What’s Cooking Below Kealakekua Bay

by Jennifer Frazer on June 13, 2010

Here’s a Sunday moment of Zen for you, discovered courtesy the always educational and entertaining Echinoblog. This clip is “a compilation of video clips collected in deepwater by the Little Hercules Remotely Operated Vehicle and camera platform during an ROV shakedown cruise aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer offshore Kona, Hawaii (March 2010).” No word on the supplier of the groovy music.

LOVE the swimming sea cucumber (first critter). It’s a starfish relative in the Echinoderms — which despite starfish’s radial symmetry are vetebrates’ closest living relatives!

I was especially piqued by this video because it was taken in March in the exact same spot I’d be snorkeling a month later — Kealakekua Bay, the place Captain Cook first came ashore on the Big Island in 1779, and the same spot he was killed later that year. Supposedly you can still see a pock mark on the cliff walls from one of Cook’s cannon balls. Topside, the bay contains the only piece of foreign soil I know of owned outright by a foreign government — a tiny plot given to the UK in the 19th century by the Kingdom of Hawaii. There stands Captain Cook’s obelisk, supposedly repainted every year by the Australian Navy and theoretically providing a tiny no-arrest zone for every Commonwealth or UK citizen running from the cops.

The gorgeous reef there is punctuated with percolating (and cold!) freshwater springs that drops swiftly downward into Pacific Ocean blue. You really feel as if you’re swimming in the ocean. I recall seeing a white-mouthed moray eel, loads of raccoonfish who were not shy about sidling up next to me, a puffer fish, and many other delights. Apparently, it’s also not unknown for the local spinner dolpins to swim in and roust about. Captain Cook’s monument was right next to me, and apparently, several hundred feet down, so were all these critters (you can rewatch the video with the IDs to compare:

The video footage shows a pelagic sea cucumber (apodid holothurian), Venus flytrap sea anemone (actinoscyphiid sea anemone), tipod fish (chlorophthalmid tipod fish), flatfish (pleuronectiform flatfish), eel (bongrid conger eel), shrimp (benthic caridean likely nematocarcinid shrimp), actiniid Bolocera-like sea anemone with a galatheid crab, Glass sponge and demospongid with hermit crab, and hexactinellid (glass) sponge next to a primnoid coral. Video Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Your tax dollars at work, my friends. Don’t say they’re never put to good use.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

kyril June 21, 2010 at 11:09 pm

The cucumber is fascinating-out of curiosity, is it one of the edible ones? I had a chance to have namako at a sushi spot in Hawaii but I confess my culinary courage was lacking.

Also-the Cook memorial was my favorite Big Island snorkel spot(that you didn’t need
a boat to get to) -does anyone have a better spot? I went to a few other places on the Kona coast but the wave action and/or strong current detracted from the experience.
BTW, did you hike from the road or paddle in on a kayak? I erred by hiking down after
strong rain in the morning-the trail is fairly steep in parts and by the time I reached
the bottom I had slipped enough to partially resemble the Governator at the end of
Predator. But in dry conditions the hike is probably ok(the first part is a little boring, mainly agricultural land).

Jennifer Frazer June 21, 2010 at 11:39 pm

I doubt that that one’s edible as it comes from such deep water, but you never know!

We cheated and hired a zodiac boat to take us there. But I do know the land you hiked through — we drove through it on our way to the Place of Refuge. And yes, lots of fruit and lava, but not much to look at. : )

NOAA Ocean Explorer June 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm

If you liked this video then check out our maiden expedition in Indonesia from June to August 2010. After more than one and a half years of planning and preparation, INDEX-SATAL 2010 has finally started. The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer first port of call during its maiden expedition to Indonesia was one to be remembered. The Governor of North Sulawesi, and the Mayor of Bitung, Indonesia really know how to throw a party.

Please visit source:

NOAA Ocean Explorer June 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Thanks for the post!

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Previous post:

Next post: