Welina mai e nā maka heluhelu, nā ʻohana, nā hoa aloha ʻāina, a me nā hoa i piha i ke aloha no Hōlanikū. ʻO au ʻo Aulani Herrod a no Haleʻiwa, Oʻahu mai au. Ua piha nā makahiki he iwakāluakūmākolu iaʻu. Ua puka au mai ke kulanui o Hawaiʻi ma Hilo me ka mēkia o ka Haʻawina Hawaiʻi. Ma mua o koʻu hele ʻana i Hōlanikū, ua hana au ma ka loko iʻa ʻo Loko Ea ma Haleʻiwa. He pōmaikaʻi nō ka hiki ke hele i kēia wahi nani loa. Ua nui koʻu ake e hele i ka ʻāina kūpuna. He mea nui ia iaʻu. Iaʻu i lohe ai i ka ʻimi ʻana i poʻe no ka hana manawaleʻa ʻana i ʻaneʻi, i Hōlanikū hoʻi, ua hōʻike au i koʻu ʻiʻini e hele i ʻaneʻi. Me ka manaʻolana a me ka pule ʻana, eia nō au e noho nei i kēia mokupuni pālahalaha ʻo Hōlanikū no ka Hoʻoilo 2016-2017. Piha kēia i ka hauʻoli!

Greetings to all readers, family and friends, fellow aloha ʻāina warriors, and those who are so filled with love for Hōlanikū (also known as Kure). I’m Aulani Herrod and I am from Haleʻiwa, Oʻahu. As a graduate from UH Hilo with a B.A. in Hawaiian Studies and a recent intern at the Loko Ea fishpond in Haleʻiwa, I haven’t been more blessed to have such an opportunity of a lifetime to go and work on our ʻāina kūpuna (elder lands). This place is so rich with mana and I’m surrounded only by beauty. I am very pleased to be able to share my manaʻo (thoughts) with you all throughout this Winter camp 2016-2017. If only we could send pictures so that you can see the beauty that surrounds us. I’ll try my best to give detailed descriptions so that you can picture it in your mind.
Well, we survived our first week! One down, about 27 more to go!

So far, most of the work we’ve done consisted of searching and spraying various invasive plant species such as Cenchrus echinatus, Eleusine indica, Lobularia martima, Solanum americanum, Sonchus oleraceus, Verbesina encelioides, and much more. As we search for these invasive plants, we must make our way through thick naupaka bushes under intense sun while carrying our spray packs, a big fanny pack on our pelvis and, most importantly, not stepping on burrows or birds.  Besides spraying, we’ve also made big-headed ant monitoring stations using peanut butter, honey, and a piece of spam. I also went on my first full monk seal survey on Friday and I found my first glass ball ever! I’m super stoked. Finally, we ended the week with a marine debris survey in the lagoon. We checked out two spots – a reef to the Northwest of the atoll and an old shipwreck, the Houei Maru from 1976. Luckily, there weren’t any debris where we surveyed. However, there were many fish swimming freely! It was nice to have jumped in the water way out in the lagoon after a long week of working up a great deal of sweat.

Besides working in the field, we also have various daily tasks. One of them is completing our rotation for cooking meals each night. Since we are a small group of 5, the rotation goes by fast and we sometimes cook twice a week. I joked around with my ʻohana before I came – being that I would probably cook the bare minimum or just make cereal – that everyone is going to be skinny if I’m the one cooking. It’s just a joke though. So far, I’ve made pasta that, quite frankly, was pretty ʻono. Well, anything that anyone makes here is considered ʻono since it’s all we got. Mahalo i ka mea loaʻa! Be thankful for what you have. But really, though, everything tastes good here. After a few hours of hard work- when we all have a big appetite-we just throw in random leftovers from the previous night’s whenever we eat lunch.. One thing I miss for sure though is ice, cold water! I’m just waiting until we eat more food so that we have space in our freezers to start making ice trays. Then it’ll be perfs after a long day. One thing I’m stoked on is that were limited to junk food. So I’ll be skinny when this camp is pau
haha. Time for a cleanse!

When we’re not working, I’m either in the water at the beach, or reading a book in the sand while getting sun kissed. Coming from Haleʻiwa, you know I gotta get my kai missions in. I wasn’t too much of a reader, but during this trip I will definitely be a changed wahine – for the better, of course. The first book I’m working on is Me Before You that I borrowed from my younger sister. Too bad I didn’t have enough time to download movies on my hard drive, so that I could watch that movie after I’m pau with the book. Two of my favorite books that I’m constantly flipping through pages are ka puke ʻŌlelo Noʻeau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings and the Hawaiian Dictionary, both written by Mary Kawena Pūkuʻi. I’m always studying and using them as reference as I do my kilo (observations) or write in my puke hoʻomanaʻo (journal). Living here for next 6 months will be the perfect time and place to get my study on and hoʻonui ʻike (expand my knowledge)! Besides studying, I’ve just re-started a workout program that I did during the summer and ended up stopping a month before I came here because I wanted to satisfy all my cravings before I got cut off from it haha. But now I’m back on the grind!

After a long day of pushing through thick naupaka bushes while carrying our spray packs or hauling up the boat, an extra work out to end the day will just increase my ability to gain strength and drop dem paona! Stoooooooooking. I can go on and on about the beauty that surrounds us, but I’ll save it for my future blogs. Of course,everything is spectacular, but one major thing that I’m particularly fascinated by is how many birds there are here – especially the ʻiwa. Although I’ve lived in Haleʻiwa all my life, I have never seen so many ʻiwa than over here. He mea nui ia iaʻu. Itʻs just a special thing for me. Even better, there’s a spot here that’s called Haleʻiwa because that’s where majority of the ʻiwa reside. I’m just mind blown. It was destiny that I was to come here. Like I’ve said before, there was a force that was pulling me into coming here. I’ve told others before is that in certain placesI have worked, traveled, or lived for some time, whenever I see an ʻiwa, I always get a sensation of feeling safe, or confirmation that I belong. It’s funny that some say that it’s the opposite and they feel like something bad will happen, but there was one particular event that just backed up everything I believed in. That moment was when we were at sea on our way here while aboard the Kahana. From what I’ve heard, the trip out here is usually rough.

However, it was the calmest ever and I did see a few ʻiwa here and there while I was on the top deck. It wasn’t until I came here and looked up a few ʻōlelo noʻeau about ʻiwa and then I saw this one: “Lele ka ʻiwa mālie kai koʻo” (When the ʻiwa bird flies out to the sea, the rough sea will be calm -Ka Puke ʻŌlelo Noʻeau a Mary Kawena Pūkuʻi #1979. Now that just confirms why I always get that special feeling when it comes to the ʻiwa. You know the phrase “home is where the heart is?” Well, my heart/naʻau is all for aloha ʻāina/mālama ʻāina which makes “home” everywhere I go. And I’ve always had at least one ʻiwa appear wherever I’ve gone. Small kine deep no? I can talk for days but because of our limited time and data for emails, Iʻll leave you with another ʻōlelo noʻeau that I found that best fit the very beginning of our trip. [“Hoʻolau kanaka i ka leo o nā manu” -Mary Kawena Pūkuʻi, Ka Puke ʻŌlelo Noʻeau #1094. The voices of birds give the place a feeling of being inhabited. This pertains to those who live, work, or travel in lonely places. However, life is made happy by the voices of many birds.] When I first saw this ʻōlelo noʻeau, I reflected on the very beginning when in transit from the Kahana to the shore. Of course, the first thing I noticed was how small the atoll was, but second, I have never seen so many birds at one time. Although we are so far from what I say is the rest of the world, we are not alone, and the sounds of the birds prove it. Trust me, it is not silent here haha. Therefore, we are not alone. Nui nā hoa manu!

Mahalo iā ʻoukou pākahi no ka heluhelu ʻana, ke kākoʻo ʻana, a me ke aloha ʻana mai iaʻu. A hui hou nō a i koʻu kākau hou ʻana. Shoots den menpachisssssss!