Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 1st week in September - blue whale

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 1st week in September:

The blue whale, largest of the whales, migrates through Hawaiian waters at this time of year. Exactly where it is going and why, no one knows, in part because it keeps to the deep seas and in part because whaling has reduced the herds so much that observation is more difficult than ever. Happily, there are signs that the population of blue whales is on the rise.

Though one report tells of small whales being driven into Hilo Bay and later consumed, it seems safe to say that the Hawaiians generally did not hunt or eat whales, which they classed together under the name koholā. Apparently the Hawaiians dealt mainly with beached whales and valued them primarily for their ivory, known as palaoa, whose most prominent use was in the royal lei niho palaoa.

A proverb says, "Above, below, the upland, the lowland, the whale that washes ashore - all belong to the ali'i."

Taken from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

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