Fishing for a Princess…

Eight days after the departure of Mr. Thurston and his companions, I followed in a small schooner belonging to Keopuolani, bound first to Lahaina, and then to Hawaii for sandal wood. Kalakua, one of the queens of the late Kamehameha, and Kekauruohe her daughter, were proceeding in the same vessel to join the king and other chiefs at Maui. The trade wind blew fresh from the north-east, and the sea was unusually rough in the channel between Oahu and Molokai. The schooner appeared to be a good sea-boat, but proved a very uncomfortable one; the deck, from stem to stern, being continually overflowed, all who could not get below were constantly drenched with the spray. The cabin was low, and so filled with the chief women and their companions, that, where space could be found sufficient to stand or sit, it was hardly possible to endure the heat. The evening, however, was fine, and the night free from rain.


At daylight next morning, being close in with the west point of Molokai, we tacked, and stood to the Southward till noon, when we again steered to the northward, and at four o’clock in the afternoon were within half a mile of the high bluff rocks which form the southern point of Lanai. A light air then came off the land, and carried us slowly along the shore, till about an hour before sunset, when Kekauruohe said she wished for some fish, and requested the master to stop the vessel while she went to procure them among the adjacent rocks. Her wishes were gratified, and the boat was hoisted out. Kekauruohe and three of her female attendants proceeded towards the rocks that lie along the base of the precipice, about half a mile distant. The detention thus occasioned afforded time to observe more particularly the neighboring coast. The face of the high and perpendicular rocks in this part of the island indicate that Lanai is either of volcanic origin, or, at some remote period, has undergone the action of fire. Different strata of lava, of varied color and thickness, are distinctly marked from the water’s edge to the highest point. These strata, lying almost horizontally, are in some places from 12 to 20 feet thick, in others not more than a foot or eighteen inches. After fishing about an hour, Kekauruohe and her companions returned with a quantity of limpets, periwinkles, of which they made a hearty supper. The wind died away with the setting of the sun, until about 9 P. M. when a light breeze came from the land, and wasted us slowly on our passage. (Ellis)

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(These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)


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