Sunday, February 27, 2011

Maui Tidepools


Most of my job as a naturalist out here in Maui is spent on the whale watching boat Ocean Odyssey. It is a large power catamaran that can hold up to 149 passengers. I am pretty lucky that I have marine biology and boat handling in my background because not only are we leading snorkels, narrating whale watching on the microphone, and giving marine bio lectures, but we are also the crew, handling lines, and helping get the boat on and off the dock.
There are lots of other options in the company to do field work and land based work as well. A group called Road Scholars, aka Elder Hostel, often gathers for lectures on Humpback behavior and tide pool exploration programs. I have done both and absolutely love it. They are always so fascinated with learning new things. I think that is a great way to travel, going above and beyond normal tourism. The tidepools are pretty amazing here on the south Maui coast because of the many lava formations that catch and hold water during low tide. You can see brightly colored crabs, baby moray eels chasing baby octopus, juvenile fish practicing for the day when they head out to the big reef, and all kinds of urchins, sea cucumbers, and anemones.
We also station naturalist on lookout points during the whale season to give free information to the public who stop by to see whales. Or take a trip up to the top of Haleakala, the 10,000ft Volcano on the island to cut down and dig out invasive species of plants.

Another benefit of living on the south side of Maui is that we have a beautiful view of the sunset. So here are a few pictures from yesterday's sunset over the tidepools. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life in Maui

If you have to move somewhere in the middle of winter it should be here. Maui life is treating me well. I am working full time with the Pacific Whale Foundation. The days can be long, 5am to 7pm some days, but very meaningful. It is getting close to the peak of humpback whale breeding season and the density of whales is pretty amazing.
I am starting to have some off time to explore the island. This picture is from a beach very close to our apartment. While looking for a good place to take this shot I saw six different pods of whales exhaling and splashing not far off in the calm waters. Like I said, Maui, its not a bad place to be.