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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans

June 05, 2015

Aloha ‘Aina, Hawaii Pacific University, SEA Semester, Day 2

Tina Perry, Marygrove College

Aloha Aina

Above: My favorite flower – the Bird of Paradise, happens to be in great is abundance here in Hawaii! Below: A page taken from my course journal covering some of Kehau’s lecture.

Day two was met with a clear sky and the presence of sunshine, a nice change from the abundant rains of the windward side of the island of O'ahu that we experienced yesterday. The dorm was buzzing this morning as we all started settling into new routines in our unfamiliar territory and prepared for our impending twelve hours of classroom time. Our captain, Sean, presented our first task as he introduced us to the art of charting and navigation in a manner that did not require a satellite or GPS. We used good old-fashioned paper charts, a compass, a divider and 2 plastic triangles to solve locational problems that would allow us to escape pirate waters if ever needed! It was a fun warm up for our geological lecture from Andrew (Dr Andrew Greene from HPU), a volcanologist who educated us on the formation of the Hawaiian Islands and described what we will see on the summits of Mauna Loa and Kilauea, both of which we will explore first-hand in a few short weeks. The lesson included an excellent team-building exercise using different geological maps of the Hawaiian Islands that helped put in place the first stitch of our own community tapestry.

Our afternoon contained probably some of our most valuable information on this journey, a very basic language, history and spiritual lesson on the native Hawai'ian culture and people who inhabit these majestic islands. Our program, Aloha 'Aina (pronounced with the A silent), is a very special way of life to the local people and can be translated into "Love of the Land." But even those words are too few and far too plain to truly convey the deeply ingrained connection with the Earth that the native residents live each and every day. The word "Wai" (W is pronounced with a 'V' sound) is the Hawai'ian word for water, and water is the source of life in Hawai'i, the water feeds the 'aina, and the 'aina feeds the people. The sheer brilliance and understanding of horticulture, agriculture, ichthyology and the cosmos is a remarkable phenomenon, especially considering the isolation of this Ohana (family). Hawaiians once led the "going green" revolution, but colonization introduced different technologies and ways of life, and not all of those are proving beneficial to the islands. So it is our task to observe and learn, as outsiders, both how we can adapt these traditional, self-sustaining ways of living with our modern day-to-day lives

Tomorrow we will begin the real adventure as we leave campus to visit Waimea Valley where we can see a demonstration of a former Hawaiian Ahupua'a and work in the stream to touch, see, smell, feel and taste a true sense of sustainability. Such an exciting time in history to be here, learning ways to repair the many mistakes man is committing on the mainland. And I think we heard something about swimming in a waterfall tomorrow to get all of the mud and muck off of us... Aloha!

- Tina


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