Miloli’i means fine twist. The fine twist refers to the intricate, strong cordage that Miloli’i was known for throughout the islands. Miloli’i Village is known today as the “last fishing village” on the island. Inhabited mostly by families who have lived there for generations and whom still sustain themselves through fishing. To really get a sense of what this fine twist means, when we arrived at the the beach after hiking over the 1950 lava flow, past the fishing heiau and through the forest over grown with dragon fruit vine and overrun with feral goats, we tried our hand at the cordage that may have been of the most use in Miloli’i: coconut fiber fishing line. We found that the coconut we chose may have been a little bit too old, the fibers stiff and brittle, but despite this some of us were able to fashion thread up to a foot in length. After our cordage exploration, we took to the sea.
Everyone swam in the warm waters today and some who donned their goggles were able to see angel fish and what may have been the state trigger fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. For me, as an educator, one of the best things about even the possibility of seeing this fish is the great language lesson it provides. Many practiced this name for much of the rest of our day. Our swim was followed by lunch and a conversation about the two foods that would best sustain us if stranded on an island, which led to two foods we would bring if we weren’t thinking about what would actually keep us going, and a brief discussion about the noticeable difference. After reading about the local lava encounter in the 50s that shaped the geology of the area we were exploring, I pulled out a map of the 8 major islands in the Hawaiian archipelago and asked the group to create a sculpture, using what was around them to work together to recreate the map. Staff were able to help only when given directions. the group made a beautiful map of the island chain, outlines in the wet sand were filled in with small pebbles and larger rocks to represent larger volcanoes, some coconut fiber showed the recent lava flow. This provided a great way to talk about some of the distinguishing characteristics of each island, and the moats we had to build to protect our work of art some great spontaneous team building. We finished off our day with a final plung into the clear, warm water, the hike back to the vehicles and tales of Ohia and Lehua on the ride back to Pacific Quest.