Thursday, January 27, 2011

Settling In

I have been here in Maui for just over two weeks and still find myself running around with tons of little things to get done but I am getting used to the pace. Training with the Pacific Whale Foundation has been amazing. Luckily I already had the boat knowledge in place so docking procedures, working with lines and knots and the such came easily. Learning all the new fish and becoming a humpback whale expert are what I am working on now.
As a naturalist on board the Ocean Odyssey I give interactive lectures over the microphone while underway, lead snorkel reef tours, work the boat as part of the crew, and act as interpreter for whale behavoir. We have a few on-island programs that I will lead as well from moonlit tidepools, to whale watching lookouts, research on odontocetes (toothed whales such as dolphins), and invasive species removal on top of Haleakala (our largest volcano).
I have finally found enough time to do a bit of surfing on the north side of maui, and Heidi and I have gone around to tall the different cruises offered by PWF including the reggae cocktail cruise and the sunset dinner cruise out of Lahaina. We are still waiting to move into our long term place in Kihei on the 1st. We are counting down the days!
The picture above is of four flying fish, called Malolo in Hawaiin, caught in the action of skimming the surface. It happens so fast it looks like they are actually flying but as you can see they are still propelling themselves by zigzaging their tail fin through the water.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

First Week in Maui

Well. It has been a wild ride out here in Maui so far. Heidi and I flew out on the 10th and were graciously put up by our friend and new boss Pat at his house in Makawao, up on the slopes of Haleakala, a 10,000 ft volcano. And we arrived just in time for some crazy storms, rains, and flooding around the island.
We are both working as naturalist for the Pacific Whale Foundation. And we jumped right into things which until now was a bit crazy since we were trying to find a place to live and a car at the same time. The first to come was a place to live. We found a really nice place in southern Kihei which has great snorkeling and scuba diving nearby. Unfortunately it doesn't open until Feb 1st. So we weren't done yet.
Next we found a car. I found a '99 Nissan Altima in pretty good shape from Craigslist. I had the leaky radiator replaced with a brand new one and hopefully now it will prove to be a good work car for us. Not sure if I will try to drive it up to the top of Haleakala yet...its no turtle.
Then we had to move out of Pat's because his family was coming back from vacation. I had hoped to have a temp place for Jan. before this happened but Heidi and I packed all our stuff into our Altima and drove to work at 4:30am. We both went on the morning snorkel cruise to Molikini, a submerged volcano, and made it back to the dock around noon. I had a couple of apartment prospects so I immediately called the closest one.
The place is in Wailuku which is near some pretty good surf spots. It was just what we were looking for in a temporary place. A comfy bed to sleep in, a place to put all our stuff so its not in the car, and even a pool. Talk about a weight off my chest. Maybe now we can get around to really studying and even having some time to enjoy some solid Maui time.

We are still in the thick of training. I love learning all about the humpbacks, Hawaiian reefs, and the islands. I am even going out with the head researcher tomorrow to work on the logistics for an odontocete (toothed-whales) project. If this next storm stays away...