Friday, July 28, 2006

We're off to sea the Wizard...

After much anticipation, we are finally off. We left the dock at Snug Harbor, Honolulu at 0830 this morning and steamed around the eastern end of the island of Oahu towards Makapu'u Point and the town of Waimanalo, where we used to live.

We arrived at our first study site just after lunch. The cliffs of Makapu'u Point are even more impressive from the ocean than from land. The little white lighthouse standing in sharp contrast to the jet black basalt cliffs rising above the sapphire ocean. Offshore, rabbit island juts to the sky like a Hawaiian Gibraltar, a monk seal hauled out on the beach.

We completed 3 towed-diver surveys today. Not bad for a half day of work. The first two tows were pretty nice by Oahu standards. Two spotted eagle rays, one small manta, and a few decent size cornetfish. The third tow, back to the Oahu standard I am afraid. Algal covered hard bottom with few large fish. The Hawaiian state fish, Humuhumunukunukupaua'a was almost the only resident, ducking into small pukas (holes) in the bottom as we few overhead.

Tonight we head to the north shore of the island of Kaua'i to survey near Hanalei Bay where we hope to find nice coral and abundant fish. Only tomorrow will tell...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Further Delays

It seems a persnickety sea water pump and a disgruntled seaman have resulted in a further delay until Thursday morning.

Following our 0830 departure, we will conduct emergency and dive safety drills enroute to two sites off Rabbit Island, windward Oahu. We will conduct two Rapid Ecological Assessment surveys, towed diver surveys, and oceanographic surveys that afternoon prior to all boats coming back aboard by 1700. At that point, we will examine the latest weather forecast (position and strength of Daniel) and determine next operating sites. Based on present forecast, we may conduct one day of operations off Kauai (prior to storm passage) and then maneuver around the storm to east side of Big Island to recommence operations to take advantage of lighter winds in the lee of the storm.

In the Beginning

In the beginning ... there were delays.

We were scheduled to leave port this morning. However, things do not always unfold as planned. We learned last week that two of the small boats we use in our daily operations were broken. It seems they had been for some time, but for some reason, repairs had not been completed. So, we have been delayed by 24 hours in the hopes that at least one of the boats will be able to be repaired. The prognosis is good and it looks like we will leave port in the morning.

Our first day of operations will take place off the east coast of the island of Oahu, near Rabbit Island and the town of Waimanalo. This is where Cristi and I used to live and it will be interesting to spend more time surveying the reefs in the area. I am looking forward to the new perspective.