…annnnnd… We’re back! (July 3-12, 2008)

July 12th, 2008  

5 months is way shorter than 10!

It’s Maui out again! Visiting in January/February really helped a lot, especially considering that the past winter was more unpleasant than usual. I don’t know how we’ll handle next winter, since we’ll be enduring or normal 10 month hiatus. On the other hand, I really don’t want to dwell on that downer until absolutely necessary. On to happier topics…

The Book of Honu

When last we left you, our book was still in layout. Not long after we got back to Mississauga, we got a PDF for proofreading purposes. We’d been anxious to get this because up till then we had no idea what the book would look like. Once we opened it, however, we saw that our anxiety was misplaced. I know we’re biased, but the book is simply stunning. The UHP book designer, April Leidig-Higgins, did an amazing job. The graphic accents and overall layout are beautiful.

I’m a font geek and I was concerned that we might wind up with some mundane or ugly font (can you say Times-Roman? ) but I need not have worried. The text is set in Minion Pro, which I love. Okay, I know most of the readers will never care, but it was important to me. It’s difficult for me to express how happy I was with the choice.

Two days before we left Mississauga for Maui, we received a copy of the fall catalog for the University of Hawaii Press. We were ecstatic to see that UHP used the cover image from our book for the catalog’s front cover! The Book of Honu is listed prominently on page 1, which is as good as it gets. We couldn’t have asked for more.

Cover, The Book of Honu

I know we’ve been talking about this forever, but it’s nearly here at last. This is how the cover looks. Attractive, is it not?

Click image to enlarge

Anyway, until you have a copy in your hands you won’t know what I’m talking about. The schedule calls for advance copies to arrive in September, with bulk shipments starting in October. I’m not sure what UHP distribution is like outside of the Islands, but I do know that you can already put in your order at all the major online booksellers. (Blatant plug: please do!)

Drop shadows? We hates them…

Just in case you’ve been paying attention and wondered how the Battle of Shadow’s Deep is going, well, it isn’t. This post is using a bastardized combination of tables and CSS for drop shadows, and I don’t think it works at all in Internet Explorer 6. As far as I can tell, in IE6 you don’t get anything. (Thanks, Microsoft!) At least everything looks right in Opera (still the champ), Firefox, and *ptui!* IE7. I know there are still a lot of IE6 users out there, but the effort to tame that piece of {expletive deleted} is just not worth it.

First dives

We’ve made four dives so far, with mixed results. The visibility is poor even though (until today) the water’s been pretty calm. We’re not sure where the silt is coming from but we know it’s out there.

The trend towards an underwater desert continues. There’s less and less algae of any kind. Inshore, it’s now common to see honu foraging in the early afternoon. Before this year, they stayed mostly along the makai side of the ridge of petrified beach sand that we call the Sea Wall. Now we’re seeing as many as a dozen coming right up to the waterline in the evenings.

Out on Reef 2, we’re seeing perhaps half as many honu as we used to see a couple of years ago. That’s 12-15 turtles, which is still a goodly number but we can’t help but feel a little disturbed. A lot of our regulars haven’t been seen yet, but it’s still early.

The Turtle House revisited

Every year we make at least one dive to the Turtle House, but to be honest it’s a visit we don’t look forward to anymore. It’s just sad and depressing to verify yet again that the place where it all started has long been deserted by the honu. This summer we decided to get it over with early. As expected, there were no turtles at the Turtle House, and no evidence that they’ve been using the place.

Fire In The Turtle House at the Turtle House

Our plastic-encased copy of Osha Gray Davidson’s great book, Fire In The Turtle House, is still in place at the Turtle House.

Click image to enlarge


The Rock, however, was a slightly (but only slightly) different story. As we approached, we could see one honu snuggled under a ledge. She didn’t bother to open her eyes as we approached, so we felt that it must be a turtle we know, and indeed it was: Wana!

Wana at The Rock

First sighting of Wana for 2008–in an unexpected place: tucked under The Rock.

Click image to enlarge

The big experiment

Somehow, Ursula got it into her head that she could “talk underwater.”

This was partly inspired by the success of our experiment with recording whalesong during our winter visit. I thought she was nuts [Ursula: WHOA! That’s “creative, non-linear thinker” to you, there guy], but hey, she’s my wife so I have to cut her a little slack.

How did that work out? Well, you be the judge:

Trust me, you weren’t as surprised as I was.


It’s an even-numbered year, so 5690 is doing her thing again. Before we arrived, we got word that 5690 had been active. Because she is well known and nests on a heavily-used beach in Lahaina, it was inevitable that she would attract more attention than ever. Unfortunately, this has resulted in problems for her. We’ve been told that her attempts to nest have been interrupted by enthusiastic but inconsiderate observers, with the result that at least on one occasion she gave up and headed back into the water.

For us, this means another exhausting summer. We’ll attend the beach every night she’s due up to nest. We don’t have any special authority over her or the beach, but we can be there to try to explain to anyone else who notices her what she is doing and why she shouldn’t be disturbed. In our experience, people are quite happy to leave her in peace once it’s been explained what she’s doing and how to behave around her. We’ll report here how it all works out. Meanwhile, her nest #1 is due to hatch any day now, and we have to go and check for evidence of emergence. Aloha!

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