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You are here: /main/research/NOWRAMP 2002/journals/healing and restoration/


Ship Logs

Healing and Restoration
Written by Carlos Eyles
Photography by Jim Watt
September 19, 2002

Japanese Angelfish.Yesterday afternoon we steamed out of Laysan under sunny skies and seas so calm you could have shot a game of eight ball, lots of games well into evening, but of course you would have to have a pool table. Instead we caught some rays on the upper deck to the strains of cool guitar music and the sort of songs one sings at the relief of a short work day. There was even talk of staying on another month if the weather was this benevolent.

It all turned around at one o'clock this morning. I was fairly tossed from my bunk; it was as if we had run into a large building, several large buildings. The rest of the night was like trying to sleep in an industrial sized washing machine. For the first time on this trip I am writing my morning journal not from the bow where I can read the weather, and what is to come, but rather in the salon. The seas are huge, and regularly slam into the starboard beam sometimes so high the white water completely obscures all else. Crosshatch triggerfish.What it does obscure is first the water and then the sky; those are our two views as the ship rolls with the sea's eight to ten foot punches. A tropical low is spinning out of control somewhere to the east, actually there are two of them, all prognostications have it moving north of us and these are just residual swells and wind which is blowing twenty-five knots. There are only half a dozen souls eating breakfast this morning. The others most likely had little sleep and have little taste for the likes of ham and eggs, if you get my drift. The fruit tray spilled over within the first minute it was laid down, further diminishing any incentive to get out of bed and make the perilous journey down to salon.

We are due to arrive at Pearl and Hermes Atoll, named after two ships that sunk at the same time on this low profile atoll. Fortunately there is a lagoon and long lee shore so we should be protected from these seas. If not we wont be able to safely load the zodes, or for that matter, dive in these horrific seas.

Mid-morning and just about every one are still hunkered down in their bunks. We are regularly hit by big waves that strike the Rapture broadside setting off a shudder that rumbles through the boat. We are now due to arrive at P&H by eleven o'clock. Jim Watt and I are scheduled to go out with the REA A team headed by Alan Friedlander. We anchor up close to eleven have lunch and in the lee of the atoll the swells diminish and we are able to launch.

Those REA guys work hard, long hours and I never hear a complaint. They recognize the value of their work and are happy in their unending endeavors. We are in the zode for over ten miles before we jump into blue water. The REA teams set up the transect lines and are working two tanks, two dives, no nonsense. On the first dive a school of twenty-five ulua comes screaming up to me. One long trail of them, that, in the one hundred foot visibility, is like watching a freight train bearing down. Their insatiable curiosity has them circle me and, apparently they are rather possessive about their territory, for the largest one bumps Male Masked in the back, lets me know who's the boss of the reef. Jim is photographing fish, and later shoots two very rare tropical fish that are only seen in deep water and are never seen in the Main Hawaiian Islands, one is a Masked Angel, and the other is a Japanese Angel. We come up cold and the wind is blowing I sit next to a young Hawaiian man, who I spoke with in casual conversation on the Rapture. We get to talking on the zode waiting to gas out for the next tank. His name is Kanekoa Kukea-Shultz and is a 24 year old grad student working on his masters in botany specifically limu- (seaweed). He is honored to be here on the Rapture and feels privileged to be a part of this expedition. His heart is in Hawai‘i and he feels a responsibility to the Main Hawaiian Islands by examining the reef systems up here. Seeing exactly what we have lost on the main islands. "Now that we see it, it is up to us to spread the word. We need to create MPA (marine protected area) again to bring back a healthy eco system."

Kanekoa's passion comes through as he speaks in heartfelt, thoughtful phrases, "This is a functional family we have here on the boat, we have to make our dysfunctional family at home healthy again, it is a family of hard heads and they have to start to think of the future of Hawai‘i instead of themselves. We need to go back to the communities that are willing to make these changes and insure the survival of our land and way of life. Until we are willing to recognize our failings of the past we will be unable to heal the environment for future generations."

"On this vessel we have a brain trust of marine and terrestrial biologists and the education peoples, however we are missing two major components - the politicians and the fishermen. When we can bring everyone together then the true healing and restoration of our ecosystem can begin to take place."

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Talk About It!

Fish I.D. and a Big Mahalo!

Asked by Jim from Wyoming on Sep 21, 2002.
If I'm not mistaken, you have a picture of another rare fish in today's journal (above): the Crosshatch Triggerfish.

I wish to express my gratitude to the folks on this expedition. I am especially grateful that you are sharing the magic and beauty of this wilderness with us via your website. The photos and journals are the next best thing to being there!

Kanekoa's comments and thoughts are shared by a world of people who want to help, and I believe your work and this website go a long way to explaining why this is a must.

Answered by the NOW-RAMP Crew on Sep 22, 2002.
Mahalo for your comment! It is good to hear that our efforts are paying off! Aloha!

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