Field Research: Week 1

Feels like I’m long overdue for a post, but I suppose I’ve only been here for a week and a half. My days are so jam packed that I hardly have time for anything besides research. On a typical day I wake up around 7 or 7:30, eat some breakfast, drink some Maui grown coffee, talk data and plans with Emily (my mentor and friend), get my things together for the day, and leave the house between 8:30 and 9. From the house we usually go straight to whichever dive site we are working at for the day – our main three are Olowalu at mile marker 14, Kahekili Herbivore Fishery Management Area (KHFMA), and Kapalua Bay. After setting up our gear and talking about the dive plan, we get into the water. Our dives last anywhere from one to two hours in water shallower than 30 ft – usually closer to the two hour mark. After the first dive we have a surface interval of around an hour when we eat our lunch and warm up for the next dive. Generally, we stay in the water until 4 pm collecting data, either on SCUBA or snorkeling. Right now we’re collecting “fish bite” data, which entails following a fish around for 3 to 5 minutes and recording every single bite it takes and what exactly it eats. Since we’re trying to help out the herbivores of the reef, we’re primarily interested in finding out what impact the herbivorous fishes are having on the surrounding habitat. After a long day of watching the fishes eat, it’s time to go home and cook up something to eat for ourselves! Data entry and conversations follow dinner, and then before I know it, I’m exhausted and ready for bed.

Right now I’m at the “exhausted and ready for bed” part of my day, but I’ve been dying to share some pictures!

For our first 3 days back after hiking Haleakala we stayed with friends, Donna and George. They have a beautiful home just outside of Lahaina, near Launiupoko, with two ohanas, or guest suites. Emily and I shared an ohana with two twin beds, a bathroom, and a kitchenette.

the lanai (patio) of our ohana, overlooking Launiupoko

view of both ohanas at sunset

sunset view from the property

the mountains at sunset

We have since then moved out of the ohana, and into our final place in Honokowai. Research has been a bit tricky with all the moving and inability to fully unpack, but we can finally really get into it in the next few weeks! I’m really excited to be able to spread out and unpack.

Tomorrow morning I plan to explore Lahaina a bit before Emily and I go to yoga, and then we’ll head up to Honolua Bay to help our friend, Darla, with some fish surveys. We have a lot of little errands to run in between, so we’ll have another busy day!

I leave you, now, with pictures from my first week of diving for research. Enjoy.

Emily, cleaning off her cage experiments

our frogfish friend, Pinky

only Pinky can make grumpy look this adorable

a cute, postage-stamp-sized, baby yellow tang, hiding from Pinky

whitemargin nudibranch

Christmas tree (in August) worm

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