Category: Uncategorized


The Culture of Tonga

amvSbcqEZTlWIFnbrWFAAPQ_thumb_feb9

As I reflect upon our recent expediton to the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga, I am grateful for not only the whales and reefs but for the rich cultural interfacing that has become such an intrigal part of our program. We danced, visited schools and a weaver’s  home. We drank Kava and shared our songs as well as enjoyed the songs of the  local  people. We  shared our personal insights each night as we felt embraced by the beautiful people of Tonga.

Cn3DBQ4OT5SF9QR6iBI7ig_thumb_feba The Tongans  takes great pride in their Polyneisan heritage and this is expressed daily through their language, dress, food and culture. The whales and coral reefs are marvelous, but our Tongan friends remain  close to our hearts. We are so grateful for the deep connections we are making. IMG_4235

Thanks to all of our wonderful hosts~Matafonua Lodge (Ha’apai), The Hideaway (Eua Island),  Mala Island Resort (Vava’u),  Kiko’s Whale Swims (Eua island) The crew of the Ashlee G and Llena (Vava’u).

Advertisements

Adventures

We have some really exciting trips coming up locally and international for women.  To review and register for all  local trips, please visit our  ONLINE CALENDAR

Belize Adventure for Women: Rain Forest, Reefs, Caves and Ruins

December 23rd: Extreme Tidepooling and Seafood Forage for Women More Info

February 10th: Women’s Valentine’s Day Kayak, Beach Walk, Sunset and Warm Soup   More Info(Half Moon Bay area) with special interpretaton regarding the love life of sea creatures in honor of Valentine’s Day!

March 16th: Private Whales and Wildlife Charter for Women Aboard Sanctuary Cruises More Info

March 17th: Baby Seals and Babt Sea Otters by Kayak for Women~Elkhorn Slough  More Info

International Adventures:

Warm Water Baja Adventure for Women

Hotel Based~In Search of Whale Sharks and Baby Sea Turtles

Springs and Manatees of Florida Snorkeling Adventure for Women
An Extraordinary Wildlife Encounter for Women

January  20th-26th 2019 (Sold out)

Belize Adventure for Women: Rain Forest, Reefs, Caves and Ruins

April  3rd-14th, 2019 (3-4 spaces)

Tonga Whale Swim Reefs, Beaches and Culture

an Adventure in the South Pacific

August 3rd-17th,2019

(sold out, but join our next trip roster).

Get a group of friends or co-workers together and book a Private Trip

  For all trip details, email Kim Powell at bluewaterventuressc@gmail.com 

 

Give the gift of adventure travel. Gift Certificates are available for local and international destinations.

 

The Octopus and the Pufferfish

During our recent expedition to Belize, we were able to observe Caribbean Reef Octopus nightly as we explored the intertidal near our water huts on the edge of Glover’s Atoll.
We watched in fascination as the octopus fished under coral rubble by elongating their arms  ladened with sensory suckers which can taste their food once captured. Their beak/mouth is positioned at the base of their 8 arms and as Erica Berg keenly observed, their mouth is in their armpits!
We noticed a small sharpnose pufferfish become momentarily trapped by a sucker then quickly released as the octopus likely detected the unfavorable catch. Puffers contain tetrodotoxin, a powerful neurotoxin which protects the puffer from predation. Bobbing to the surface, the tiny puffer inflated it’s body and wobbled away.
Our group of women were such keen observers! We learned from each other sharing our daily observations during our 12 day blue water adventure! Join a natuarlist-led adventure at http://www.bluewaterventures.org!

The Story of the Pipe Fish where males do the birthin!

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We watched an Eared Grebe wrestle a spindly pipe fish down the hatch in Elkhorn Slough yesterday. More to the Story!

Spring has arrived to the mudflats and eelgrass beds of Elkhorn Slough and the pheromones are floating! Male cormorants are flaring their feathers, female sea otters are sporting red noses and male pipefish are pregnant! One of our more liberated Ostecichthyes, the male bay pipefish carries the load of pregnancy.

A slightly bulbous brood pouch is located on the ventral side of the male, which receives a package of unfertilized eggs from the female pipefish. Like clockwork, sperm fertilizes the eggs. Once properly tucked into the male’s receptacle, skin flaps adhere over the eggs sealing them in for a 2-week journey with Dad at the helm.

As the tiny embryos develop, the male pipefish provides life’s essentials: nutrients, oxygen, water and shelter from the storms. Two weeks later the magic happens. With a few twists and turns, the male pipefish delivers a posy of youngster that split out of the brood pouch and are spitting images of their most liberated parents.

 

 

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

We were simply spellbound watching a reef squid feeding at night on our recent BVI Multi Sport Sailing Adventure! The video captures the pulsating chromatophore color cells and the lighter feeding tentacles waiting to strike. It happened so quickly that we missed capturing it on the video, but we’ will all remember the rapid strike and entanglement of a tiny fry fish, possibly a silverside.

The next morning, several of us encountered a school of over 60 reef squid watching us as we watched them! So many great moments in the Caribbean! Join us at www.bluewaterventures.org.

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Wildlife viewing is outstanding right now in Elkhorn Slough! Mother sea otters are extremely attentive to their pups who may remain with her for 6 to 8 months and longer if needed. Clearly this mother gives her pup ample time to accomplish the task of crawling back onto the beach but eventually comes to its rescue.

As she raises up on her hind legs, she resembles the movement of her terrestrial relatives, weasels, minks and badgers, all members of the family Mustelidaes.

Our next kayaking tour will combine baby sea otter viewing with fine culinary cuisine, an Elkhorn Slough tour on May 7th at http://www.bluewaterventures.org.

Prehensile Manatees!

http://www.bluewaterventures.org
So many incredible and memorable moments during our Springs and Manatee adventure. On our final day, our group was mesmerized watching the prehensile lips and fleshy region of a manatee known as the oral disc.

Slowing down the video, you can see the stiff thick bristles edging either side of the mouth that actually help grab vegetation moving it towards the mouth. To my knowledge, no other mammal uses stiff whiskers in a prehensile manner.

screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-2-31-20-pmHighly sensitive, these thick whiskers as well as the 3000 tactile hairs that cover their tough hide aid manatees as they explore a murky world.

 

 

Check out our upcoming adventures at http://www.bluewaterventures.org

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

During our naturalist-led kayaking trips in Elkhorn Slough, we discuss what lives both above and below this rich ecological wetland area. The eelgrass beds are expanding due to an interplay among three Slough species.

A fascinating relationship has developed among the Taylor sea hare, their crab predator and the charismatic coastal marine mammal, the southern sea otter, Enhydra lutris nereis. During the early 1980’s, Elkhorn Slough and its associated eelgrass beds experienced a recruitment of the southern sea otter. As the otter’s range expanded into the slough, the population of Phyllaplisai taylori expanded correspondingly since otters started keeping a check on several crab species, which prey on the slug.

Not only did Phyllaplisai taylori expand in numbers but also they tended to live longer and grow larger with fewer pressures from crab predation.560220_871548582889436_8191899317797331968_n-1

As the slugs flourished in the Elkhorn Slough, the eelgrass beds became notably healthier. The slugs grazed upon many of the encrusting algae forms that would otherwise compete with eelgrass for sunlight. Acting as a nursery arena for a variety of marine fauna, healthy beds of Zostera marina is a highly desirable trend.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

During certain times of the year, we observe a high density of certain sea jellies such as the Red Eye Sea Jelly caught on video here.

Join our next naturalist-led adventure with
http://www.bluewaterventures.org
Kim Powell, MRPA
Owner, Operator & Naturalist
Blue Water Ventures
phone & fax: (831) 459 8548
email: bluewaterventuressc@gmail.com
website: http://www.bluewaterventures.org
127 Mason St, Santa Cruz CA 95060

follow us on Facebook! or our Nature News Blog Site

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Our school field trips to the protective water of Pillar Point harbor sometimes have some real surprises. During the fall of 2016, Humpback whales were consistently seen lunge feeding near shore where students could observe safety from the jetties. An amazing teaching opportunity!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Launching from Pillar Point Harbor, we’ll have a leisurely paddle through the protected and scenic harbor. Cormorants, pelicans, terns and harbor seals join us for our naturalist-led field trip. Across the harbor we can beachcomb, explore tidepools and have a shore lunch before paddling back.

A very popular activity with students is pulling a large seine net to examine our catch and continue our discussion of animal adaptations. Teachers, please feel free to call us to discuss curriculum ideas in greater detail.

The cost of your field trip is $48 per person with a complimentary trip for one teacher chaperone. $50 per person weekends.

Hope you can join us!
Kim Powell, MRPA
Owner, Operator & Naturalist
Blue Water Ventures
phone & fax: (831) 459 8548
email: bluewaterventuressc@gmail.com
website: http://www.bluewaterventures.org
127 Mason St, Santa Cruz CA 95060

 

http://www.bluewaterventures.otg

Our Blue Water adventures are planned according to the tides, not a bad way to live at all! The recent extreme high and low tides, rain or shine have offered some true adventures along our California Coast.

Our week of King tides promoted by the alignment of the earth moon and sun offers so many opporunties to see our coast in a new perspective…get out there and look around or join us at http://www.bliewaterventures.org.

Our tours are all naturalist-led and highly informative.