Last time I left off with our trip to Haleakala. The next day we took another snorkel trip up to Honolua and Kapalua Bays. The beach pick up and drop off is always fun. The sail up the coast revealed some flying fish and as we came into Honolua Bay we were escorted by a pod of spinner dolphins. The bay was full of every type of fish imaginable, a turtle cleaning station, huge schools of runners, and so much love Coral… It’s hard to imagine that in the winter they have surf championships at the point.
We took a visit to Kealia Pond Wildlife Refuge where we saw Hawaiian Coots and their res headed babies, egrets, and black crowned night herons. It’s too bad the pond has a bunch of tilapia in it because they outcompete any native fish that might want a home.
The next day was a trip out to Molokini Crater and then to Turtle Town. We took a lap around the Crater which was pretty cool because we got a good look at the cliffs and all the frigate birds and shearwaters that use the island as nesting grounds. I saw my first octopus in the wild, along with a lot of other cool animals. At Turtle town I saw a really cool starfish (linkia I think) and a huge sea cucumber as well as a juvenile turtle.
In the afternoon we headed to I’ao Valley to see all the native plants and the needle which is a cinder cone of greater density than the surrounding rock. Everything else has eroded away leaving this large monolith in the valley.
The next day the students have presentations on issues of interest for the Hawaiian islands like renewable energy, invasive species, habitat loss, and solid waste disposal. Very informative. The afternoon found us sailing away towards a little hidden snorkeling spot called Stonewall because there’s a little stone wall halfway up the cliffs. The lava fingers provided some cool topography.
As we head toward the last few day of the trip, I am tired but thankful for getting to be a part of this educational experience. There is hope for the world and it lies in the next generation!