Cover Story continued

Hook, line, hands, feet and spear

If you never know what to give Uncle Junior or Auntie Miko, who love the ocean, you’re covered. This is the book. You no need even read: Just page through the pictures, many of them of smiling fishermen of various ethnicities holding their catch in dripping, old-fashioned swimsuits; famous faces, such as Jack Ackerman (the black coral man) and Duke Kahanamoku and his brothers, and “just folks” posing for friends shooting with Brownies or Instamatics.

But do read. For here, in simple but meticulously researched text by a 33-year Kamehameha Schools teacher, is a story that begins with spearfish leaping to their deaths in Hawaiian voyaging canoes (to much rejoicing, one imagines); divers who for generations went deep, deep with only a wooden spear and their strong feet and hands, climbing down sea cliffs and making clicking noises to attract curious fish, the “Squid Ladies” of Puako wading along the shores off the Kohala Coast, slapping the water to bring hee running to their refuges, where they would be speared. The designer cleverly juxtaposed the bloodless look of a sea chart or an architectural plan with the warm brown-tinted photos and the effect is mesmerizing.

THE EVOLUTION OF FREEDIVING and History of Spearfishing in Hawaii by Sonny Tanabe

Fluid Media Publishing, 2012

200 pages,$34.95