by Nikki Cronen, age 18
So far our trip to Hawaii with Ocean Matters has been quite the experience. Today we began working with scientists from the University of Hawaii to take sea horse counts here in Oahu. Sea horses have begun make a comeback in Hawaii, yet little is known about them. We conducted a survey on a local beach to observe the sea horse population via wading and snorkeling. Once sea horses were found, they were measured and photographed, and their location was recorded.
We found six sea horses in total after about an hour of searching, showing that these creatures can be quite elusive due to their small size and excellent camouflage. For many of us, it was our first time seeing wild sea horses, and it was truly unique.
We have also gone on several dives, and Hawaii has lived up to its reputation for sea turtles. We saw several green sea turtles on our very first dive, and we have continued seeing them each day. Yesterday we saw about seven while diving Fantasy Reef, which was indeed a fantasy. With its volcanic structure, numerous swim-throughs, and a plethora of marine life, it was a wonderful dive site. We have had to deal with some strong currents and surge, but we’ve all been learning to “go with the flow,” and our diving is getting better each day.
When we’re not in the water, we’ve been enjoying some fantastic food, fine-tuning our ukelele skills, and appreciating the beautiful scenery. Oahu holds everything from tropical rain forests to dramatic mountains and cliffs, and the view from our rooms overlooks the stunning Kaneohe Bay. The trip has been wonderful so far, and we’re all excited for what the coming days hold.