Thursday, April 30, 2009

DB Post Thursday 4/30/2009

The Kermit Quest nightmare continues, and at the end of day, despite lots of volunteer and professional manpower, the story ends the same way, with no capture of Kermit.

On my first pass from White Plains to Nimitz jetty beginning at 0609, I found nothing.

A call from Thea at 0645 reported an animal in Ewa Beach, so I went over there, and found a male, 4DJ. I got him taped off, and continued on the check the other EB spots. A call at 0830 advised of a logging animal showing Kermit behavior at WP. When I got back I join the other volunteers 2 -3 hundred yards east of the east perimeter fence of White Plains. Through the rest of the day we watched Kermit slowly move toward the west, last being seen fronting cottage #1775. He moved outward and was not seen again despite lots of time by volunteer and pro looking for him.

At 1136 it became apparent that there were now two animals in the neighborhood. The animal I thought was Kermit, moved to Kalaeloa Campgrounds and at 1210 hauled out at "Al's Bench" The capture team began to move in and it was only near the last moment that I got their attention to advise that it was Irma !

There were no further sightings of Kermit from White Plains to Campbell Industrial Park.

On a much happier note I recieved word today that Rocky's pup was weaned on Kauai, 4-28-09. It will be interesting to see when and where Rocky pops up. Aloha, DB

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

DB Post Wednesday 4/29/2009

It was Day #9 in the Kermit Quest Saga. Though the day ended without a capture, it was oh, so close.
I was on the road at 0530, and found Kermit logging at Kalaeloa Campgrounds, at a place I call "Als' Bench", at 0712. Though the day he would range from mid campgrounds and move to the east to White Plains on two separate occasions. On the first move to WP I saw that Irma had hauled out down in front of cottage #1708, and I was hoping that Kermit would respond, but alas, he didn't go that far, turning and going back to the campgrounds. In the afternoon he move to White Plains again, and this time ,at 1254, he briefly hauled out to join Irma, though it was only seconds. I got the troops rolling since it appeared to be our best shot, and though the mob spent the afternoon there, and made an ill fated attempt at capture well away from Irma, it was close , but no cigar. He gave them the slip at the last possible second. Tomorrow ???????????

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

DB Post Tuesday 4/28/2009

I was on the road at 0530. I thought it likely that given Kermit's westward travel direction, that he might be able to be back in the SW quadrant by today. Lo and behold, just as though I have a clue, there was Kermit logging in shallow water fronting cottage #1775, the next to last White Plains cottage. I would spent the remainder of the day in the constant company of Kermit, but at no time did he ever show any inclination to haul out. He ranged from 10 to 50 ft off shore and just slowly "logged" from White Plains westward through Kalaeloa campgrounds to Wind Sock to mid Nimitz Beach, then back to Wind Sock, and Kalaeloa campground. Since he never hauled out the NOAA personnel never responded, though we were in contact. Tomorrow ?????????

Monday, April 27, 2009

DB Post Monday 4/27/2009

(I guess that APB on kermit has just about everyone and everything looking for him *smiles* )
Thea and called last night at 1900 with the report of an animal "logging" off shore of Beach Rd, at Diamond Head. Of course, and scientific ID is impossible, but there is zero doubt in what remains of mine mind that we are talking Kermit here, based on behavior. It was too dark to respond but I was at Diamond Head at 0530 and found nobody. I then headed off the Waikiki to check Queen's Beach, which is a known Kermit haul out sight, but again I found nothing. While there I got a call from Thea with a report from HPD at 0515 of an animal at Ala Moana Beach Park fronting the Ewa end concession stand. When I arrived I found only a wallow, but I spoke with the surfers who had seen the animal and the cops who had called it in. Neither had any ID info, since it had been dark, and the animal left shortly after being found. I'm told that there may be a single instance of an Ala Moana haul out in the Dark Ages, but there has never been one in the modern era. Once again I can't prove a thing but there is no doubt in mine mind that this is a continuation of the Kermit Saga. After a search of Ala Moana and the off shore waters, I moved to Kakaako Waterfront Park (Point Panic), and walked the waterfront down to Honolulu Harbor. Again , I found nothing. IF this is Kermit, and IF he is moving west as it appears, then the next logical potential haul out spot would be Sand Island so I went there, and spent the bulk of the rest of the day. Once again I struck out. I am very much aware of what a "needle in a haystack" this saga is becoming, but I'm hoping I'll catch up with him soon. Tomorrow ?????

I got back to Makai Pier at 1600, and found that Sadie (RB12), and Kolohe (RW22) were the only two Rabbit Island residents.

Team Billand called at 0814, on their way to the airport to report Irma at White Plains.

Thea called at 1300 to report that there had been an animal at Palm Grove, at CIP, but a witness reported that the animal had been run off by dogs. Shortly thereafter, Barbara Billands sister, Cassie, called to report that there was an animal , just hauling out , approximate 1/4 mile west of the Nimitz Beach jetty. Again, I can't prove a thing, but based on Cassie's limited description and the known users of this two haul out sights, I'd put my dollar on M&M. That is personal opinion only. Aloha, DB

Sunday, April 26, 2009

DB Post Sunday 4/26/2009

The day was equal parts Rabbit Island observations , and Kermit Quest. Kolohe would be the one and only resident of Rabbit Island today. I did multiple checks either walking the beaches , or using the scope, from Blow Hole to Bellows, and found nobody. On this sunny Sunday, every millimeter of beach, was completely covered in significant amounts of tonnage of "leggers" . There wasn't any place for a self respecting Monk Seal to haul out. Hopefully, tomorrow at least some of them will be back to work, so there might be some available space. Aloha, DB

DB Post Saturday 4/25/2009

It was a lonnnnnnng day ! The Rabbit Island cast at end of day would be RIP, Buster and an U/F, with red tags. Since I never saw the animal move I don't know which one of the girls it might have been.

The rest of the day was spent with Kermit. Thanks to the Meese, the Billands and NOAA personnel D. Schofield, Charles, Chad, and Dr. Bob, (Oh yes, and Charles parents also). At 0805 SB posse member Mike, called to report an animal off shore at SB. When I arrived I saw that it was Kermit, and called the troops. We spent the rest of the day watching Kermit lazily cruise from Sandy Beach to Blow Hole, several times, and then move to Crappy Cove, then Irma's and then AD's. Dr. Bob had to leave at 1600, and the rest of the NOAA crew left then also. I remained until 1630, but lost Kermit at AD's. I did a late MP check of RI, and then called it a day at 1700.

The Billands reported R018 at Maili Point at 0801.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thanks to North Shore Volunteers

The following information was sent on Friday 4/24. Please feel free to send pics and I will add them to the post. ( ~donna~

Aloha Donna,

Just wanted to thank a bunch of volunteers that helped protect some of our north shore momma's today.

Jeannie Martinson made the first response to Right Spot at sunset beach early this morning and helped the lifeguards put up gear. She later confirmed that Right Spot seemed to be making a day of it and it was definitely going to be a busy beach day. Barb Allen and Liz Weske arrived in the afternoon and stuck it out until 7:30pm. There were loose dogs with no owners around through out most of the day so it was good they were there to scare them off multiple times. If that wasn't enough, the constant flow of visitors from the tour buses made for a wonderfully busy outreach day.

Dave & Ella Siroskey helped watch over 5AY at Punaluu when she decided to haul up 10 ft. from the bus stop along the highway. Great spot Honeygirl! She snoozed away until 6:40pm when she departed - she had a hard time turning around on her tiny beach and eventually rolled her way into the surf- sounds like she's getting mighty big!

Thanks to all who helped today!

Friday, April 24, 2009

DB Post Friday 4/24/2009

It was another day in the Kermit Quest, but the only critter I can say that I actually saw was RIP at Rabbit Island. He was the only resident today.

Thea Johanos (my Sensei...and keeper of the phone whilst Tracy is gone) called at 0900 to report Right Spot at Sunset Beach, and again at 1411 to report R5AY at Punaluu.

Team Billand reported R018 at Maili Point at 1118.

The odd wrinkle in my day came at 1153 with a call from Thea reporting an animal at Waimanalo Beach Park, near Nalu St. Kermit ??????....... off I went. I walked the beach from Waimanalo Beach Park to Kaiona Beach Park (near "Magnum's House") and found nothing. When I got back to Waimanalo Beach Park I had a conversation with Lifeguard , Kaeo, a long time acquaintence. He assured me that all times and sighting info were true, except that the incident had happen YESTERDAY !!!
My fat little fingers apparently hit the wrong keys and the dailies were sent ... ready or not. Here are the shots from today. Thank you Billands, and though there is only one RI shot.... my NEW Cool Pix works just fine. DB

Thursday, April 23, 2009

All Points Bulletin

Aloha Good People,
There is a very special seal out there that needs our help. Kermit (R012) has a hook in the left side of his mouth and the left side of his face is swollen. IF YOU SEE HIM PLEASE CONTACT; DAVID SCHOFIELD AT 721-5343 NOAA, or DB DUNLAP @ 375-5594.

All our seals are special, but ANYONE who knows DB knows there is a very special connection between them. I have passed the word onto some of the Kayak folks in Kailua to keep their eyes open for him. I hope we can get to Kermit quickly and I hope there are some plans in place to nurse him back to health.

DB - this is for you my friend, I can only imagine you are frantic.... my prayers and thoughts are with you and Kermit... I wish I could be out there with you at this time. I know Kermit a tough ole' guy, just like you.

DB Post Thursday 4/23/2009

I believe the term is "close but no cigar" ! Kermit was at Rabbit Island for a while, but departed before the rescue team arrived. Bummer !!! Tomorrow is another day. Also at Rabbit Island were RIP and Kolohe.

Colleen Heyer called at 0815 to report Irma at Diamond Head, still in yesterday's location. An overnighter is a distinct possibility.

Team Billand called at 1210 to report Benny at Palm Grove, Campbell Industrial Park.

When I got home tonight, I did laundry. I wondered what that Ka-Thunk...Ka-Thunk was in the dryer.......... There will be no photos tonight. My Nikon Cool Pix that I use with the scope is toast...........squeaky clean, but toast. I made a quicky trip to COSTCO and now have another little Nikon Cool Pix . Aloha, DB

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

DB Post Wednesday 4/22/2009

It was a long, hard day, for a whole lot of people. My day began routinely enough , finding RIP and M&M close together right of 1BS on Rabbit Island. I continued on with the rest of the route. Just as I was finishing up at Spitting Cave, at 0758 I got a call from Terry Kerby (godfather of Kerby), the Chief Pilot at the HURL Sub Facility at Makai Pier, reporting that he was looking at a large seal lazily floating just below his office window. When I got back at 0815 I found that the animal was Kermit (R012), and distressingly, he had a large fish hook in the left side of his mouth. The entire left side of his face was swollen, with the left eye swollen shut. His behavior was very lethargic, floating in the shallows on the Makapuu side of the pier. I made all the necessary calls and continued observation on Kermit until he began to swim into deeper water and diving at the #7 channel pillar, behind the breakwater. I did not see him again after that, despite multiple trips along the coastline from Sandy Beach to Kaiona Beach Park, and of course RI observations until 1700. David Schofield remained at the pier for quite a while but with no further sightings it was decided that I would contact him if anything occurred. Kermit had last been seen at the Nimitz Beach jetty in the SWQ on 4-16-09.

At 1025 I got a call from Team Billand , reporting that Yoke's (Yokohama Beach) lifeguards (Koa & Aaron) had called them reporting 2 animals there. Since the Billands could not respond, I called Thea to activate another responded. Bob Butterworth ultimately responded and his photos confirmed the animals at Benny and Ka'ena. An addition call from the lifeguards, and Bob's photos confirmed that one of the animals did have a fish hook in it's mouth. The fish hook team responded ad David Schofield called at 1508 advising that the fish hook had been successfully removed at 1455, and the ID was confirmed as Ka'ena (RO40). Team Billand also confirmed the Benny ID, at 1600, but Ka'ena was no longer there. Benny has begun his molt, based on Bob's photos.

Posse person , Lesley MacPherson called at 1100 reporting that a friend had seen an animal at Diamond Head. Posse person Rachel ultimately responded an staked out Irma near the "graffitti bunker" at Diamond Head. A dusk email from Colleen confirmed that Irma was still there. Aloha, DB
Koa & Aaron at Yokohama Beach

It saddens me to think Kermit is out there hurting. I pray we find him soon. Hmmm does anyone else think its interesting that Kerby and Kermit made there way back to Papa DB? I know DB you must be worried sick. Let's hope this has a good ending.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DB Post Tuesday 4/21/2009

On my first look at Rabbit Island at 0702 I found RIP and M&M together at the left end of the beach, and Buster at the right end. Buster would depart at 1140 and I did not see him again. RIP and M&M would remain and were joined at 1417 by R301. His arrival was barely acknowledged, except for an over the back glance by M&M. .

I found Irma at "Irma's Grotto", at the end of the Kokee Flats at Portlock. She was, once again , cruisin' in her tide pool, occasionally lifting a nostril just enough to breathe.

Though Team Billand had no animals in the SWQ for the 5th straight day, they nevertheless earned their Manapua today, bY finding and reporting an illegal gill net at "Kermit's Reef" , just to the right of the Nimitz Beach jetty. DOCARE Officer Errol Kane responded and removed the net. It was laid across the inlet that Kermit uses regularly to get up on the reef. That was a nightmare waiting to happen. Aloha, DB
M&M, RIP, R301

DOCARE to the rescue.

Monday, April 20, 2009

All Island Update from David Schofield

Aloha friends of the monk seal!

This weekend was a big weekend for the monk seal response network. Attached are some images. Here is what we had:

1. State wide monk seal count occurred (the numbers are still coming in so it may be higher)
Kauai -16
Oahu - 7
Molokai - 11
Kahoolawe - 1
Maui - 0
Lanai - 0
Big Island - 0

For this 5th count the total was 35 animals which is right on par with the other 4 counts. We know we have certain seals in certain areas of the 3 islands that did not count any seals but they failed to show themselves in the allotted time frame.

2. HMSRTO volunteers were set up at the MCBH Earth Day from 9-2 on Saturday to highlight the MCBH and NMFS partnership for monk seal recovery. Volunteers produced a display of KP2 and R042 with a thanks to the MCBH for allowing us to house these seals on base.
3. Seal 040 "Kaena" born at Kaena Point in 2007 was found to have a hook in his mouth. He hauled out at Kaena Point about1 hour after the seal count was over at 2PM on Saturday. Since this time we have had volunteers out each day and he was observed yesterday. The hooking does not appear life threatening and since he is hauled out most of the time on hard rock the dehooking team has to wait until he is on soft sand or coral rubble to remove the hook.

HMSRTO volunteers are scheduled to monitor Kaena Point everyday through this upcoming weekend and will report daily to PIRO and PIFSC. A NMFS team will respond when the seal can be restrained safely.

4. A monk seal pup was born on Maui on a very remote beach near Hana.. The beach is near the ranch owned by Oprah so hopefully we can get some mileage out of that for public awareness. Joe McDonald provided the report last night and traveled there today. An initial report suggested that the pup was kicked by some camper/squatters. When Joe followed up with the MPD in Hana, the incident was described as a person went to shake the pup because they thought it dead...just sleeping and the mom was aggressive. Both OLE and DOCARE were made aware of the situation. Joe is working with MPD, DOCARE and the ranch managers to ensure the safety of the mom and pup. The ranch hands are very excited about the pup and are trying to find accommodations for volunteers to be able to be in close proximity for spot checks of the pair. Joe reports from the field that mom and pup are healthy and the decomposing placenta is still on the beach so it was likely a very recent birth. The mother is tentatively identified as RH44, a well known breeder that has pupped most often on Kalaupapa.

5. Late Sunday night (last night) Mimi Olry called and stated that she had a report of a dead seal on Kauai. Once on seen the animal was identified as I19, a 4 year old male.

A special thanks to all who had their weekend disrupted for these events. Let's hope for a quiet weekend coming.


T. David Schofield, M.Sc.
Interim Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Coordinator
Marine Mammal Response Network Coordinator
1601 Kapiolani Blvd, Suite 1110
Honolulu, HI 96814
Cell 808-721-5343
Office 808-944-2269
Fax: 808-944-2141

DB Post Monday 4/20/2009

On my 3rd pass through Sandy Beach, I found Irma, newly hauled out at the east end, near the palm trees. I got her cordoned off and rechecked her through the day. She was still there on my 1700 check. I'll return at dusk.

My first look at Rabbit Island was a bust, and was still a bust when I got back to Makai Research Pier at 0850. At 1156 the first animal hauled out at the far left end. I was never able to ID this animal except to say that it was a small to medium sized female. No doubt it was either RB08 or more probably Sadie, but I can't state that as fact at all. The lack of visibility and her short stay, made an ID impossible.

At 1205 RIP hauled out to join the U/F, and there was only tentative nose contact, before settling down . On a routine pan at 1220 I found them both entering the water. I did not see either again today.

The very surprising highlight of the day came at 1221 when a huge , untagged animal hauled out at the right end of the beach. It would turn out to be M&M. She had last been seen, by myself near the end of the Coast Guard runway at Nimitz Beach. The Billands have been batting zero out there for the last 4 days. Now at least we know that M&M was on the road.

Immediately behind M&M when she hauled out was R301. They would never interact, and both remained there all day.

HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY KERBY !!!!!! Special thanks to Barbara for the reminder....and the cake ! Aloha, DB
R301 & M&M
Unidentified Female & RIP

Happy 1st Birthday Kerby

Barb Hikes to Ka'ena Point

Robert and I done our usual hunting of seals in the SWQ and to our disappointment for the 3rd day in a row.........Found NOTHING. Got a call from David Schofield that there was a report of a hooked monk seal at Kaena Pt. He wanted to know if we could go check on the seal today or tomorrow. We decided to go TODAY!
Rob couldnt make it out with me so I invited my son Jason, who was very busy with moving stuff into storage in Pauoa. But, he said he'd go out to Kaena Pt.
Our Journey began at 1:43pm and it was very very HOT today. My son insisted we take an umbrella and I said , nah, we don't need it. Boy I was relieved he did take it with us as it was a very hot day. Folks coming back from Kaena Pt. kept commenting how lucky we were to have an umbrella, all of these folks were like tomatos returning and very thirsty looking.
We reached Kaena Pt. within an hour and there was the hooked seal 040/041 snoozing on the rock, very comfortably with the one inch circular hook in it's right cheek corner. The monophilament dangling maybe 12 inches. He seemed ok. The hook was a smaller one than the one Kerby had in his mouth couple of weeks ago. This poor seal, Kaena is the second hooking out there.
After iding Kaena we searched for more seals and my son spotted R018 glistening in the hot sun at the a very deep snooze. He looked so handsome.
The third seal spotted was T15M who was just floating on the surface, breathing loudly. Sharkbite was visited by some folks who went and sat like two to three feet from him, waving their hands to make the seal react. That he did, by some loud snorts and a leap. I whislted to the people and motioned for them to step away, they did. Thank you very much. T15M continued to float on the surface of the tidal pool and you could see his scars on its belly showing through the water. I was thrilled my son Jason got to meet this awesome seal that survived a horrific shark attack.
We also saw the handsome Albatrosses with chicks, making their funny dances to each other. And we watched the whales breaching in the air, making such huge splashes. I was proud to be in the company of my son Jason, I was so happy we had found Kaena and got some good hook shots for NOAA.
On our way back, I viewed the pics and they were great and very clear. Couldn't wait to see them on the computer. We bid the creatures we viewed fairwell and thanked Kaena Pt for a great day.
Now comes the awful part...when Rob downloaded my pics, for some stupid reason, all the seal shots were gone. Good thing my son had his pictures on his camera. For me, I was a disappointed wreck. Well, life is full of surprises and disappointments. I'll end here as I have no more words to tell ya how I really feel. B
Hey Donna, here is a little story for ya if you like. Here are a few pics too!