This might be short but it sure is late (August 10-16, 2008)

August 19th, 2008  


For the remainder of this summer, these blogs are dedicated to the memory of Rick Dalton, brother-in-law but more important, friend. Aloha nui loa Rick.

Our book-signings at Maui Ocean Center

It’s a Honu World at Maui Ocean Center from August 23rd to the 29th. As part of the celebration, your hatchling authors (that’d be me and Ursula) have been invited to participate.

On Monday, August 25, at 3 PM, I’ll be giving a presentation at the Deep Reef Exhibit. It will feature pictures from The Book Of Honu, but I’ll also include some of the best pictures of this summer, as well as a few of the pictures that we had to leave out of the book due to space limitations. If we can make it work, we’ll also show a few video clips. Digital projectors can be finicky about video, so no promises. After the presentation, we’ll be signing books in the Gift Shop.

On Thursday, August 28 (my birthday!) I’ll be reading from The Book of Honu at the Turtle Lagoon Exhibit, also starting at 3 PM. Again, after the reading we’ll be in the Gift Shop to sign books.

Turtle Lagoon at Maui Ocean Center

A fascinated observer leaves noseprints on the glass at Maui Ocean Center’s Turtle Lagoon.

Click image to enlarge

Maui Ocean Center is the top attraction on the island, and the Turtle Lagoon is (in my humble opinion) the best exhibit in the aquarium. If you’re here on Maui, you owe it to yourself to visit—and by the way, it’s always free to visit the Gift Shop!

5690 makes it 7!

On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, 5690 was back to make her seventh nest of the summer. Rather than duplicating Ursula’s fine effort for her blog, I’ll just point you over there.

We made several time exposures during the process, and we were really happy with some of them. I’ll just show off one here; visit Ursula’s blog for the rest.

Moon over 5690 making nest #7

A nearly full moon shines down on 5690 as she digs her seventh nest of 2008. You can just make out the top of her carapace in the shrubbery.

Click image to enlarge

Yet another ‘ea

The ‘ea, or Hawaiian hawksbills, are supposed to be rare. They are designated “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. Since 1987, only 86 individual nesting females have been recorded, most of them making nests along the Ka’u coast of the Big Island.

Our dive site at Reef 2 is pretty small, really. It’s maybe 1500 square yards in total, and it’s quite a distance from the Ka’u coast. Yet so far this summer we’ve seen not one, not two, but three different ‘ea! We’ve mentioned Kiniana and Likeke, so when I spotted a hawksbill in the distance this week I assumed one of them was back. When we got closer, however, it was obvious that this was not an ‘ea we’d seen this summer. The turtle was too small to be Kiniana, and didn’t have the distinctive right flipper of Likeke. Further, this ‘ea had a lot more algae on the shell, way too much to have grown there recently.

We know Ake, another hawksbill we’ve seen in past years, now has tags, so that ruled her out. Could this be Keoki, the first hawksbill we’d ever met? We know that Keoki and Ake have both been sighted at Old Airport Beach, a popular snorkeling and beach diving site not far south of Honokowai. I was fairly sure that’s who we’d seen—until we got back to shore and I had a chance to check our database. No match! This was a new ‘ea, our third of the summer.

Previously unknown ‘ea with honu resting in the background.

This ‘ea (Hawaiian for hawksbill) was sighted on Reef 2, casually poking around in the corals for sponges. Note the honu resting in the background.

Click image to enlarge

There’s no doubt that ‘ea are really rare. How is it then that in the few hours we’ve spent underwater this summer, in the tiny area that our dives cover, we’ve been lucky enough to see three different hawksbills? Back to that lottery ticket debate

Good intentions

I’ve delayed posting this long enough. I was hoping to add more material here but circumstances have conspired against me. Your forgiveness is requested, Aloha!

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