Latest News
For Teachers
For Keiki (Kids)
About the Area
Photo Images
Video Images
Maps and Satellite Images
More Info

You are here: /main/research/NOWRAMP 2002/journals/kapou/


Ship Logs

Kapou, A Pillar from the Gods
Lisianski Island
Posted by Scott Kikiloi, graduate researcher, Center for Hawaiian Studies, U.H.M.
October 2, 2002

Kanehunamoku.  Photo by Scott Kikiloi.Yesterday was the twelfth night from the full moon, and I awoke in morning and went upstairs to the top deck of the Rapture to wake up Bonnie Kahape`a, who likes to sleep out in the open so she can see the stars at night. As I got to the top, I noticed she was already up, folding up her sleeping bag and looking out at the ocean. She told me "hey Keks look, it's the hidden islands! Kanehunamoku!" The sun wasn't up yet, and the sky was painted with hues of reddish orange. My eyes were squinted as I glanced past the railing of the ship. I saw them... islands in a row. I felt as though the moment wasn't real. Perhaps I was still dreaming. But there, on the distant horizon were tiny islands. These were the same mythical islands we had conversations about the day before, and that I had written about in my journal.

In my previous journal I had written about how these "hidden" islands of Kane were linked to a specific phenomenon of tidal change and moon phases, but this was something different. This unexpected appearance of Kanehunamoku, requires an expanded explanation that incorporates this phenomenon. This aspect of Kane was atmospherically related, and had to do with cloud formations being so low to the horizon, they appeared to be islands. As we went to deck where our rooms are at, we counted them from east to west, and there were twelve, not including Lisianksi Island that was on our immediate left. These mirage islands were a trick of sorts. The sun, which had not risen yet, was providing the right backdrop lighting that they seemed very real to the naked eye. Kahape`a and I took pictures of this phenomenon as evidence, and I thought perhaps this is why the literature says that these islands can float. Maybe atmospheric pressure is also related to moon phases, and ocean tides.

Later yesterday morning we were eating breakfast in the lounge area and when we looked out the window, the islands were now gone… but instead Kahape`a saw an unusual short rainbow going straight up into the sky at a 90 degree angle. She showed it to me and I told her how I've heard about this type of rainbow, but I've never seen it before. It's a very thick rainbow that appears to be holding up the sky, and it too is a body form of the god Kane.

In less than 10 minutes we were on the zodiac making our way to Lisianski Island. On board was Andy Collins, Mark Heckman, Don Marks, Bonnie Kahape`a and myself. I was still riding an emotional and spiritual high from what we had experienced this morning. The sky was overcast in all directions, except near the island itself. We arrived on the island quickly, and once there we greeted our friends who had been staying there from the night before- Moani Pai, Ethan Shiinoki, Alex Wegmann, and Beth Flint. The day was spent walking around the shoreline of the island and doing sea bird nest counts for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The sun beat down relentlessly on us as we tried our best to count accurately, and avoid monk seals that rested on the beach. On the southeast side of the island we reached a beautiful cove. I went swimming there for a little while and there were so many `aholehole, moi, and `ama`ama. There were also some omilu swimming around. Later, we continued our way around the island and finished the bird count. We sat around the rest of the day at the base camp having interesting conversations about life and relationships.

Lisianski base camp.Later on that night on board the Rapture, we were describing our experiences to our friends Kaliko Amona and Kanekoa Shultz. Kaliko had mentioned that one of the Rapture Crew members had asked her if she had seen the islands on the horizon this morning… thinking they were real islands. He even took pictures of it. Kahape`a and I laughed, thinking how our conversation just a day earlier had turned into such an escapade after this mornings experience. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is a magical place. Kahape`a told Kanekoa of how we saw the rainbow that looked like "a pillar going straight into the clouds." The Hawaiian term for pillar is "Kapou." Coincidentally this is the ancient name that shows up in the ko`ihonua, or genealogical chant that was written in 1835 by Kai`aikawaha (Bishop Museum Archives #HI. H. 107, folder 2). What an appropriate name for an island that has rainbows like pillars.


<<Journals Home

Home | News | About | Expeditions | Photos | Video | Maps
Discussions | Partners | Teachers | Keiki | More Info | Search
Contact Us | Privacy Policy
This site is hosted by the
Laboratory for Interactive Learning Technologies
at the University of Hawai`i