Day 6 – Aug 22: Shipping Day — Our first “non-collecting” day of the trip — today we send our first group of animals to Seattle. Since we were not going to a collecting site, we got to sleep in a little — although most of the group was up and moving before 6:30am anyway. Bryan and Alan took the fish that were collected last night (held in coolers in the van overnight) to the Waikiki Aquarium while the rest of us cleaned up the gear and gathered the supplies needed for packing and shipping the animals.
Aquarium staff have the packing/shipping process down to a science. Like a well choreographed dance, everyone knows the steps and they work together to make the packing as fast and stress free on the animals as possible. As usual our guest collectors jumped right in and were a huge help in all phases of the shipping procedures.
- Shipping boxes are assembled and taped — each one is labeled, numbered and set up in sequence.
- A styrofoam cooler is placed in each box.
- The coolers are lined with double layers of large plastic bags.
- Oxygen nozzles and rubber band guns (castrating tools) are set up and ready for use.
- Oxygen is added to a large cooler full of treated salt water for packing the fish.
- Small buckets are set up on a staging table with a double layered shipping bag in each bucket.
When every thing is set up and ready to go….
- Fish are netted out of the holding tank into large buckets about six at a time.
- Fish are taken to the staging table where each animal is identified and put into a separate shipping bag in a small bucket.
- Each bag is filled to about 1/3 with treated, oxygenated saltwater.
- The small bucket (with the fish in the bag) is moved to the sealing table.
- Nozzles are used to fill the remaining space in the bag with oxygen.
- The bags are twisted closed then sealed with thick rubber bands (castrating bands).
- Up to six shipping bags are placed inside the plastic liners in the styrofoam coolers.
- The species of each animal going into a box is recorded on a spreadsheet as the coolers are loaded.
- When the cooler is full the liner bags are twisted and sealed with rubber bands.
- A small ice pack is taped to the inside lid of each styrofoam cooler and the lid put in place.
- The completed boxes are stacked in the shade to prevent overheating.
- When the packing is complete the boxes are loaded into the van and taken to the air cargo terminal at Honolulu airport and shipped overnight to Sea–Tac airport where staff biologists pick them up and begin the process of acclimating them to their new home.
Stay tuned for updates on when the new animals will be on exhibit at the Aquarium!