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Ocean Watch

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                A platypus, a mammal of rather ordinary stature with a ducklike bill, is seen at a national park in Queensland, Australia.

Platypuses add to thrill of wildlife sightings

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                A platypus, a mammal of rather ordinary stature with a ducklike bill, is seen at a national park in Queensland, Australia.

Updated on  May 19, 2017 at 11:41 pm
“It’s so small.” That was our group’s first impression of the platypus we saw paddling along the surface of a creek in Carnarvon National Park. Read More
COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Sticky Pisonia seeds are matted in the rear feathers of this immature silver gull that appeared near the Heron Island Resort during a storm on Heron Island, off the Great Barrier Reef. The storm lent itself to the discovery of how wild animals protect themselves in harsh weather as well as ample opportunities to see such creatures in their natural habitat.

Storm allows closer look at wildlife on reef isle

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Sticky Pisonia seeds are matted in the rear feathers of this immature silver gull that appeared near the Heron Island Resort during a storm on Heron Island, off the Great Barrier Reef. The storm lent itself to the discovery of how wild animals protect themselves in harsh weather as well as ample opportunities to see such creatures in their natural habitat.

Updated on  May 12, 2017 at 10:16 pm
After voyaging from Pancake Creek to the Gladstone Marina, where we planned to set sail for Heron Island, a gale appeared. Not only did it pack sustained winds of more than 30 mph, the storm front promised to stick around for a week. Read More
COURTESY ROBERT WEBER
                                A Pacific golden plover, or kolea, enjoys eating pieces of fish. Most of the birds will head to Alaska soon, except for the weak or sick.

Time nears for plovers to bid aloha to islands

COURTESY ROBERT WEBER
                                A Pacific golden plover, or kolea, enjoys eating pieces of fish. Most of the birds will head to Alaska soon, except for the weak or sick.

Updated on  April 22, 2017 at 8:18 pm
The fish is small, but still. It seems a kolea would quickly lose a fish to bandit birds before it could break it into beak-sized bits. But maybe our Jude is a first-year, inexperienced bird. Or he’s just slow. Read More
COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Petroglyph shrimp channels are etched in lobe coral off Lanikai Beach.

Snapping shrimp pop to send alert and nab food

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Petroglyph shrimp channels are etched in lobe coral off Lanikai Beach.

Updated on  April 14, 2017 at 10:02 pm
We oceangoers rarely see the little gunslingers because they live in burrows. But we hear them. The split-second closure of each shrimp’s single, oversize claw makes a popping sound. When the creatures pop by the thousands, as is often the case, it’s like snorkeling in a giant bowl of Rice Krispies. Read More
COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                The Honu, bottom left, shared “The Brando” buoy with a catamaran at Tetiaroa atoll in 2015.

Tetiaroa a fine spot for Obama to pen book

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                The Honu, bottom left, shared “The Brando” buoy with a catamaran at Tetiaroa atoll in 2015.

Updated on  April 7, 2017 at 10:15 pm
The news that Barack Obama is writing his memoir in Tetiaroa caused excitement at our house. In 2013 we sailed the Honu 40 miles from Tahiti to Tetiaroa, when the luxury hotel hosting the former president was still under construction. Read More
 
COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                An aama molt is seen at Moomomi beach on Molokai. The shell of the Hawaiian black rock crab shows its true colors detached in the hot sun. The crustaceans molt their exoskeletons by separating skin from shell, then cracking a rear seam to exit from.

A precious skeleton is found amid many birds

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                An aama molt is seen at Moomomi beach on Molokai. The shell of the Hawaiian black rock crab shows its true colors detached in the hot sun. The crustaceans molt their exoskeletons by separating skin from shell, then cracking a rear seam to exit from.

Updated on  March 31, 2017 at 10:20 pm
While visiting Molokai last weekend, friends and I went to Moomomi Preserve, a 912-acre coastal area shaped by tradewinds so gusty they sandpapered our legs. It was worth the prickles. Read More
COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                A boat tour near Kilauea Volcano started the columnist thinking about the origins of living organisms, especially the theory that life on Earth began in the ocean, where primitive proteins evolved into cells.

Primordial soup brews near active volcanoes

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                A boat tour near Kilauea Volcano started the columnist thinking about the origins of living organisms, especially the theory that life on Earth began in the ocean, where primitive proteins evolved into cells.

Updated on  March 24, 2017 at 10:19 pm
Last week on a Hawaii island boat tour, I watched Kilauea Volcano shoot its lava off a cliff. Liquid orange rock spurted like a fire hose from a tube 3 to 6 feet wide, plunging 60-some feet to the ocean in explosions of steam, glass particles and hydrochloric acid. Read More
 
COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                It’s still unknown how these porcupinefish palates found on the North Shore by a reader change color from white to shades of amber.

Shoreline gems offer a palatable mystery

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                It’s still unknown how these porcupinefish palates found on the North Shore by a reader change color from white to shades of amber.
Some of the pebblelike pieces are symmetrical, with a centerline. Others are halves of these, and all bear the markings of former ridges. Read More
White Tern

White terns are at home in the trees of Honolulu

White Tern

Updated on  March 13, 2017 at 12:17 am
Last week I walked into Waikiki with 11 other Oahu residents, zigzagging through tourists, street performers and pamphlet-givers. But we weren’t there to people-watch. We were there to see some of our city’s most charming marine animals: white terns. Read More
COURTESY ROBERT WEBER
                                A Honolulu white tern parent returns to its chick with a beak full of fish.

White terns turn heads in Waikiki

COURTESY ROBERT WEBER
                                A Honolulu white tern parent returns to its chick with a beak full of fish.

Updated on  March 11, 2017 at 11:21 am
Last week, I walked into Waikiki with 11 other Oahu residents, zig-zagging through tourists, street performers and pamphlet-givers. But we weren’t there to people-watch. We were there to see some of our city’s most charming marine animals: white terns. Read More
COURTESY MANTA RAY BAY RESORT
                                Manta rays are gentle giants that are plankton feeders, swimming forward with mouths open to sift the water for food. Paddlelike flaps on each side of the mouth direct plankton down the hatch.

Yap’s gentle giants of the reef prove a bit timid, too

COURTESY MANTA RAY BAY RESORT
                                Manta rays are gentle giants that are plankton feeders, swimming forward with mouths open to sift the water for food. Paddlelike flaps on each side of the mouth direct plankton down the hatch.

Updated on  February 24, 2017 at 9:14 pm
I loved Yap’s super-friendly people, entwined mangrove forests and pristine reefs. It wasn’t what I expected but that’s the beauty of travel. You get to generate your own impressions. Read More
COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Feather stars are related to starfish. Standing a foot tall, they resemble a bouquet of flexible twigs.

Colorful reef habitats offer shelter from a storm

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Feather stars are related to starfish. Standing a foot tall, they resemble a bouquet of flexible twigs.

Updated on  February 17, 2017 at 10:28 pm
Mother Nature doesn’t care if visitors have only one week to enjoy paradise. An unseasonal storm front moved over Palau and stalled there. Read More
COURTESY LUXTONNERRE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
                                The nation of Palau contains 250 islands. The government designated 193,000 square miles of its territorial waters as a marine preserve in 2015.

Palau thinks big with laws that protect its ocean life

COURTESY LUXTONNERRE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
                                The nation of Palau contains 250 islands. The government designated 193,000 square miles of its territorial waters as a marine preserve in 2015.

Updated on  February 10, 2017 at 9:41 pm
Today, eight OS guests and I begin exploring Palau’s exploded paint stores and swimming with 1,400 paint chips. It’s almost embarrassing to call this work. Read More
COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Hawaii is home to two breeds of sandburrowers. This specimen was found hanging out in the waters off Makapuu.

Sharp-eyed fish lurks in the sand stalking prey

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Hawaii is home to two breeds of sandburrowers. This specimen was found hanging out in the waters off Makapuu.

Updated on  February 4, 2017 at 12:39 am
Last weekend I made a dozen new friends. One is Ross Lang-ston, an assistant professor of zoology at Windward Community College. The others are his popeyed fish called sandburrowers. Read More
COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Moon snails lurk beneath the surface of shallow to deep water, burrowing down as much as 7 inches in the sand.

Moon snails use stealth in the sand to stalk prey

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Moon snails lurk beneath the surface of shallow to deep water, burrowing down as much as 7 inches in the sand.

Updated on  January 28, 2017 at 9:56 am
I love moon snail shells. They’re marble smooth, patterned in rays of soft colors, and their whirls are classic. But just because the creatures’ homes look inviting doesn’t mean the animals that built them are. Moon snails are a nightmare on clam street. Read More
COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Columnist Susan Scott’s Christmas tree was made of painted hagfish traps, which frequently wash ashore in Hawaii.

Ugly bottom dweller has its charms, slime and all

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Columnist Susan Scott’s Christmas tree was made of painted hagfish traps, which frequently wash ashore in Hawaii.

Updated on  January 20, 2017 at 11:49 pm
Hagfish get no respect. And they should. The eel-shaped, bottom-dwelling creatures, averaging 20 inches long, provide humans with food, clothing, wallets, a crackerjack recycling system and snot. Not many fish are so giving. Read More
COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Tiny mole crabs live in Hawaii, just below the sand and often along the water’s edge. A deceased female’s belly shows a mass of orange eggs clinging to it.

Attempt to aid crab heals faith in humanity

COURTESY SUSAN SCOTT
                                Tiny mole crabs live in Hawaii, just below the sand and often along the water’s edge. A deceased female’s belly shows a mass of orange eggs clinging to it.

Updated on  January 14, 2017 at 12:43 am
One morning last week the news of hate crimes, science denial and war atrocities left me feeling hopeless about the human race. Wanting to block out the whole wretched world, I plugged my ears with headphones, pulled a hat down to my eyes and walked to the beach. Read More
COURTESY PHOTO
                                Researcher Robin Baird’s book “The Lives of Hawaii’s Dolphins and Whales” was published in November.

Splendid pictures, research propel book

COURTESY PHOTO
                                Researcher Robin Baird’s book “The Lives of Hawaii’s Dolphins and Whales” was published in November.

Updated on  January 9, 2017 at 10:06 am
Over the years, when I had a question about Hawaii’s whales or dolphins, I would email Robin Baird, a researcher at Cascadia Research Collective. Read More

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