There's nothing worse than a blank screen when it's 7:37 PM on Saturday, our regular Turtle Trax update day... errrummm... evening.
Last week we wrote about "hitting the wall"--the point of being so exhausted that one day blurs into the next and the next. This week we've gone so far past hitting the wall that we're PAU. (Hawaiian for "finished" and appropriately pronounced "POW").
Depleted of energy, we're already back to nesting duty, which will be followed by beach patrol, and then the return of George Balazs, who never lacks energy--ever. Then we get to tag along as George does all kinds of energetic things while we fantasize about pillows, clean sheets, and a full eight hours of sleep and feel like Death-on-Soda-Crackers.
So these Death-on-Soda-Crackers are a day late updating Turtle Trax. A day late providing this week's summary! So we present...
We did our usual stuff--same old same old.
...including one old friend newly met this summer. Tamu, known since 1995, showed up at North House this week. His squeaky-clean shell is a strong hint of where he might have been: helping to make more honu up at the French Frigate Shoals.
We continued monitoring the distribution of Lyngbya majuscula. We collected samples for toxin analysis.
At mid-week around North House we saw "rivers" flow towards the south. Hundreds--no, surely it was thousands--of sea hares answered an "All Call" and posed together for a photo-op.
We like these little guys, they're cute. So with great reluctance, we collected some and tucked them into the freezer. Like the Lyngbya upon which they feed, these creatures will be analyzed for potential toxins.
...and reported it to George Balazs (National Marine Fisheries Service) who confirmed the turtle is a Big Island turtle, the second sighted at our dive site in the last couple of years. George writes, that this turtle (plus other tag recoveries) suggest, "regular cross-channel movements from N. Kona/S. Kohala to Maui."
The Kona/Kohala Coast of the Big Island has remained free of the disease, Fibropapilloma. When sighted here at our dive site, however, both Big Island turtles had the disease. This suggests that at least for honu, Maui isn't No Ka Oi (Hawaiian for "the best.").
We're exhausted and deep-to-the-bone tired. Still, this has to be our best summer ever. Not only has it been a Bonus Summer (see the prolog), but the conditions have been the best we have had in years. We got to see a honu make her nest, then we saw her hatchlings, and then she caught us all off guard and nested again... and again!
Yet even with beach patrol we still try and get in two dives a day. We've made nearly 1800 dives here since 1988, but each time it's new. Every dive is potential for a new discovery. Mostly, though, every dive serves up sea turtles--and to us they're the most beautiful creatures on the planet.
We just can't get enough of them.
||Week 8 Summary|
||Summer of '02 at Honokowai|
||Who's Who Underwater at Honokowai|
||Table of Contents|