I realize I haven’t written a blog in a couple days. I’ve been kind of tired and haven’t really had pictures to show you, so I waited until I had some good ones to post with this blog.
The last few days have been consumed with snorkeling (seriously, three out of four saw us in the water with goggles and breathing apparatus), as well as visiting petroglyph fields and temples. We had two days at Beach Club Beach to snorkel and do a fish exercise that took two days to gather information about the fish we were seeing and do write-ups about how they eat, swim and interact with the other fish. The best part of this trip was the fact that myself and the two other students with me got the chance to follow a sea turtle. We were the only ones at the beach who saw it. We got to swim right alongside it for a good 20 minutes. It was interesting to me how it didn’t propel itself. It used its front legs to direct its movements, but it waited for the current to take it where it wanted to go. Insert life lesson here. Before that, however, we went to Pu’uhonua o honaunau, or “city of refuge.” For more info about this, see my previous post!
Yesterday we went to the Puako Petroglyph Fields. To get there we had to hike about a mile through a’a lava and evil forest (see picture), but once we got there, there was a large field of pahoehoe lava on which was etched thousands of pictograms. We were instructed by our professor to draw at least three of them and come up with possible meanings for them. Well, I outdid him. I drew seven. They were really fascinating. Being able to sit there and hypothesize about their possible meanings and realize how long they had been there and how long it took to create them. The ancient Hawai’ians did not have metal of any kind, so these were carved with hardwood sticks or other stones. So much work for such an elusive thing.
That same day we were able to go to Pu’ukohola Heiau, an old temple that was built by King Kamehameha the first as a way to appease the people, conquer his cousin and unite all the islands into one kingdom. It was built in 1790 and was still in perfect condition. There was a second one lower down the hill that was constructed a couple hundred years before it and that was also still there, although a bit deteriorated. The cool part about the big Heiau was that the national park allows native Hawai’ians to still come and practice their religion on the temple itself. Nowhere on the mainland have I known a national park to do that. With that we finished “classes” and were officially on break.
Break for us consisted of us going to Hapuna beach yesterday and out on a snorkel cruise today and getting to see the Captain Cook Memorial and swim in really deep water. I am loathe to admit that I and one of the other guys on the trip got into trouble because we decided to go off the slide at the back of the ship at the same time, which was dangerous but fun. Well, the lifeguard forgave us and eventually gave us cookies, so all was well.
That pretty much summarizes our last four days. Tonight we’re going to go watch the manta rays swim at the Sheraton hotel down on the water and tomorrow is packing and our final test. It seems strange that this month is already over. It flew by while still seeming to take ages. What a wonderful experience this has been. I will probably post a couple more times, but now you know what we’re up to, so I’m going to go look at manta rays!