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Internship & Volunteer FAQs

Are internships paid?
Whether or not an intern is paid or receives a stipend or other financial assistance depends on the funding situation of the project. Some HIMB internships offer financial compensation, others do not. There are many external funding opportunities prospective interns can apply for (listed elsewhere in this guide).

How long does an internship or volunteer position last?
This varies widely depending on the project and people involved. Some volunteers come for specific events that could be just a few weeks; some interns stay with us for as long as a couple years, often transitioning to new projects along the way. Some groups have a minimum internship length because of the time required to train an intern in the work or because of the nature of the project. The minimum length is often two or three months, but can be longer or shorter depending on the group and project.

I want to do a degree in marine biology. Who can I contact?
The Department of Biology at UH Mānoa offers a major in marine biology as well as a certificate in the Marine Option Program. HIMB does not award degrees.

Where can I park?
The HIMB parking lot is very small and there is no parking for interns or volunteers at the Lilipuna pier from 8am-5pm on weekdays. During those times, visitors should park at the Windward Mall. Directions to parking and information about a shuttle van that runs between the mall and the Lilipuna Pier can be found at www.himb.hawaii.edu/about-us/contact/. The parking area we can use at Windward Mall is subject to change, and you can check in the main office to be sure that you park in the proper place to avoid having your car towed.

The schedule for the boat between Lilipuna Pier and Moku o Loʻe is at www.himb.hawaii.edu/visit-mokuoloe/visiting-researchers/shuttle-boat-service/. Interns/volunteers can park at the HIMB parking lot from 5pm-8am weekdays and all day on weekends (at other times, a parking permit is required).

Can I drive a boat?
Most likely not.  In order to drive a boat on your own, you would need to take a boating course which contains information specific to Hawaiʻi; boating licenses from other states or countries may not be used. In addition, HIMB requires an on-water skills checkout with HIMB’s marine safety officer before you can be authorized to operate HIMB boats. In most cases, interns/volunteers are not trained to drive boats, because it isn’t generally needed and is an investment of time.

Can I get lunch at HIMB?
There’s one vending machine at HIMB, but no place else to get food, so people generally bring their lunch with them. Some individual labs have small fridges, coffee machines, microwaves, etc.  There is also a kitchen just off the main office that you can use that has a sink, fridge, microwave, stove, and oven.

What is there to do on Moku o Loʻe when work is over?
When conditions are safe, snorkelling with a buddy and a dive flag, paddleboarding, running/walking a mile-long wellness course, and admiring this beautiful location!

Practice defensive swimming/boating! Be careful of all boats at all times, especially of “party boats” in Kāneʻohe Bay (pontoons, flat, with a deck), which sometimes have inexperienced drivers.  Dive flags should always be used when you’re in deeper water or outside the reef or where there may be boat activity.  Dive flags are available from the marine safety office.  A popular place to snorkel on weekends, when there’s no boat activity in the area, is from the dock just behind and between the marine mammal lab and the boat house.  The boat channel (where the shuttle boat lands at low tide) and fleet lagoon (behind the Old Pauley Labs) are off limits unless your work is specifically for a research project, because those two areas have regular boat traffic.

Sometimes there’s a Friday pau hana (happy hour) at the Lagoon Pavilion, especially in the summer. (Remember that the drinking age in the US is 21, higher than some other countries.)

Occasionally the nearby military base will do training exercises in the air, land, or sea near HIMB. It’s best to stay out of the way.

What if I’m living on Moku o Loʻe but miss the last boat back to the island in the evening?
You’ll need to find a place to stay overnight.

What if there’s an emergency?
For a life-threatening emergency, first call 911.  Then contact HIMB security at (808)218-2014 (or after hours, call the Resident on duty at (808)391-7158).  Then call your HIMB faculty sponsor/PI.  Emergency services can meet you at Lilipuna pier.

For a minor emergency, contact HIMB security at (808)218-2014 (or after hours, call the Resident on duty at (808)391-7158).

First aid kits are in multiple places around the island.  These include the lagoon pavilion, the lighthouse, in the lobby between the main office and the Pauley classrooms, and the marine safety office.

There are three AED defibrillator kits on the island: one outside the grad student residence (west wing of the education building), one in the New Pauley labs near the double glass doors in the middle of the building (between the Hagedorn lab and Core lab), and one in the lobby between the main office and the Pauley classrooms.

Are there vehicles available?
There are several vehicles on Moku o Loʻe.  Some of these are community resources and should be used mindfully so that everyone can get their work done.  If you do not know specifically that a vehicle is one of the ones available, do not use it. Check with your mentor. Speed limit is 10 mph or less (think fast walk).  Vehicles, including tricycles, can be checked out at and returned to the lighthouse, where you leave your contact info in case someone needs a vehicle while you’re using it. The blue pickup trucks and bicycles are usually used only for maintenance and the shop staff.

Where can I learn more about Moku o Loʻe?
You can read about the island’s history at https://www.himb.hawaii.edu/about-us/history/ .  A map of the island can be found at https://www.himb.hawaii.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/coconut-map.jpg .

Can my family and friends come visit me?
The easiest way to visit the island is to join a tour run by HIMB’s Community Education Program (see https://www.himbcep.org/visit-us).  All visitors to Moku o Loʻe must have an HIMB faculty member or senior staff member as sponsor and must sign a waiver, and the Community Education Program can sponsor visitors.

What else do I need to know?
Consider carrying a rain jacket at all times, because HIMB is on the windward (rainy) side of Oʻahu. It also can be cold indoors at HIMB sometimes, and some people like to have a sweater handy.  Closed shoes are required if you’ll be doing lab work.  There are water fountains on the island, and you may want to bring a reusable water bottle.