Voyage Update | June 23, 2021: Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia Crew Survey Lalo’s Coral Reef

  • Posted on 23 Jun 2021
  • In News

(Papahānaumokuākea) — Since arriving at Lalo (French Frigate Shoals) yesterday morning, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia crew members have been spending time underwater to conduct the first marine survey of the area since Hurricane Walaka swept through in 2018.

The crew found that much of the large table corals are no longer there due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Walaka. At the same time, they discovered many small, fast-growing coral polyps that build the big table corals.

“When we leave nature alone it will restore itself, and that’s really exciting to us,” said Pwo Navigator Nainoa Thompson. “This is our school and we took it underwater today….it was another great day of allowing these canoes to be able to have the privilege to come here to train our young ones in the best school of navigation, defining islands over the horizon, and at the same time the best school to come and see and learn about how ecology actually works, and that how renewal actually works,” he added.

The underwater survey is being conducted in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Papahānaumokuākea is one of the greatest natural laboratories in the world,” said Randy Kosaki, NOAA’s Research Coordinator for Papahānaumokuākea, who is participating on the voyage as a Hōkūleʻa crew member and to assist with the underwater survey.  “The lessons we learn here will help us to better mālama the coral reefs of our inhabited main Hawaiian Islands.  The highest and best uses of these islands also include perpetuation of Native Hawaiian culture by training the next generation of navigators and environmental stewards.”

Due to weather, the canoes will likely depart Lalo this evening and head back to Nihoa.

About Polynesian Voyaging Society

The Polynesian Voyaging Society was founded in 1973 on a legacy of Pacific Ocean
exploration, seeking to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging
and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs that inspire
students and their communities to respect and care for themselves, one another, and
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