Saturday, November 19, 2011

Malama Mokauea Fishing Village, O'ahu's last remaining fishing village

On Saturday November 19, 2011, a small group of the MMS Tree Huggers joined groups from Sacred Hearts, The University of Hawaii, and Hawaii Pacific University on a malama Mokauea workday. Mokauea Island is located in Ke'ehi Lagoon across from Sand Island (also known as Ka Moku Akulikuli), where we met up with Aunty Joni and Aunty Kehau.
Aunty Kehau and Aunty Joni welcoming the group

Tree Huggers and others listening attentively

Unfortunately, they were short handed on steersmen so it took a while to get everyone to the island.
Aunty Kehau demonstrating how to paddle with Mokauea Island in the background

But, once we arrived, Aunty Joni shared a little bit about the history of the island. Ke'ehi means "tread upon" and before the area was dredged (starting in 1941) for sea planes, to build the reef runway, and to expand Sand Island, residents used to be able to walk from Mokauea and the other islands in Ke'ehi Lagoon to O'ahu at low tide. Ke'ehi lagoon used to be a very productive fishery and was Kamehameha III's royal fishing grounds.

After learning about the history of Moakuea and the surrounding areas, the Tree Huggers got to work by helping to weed the native plant plot.
Dedicated members Brianna and Malia working hard to clear the pickleweed

Another dedicated hugger of trees, Amy, working hard and busy

More dedicated huggers, Thomas and Pikake battling the pickleweed

They focused on removing the invasive pickleweed plant. It is edible and has salty tasting leaves (salt retention is an adaptation to living in a coastal environment).

It's native counterpart with a similar adaptation is considered to be the 'Akulikuli.

After a quick, but successful attack on the pickleweed, The Tree Huggers moved on to do a quick marine debris sweep and view of the island.
Mr. Horstman says: It's "get the drift and bag it," not "catch the wind and bag it"

Looking for marine debris

It was high tide and some of the tree huggers in training would not have been able to make it around the whole island so we stopped at the end of the fishpond to discuss the mangrove and its adaptations and then headed back in the canoes.

A couple of in-training members

Loading the canoe and heading back to O'ahu

See you next month!