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November 20, 2020

By Anthony Florig

Today we had three young adult students attend a record-breaking outing to the various beach parks of Keaukaha in Hilo. Never before on an outing have we had so many turtle sightings; 15 in all!

The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, or honu, is the largest hard-shelled turtle in the world. They grow over 4 feet long and can weigh over 300 lbs. They were hunted close to extinction but have been a protected endangered species since 1973, and the population has been on the rise ever since.

A student floats in a tide pool after learning a bit about relaxation from resident honu.

We learned some valuable lessons from these turtles today, most importantly how to relax. There always seems to be so much going on in the world, and we all need to rush around every day from this to that, making sure we are all doing all the things. Well, not the Honu. The students remarked how “chill” they were.

We observed them casually floating around blissfully in the shallows, or better yet sprawled out and basking in the Sun. We tried to copy their behavior and adopt their laissez-faire attitude. After talking about it, we realized we would only want to be a sea turtle for a day or two, then we would probably get bored.

We trekked along an outcropping of lava rocks to a secret remote tide pool known as the mermaid pool. We floated. We embodied the chill vibes of the Honu while we could. We soaked up the Sun and the salt while it lasted, before having to return to our normal responsibilities.

Over lunch we talked about transition. What comes next? What happens after Pacific Quest? What are my responsibilities when I leave? We can’t just all float in tide pools all day like giant turtles. But, it sure does seem like a good idea to embody the honu every once in awhile… I might go so far as to say that it is our responsibility to do so.

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