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March 2007

From the Editor...


Rochelle delaCruz

The Ocean Around Us  

There was no grand plan to focus this month on the Pacific Ocean; it just turned out that way. When I spent the month of January in Hilo, I read two items in the local newspapers that got my attention: first from Carey Morishige of NOAA about the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, a vortex of trash that accumulates and inevitably finds it way to Hawai`i. And another about recycling from Howard Wiig who is an energy analyst with the State of Hawaii. When I contacted both about writing something for Northwest Hawai`i Times, they readily agreed and even sent photos! We all know that trash is a huge problem everywhere, but it is especially so on small islands with limited resources.

At the same time, I was getting updated with email and photos from the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) on the progress of the canoes as they make their way to Mau Piailug and then on to Japan (see story in the February issue). Leona Lueders also forwarded email from her brother Kawika who just left Hawai`i to join the crew of the Hōkūle`a, and I knew you’d enjoy reading it too. In the last message I got from PVS, its leader Nainoa Thompson said that “this voyage to Micronesia and Japan is the most complex and dangerous ever undertaken…As the seasons move from winter to summer [with] its warmer oceans…the chances of cyclonic activity begins to increase dramatically. A typhoon in this area would put the success of the voyage to Japan and the safety of Hokule'a and its crew at considerable risk….”

As the voyage had already been delayed two weeks in Hawai`i due to weather, the need to keep to its schedule is now even more crucial as it gets warmer, and we will all be watching for their safe return.

Because we are all connected by the wide and vast Pacific, this month’s stories are reminders that we must not only pay attention to the ocean’s moods and movements, but also take care of its health. The Pacific Ocean is a force to neither ignore nor take for granted. ~RdC

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