Oases in the Lava: NELHA and the Kalahuipuaa Fish Ponds

Day one of our Kona trip started bright and early for the ALP class XVI. After a cheerful HNL lounge reunion we boarded for Big Island, but not before commiserating on HB1326 and sharing all the latest news and gossip. Our class has jelled and there is much love and aloha to share.

We arrived at NELHA, an amazing facility that pipes up cold ocean water from as far as 2 miles offshore, and found the first amazing food offering of the day. Olelo Paa, our most Kona Ag leader prepped some tasty vittles for us, not limited to and including veggies from Julia’s garden along with her farm sesame seeds! Wow!

(The NELHA classroom is cooled by deep sea water which creates the perfect temperature for information absorption and vigorous Q&A)

After having our minds blown by the power of OTEC (a form of convection engine used to create electricity from the temperature differential between deep ocean water temps and those of the surface), we learned about the new species discovered in the filters of this intrepid sea vacuum, and some of the spectacular tenants that also benefit from the cold water and provide revenues that support the enterprise.

Blue Ocean Mariculture, our next stop at NELHA, raises Kona Kampachi called Kahala in Hawaiian (Seriola rivoliana). We had a delightful tour and got to see the brood stock bring fed! Don’t stick your finger in Nick!!

Next we visited Cyanotech who produce high quality Spirulina, and Bio-Astin which is a powerful antioxidant. We were blessed to have Jerry the founder and Chief Science Officer lead our tour. We saw where the spirulina comes from

We also learned how stressing Haematococcus algae causes it to turn red and produce prodigious amounts of Astraxanthin, a powerful antioxidant.


A short drive to the Vanillerie for lunch and then it was hurry up and wait. Because, our wonderful host ag leader had prepared us one of our best meals yet!!


After lunch we spent a memorable afternoon with Kaniala Dan Akaka, the senators son and a culture carrier with Mana. Kaniela works for Mauna Lani resort as the cultural advisor and boy are they lucky to have him! We saw the ‘spirit cave’ (so called by Japanese visitors who take photos with a natural halo effect created)

We then saw another oasis, the kalahuipuaa fish pond complex. This was a favorite of Kamemeha who would have his favorite servant run across the island to bring him back live fish from the pond when he got the craving. Kaniela shared lots of good stories and lore, and was a perfect component to the six seminar arc of our ALP experience. Afterwards I even found an old Kay bass with guy strings and Kaniela and I had a good jam on Little Grass Shack.

Food shopping, back to the Kamuela Inn, write blog and moemoe for this guy. Although I heard some others were going to find the best beer in Hawaii. Perhaps I’ll try that another night!

Aloha Ahiahi!!

Will Lydgate

Day One

ALP Seminar 6 Kona

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