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Scott's Maui trip


 by Scott Harvieux                           scharvieux@mmm.com


The first thought that crosses any Minnesotans mind when one returns from Hawaii or any other tropical paradise is "Why the hell do I live here?" But I suppose that it is like the old saying "Having is not nearly as desirable as wanting" After all Hawaii does have its drawbacks it is rather expensive, it is a group of islands , so sooner or later you run out of places to go.

As far as work goes you have your choice between the pineapple industry the sugar cane industry or the tourism business. But you know what? WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Give me a swimsuit and a credit card and I would be set for life!

When my family and I go to the 50th state we always stay on Maui because we have found Oahu (where Honolulu and 80% of the states population are) is way too crowded and commercialized. Kauai, Molokai and Lanai are very nice but a bit secluded , and I have heard that the big island is nice but I have not been there so I cannot say. Maui seems to be a nice balance of seclusion and civilization.

We stay on the western shore of the island (Kaanapali beach) it seems that the western shores of all these islands are less turbulent , therefore more suited to snorkeling. And after all that's what us saltwater enthusiasts do.

Scuba diving would be better, however unnecessary because if you go to the right places one can experience the fish , invertebrates and corals in shallow water. The last time Deb and I went was in March of 1996 and I went solely as a saltwater fish enthusiast. Meaning I did not really seek out the coral infested areas. I mainly snorkeled in an area called Black Rock, which is a quarter mile peninsula of lava rock sticking out into the open ocean from Kaanapali beach. The water there is crystal clear and only about 20 feet deep at the Max.

The hotel we stayed at (this time) was not far from Black rock so I still did my share of snorkeling there. The selection of fish is awesome!! Yellow, Achilles, Naso and black tangs, triggerfish, several species of exotic butterflies, trumpetfish and of course the majestic Moorish Idol just to name a few. On one morning after awakening I donned my swimsuit and snorkel equipment and walked to the ocean right in front of the hotel. Where I came across a giant green sea turtle (shell about 3 feet in diameter) he was just drifting back and forth throughout the current feeding on sea grass paying no attention to me as he grazed his morning meal. Later on that same day, my son and I encountered a school of large stars and stripes puffers, not as large as mine, (Puffy) even in the water you could hear their crunching as they snacked on coral rubble. However this stretch of beachfront did not offer much in the way of coral viewing and since I have developed a fondness for reef tanks since my last visit I decided to seek out the more coral infested areas.

On one particular day while my family was shopping in Lahaina, I decided to do some snorkel exploring. Along about mile marker 14 on the Holopoliani highway I noticed a spot next to the road where you could see cars had been pulling over and parking. So I did the same and while I gazed out into the ocean I saw rocks sticking out of the water way out (about 200 yards from shore) since this was causing the waves to break at that point the water was relatively calm from there to shore. Perfect for snorkeling!! As I plopped into the water and paddled my out, I began to notice large coral heads 6-7 feet across and 7-8 feet high nearly reaching the surface it appeared to be a species of fluorescent green Porites. Also there was round cauliflower coral heads the size of basketballs everywhere. Some of these were pink, some green and some brown. Large fanlike pieces of Rice coral were also speckled here and there as well as several different species of colorful Acropora. For whatever reason there was an abundance of sea urchins everywhere especially the large red pencil urchin. As well as the black sea cucumber, laying on the bottom motionless most of them covered with a little substrate, washing in and out with the current. We had taken a snorkeling tour earlier in the week (to Molokini) where I witnessed a lot of these same corals but the difference was I was 30-40 feet away, where here, I could reach out and touch the specimens because the water was no more than 6-8 feet deep! Even though I tried my best not to touch any of the coral it was difficult, because even though the surf was relatively mild it was still enough to move you around and slam your body into the coral heads every now and then. I have the scrapes and bruises on my body to prove it!

Now I know what you are thinking." Scott didn't you find an overwhelming urge to break off a few frags and bring them back with you?" True the temptation was great but I resisted after all it is highly illegal to remove pieces of coral from the reef not to mention immoral, especially for a reefkeeper like myself. However I happen to notice there was tons of small frags already broken off and lying on the bottom. These pieces of rubble were destined to die (and a lot already were) from being covered with substrate. So I figured if I took some of these back with me it wouldn't be hurting the reef but saving some pieces that were sure to die anyway. Now for the next problem. How do I get them back? Even though these were dieing pieces, an airport security person or any other law enforcement personnel would not be able to tell whether I saved these or broke them off myself. Then I thought. Considering what I use to smuggle back from Hawaii (in my younger days) a few coral pieces would be no big deal! I returned home on the 16 hour trip without incident. But due to the length of the trip and the fact that the frags were near death when I took them only 3 of the 8 that I snagged made it to my tank alive. All three are a beautiful shade of lime green Porites. And still doing nicely, so hopefully (depending on growth) I will have some genuine Hawaiian frags to share with my friends. Not to mention some great souvenirs from what was probably the best vacation of my life!

In closing I just wanted to mention that of all the corals (and fish) I saw in the oceans around Maui, they were all SPS corals I saw absolutely no LPS at all! And very few softies (a few small buttons).

While there I ran into a couple of guys who belonged to CORAL WORLD INTERNATIONAL , which is a group of people who spend their days scuba diving and snorkeling the reefs. They scavenge the dieing pieces of coral off the bottom and take them to a protected area where they fasten them to eggcrate and nurse them back to health. Then return them back to the ocean. HOW IS THAT FOR A DREAM JOB! WHERE DO I SIGN UP!

Regards, Scott (Mr. Nasty)

Re: pictures (actually articles here) Here is a sample. Not so much informative as it is funny. But I think you , and some of your readers will enjoy it! (See attached file: Salt news july.doc)(See attached file: Scott's Maui trip.doc) <Posted on WWM... With minor spelling, formatting changes: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Latest%20Articles.htm Need your name for credit. Bob Fenner>




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