Below is a select, but still pretty substantial, collection of photos from my adventures here over the past couple months. Most of these photos are from either the practice deployment we took to Saipan in July or the Rapid Response deployment to Maui last month. They may take a while to download, but I hope you enjoy them!
Here are Brent and I, excited about our new traps. We placed about 30 of these around the sighting area.
Letís just say that Brent has an oral fixation. He chews on basically anything he can get his hands on, including t-shirts, towels, watches, bottle caps, elastics, pens, high voltage electrical wires, old underwear, cans of mace, and bullets. In this case he had a more appropriate object on which he could ease his nerves: a cherry lollipop. Thus the red tongue.
Brent has just discovered, after an accidental passing remark from Haldre, that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are not coming to Guam.
Intrepid as always, I head out to set a trap.
Night searches are no laughing matter. The nights are long and the weather is humid, but our eyesight is keen.
Data collection: without any doubt the most exciting part of scientific field observation.
Here Brent is showing the precise stance and attitude mandatory when conducting a night search for brown treesnakes.
This is an old, sunbleached, and rather dead lobster we found near some of Saipanís amazing tide pools. It was cool, but, as you can see, terrifying.
Here is Karen near one of the many tide pools we visited.
We found these two boonie dog puppies sleeping along with their mother (who is out of frame to the right) on the steps of a small chapel on the grounds of the Pacific Island Club, a resort chain where Brentís sister used to work.
These little fish were about an inch long and darting around in the shallow water of many tide pools. These particular guys were zipping in and out of a little crevasse when I snapped this photo.
This is the Micronesian Kingfisher, which had been on Guam until it was extirpated by the brown treesnake. These birds are a lot of fun to watch and the bright blue-green on their plumage is lovely.
A typical view of the landscape of Saipan from the tide pools.
Several of these sea urchins were hanging out along the edges of the tide pools. They were entirely black with the exception of the bright blue lines near the center (Iím not sure what they are).
This is a view from the balcony of the hotel where we stayed. This is the same hotel where Haldre, Brent, Jen, and I stayed over labor day weekend when we went to Saipan for a berserk hash.
Letís seeÖ thereís Creamsicle on the left, some crazed Alabamanian redneck in the middle, and yours truly, displaying his NH pride, on the right. Note the MGD. Sadly, my two friends have since departed the island. Onto bigger and better things (if you can possibly believe it).
Hereís the story: Brent left several items of clothing out on our balcony for an extended period of timeÖ weíre talking well over a monthÖ in conditions where all the articles were either continuously soaked or damp. Not only did these clothes grow mushrooms, but they also became infested with antsÖTHOUSANDS of ants (and their eggs). There was also a towel that, until the typhoon, was successfully growing little trees.
Brent praying atop Saipanís loftiest peak.
Donít do nothingÖ fish!
Haldre displaying archetypal island beauty.
Brent feeling the momentÖ a little too much.
A view on the plane ride home from the Saipan mock deployment.
Apparently Saipan has just as many car problems as Guam (except they fortunately have fewer vehicles). Thatís not gunk on the lens- itís all exhaust.
This plant, known as Tahitian "Howe" (that's what it sounds like, but I'm not sure how it's spelt), was completely choking one section of our potential search area during the Rapid Response deployment to Maui. This stuff is unbelievably thick and through which itís nearly impossible to maneuver. In this photo, Pete is about 15 feet off the ground since it was much easier to climb over the top of it. As Pete aptly pointed out, it looked like something out of the Lord of the Rings.
These warnings were posted at the state park where we stayed in Hana. There were even two more off to the right, but I canít remember what they said. It appears they have listed every imaginable danger of which one should be wary.
One of Mauiís many ugly waterfalls.
I seem to be impersonating a hypnotized pigeon. Oh, I was kidding about the waterfalls.
Pete and I playing a rousing game of go fish at the cabin where we stayed for most of the deployment. And I meant kidding that they were ugly. There are a lot of waterfalls.
Haldre and Pete, surrounded by bamboo and happy to be on a beautiful island.
After several rounds of cliff jumping, one of the straps on Peteís sandal finally snapped. With no means of repairing them on hand, he was forced to go half barefoot for the rest of the journey to and from a huge waterfall. Needless to say, it was a very painful, and treacherous (he had to dodge cow patties, rotten guava, large roots, and rocks almost constantly), experience.
Keevin (left) and Fern were two of our trainees from this past year. Fern is a biologist with the Hawaii DLNR, while Keevin was recently promoted at his job in Oahu. Fern was running much of the response in Maui and did so quite well. Keevin was on site mainly as a searcher, but he was also quite successful at comic relief. He laughs almost constantly and itís one of those highly contagious laughs. Itís also incredibly loud- no matter where I was in the sighting area, I could always hear Keevinís laugh (even if I was half a mile away).
This is a good example of the type of habitat we encountered around the location of the snake sighting in Hana.
Some volcanic coastline at the state park in Hana.
Lacking a washer and dryer where we stayed in Hana, we were often forced to wash our clothes in the shower. It wasnít the most effective method of cleaning our disgusting clothes, but it cut back on the unbearable stench they gained from sweating in the field. Iím wringing out some of my clothes to dry before a night search.
This is the back of the cabin where we stayed. For a state park, the accommodations were great, and free (since it is run by DLNR, basically our hosts while in Maui), but really hot. No A/C meant difficult napping conditions in the afternoon, which isnít much fun when you have to search later that night.
Badass. From left, Pete, Me, Kyle (another recent trainee from Maui), Haldre, and Craig. With the exception of Kyle, this is the elite Rapid Response team sent from the Mariana Islands to Maui.
Here are some more of the crew from Hana who helped out a lot with preparing search areas and searching at night. The guy on the far right is Sam, also from Maui and one of our trainees. Sam is awesome- a really nice guy who was very welcoming to us. He and his Dad (also Sam) work for the Maui Invasive Species Committee. Much of their work involves killing Miconia, an incredibly invasive species that, if left unabated, would probably take over the entire island. Sam is a machine with his machete, he makes great barbeque, and he loves to hunt pigs along with his team of dogs.
Cliff jumping! Me, Craig, Haldre, and Pete leaping into an oceanside pool in Hana. With the exception of the photo with Pete (lower left)- which is higher- we were jumping off a cliff of about 30 feet.
This is silversword, the endangered plant found on only a couple Hawaiian mountaintops (in this case Haleakala). This one is in bloom, something the plant does only once before it dies.
The very top of Haleakala. It was the coldest weather Iíve felt since leaving home in January.
Enjoying the wind at the top of Haleakala.
It looked like a moonscape up there, with very few plants near the top. Thereís also an observatory nearby with big, beefy telescopes. I didnít get to check them out, but it wouldíve been cool.
Frankus! This is Frank, the VERY old gentleman with whom we stayed for the first few days on Maui. The guest house we used was a bit lacking in air conditioning, beds, and effective screens to keep out mosquitoes, but we did have cable TV so we could watch the Olympics for a bit after night searching.
A river somewhere along the southern edge of Maui.
Four tall waterfalls from a distance. There are countless waterfalls on Maui, many of which are ephemeral. Maui has an incredibly diverse landscape, with many different habitats in a small area. For example, the land east of Haleakala gets about 20 inches of rain a year, while the land west often receives well over 200.
The temperature reading from our Jeep near the summit of Haleakala.
Posted by Isaac at September 10, 2004 12:08 AM
You know that when youíve made the comics, youíve hit the big time. Corky is a famous Hawaiian comic strip and the snake sighting was mentioned not once, but TWICE while we were there. In the cartoon with the big cat, the guy on the far right with the mustache is actually based on Fern. Apparently he met Corky once and has become a subject of his cartoons involving wildlife. Iím obviously the guy in the straw hat.