Update | Departing Swains Islands
Iorana tatou! This is Maui Tauotaha, crewmember on Hikianalia with crewmembers ʻImiloa from Lunalilo Elementary School and Hokupaʻa from Kawaiahaʻo Church School. We are leaving Swains Islands, and the local name is Olohega. We spent a couple days on the island, and it’s probably the most special island I’ve had the pleasure to visit in my life and some of the most kind, generous people that I’ve ever met. They took great care of us, feeding us, and entertaining us with their song and their dance, their smiles. Just beautiful people, and I hope we get to se them again. The island, itself, was very generous to us with the most delicious coconuts I’ve ever had, delicious coconut crabs, which we ate everyday, and some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. This is truly a special place, and we are grateful to visit it because it truly embodies mālama honua (caring for our earth). Back in the day, it was a copra plantation, which is coconut. There are so many coconut trees on this island, and they used to harvest the coconuts and send them off. It was a very successful industry because they always planted more coconut trees than the ones they took off. That’s the definition of a sustainable ecosystem: you put more into the ecosystem than you take out. So that’s a really important lesson for all of us to learn as we mālama honua. Basically, leave it better than how we found it. If you find something, clean it up or just leave it better than you found it. And sometimes it’s as simple as that. So this island – Olohenga or Swains Island – is one of the best examples of this mālama honua being practiced.