Day 4 – Aug 20: The team returned to Hale’iwa on the north shore for another full day of collecting. The water conditions have been better here than anywhere else on the island so far and we have been finding some wonderful fish. Everyone was excited to find a saddle butterfly fish (fairly unusual), a four spot butterfly fish and we even added a moorish idol to the collection today. The guest collectors have been doing a great job, adding convict tangs, millet seed butterfly fish and even a scorpion fish to the catch. Bryan tried out his new smaller version of the barrier net today. The net is weighted on the bottom with floats on top so it hangs in the water like a curtain. With the net, fish out in the open can’t duck back under rocks or coral and are easier to catch — it works very well.
Andy got an inspiration from some fishermen that were at the site the previous day — he bought a small fishing pole and some bait and went fishing for some blue–striped snapper. He added 4 of these fish to the collection and still managed to rest his back. Later in the afternoon, Kevin tried his hand at using the pole while snorkeling. Since we planned to collect all day, we packed a small BBQ (from the rental house) and some burger patties (special Hawaiian BBQ marinade patties made by Andy and Alan the night before) for a picnic lunch between snorkel sessions. The guest collectors brought salads, fruit and chips — we had a fabulous meal to sustain us for the rest of the afternoon in the water.
At the end of the day we added 49 fish and 14 assorted snails, crabs, shrimp and urchins to the collection — an excellent day of collecting.
Day 5 – Aug 21: Today we went scuba diving in the morning in order to collect animals that stay a little deeper in the water and are harder to collect using a snorkel. We also did a night snorkel to get animals that are resting and slower after dark, or they only come out at night.
Dive collecting is easier than snorkeling in some regards since you don’t have to hold your breath to get down to the bottom, however your collecting time is limited by the amount of air in your tank and it is harder to chase after fish with the extra gear on your back. Fortunately most of our dive was relatively shallow and we were able to catch fish for more than an hour and a half before having to return to shore.
Andy brought us box lunches and we picnicked on the beach after the first dive. Our guest collectors joined us in the afternoon. Andy and Roberta collected with them in the shallows on snorkels while Bryan, Kathryn and Alan returned for a second extended dive.
Everyone got out of the water around 5pm to warm up, get some dinner and get ready for our night snorkel. We brought the BBQ along again and had another wonderful dinner of chicken skewers and rice supplemented by Tina’s hors d'oeuvres, fruit and salad, while watching the sun set over Hale’iwa bay. As the light faded we gathered our gear and waded into the dark water to catch the fish and animals that come out at night (or slow down so their easier to catch). Morey eels come out at night and we had the opportunity to experience lots of them. Our guest collectors handled the dark shallow waters and slightly scary wildlife very well, adding more needed fish to the collection. We ended the snorkel around 9pm, gathered the fish and the gear in the vans and headed back to Honolulu for a welcome shower and bed.
Until the next day of collecting!