Video update by Dr. Cathy Oliver, Hikianalia California Voyage leg two medical officer.
Crew Blog By Hana Yoshihata
This week, the crew had an amazing adventure to the Island of Santa Cruz, known as Limuw to the Chumash Nation. We were gifted the opportunity the spend the day exploring with several Chumash cultural practitioners, including Julie Tumamait, who has graciously welcomed us in ceremony at both Ventura and Channel Island Harbor with songs, prayer and gifts. It was extremely special to have the opportunity to visit Limuw with members of the Chumash Nation, it being their ancestral land; they know stories and histories and elements of Limuw in an intimate way that only those indigenous to a place can.
We hiked to the uplands, where we were met with stunning views of Limuw, the surrounding islands and ocean, and the coast of mainland California. There, against the blue skies and cliffs, Julie shared a few Chumash moʻolelo, and it was so interesting the hear the similarities between these beautiful stories and some of our own in Hawaiiʻi.
The crew also had the privilege to explore the island alongside rangers of the National Park Service, and they shared with us their successful restoration of native plants and animals, such as the Island Fox, a small species of fox that Julie said were cherished pets of the Chumash people. We were excited to come very close to a few foxes, as they seem well adjusted to campers and visitors on the islands.
After hiking and exploring, the crew gathered at the beach, and some of us jumped into the ocean to swim through the kelp forest. Although chilly, the waters there are clean and clear, light glittering down into the kelp below. There are many things that are different between Hawaiʻi and California, but on the Island of Limuw, I kept catching myself forgetting I wasn’t somewhere in Hawaiʻi–sometimes the landscape looked so similar to our drier, leeward areas, and the Chumash stories felt so parallel. This learning journey definitely left an impression on the Leg 2 crew and reminded us of the similarities that connect us, even thousands of miles apart.
Mahalo and aloho nō from Hikianalia and crew!
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