We are six girls from Enchanted Lake Elementary School in Kailua, Hawai'i who had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. While at Coconut Island we went reef walking in Kaneohe Bay. As we were standing in the cold, salty water, we found a soft, innocent-looking yellow sponge and decided to pick it up. Little did we know that this sponge would release its painful defense mechanism upon contact with our hands. This sponge, which seemed harmless, was actually a marine creature known for its painful stings. When it becomes irritated, it releases little needlelike spikes that make your hand swollen, irritated, and sore, as if there were needles being stabbed into your skin a million times. You should have seen our hands! They were swollen like a balloon, white like bleached coral, and ached for at least a day! For two Keiki Korals, the soreness lasted for two and a half days.
We learned that we should never touch anything in the coral reef. Please follow this rule to prevent future incidents like ours.