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Voyage to Kure: The Northwest Hawaiian Islands

<< Expedition Diaries | About the Islands

Pearl and Hermes Atoll

Satellite photo of Pearl and Hermes Atoll

Hawaiian name: Holoikauaua (“the dog-like animal that swims in the rough”, i.e., the Hawaiian monk seal).

Shape is constantly changing, with islets emerging and subsiding.

Named after the Pearl and the Hermes, two English whaling ships that wrecked on the reef during a storm in 1822. At least six other vessels have been lost in the area as well.

Too small to be of much interest to miners and feather hunters, so has been spared some of the ecological devastation seen elsewhere in the NWHI.

Waters are a prime mating area for spinner dolphins.

Waters have the highest biomass (weight per area) and the greatest number of fish species in the NWHI.

Angelfish, considered rare in the rest of the NWHI, are commonly seen on the reefs.

Scientists are constantly discovering new invertebrate species (e.g., sponges and corals) on the reefs.