First Full Day on

Today was the first full day that we had on the island of Kauai, and waking up after the travel day was harder than most others.

The first place we went today was the taro fields, or lo’i, from the community college out in the island. Taro fields are flooded plains where taro is grown but also aware hydroponics are used to breed fish at the same time creating a multi phase feeding apparatus for community. It is a source of national pride to have a lo’i due to its very strong historical connection to the old way of living in Hawaii. Lo’i were the main source of food for a kingdom, and if a Chief were to have many in their domain it was a sign of strength.

The current way that the lo’i were being run was not completely in line with the tradition kind of management. The ‘Auwai system used switch backs to sustainability water the taro fields by having the taro field between two streams of differing elevation. Through this process the fields were able to be flooded as an extension of the natural water system, where the water would go back into the environment once used without it being lost. This connection is lost in the current setup when using pipes to flood the lo’i as it currently stands.

After their generous tour of the lo’i the family took us on a trip to a few significant sites in the region. The first was a fish pond that had a record of being built by the tribes that existed before any contact with Europeans. This had a feeding capacity for an entire region and was hailed as one of the most advanced mechanisms of food production that existed at the time. It was unfortunately overgrown by many invasive species that had been brought over by Europeans and was currently for sale for a price of 12 million dollars; a much too high price for an locals. After that we went to a similar site down the road where many individuals had worked hard to clear out the invasive species covering the fish pond, which proved that it was possible to restore these sites to their former selves.

After leaving the family, we the went on a slight road trip to Waimea canyon where there was a beautiful view over much of the island. It should be noted that there were even roosters at the elevation of 3370.9 feet. Our final destination was a lookout point which could see all the way down to the ocean through the fog. This was somewhat scary due to the lack of any type of railing and the notoriously weak constitution of the dirt on volcanic islands. All in all it was a wonderful introduction to an island that told a unique side of the Hawaiian story.


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