Stories have been shared about this certain type of fish found at Loko ea, ka iʻa lauoho loloa o ke kai or the longhaired fish of the sea. What is this mysterious fish you ask? It is the limu or seaweed. Poʻe kānaka had a beautiful way with words to poetically portray many things. Now the question remains, what type of limu are we talking about?
It is the limu ʻeleʻele. Through talk story sessions with members of the Sato family, a family that leased the land in the mid 1900s, we have learned of the abundance of limu ʻeleʻele and where it grew in the pond. If you are familiar with this limu species, then you know that it is found where fresh water meets the ocean, whether at a stream mouth or from an underwater spring in the ocean. At Loko ea, it grew abundantly near the Western cave where many springs are located. In the book KA POʻE KAHIKO O WAIʻANAE, my tūtū wahine kuakahi or great-grandmother mentions the limu ʻeleʻele of Anahulu, the stream adjacent to Loko ea, here is a little excerpt from her story, “Further down from Kaiaka where we lived was the Anahulu Stream and, after a heavy rain pour, we would go down to the stream to gather the limu ʻeleʻele. All the people of the area would run to the river with their buckets to fill with this limu ʻeleʻele.” What a sight it must’ve been to see the whole community at the river mouth gathering limu in buckets.
Through the years, we have seen limu ʻeleʻele growing in different areas throughout the pond. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t last long due to the changing conditions. In 2017, Uncle Buddy Keala suggested utilizing floating 2x4 planks in the areas known to have the limu. Three twenty-feet test lines with four 2x4s attached were set out and monitored. The wood showed promising results with the limu beginning to grow. Unfortunately, the fish began to graze the limu and all planks were left with short patchy areas. After a decline in progress, test trials would end in early August, sending us back to the drawing board. Weeks later, to our surprise limu would begin to grow in an unsuspected place. Patches of limu began to grow in the newly made loko iʻa kalo or taro patch pond located at the mouth of the Eastern cave where a spring flows into Keiki pond. The limu absolutely loved this area and grew in very thick. I would love to end this article with a happy ending but the limu would disappear in mid October within a week. Was it a change in weather or was it the tilapia? Until our next newsletter, I’ll leave you to ponder this question.
Kiaʻi o Loko ea
Loko Iʻa Fun Fact
Not only do loko iʻa provide a diverse amount of seafood they are also incredible indicators of the health of an ahupuaʻa, a land division from mountains to the sea. Want to learn more? Come visit us in Haleʻiwa.