
Once we were familiar with the net, we adjusted all the runner lines and baited each net for a total of 20 nets. Finally, we were ready to go crabbing.
Today was special because we got to use the boat! Hi`ilei was our steersman while Ikaika guided to where we should drop nets and then to pick them up. Everyone took a turn dropping nets.

Brian dropping some net

Afterwards, Hi`ilei took us cruising by the far makahas. We got to see the freshwater makahas up close and saw how crazy the mangroves were on that end.

Ikaika and Andrew in the mangrove forest
Then it was time for our first pick-ups. The first few nets, had a few blue pincer crabs, which were thrown back in. Then, we caught our first monster of the day! The boat almost tipped over because everyone rushed to one side of the boat when Ikaika surprised us all with the catch. It was a samoan crab (Scylla serrata). We then caught a few mo`ala (Podophthalmus vigil), a native crab and actually our target catch. And then another monster came aboard!
monster 1
mo`ala on some bait
With our success, we felt another round of nets was necessary. So we dropped all 20 again, and waited. This is when Ikaika tied up the two monsters so we could handle them. After a good amount of time, we went back to pick up the nets. Another two monsters found (one broke a net) and a few more mo`ala. What a great catch.
da sucka broke da net!
Hi`ilei then gave us the choice to crab some more outside the wall, or to eat at least one of our catch. I think our choice was obvious.
Kaua did end up sharing
It is worrisome that we caught 4 monsters right where we normally collect samples (hinting @ SHERRIL & JUDY!).
Samoan crab.

Imagine that closing around your finger.

But, as always another great day at He`eia fishpond.
the scenery never tires.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ky's Little Helpers

Last Tuesday we assisted Ky with her independent studies for her school. The morning started off a bit rainy and gray, but when we got ready to work, the sun was out and we were ready to go out and get some water samples for some dissolved oxygen testing. We used the winkler titration and did some work that we would typically do on a research day on Coconut Island. The groups were split to go to fresh and salt water areas around the pond. Ky was the boss and we were her workers.
Laura helps Andrew in his new spiffy SCUBA PRO suite so he has full on protection against any predators that lurk in the pond...
Lissa recording the locations where we took water samples,  the bottle number, and the time when we took the samples. 

Kaua going to one of the lovely sites the Israel offered for us to go to. We never been this far on the wall, it was definitely interesting. 

The gate closest to the mangrove on the pond. 
 After we sampled along near the salt water entrances and the other group sampled near the freshwater entrances, we went to work on our makeshift lab table.
Looks like a well-oiled assembly line to me. 

Lissa doing some titration.

 At the end of the day, work was done, and barely any mistakes were made. Hopefully we helped out Ky with her project. Just another day for the LAIP interns.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Whipping at He'eia Fishpond

This week we went whipping at He'eia fishpond. We are trying to catch predators like barracuda and jack trevally. Hi'ilei had the whipping poles and taught us how to use them, we went out on the kuapa to the break in the wall and used cast master lures. Kaua was the first to land a barracuda then Andrew caught another one, but Kaua was the one that caught the rest all together they caught seven barracuda. The rest of us used bamboo pole and caught toau. After fishing we all cleaned the fish together using opihi shells to scale them. Then we took out the guts and bagged the fish. Tai and Lisa took home the toau, Andrew and Kaua took home their barracuda.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Who's Who: World Under Water

August 21, 2012

The sun smiled down upon us with rare favor, the usually turbid water relaxed at low tide- with amazingly high visibility, and the birds (read: ducks and chickens) sang (quacked and clucked) to us all day (ALL day).  Several ʻUlili, or Wandering Tattlers (Tringa incana), trilled as we passed by.  

Judy informs us today will not be business as usual. We might as well call it a holiday.

Our Mission: 
Collect and identify pond life at specific sites. 

Seine net, hand net.

 After several dry runs with the seine net, into the waiting water we go. 

Judy gives final instructions as we attempt our first in-water seine attempt.

Our first few attempts were successful in dragging up algae, but not much else. 

Let's see... seaweed, check.

Emptying the seine net into our collection bucket.

Seaweed Stew, anyone?

Behind us, clouds loom ominously.

Ikaika leads the way to our next site. Along the way he alerts us to about 5 eels- good thing we're following him!

Young Undulated Moray, Gymnothorax undulatus.

Ky is clearly unafraid of a silly little eel.

At our next site, we have a bit more luck in catching something not attached to the pond floor.

Ikaika and Andrew, our top fishermen.

The catch: Nehu, or anchovy, Stolephorous purpureus.

Ty and Kaua enjoy the natural "infinity pool" action the mākāhā offers.

When it rains, it pours; from here on out, we're getting buckets full of interesting life.

A type of cardinal fish.


Ikaika and the best catch of the day.

Lissa brought pie!  In the spirit of identification, it was pineapple and banana, with a homemade crust.  Now it's a party :)

Young Blue Pincher crab (Thalamita crenata) on Samoan crab (Scylla serrata).

Did you notice there are no pictures of the actual identification process? 
I became too distracted with the pie, and the feeding of identified fish to the chickens and ducks...

Another day of enlightenment and play in Hawaii Nei.