Friday, July 11, 2014

Turtle Independence Day+

Friday, 4th of July, last week saw a group of friends and I driving over from the east side  to the south-west side of the Big Island. We were present for the "Turtle Independence Day" ceremonies in the morning. In the evening, we danced to the music of a band that we like a lot. And in between, we relaxed at the beach.

It was my first time to be at the Turtle Independence Day ceremonies although the ritual has been going on for 25 years now.

At the Mauna Lani Resort along the Kohala Coast four adult green sea turtles were released into the ocean. But it wasn't that simple. Of course. Nothing in Hawaii is simple when it comes to the environment. "Aloha" and  Nature are simply inextricable.

The turtles  were released, one by one, into the ocean after a winding procession from their  "pool-home" to the sandy beach of the resort and finally to the waiting blue Pacific. There was pomp-and- circumstance galore -- Hawaiian style.
Conch shell blowers looked up to the brilliantly blue sky and let out their haunting call as the leaf-wrapped cart containing the turtles  lumbered its way to the beach.
Although many like me ignored the beating sun and walked behind the cart, there were already people in vantage positions lining the beach and even soaked in the ocean. Some said that nobody better block their view. They've been in their places waiting patiently since the crack of dawn.
halau (cultural group) danced traditional Kahiko hula to drumming and chanting. I didn't understand a word. But from the hand gestures and the tone of voices, I imagined them paying homage to the Honu.

The ceremonies fascinated me. Fortunately, I managed to remember to bring my camera. But I wanted to kick myself for forgetting my wide-angle lens.

Below are some pictures I took of my  day.

The turtles were taken from a pond at the Mauna Lani resort

The turtles were transported from the pond to the beach in a cart decorated with palm and ti leaves.

This one apparently likes cameras and abruptly stuck its head right in front of my camera lens.

Conch shell blowing

Dancers of Hālau Nā Kīpuʻupuʻu 

Paying homage to the Honu.


 There was chanting on the beach as the turtles were released.

A turtle being carried from the cart to the water


Later at the beach

The gang  early evening just before dancing at the Blue Dragon in Kawaihae

We saw this rainbow on our way back home

Please click on the link below for a link to a video of Turtle Independence Day taken in 2011
Posted with Aloha!


  1. If the turtles are happy and the music is good, I like it!

  2. It was a great day. Got sunburned standing in the water waiting for their release but definitely worth it. E [long 'a'] Honu, E Honu, E Honu, E!

  3. Lovely pictures. This will also encourage tourists to respect nature.