About Hana Hou!
Hawaiian Airlines
Contact Us
Liquid Sunrise - A North Shore morning by Clark Little
Vol. 12, No. 1
February/March 2009

  >>   Oasis
  >>   The Beat Goes On

Deep Horizon 

story by Liza Simon
photos by Monte Costa


The first time I ever heard of Ofu’s lagoon,
I was in Honolulu talking with social scientist Mike Hamnett, who’d spent time in the waters of this remote part of American Samoa. “I can die now,” he’d told me—melodramatic but earnest—as he described the place. Now I am here on Ofu myself, suited up and about to enter the same lagoon. I am prepared to be awed … and I am not disappointed. Underwater, I find a graceful world of shape and color: One moment a school of tiny orange fish materializes to give a mass embrace to a jagged forest of coral. Next, a solo crab raises its shell from the sand, sees me and vanishes into a crevice. A parrotfish whizzes by. A pair of butterfly fish swims near. Strangest of all, a bold yellow-and-blue fish hovers beside me and then decides to follow me. I make a U-turn and it makes a U-turn, I dive deep and it dives deep. It is what Samoans call an alogo, a surgeonfish. We swim though the reef architecture together, and I marvel at everything around me, including my new companion. I hadn’t expected a fish to befriend me here—but as I am learning, Ofu’s lagoon is full of surprises.