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You are here: /main/research/NWHI ED 2005/journals/j15-Sabra-Kauka

By Sabra Kauka, Sunday, August 15, 2005

La Perouse is just a little pinnacle, 120 feet tall, that sticks out of the ocean. It has a smaller companion. There are thousands of birds living here and half of them are soaring in the sky. After breakfast the first snorkel group leaves in the bright orange hard-bottomed zodiacs. I choose to go with the first group, as I did yesterday. The sun seems to be kinder in the morning and I am turning as papa`a (dark) as I've ever been. The only thing that's getting lighter is my hair.

The boat captain positions us next to the Pinnacle and we drop back into the water one-by-one. They are very safety conscious here - on the ship, on the little boat, and in the water. We have to snorkel with a buddy and keep that buddy within view. The ocean floor is only about 35 feet down here, unlike yesterday when it dropped to 65 immediately.

For the first time I see limu kohu, and I am delighted. We didn't see any limu kohu at any of the other islands where we stopped to snorkel.

The ocean is very warm. Much warmer then I expected it to be. I expected it to be at least four degrees colder than Kaua'i because we are further north. Yesterday Cindy Hunter, a scientist, measured the temperature of the ocean and it was 80 - degrees. No wonder there is some coral bleaching going on here. I'm glad I don't need a dive suit. No problem staying comfortable and warm.

We've been eating very well onboard ship. The cooks, or stewards as they're called on the ship, are a couple of women who know how to feed a hungry crew. They do it well and there's nice variety. There's fresh salad at every lunch and dinner, and there’s always fresh fruit. I brought some bananas, avocados, mangos and liliko'i from Kaua'i courtesy of friends and hula sisters. It's much appreciated.

My brand new Sony digital camera works like a charm and I used it in its new underwater casing today. Got some close-ups of the limu kohu, opihi, coral, my fellow teachers. I am so thrilled to have a good working system to take photographs with. Mahalo to Pauline Chinn and Nica Pyron for making this possible.

Well, I think dinner is just about ready and I'm pretty hungry.

Talk About It!

Limu Kohu on La Perouse

Asked by Paulo from UH on Aug 16, 2005.

I was curious when you mentioned that you got excited when you saw limu kohu on La Perouse. Could you tell me why you were so excited? Why does it look like? And does it have a special significance or use?

Thank you,


Answered by Sabra Kauka on Aug 19, 2005.
Oh, yes, I was excited because limu kohu is one of the limu that we
Hawaiians eat. Honu eat it too, and it was quite abundant at La
Perouse. I didn't see it at any of our other snorkel sites at
Mokumanamana or Nihoa.

I have been been wondering what my ancestors ate out at Nihoa or
Mokumanana beside fish. On Nihoa they had extensive terraces and
probably grew a lot of sweet potato. I don't think they had enough
water to grow dryland kalo. Certainly not enough to grow wetland kalo.

Because they were surrounded by ocean much of their food had to come
from the ocean. Food such as many different kinds of fish, wana,
ha`uke`uke, limu and more.

I have not seen other species of limu that we eat such as limu manuea
and limu wawae`iole. Perhaps these species need to grow in a reef. I
don't know.

Limu kohu was always present in my home when I was a child. Limu, poi
and fresh or dry fish were a regular meal for us.


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