There are certainly beasties and such on the bottom of the sea, looking up at us hungrily. We know less about the bottom of the ocean than we do about the surface of the moon, and Bishop Museum’s new "Creatures of the Abyss" pop-science exhibit shines a light on this dark zone. Not a very illuminating light, but interesting nonetheless.
The traveling show has a bit of a northern flair, eh? It was cobbled together by Science North and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund based in Sudbury, Ontario, and so often, when it talks about deep water, it’s the depths off Nova Scotia.
There’s plenty of room to stand back and regard the panels, as the exhibit doesn’t quite fill out the space at Castle Memorial Building, and Bishop Museum hasn’t added to the display from their own collection, which is somewhat disappointing, given the scope of what’s buried in its archives.
Visible first are curving walls bleating underwater sound effects. The various pieces are broken down into exhibit islands, each with a title and theme. The biggest piece is devoted to a life-size scale model of a giant squid, which occupies center stage.
The squid is pretty big but not as big as you’d imagine. Imagine a VW Bug with garden hoses attached to the front bumper. About that size. It’s the exact color of reddish Rustoleum primer. The surprising thing is how beach-ball round it is, like it’s been inflated. Do giant squids blow up when they’re brought to the surface?
The model is ringed with video touch-screens explaining various biologic aspects of the creature.
‘CREATURES OF THE ABYSS’
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Tuesdays at Bishop Museum through Jan. 9
Information: www.bishopmuseum.org or call 847-3511
"Seamounts — Oasis of Life" is a kiosk concerning underwater mountains that thrust high enough to sustain a kind of underwater island. The display has what looks like the world’s saddest diorama, of a single whale splashing through a vast sea. A button, however, lights up the area beneath, showing a seamount and more creatures. This simple device works quite well at showcasing the entire theme of the exhibit.
There’s also a cutaway of the Alvin deep-diving machine, the windows of which show underwater video. Another life-size model of hydrothermal vents illustrates with lights how wildly temperatures can vary near the mouth of the vent. It’s actually kind of scary-looking, like something from "Alien."
"Dive to the Abyss" shows various creatures and the depths at which they live. The display is navigated by a joystick that is, alas, not easily seen in the gloom.
Possibly the most interesting exhibit deals with what happens to whale carcasses that sink to the bottom. Turns out they get eaten — but it can take decades down there in the frigid deep. The same exhibit shows a stuffed hagfish (hideous!) and a stuffed lizardfish (it pops up like a haunted-house gimmick).
There are other exhibits, some of which are effective, like a series of Styrofoam heads crushed by various ocean depths, and some of which are useless, like a blood-pressure inflatable cuff that doesn’t work, supposedly to illustrate how water pressure pushes on you, or at least around your arm.
Bishop Museum is only the second stop for "Creatures of the Abyss," which is presented by Horizon Lines, Coca-Cola, Diamond Head Self Storage and Island Air.
The Hawaiian Humane Society will celebrate next month’s National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week by sponsoring a creative-writing contest.
Oahu middle and high school students are invited to participate in "Voice for the Animals" and express their love and appreciation for companion animals and animal shelters.
Poetry, song writing, manuscripts or essays can focus on other animal-related topics like anti-cruelty, spay-neutering and more.
Category winners will receive $150 and a day rescuing animals and investigating animal cruelty with one of the society’s humane investigators.
Submission deadline is Oct. 24. Call 356-2206 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A chance to win tickets to Saturday’s sold-out Justin Bieber concert is just one of the reasons to attend the Oh Baby! Family Expo at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall Saturday and Sunday. Activities including a baby crawling contest at 1 p.m. each day, a Lego activity center and appearances by "Star Wars" characters, Spot the dog and SpongeBob SquarePants will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. Dr. Robert Titzer also speaks at 1 p.m. on early infant learning system, "Your Baby Can Read."
Beiber ticket entry forms are available at Gina Alexander’s booth when you ask about her personalized photo bags.
Cost is $4.50 for general admission, free for keiki ages 5 and under. For more information, call 239-BABY (2229) or visit www.ohbabyfamilyexpo.com for $1 off admission.