October 17th: Snug in Snug Harbor
Written By Dan Suthers October 17th, 2004
In the morning, as the island of O`ahu began to draw near, an "all hands" meeting was held to discuss procedures our arrival in Honolulu, such as payment of bills for the ship's store and clearing customs. Everyone was packing their personal effects, and organizing other gear to be offloaded over the next few days. Early afternoon many of us suspended our work and went on deck to watch O`ahu approach and observe our entry into the harbor. After weeks of seeing no land higher than about 20 feet above sea level, O`ahu looked massive!
We sailed directly into Honolulu Harbor to Snug Harbor at its far end. While our friends and family gathered on the dock waiting, the crew undertook the delicate job of docking the Hi`ialakai in cross-winds. We said our hellos from a distance, then were requested to bring our passports or other identification to customs officials in the aft mess. Meanwhile, the crew put the gangplank in place and began to hook up "shore services" for water and electricity.
This was an emotional time: greeting loved ones we have not seen for over a month while saying farewell to new friends and leaving the ship that served us so well. Plans for social gatherings in the evening helped us extend these farewells.
At 1100 Sunday a press conference was held on the bridge of the Hi`ialakai. Along with several reporters and photographers, those present included the Commanding Officer Scott Kuester (pictured left), `Aulani Wilhelm (Acting Reserve Coordinator) and Naomi Sodetani (Media Coordinator) representing the Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, Co-Chief Scientists Randy Kosaki and Peter Vroom, Greta Aeby and Jean Kenyon of the coral team, Brian Zgliczynski representing the towed diver survey team, Darla White of the fish REA team, Kyle Hogrefe representing oceanography's mooring team, Stephani Holzwarth who worked with mooring and with outreach photographers David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton (both also present), and myself (Dan Suthers) representing Education. (See our participant directory for affiliations.) After `Aulani greeted us with leis, Randy and Scott summarized the voyage as best as is possible in a few minutes, and the floor was opened for questions from the reporters. The consensus was that this has been a remarkably successful expedition, especially in light of the fact that this was the Hi`ialakai's maiden voyage. One might have expected only a "shake-down" cruise, but the crew and scientists quickly adapted to the new situation: together were able to gather a great deal of data and make some new discoveries.
The voyage does not end here. The scientists continue their voyage of discovery as they analyze their data, and we will continue to contribute feature stories to this website on the research being undertaken. There will also be more research and education expeditions by this and other Hawai`i-based NOAA ships. In fact, planning meetings for the next two years begin tomorrow! Stay with us as we continue to explore our special islands and learn to understand and manage these rich and complex ecoystems. Perhaps they will also teach us something about how to sustain life on this Blue Planet.
Related News Stories:
NOAA Press Release
New NOAA Vessel Completes Maiden Voyage -- NOAA Online News