The Spotted Eagle Ray can be found in shallow coastal waters and bays, in depths down to 260 ft. They can be found globally in tropical regions, including the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, Atlantic Africa, Indian Ocean, and the Pacific West Coast. The spotted eagle ray can be identified by its numerous white ringed spots on its blue dorsal surface, white ventral surface, long, whip-like tail, and distinctive head that somewhat resembles a bill. It’s food includes, shrimps, crabs, whelks, and other small creatures . The largest eagle rays get up to 10 ft wide and weigh up to 500lbs.
We spotted some False Killer Whales in Maalaea Bay. What a treat? They are the third largest member of the oceanic dolphin family and they live in temperate and tropical waters throughout the world. As its name implies, the false killer whale shares characteristics, such as appearance, with the more widely known Orca or Killer Whale. These whales tend to form strong social bonds and are usually found in groups of ten to twenty. They are a very rare sighting as their numbers have been declining over the years. Researchers estimate that there are less then 300 left in Hawaiian waters.
Both the Four Winds II and the Maui Magic came across a massive pod of about 70 spinner dolphins on Wednesday’s trips. They were cruising the bay from Molokini Crater all the way along the south Maui coast. It was an amazing sight to see!
We say farewell for now to our friends from up north, as they travel back to the Alaskan waters to fill their belly’s with krill. They have astounded us yet again this winter, with their graceful and joyful behavior. We had another tremendous whale season here in Maalaea Bay, with both the Four Winds II and the Maui Magic having some of the best whale shows we have ever seen. We are always sad to see them go. Fortunately for us, they’ll be back in November for more fun in the warm Hawaiian waters.
There are over 80 species of surgeonfish worldwide with 25 of these varieties living in Hawaiian waters. Although they come in many different color variations, they all share the same basic structure. The name “surgeonfish” comes from their hard spines at the base of their tail. They have one spine on each side of their body that lies flat in a groove until the fish is provoked. In times of danger, a surgeonfish will flip its tail and the spines pop out like small knives. They resemble a surgeons’ scalpel, thus the name surgeonfish. The Orangeband Surgeonfish is quickly recognized by its orange spot or band, but it also goes through a fascinating color change as it matures. As a juvenile is solid yellow with just the slightest hint of blue edging the anal and dorsal fins. The adult looks quite different. The front half of a mature specimen (in this picture) is a light gray and the back half is a dark gray. In each case it still retains its shoulder marking, but the orange spot does becomes more brilliant with age. Surgeonfish are herbivores and reside in the shallow waters of the coral reef. They feed on algae, so look for them near rocks that get a lot of filtered sunlight. The Orangeband variety swim in schools along the sandy ocean floor and eat the scraps from other fish. They are like the garbage men of the region.
We had a truly magnificent day on the Maui Magic today, with all kinds of wildlife throughout the morning. Right outside of the harbor we came across a female humbpack just logging on the surface, perfect way to start the day. We continued down our usual coarse toward Makena, and came upon a baby humpback whale breaching over and over, he gave us quite a show! Next was a typical stop down in La Perouse Bay to check out some of the last lava flows on Maui. That is where we discovered the spinner dolphins frolicking around. All this before we even put anyone in the water…..amazing! We made it to Molokini for our first snorkel spot. It was perfectly calm and insanely clear so it doesn’t get much better then the crater for snorkeling. From there we headed to the coast line for our 2nd snorkel, and on our way came across some bottlenose dolphins. They swam around us a bit and gave us a short hello, then they were on their way…and so were we. Off to Turtle Arches we go! The visibility was very good, and everyone that went in the water had a chance to swim with a turtle. Even the people that elected to hang out with us on the boat witnessed a turtle surface and go right underneath the vessel, too much! In all, a tremendous day for the passengers and crew on the Maui Magic!
We went snorkeling at Olowalu on the Maui Magic the other day, and came across a bunch of turtles. We call it a cleaning station because the turtles hang out around here to get their shells cleaned off by the fish.
Can you spot how many turtles are in this picture?
There are actually 4! If you look just above and to the right of the turtle on the far left, there is one hanging out in the coral.
He startled me when I dove down to take a closer picture of the one in the sand! It was a really fun day with the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles!
This Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle was hanging out on the ocean floor at Turtle Arches. Turtle Arches is one of our 2nd snorkel spots on the Maui Magic. We will usually come here after snorkeling in Molokini Crater to spend some time with the adorable turtles. This big guy stayed down there for a good 20 minutes, just chilling out!