Thursday, August 10, 2006
We've had family in the last week. Pat had a day off and we all went out to Ocean Rider out at the Natural Energy Lab for their little tour.
The Natural Energy Lab is out on Keahole Point, just south of the Kona airport. It originally was a science lab where they were working on using cold water piped up from the deep to try to create electricy. Nowadays the water is more used for various aquaculture projects, although I believe they are putting in another electric research project.
One of the aquaculture projects is Ocean Rider, which concentrates on raising seahorses for the aquarium trade. They've started offering tours of the faciltiy. It's sort of interesting from an aquaculture standpoint, it's pretty much a typical hatchery setup, with more atypical creatures being raised. Not sure what my family thought, it was kind of a spendy tour, but worth it once. Probably the highlight for most taking the tour is a chance to get to stick your hands in a big vat and have a seahorse hang on to your fingers.
The pic above is of a bunch of Bluestripe Snapper (Lutjanus kasmira), known locally as tiape. These fish were introduced back in the late 50's with the theory that the original Hawaiians came from the Marquesas (although the large majority of Hawaiians actually come from later waves of immigration from other polynesian island states), the Hawaiians would love this fish as it's a popular food fish in the Marquesas. Dumb idea. It's considered to be a pest by local fishermen. They eat everything and really don't make much of a good food fish. Anyway, they are quite common in some spots and often hang out in large groups. This group is part of a group that is pretty much always under the south arch at Golden Arches.