A Pillar from the Gods
Posted by Scott Kikiloi, graduate researcher, Center for
Hawaiian Studies, U.H.M.
October 2, 2002
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
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.
yesterday morning we were eating breakfast in the lounge
area and when we looked out the window, the islands were
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.
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.
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.