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March, 2010:

The Island Wants You

Aloha: Welcome to Hawaii via MPD01605 on Flickr

Aloha: Welcome to Hawaii via MPD01605 on Flickr

When we first arrived many people said to us, “Well, if you got here the island must want you.”  “If things work out easily once you’re here, like finding a car easily, you’ll know the island wants you.”  “If the island doesn’t want you here, you’ll know- stuff will happen to you and you’ll leave.”–The Little Travelers

105 Jellyfish

Baby Box Jelly Fish via VannaGocaraRupa on Flickr

Baby Box Jelly Fish via VannaGocaraRupa on Flickr

Oahu lifeguards spotted slightly more than 100 box jellyfish today as the monthly influx has dropped off considerably. — Honolulu Advertiser

What’s with the jelly count? Once a month — maybe eight to twelve days after a full month — box jellies come close to the beaches to spawn. They’re so predictable that there’s an online calendar; obsessive types could plan their trip to Hawaii around the jellyfish.

Hawaii’s box jellies are unique in their predictable arrivals: they come near shore to spawn 8 to 12 days after each full moon. John Culliney, Professor of Biology at Hawaii Pacific University, said that other members of the same phylum, including corals, also time their spawns based on the lunar cycle.

“They do this because it’s easier to concentrate the eggs and sperm all together,” Culliney said. What is unique about C. alata is that nowhere else in the world are box jellyfish quite so reliably on-time. No one is yet able to answer why. —The Blob That Attacked Waikiki: The Box Jellyfish Invasion of Hawaii

Box jellies are poisonous and apparently, the sting hurts like hell. You don’t want your vacation wrecked by this:

Stings are not often fatal, but can hurt a great deal and may lead to an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include: mild burning, redness to severe blisters and welts. If you contact a Man of War, try to immediately take out the tentacles with anything but your bare hands and teeth. Rinse with fresh or salt water but do not use vinegar. Some people will say to do this, but it often makes stings worse. If symptoms are more than mildly uncomfortable, contact a physician. — Garden Isle

It’s common sense, of course, but if the jellyfish warning signs are out, that’s the day you head for the aquarium or the museum. That’s the day you take a nap or go find the best shrimp truck on the North Shore or go shopping for an ‘ukulele. The weird translucent creatures aren’t going to stick around — let them have the shallows for a few days. Always, always, always, check the beach signs and if you’re not sure, ask a lifeguard.

Beaches in Hawaii are closed from time to time for a variety of reasons — dangerously high tides, shark sightings, and box jellies being among them. Take a minute to remember that you’re standing on a tiny island in the middle of Pacific — and give nature a little respect. It’s all for your safety.

HoloHolo Links

Japanese Tour Group at the Pali Lookout

Japanese Tour Group at the Pali Lookout from Nerd's Eye View

A Crash Course in Hawaiian Sovereignity Issues

The WSJ published this complicated editorial about the Akaka Bill — more formally know as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. Even if you don’t agree with the conclusions it’s worth a read for a look into the tangled mess that is the struggle for Native Hawaiian rights.

The bill creates a complex federal framework under which most of the nation’s approximately 400,000 ethnic Hawaiians can organize themselves into one vast Indian tribe. It endows the tribe with the “inherent powers and privileges of self-government,” including the privilege of sovereign immunity from lawsuit. It also by clear implication confers the power to tax, to promulgate and enforce a criminal code, and to exercise eminent domain. Hawaii will in effect be two states, not one.

Congress Tries to Break Hawaii in Two: A racial spoils precedent that could lead to new ‘tribal’ demands across the U.S. — WSJ