Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dolphin Whisperers

This is a journal entry of Avery's that is about swimming with dolphins.
Sandy's house in Hawaii
Sunny and cloudy
    Yesterday we went swimming with dolphins with a lady who is a friend of a friend of my parents.  Her name is Jan and she's really cool.  She is a dolphin whisperer and an artist.  
    First on the trip we drove up to the harbor in Kona were we met the captain of the boat we were going out on, the captains name was Kit.  Then we put the boat in the water because it was on a trailer.  Then we headed out.  Well to swim with dolphins you have to find the pod so for about a half hour we went up the cost looking for them.  While we were looking for them Jan told us all about the dolphins we were going to swim with.  The dolphins we were going to swimming with were spinner dolphin. They have a long snout that is made for spinning when it jumps.  They can spin up to 3 times before hitting the water.  The baby's can start jumping 2 days after birth.  
    Something else we learned is that there are five groups of spinner dolphins in the Hawaiian islands.  The 1 group that belonged to the big island was the one we were going to swim with.  Each group had different DNA but in one group every single dolphin has the same DNA.  Theses groups are split into pods each pod had about 600-800 dolphins.  Recently thou the scientist have noticed that some young spinner dolphins have white spots on the tip of there nose, and instead of spinning when they they jump there jumping hirer then the rest of there group, and there not spinning but when they jump they look like there hovering in mid air.  These dolphins still had long noses and other traits of the spinner dolphins.  This dose not make sense since all the dolphins in a group have the same DNA.  Then science realized that they are mating with the spotted nosed dolphins, and now there seeing  traits of the spinner dolphins in the groups of spotted nosed dolphins.  
    Spinners become old enough to mate when there 6 years old and they live about 35 year.  Those are the facts I can remember about the spinner dolphins but I did learn that the parrot fish eat corral and poop out sand.  That is were some of the sand on the beaches comes from. After learning all about the dolphins we found the pod they were moving in the direction we came from.  After we found the pod they went all around us they were going really fast.  We went up to the front of the pod and our caption dropped us of in the water.  When we were in the water we saw the dolphins under us and around us.  Since they were moving forward in the direction we came from they all past us.  We got back on the boat and the caption brought us up to the front of the pod  again.  We did this 4-5 times then ate lunch on the boat me my brother and a lady who was out there dolphin swimming ate slower then the rest and every one else went in the water.  Well when we were ready to get in the water it was time to head back so we did not go in the water agin.

                                                                                 IT WAS REALLY COOL!!!!!

Jan the dolphin whisperer

Searching for the pod

Dolphins swimming under and around the boat

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Eddie Aikau- North Shore Oahu Waimea Bay

Eddie Aikau is a true Hawaiin hero. He was a surfer legend, and a spokesman for the ressurection of the pride that Hawaiins could take in their culture and heritage. When we found ourselves "stuck" on Oahu for 2 days, we had to make the pilgrimage to the place he surfed and where he worked as a lifeguard and saved countless lives.

Here's a shot of his lifeguard station. Though when he worked there it was much simpler.

Eddie Aikau died in a valliant way. He was fullfilling his dream to make the trip from Hawaii to Tahiti in a replica of the voyaging canoes that are speculated to have originally have made the trip, when the first Polynisians came to Hawaii. The Hokule'a means "Arturus" which is one of the important navigational stars for the month long voyage. The trip started in rough weather and the canoe capsized. Against all odds Eddie insisted on going for help on his surfboard. He died trying to help all of his crew members.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mauna Kea: November 20th

     Mauna Kea is 13,803 feet above sea level, and 33,500 feet from the sea floor.  Now that is one big volcanic mountain!!  We braved the altitude one cloudy day, to drive up and test our bodies in the thin air. A few headaches and somewhat rubbery legs seemed to be the big effects. But Avery was insisting that we were 2.5 feet about sea level (she meant about 2.5 miles.....) So we think that our minds were affected as well. So we did not linger too long at the top.    
     There is an array of 13 telescopes up top with researchers galore looking all over the Milky Way and at other astronomical wonders. These 13 observatories are run by 11 countries. We were hoping to do some star gazing up in the clear, unturbulent air but the cloudy weather thwarted us. I learned that turbulent air and windy air are 2 different things.  Even though it can be windy up there, it is the lack of turbulence that allows for really good visibility.
      Looking at all the expensive equipment up top lead to a converstation about ethics and needs, and how come we (as in people) spend so much money to study the stars, when there are so many in need here on earth that we could be using that money for. 
     We have been doing a lot of stargazing and learning of the heavens this home school year, but on this trip, instead of the heavens we ended up focusing on the the air around us. 

What?!!! we actually had to put on pants and jackets.

At the top, 13,803 (plus a rock pile)

   We played with water bottles and ziplock bags to see how the air pressure effected them going up, and then back down. Talked about altitude sickness, mountain climbers, Mt Everest, and pressurized airplanes. We wondered (well Owen wondered) what would happen if you took a deep breath of air at sea level (and held it in your lungs), and then magically arrived at the top of Mauna Kea, what would happen to your lungs? (explode?) Howard and Owen ran a mile down the mt, to see if the altitude winded them more than normal (not much). We keep a close look out for invisible cows, but didn't see any.

13,800 foot air in the bottle, being squished at about 800 feet. Love the real life
lessons in air pressure