Today our program helped to clean up a beach that was affected by the 2012 tsunami that hit the island. Also we visited the summit of mana kea one of the tallest mountains in the world.
Our service project was a beach cleanup combined with a really fun sand castle building contest. The beach cleanup was pretty uneventful for me as i didn’t find much of any waste. This was the case for everyone other than a few people who found things. However while we were searching for trash one of our group members found an elusive Hawaiian monk seal which was sleeping on the beach. He was a highlight of this project and inspired my friends and I to create a monk seal in the sand castle contest. Sadly our group lost the contest to a model of the island of Hawaii( I still think we got ripped off).
Next our group to the trip to the summit of mana kea. The way up the mountain was incredible as we were able to see above the clouds and were very well informed on history and about the various landmarks by our guide Jeff. Once we got to the top I felt a headache coming on but this didn’t stop me from seeing the incredible sunset that can really be seen from no where else in the world due to the elevation and complete lack of pollution. The air and light pollution is trapped by the layer of clouds surrounding the mountain making for excellent stargazing. This is why we went up and also why there are 13 high powered telescopes that sit atop the mountain. This has been very controversial due to the fact that the mountain is a sacred place tot the Hawaiian people and these telescopes intrude on their sacred land. After the sunset we traveled down 1000 feet to stargaze at this was the point where I had to tap out and close my eyes in the van as my head began to hurt really badly. I am still sad about this because I missed out on the perfect viewing opportunity of many stars and planets. This was a fun way to end the trip although I’m sad it’s over it was a really cool and fun experience and I really hope I’m able to go on the marine bio 2 trip the next year.