Day 4 in Hawaii


{Blog for Thursday, July 25th, so it will be in the present tense}

Today we woke up early again and traveled out to Captain Zodiac, a company that takes people out on boat rides on zodiac boats (the boats navy seals use).

The zodiac boat that we rode.

On the boat ride, we saw some rare short-finned pilot whales, which was described as finding a “needle in a haystack.” We rode around at high speeds for a while, and we stopped and snorkeled at Captain Cook’s monument. While there, I actually learned that Captain Cook did not want any monuments built in his glory, or places named after him while he was alive. I was surprised about that because usually when cartographers find land, even habituated land, they want to name it after themselves for the glory; however, Captain Cook did not! After we visited the monument for a while, we went back to the harbor, but on the way we say some dolphins! We were allowed to go in and snorkel with them too. After the zodiac boat experience, we headed back to the homes and caught some rest.

After we were all rested up, it was finally time for the manta ray dive! We went out on a 20-ish min boat ride, and on the way we saw a monk seal in the water. Monk seals are the most endangered animals in the USA, and Big Island, Hawaii is Home to only 4-5 of them. I’ve seen one on a security camera at the Monk Seal Hospital, but this was totally different. I could actually make out specific characteristics of it. It also got me thinking of humans’ impact on the ocean. We caused these amazing and spectacular creatures to dwindle down to only approximately 1,100 monk seals left. I learned that even throwing a small piece of garbage in the water could have a butterfly effect, and potentially affect a whole species’ population. It was still really neat to see a monk seal, though.

Alas, the manta rays. It was a two tank dive, so we were in the water on two one hour guys. Our first dive of the night was just to get familiar with the landscape, so most of what we did was just viewing the area, especially the area where the manta rays would be. Our second dive was the manta ray dive! Before the dive, we had a lecture about the rays. I learned that no two manta rays look the same, like snowflakes. This happens because there are unique markings on the underbelly of each Manta Ray. I had a flashlight, and a bunch of phytoplankton gathered up on the light because they thought it was sunlight. A Manta Ray came out of nowhere and ate it all of my light, so it was right above me. Overall, two manta rays showed up and I had a good time.

For tomorrow, I feel like the submarine ride should be pretty cool. I’ve been on them before, but I’ve never really ridden in one. I’m also looking forward to the lava caves that are full of freshwater.