Turtle Independence Day at Mauna Lani Bay


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Honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) raised at Sea Life Park on Oahu were brought to the Big Island and released at Mauna Lani Bay in the annual Turtle Independence Day event Monday. (Photos courtesy of Mauna Lani Bay Hotel)

MEDIA RELEASE

Around 800 people flocked to The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows for its annual Fourth of July “Turtle Independence Day.”

For 22 years the Big Island resort has hosted this special celebration that honors the honu and educates the public about this threatened species.

Mauna Lani receives baby honu from Oahu’s Sea Life Park when they are 3-5 months old and raises them in the resort’s saltwater ponds.

The honu are cared for until they grow to a size and weight that is deemed appropriate for release into the ocean, which is typically 2-3 years or until they grow to a minimum shell length of 35 cm.

Five honu were released this years making it a total of 215 green sea turtles that Mauna Lani has released.

The five honu released were:

  • Kanai: Meaning smooth, calm of the sea
  • Ku lua: Meaning Fourth day of the old lunar month, which is the Hawaiian moon phase for July 4, 2011
  • Olino: Meaning bright, brilliant, dazzling
  • Pilialoha: Meaning close friendship, beloved companion, to have a loving or tender relationship
  • Wai puna: Meaning spring water (also used as a figure of speech for a sweetheart)

Among the dignitaries selected to release the turtles were Mary Freeman, who celebrated her 16th birthday, and newlyweds (who got married July 2 at Mauna Lani), Christen Moynihan and Leigh Hunter.

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