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Voyage to Kure: The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

<< Expedition Diaries | About the Islands

Lisianski Island

Satellite photo of  Lisianski Island

Hawaiian name: Papa’apoho (“flat island with a depression”).

Named after Urey Lisianski, a Russian navy captain whose ship, the Neva, ran aground on the island in 1805.

Highest point is only 40 feet.

Rats (brought accidentally by a boat rescuing shipwreck survivors in 1844) and rabbits (deliberately introduced by humans) have together devastated the island’s ecology.

Public outcry over the feather trade that began on Lisianski in 1904 was part of what prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to establish the Hawaiian Island Bird Reservation in 1909.

In one feather-poaching raid in 1910, armed officials confiscated 1.4 tons of feathers, equal to the feathers of 140,400 birds.

The reef’s predators (sharks, jacks and others) are especially aggressive and will harass divers and small boats.

Waters are filled with a wide variety of algae, explained by some researchers as the effect of nutrient-rich guano washing into the ocean.