Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Whales and Turtles and Luau, Oh My! by Spencer S.

Kilauea Photo by Nick R.

The Hawaii Winterim wasn't just fun and games at the beach (if you ignore the snorkeling and paddleboarding and kayaking and bodysurfing etc.); there were also a lot of enriching cultural and scientific activities. 

David Giff, 4th grade teacher at OES for many years and now librarian at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, was an awesome host and teacher, guiding us about the big island as we went from places like the ocean (whale watching, where a whale breached 50 feet from our boat, in 80° direct sunlight), to the observatory on Mauna Kea (9,000 feet elevation, ~32°) in the same day. The part of the trip we enjoyed the most had to have been Kumu Kuwalu, another teacher at HPA who met up with us three times to share her Hawaiian culture and traditions. We were introduced to hula and hei'aus at Kawaihae, the spot where Kamehameha III united the Hawaiian islands in the late 1700s, then performed a ritual to protect ourselves from Pele (the fire goddess) at Kilauea, shown above, Hawaii's active volcano. We became such good friends with Kuwalu's palau (group) that we all had a big luau and Makahiki (hawaiian decathlon) to end the trip. Although we came back to Portland with tans, what we brought back from the island was the Hawaiian sense of connection to the land and all the people living there.
Makahiki Photo by Georgia T.

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