ALA ʻAUMOANA KAI ULI: E/V Nautilus Brings Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to People Around the World
During September of 2023, Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) and partners broadcasted an expedition live, allowing viewers to join along in witnessing unseen deep-sea habitats. The expedition took place aboard E/V Nautilus with remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and seafloor mapping operations in the largely unexplored northwestern section of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. While the expedition's main focus was the geology and biology of unexplored seamounts, the operating area included several historically-significant shipwrecks associated with the World War II Battle of Midway.
The Name: Ala ʻAumoana Kai Uli
Papahānaumokuākea is a sacred place, a realm of the gods, from which Kānaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiians) believe life evolved, and to which souls return after death. With this understanding, the expedition name Ala ʻAumoana Kai Uli (Path of the Deep Sea Traveler) was crafted with members of Papahānaumokuākea's Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group, OET, and monument staff. The name speaks to the respectful deep-sea research that was conducted on the expedition while also affirming our collective kuleana, or responsibility and accountability, in protecting our shared ocean.