Along with champion paddler Donna Kahakui, Lee Loy paddled 200-miles from O'ahu to Ni'ihau to help promote ocean conservation.
adds, "Paddling with Donna
, I felt like the whole ocean catered to her
It was amazing.
Things just went her
way, and because I was with her
I didn't feel as tired."
This four-day trek was monumental for Kahakui
and her nonprofit organization, Kai Makana, as it marked the end of a series of yearly paddles dedicated to ocean awareness.
Starting in 1998, Kahakui
paddled 78-miles from Maui to O'ahu
The following year she
made a 140-mile solo paddle from the Big Island to O'ahu
In 2000, she
completed another 140-mile trip, circumnavigating around O'ahu
In 2001, it was off to New York where she
paddled 55-miles down the Hudson River from West Point to the Statue of Liberty.
distance paddles because she's
tired of people not caring for the ocean's resources.
says, dolphins with cuts from abandoned nets, trash floating in the ocean, and a severe decline in nearshore fish are all parts of the problem.
says, "Our ancestors were the best conservationists and scientists and we've lost that.
We have to take a look back at our traditional history and ask how Hawaiians
were able to figure out ahupua'a concepts and how they knew when to fish for certain species.
These traditional Hawaiians worked on abundance for the resource, not just sustaining it.
They always worked on providing for the next generation."
These sentiments ring true to Ross Tilton, a young paddler who looks up to Kahakui
and Lee Loy.
Donna Kahiwaokawailani Kahakui
, 42, renowned paddler and founder of Kai Makana, a non-profit organization dedicated to perpetuating ocean awareness for the next generation, has made the isolated village a top priority for her beach clean-up events.
explains that she
has been coming to the island for the past three years.
says, "These people are trying to sustain the old fishing ways by using throw net and developing a fish pond, but so many people come out here and over fish the area."
is passionate about the environment.
Along with her paddling career and Kai Makana organization, she is also a federal agent for the Environmental Protection Agency.
explains that most of the trash found on Mokauea floats from Oahu's Sand Island area.
To illustrate her
point Kahakui held up a photograph she
snapped during a September 2004 trip to Kaho'olawe.
In the photo thousands of pounds of trash are visible on the uninhabited Island.
says, "Nobody lives there and this is how much rubbish is at Kanapou Bay, this is where we went.
And when we actually did the clean-up, unfortunately, it still kind of looked like this."
But regardless of how measurable clean-up efforts appear on the surface, Kahakui
says the most important thing she
does is educate the next generation of local conservationists.
used to be the best scientists in the world and we still can't figure out half the things they did.
So to try and get all Polynesian kids involved in science with them not even recognizing the science is a major goal."
continues, "Get outside learn how to paddle, go to another place, take care of other people, and learn that water is not necessarily as clean as you may think.