Weekly Summary--Week 2 (01/07/14)

The bloom gets worse--it really does

It took only a few dives last week to declare this bloom worse than the one we'd experienced in 1991.

Yet we realized this was only early July and this slime still had most of the summer to billow and bloom.

It's now so bad that in the shallows we can't see at all. It's only green slime. The Cladophora is now so thick it actually impedes our swimming! How do you show images of what the shallows here look like when the camera can't "see" anything either?

We even have optical "after-images"--we see algae drifting in front of our eyeballs even when we're not in the water!

Can it really get worse than this?

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So it had to happen--we hesitantly asked ourselves, "Can it really get worse than this?"

Yeah. We think it can.

Ed. note: See also the coverage in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

The count so far

This week's count, while not complete, shows that we have 96 turtles of which 72 (or 75%) are resights from other years.

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McTaggert (above right, known since 1992) and friend.


Lyngbya update

This week we concentrated on the other "weed" blooming here. It's a blue-green algae called Lyngbya majuscula. Like summers before, Lyngbya litters the bottom from North House through to the Lahaina-side of the Reef 2 complex.

It's capital "U" Ugly here

With such slimy gawd-awful conditions it should be no surprise that we dive with great reluctance.

With such slimy gawd-awful conditions it should be no surprise that we dive with great reluctance.

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Ursula is reminded of growing up in the Fifties and baths on Sunday night. To avoid over-straining the water heater, at least one sister had to share the bath water of another. Ursula found herself always going in after a younger sibling.

Baths in the Fifties were taken with reluctance--Ursula was certain the bath contained more than water and soap!

It's the same here with the diving. We're convinced there's more than just water and scummy algae. Many dives are done as obligations to the turtles where once there was eagerness and joy.

Documenting foraging

We continue to document foraging behaviour. This week we've watched two turtles foraging, and both targeted Amansia. In both instances the Amansia was coated with a red-brown film we've seen infesting the bottom here for years.

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We're now turning more attention to this scum since it blankets everything, especially conventional turtle forage, such as Amansia glomerata as shown in the three images above.

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In the most recent incident, we spied Uwapo (known since 1997 and a fibropapilloma regression case) working the bottom, plucking plant material from between coral rubble. We hurried over the videotape the event. Like his honu friend a few days earlier, Uwapo (image on the right) was also feeding on Amansia.

..but enough about slime and scum

We documented several interesting behaviours this week. The Behaviour of the Week, however, was a scuffle between a male and McTaggert, one of our tagged females. We've known McTaggert since 1992 and on this day she was resting peacefully at Hale Manu, minding her own business.

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A young male flies in unannounced.


He proceeded to crowd McTaggert, who was not impressed.

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Then, a young male flies in unannounced. He proceeded to crowd McTaggert, who was not impressed. He pressed no further and proceeded to settle down. McTaggert appeared satisfied at first, but then, as if she felt the need to reinforce her displeasure, she gave him one last "READ MY LIPS!"

It would appear that in the honu world, male/female ranking doesn't count so much as size. McTaggert is much bigger than the intruder--and that means she's got a bigger beak and bite!

That's not the end of the story, however. Ursula kept videotaping because whenever two honu are that close together there is potential for mayhem. It was not to be. As if frustrated that he couldn't impose his will on a mere female, the male turned his crabbiness towards Ursula and gave her a gaping yawn.

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HARRUMPPPH! MALES! Ursula backed away...


Week 3 Summary
Summer of '01 at Honokowai
Turtle Happenings
Who's Who Underwater at Honokowai
Table of Contents
Last modified 01/07/21
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