Same-Same But Different

To think that during any given year only 15 to 20 people get to set foot on and see Green Island, Kure Atoll, there is something special about having the chance to return and experience it for a second time like I am. When we arrived at the white sand beach for offload day, there was a calming touch of returning to a place that feels like home. The sight of the turquoise lagoon, the bending dunes of naupaka bushes along the shore, and the call of bird-friends flying were all too familiar and could not have been better.

Over the course of our first week of work I cannot help but notice that for how much it is the same here, so much has changed of the island I left behind in April 2016. In camp alone, areas I remember being open ground now stand under thick patches of kawelu bunch grass our crew planted as sprouts that winter. Other places on the island have undergone similar changes, paths I remember are overgrown and there is an abundance of native plants that have matured across the island. There are even a few propagated natives out- planted that I have not seen before.

That’s part of the joy to returning. To serve a season working here, you see small changes and experience the overall beauty, but you don’t really get a first-hand grasp on the changes happening from the restoration efforts of each crew before you. You see seasonal changes like the dieback of ʻalena and nohu in the winter or increase in verbesina sprouts in spring, but you lose the ability to see long-term changes like the thick stands of verbesina that once dominated certain parts of the island or new growth by out-planting efforts like kawelu. In a single season, you can feel the result of the hard-work you’ve done but you might not ever see it fully play out. That is why a second chance here has already been worth it less than two weeks in.  

One thing that has not changed is how many moments Kure can take your breath away. From the animal life to the picturesque sunsets we’ve had that even DreamWorks couldn’t come up with, Kure gives you something you can’t experience anywhere else. I knew this from before but there is something unique to knowing what can happen and seeing the reactions of those experiencing it for the first time ever. I have already lost count the number of times I’ve heard “Oh my gosh, this is amazing!” or variations of the sort. Small things have changed but the overall picture hasn’t.  

Our first week of work might have been hot, sweaty, and dirty, but it has all been a part of the experience and a good start to hopefully eight incredible journeys. So, thank you Kure for having me back and never failing to disappoint, safe to say so far so good for those of us here right now.

DLNR/DOFAR Kure crew member,
Ryan Potter

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