What did the ocean say to the other ocean?

Nothing, it just waved.

If you didn’t gather by the hilarious joke, this week NELHA was ocean-oriented (which makes sense, given the fact that we are in Conservation OCEANography). Let me paint you a picture of how the week went.

MONDAY: On the Island, We Do It “Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park” Style

It’s a Monday, so if you aren’t in this program, I’m sorry. But if you are IT WAS AN AWESOME MONDAY. If I had to summarize today I would call it tour day. What did we do? We toured. Everywhere. Also Senior Alex Lyang attempted to rock a mustache. It was terrifying.

Stop 1: NELHA. NELHA is the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority and its energy center  is a sustainable, zero-energy facility that was first built around 2004. The energy center is designed to house research and education (we had a nice talk about the Hawaii’s energy potential and future options).

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Stop 2: How to use the ocean to make energy via Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). This on-shore system produces energy using temperature variations of ocean water.

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Emma, Alli, and Abby talk about how cool OTEC is (and how difficult their names are to say all together). Bennett thinks about OTEC, while Nate looks on thinking about lunch.

Stop 3: LET’S EAT SOME ABOLONE. It was around lunchtime and lunchtime is the best time to tour the Big Island Abalone Corporation. We learned about farming techniques and how to create a Mollusk-friendly system. We even got to eat some of the tasty mollusks—and yes, they were delicious.


Final Stop: Biofuels. We toured the Cellana six-acre facility that creates marine microalgae-based products for a “sustainable future.” We checked out the photobioreactors, algae pools, and preparation labs (oh my!).

TUESDAY: The Journey Continues

We journeyed to Alpha Centauri on the Sagan Planet Walk. Being a College of Wooster student, someone had to explain to me what that actually was (i.e. Ellie Derry). So apparently downtown Ithaca (i.e. Ithaca Commons) has monuments of the different planets in our solar system. By that scale Alpha Centauri (the nearest star) would be at the Imiloa Astronomy Center. So of course we went. We also saw a 3D star show (LOOK AT THOSE GLASSES).

We moseyed from Imiloa toward Hilo to see the Pacific Tsunami Museum (PTM). The PTM is a non-profit organization whose initiative is to educate the public about tsunami safety measures and warning signs. We checked out some of the permanent exhibits that combine personal accounts of tsunami survivors with scientific information.


WEDNESDAY: Can you canoe?

Today we prepped food and equipment for a night hanging out with the Makali’i Crew on site. The Makali’i is the third voyaging canoe that was built by canoe carvers; although the canoe is currently in retirement, it has been sailed all around the Big Island, to Tahiti, and to the Marquesas Islands.

When we arrived, we cooked, talked, chanted, and learned about the history of the Makali’i until it was too dark outside to see. We talked with Uncle Chadd, the director of a non-profit voyaging education organization and captain of the Makali’i.

We heard stories of life on a canoe, and learned about the cultural renaissance that occurred, in part, because of the rebirth of Hawaiian voyaging. When it became too late, we unrolled our sleeping bags and fell asleep early to prepare for an early morning.

He wa`a he moku, he moku he wa`a: the canoe is our island, the island is our canoe.

He wa`a he moku, he moku he wa`a: the canoe is our island, the island is our canoe.


THURSDAY: What’s up Dock?

Wake up: 5:00AM

Make Breakfast: 5:30 AM

Chant with the rising sun: 6:00AM

We talked early in the day with Uncle Shorty about Polynesian Navigation and sailing thousands of miles using only the stars, weather, and wildlife to guide the double-hulled canoes. He described to us his adventures as a captain and the struggle to rebuild the past in a meaningful way. When breakfast was over, we were split into groups. Some did dry dock work, which included sanding several massive masts, others bailed water from different sections of the canoe. We chanted while we sanded and were able to chat with some of the crewmembers. It was an overall incredible experience.


We had an exam today. There were (some) tears. Later that day we had an Ohana concert with big names like “Uke and I” (featured below) and “Rated R for Rad.”



BLOCK BREAK # 2 2015! This is the sweet and condensed version: some of us got SCUBA certified, some of us went to the beach, some of us ran away to hotels with our respective parents, some of us slept, some of us played video games. Kumu and Ellie got out of dodge and went to Molaka’i.


BLOCK BREAK # 2 2015!

Pretty much the same as yesterday…




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