by Ursula Keuper-Bennett
It was the Best of Times. And for a period of 24 hours, it was also the Worst. When you see a huge tiger shark and it's looking back at you, your mental outlook rips clean up the middle like a cheap pair of polyester pants.
It was the Summer of Too Many Sharks!
On the plus side, we had numerous blessings to count. Number One was that Peter was healthy and his heart showed zero signs of the angina that laid him frighteningly low back in January.
Second were the turtles. Good to see so many old friends still around. Honu and hawksbills and even Ho'omalu, our resident black turtle, made an appearance or two.
Second as well (yes, there can be two "seconds") was all the wonderful time we spent with sea turtle expert, George Balazs. This summer George (with a little help from a honu friend) ensured we got some beach experience monitoring nesting and hatchling duties.
This meant sleeping on the beach and too many late nights with little sleep. It put a dent in our diving--only 74 Dives instead of the 100-plus we'd anticipated. But to us, Summer 2002 will always be the Summer of "5690".
5690 helped celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary by nesting in the wee hours of August 22nd.
Photo by George H. Balazs
5690 gave us our first true look at honu hatchlings. Honu hatchlings are every bit as beautiful as we'd imagined. And cute, cute, cute.
Also thanks to George we met Karen Arthur from the University of Queensland, who'll be doing her PhD on Lyngbya and will use samples from our dive site for comparative material with Moreton Bay. That would have been wonderful enough, but George also brought along Dr. Jan Landsberg, expert on Harmful Algae Blooms.
Over the next two years, Dr. Landsberg and Karen will investigate if there is any connection between toxins in Lyngbya and fibropapilloma disease. All very exciting to us.
All the learning this summer! Our turtles continue to be experimental animals for George and continue to carry TDRs (Time-Depth Recorders) to help us gain some insight into their "night life."
As I continue to write this I realize just how many things we have George to thank for.
George showed Peter how to use a GPS device, and lent us one to use. We then spent our last day on Maui driving much of the west coast determining the positions of bays and beaches.
Summer 2002 was a time of writing--two hours, every morning, for the book we hope to have accepted for publication about a year from now. Summer 2002 is about a promise written in thick black magic marker on a dive slate. A promise to the honu.
A promise on a dive slate, tucked under a plaque at The Battery. A promise to keep a promise. A promise to finish our book. And George Balazs was photographer--and witness.
Photo by George H. Balazs
||Summer of '02 at Honokowai|
||Who's Who Underwater at Honokowai|
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