I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that I took over a thousand underwater photos. Sadly, the vast amount of those were ‘learning experiences’ and documentation of what species I saw where. But out of many, come few. I bring to you the best of my first three days underwater in Hawai’i, from Chang’s, Kapalua and Kahekili Beaches. The spotted boxfish are freaking adorable, but dislike being stalked. The Hawaiian whitespotted toby and it’s grassy-green eyes fast became one of my favorite fish.
I learned that Hawai’i is actually formed from shield volcanos, a type of volcano where fluid lava flows slowly build over time, forming largely gentle slopes. Volcano tubes are remnants of flows, and you can even see them in the water.
There was a definite learning curve when it came to observing the reef, and reading what was happening in the reef. Hawai’i had a large-scale bleaching event in 2014-2015, and you can see the damage where the coral was blanched white. Warming ocean temperatures result in the coral releasing some of its symbiotic algae. It’s not automatically fatal, but it’s a lot like trying to live with a debilitating chronic illness. Cauliflower, lobed and rice corals predominate on the Hawaiian reefs, likely because they can withstand surge and storms better with their shapes. I didn’t see many soft or branching corals, but that’s because I was in snorkel depths maxing out at twenty feet, and often more like ten.
More pictures, you ask? Why yes, yes there will be, along with more learning experiences.
*Note for fellow underwater nerds: Olympus TG6 in the waterproof housing.