2015 Hawaii collecting trip

Every other year, biologists from the Seattle Aquarium go to Hawaii to collect new warm water animals for our exhibits. This blog post is the first in a series that will highlight the biologists’ experiences and give readers a behind-the-scenes look at a collection trip.

Day 1—August 17: Our team went to work as soon as we landed: Visiting dive shops, making Home Depot runs, grocery shopping, and getting our two rental vans set up for collecting. We will spend two days collecting on the north shore of Oahu in Haleiwa (a one-hour drive from Waikiki). Our collection site has great access and is a place we have had great success collecting in previous years. Our collecting team includes: Andy Sim, Alan Tomita, Tim Carpenter, Brain McNeil and Andrea DosSantos.

shipping boxes

Shipping containers.

Day 2—August 18: Today was our first collection day. We spent a lot of time checking the fish locations and conditions. At the end of the day, we took our fish to Waikiki Aquarium for holding, picked up shipping boxes, and met Bill and Jean Bothby for dinner. The Bothbys won the opportunity to participate in this trip at Splash!—the Seattle Aquarium’s annual auction.

Day 3—August 19: The Bothbys joined us for our second collection day. Jean Bothby is a volunteer at the Seattle Aquarium’s Pacific Coral Reef exhibit and was a rock star in the water! She collected over 10 fish in just 2 hours. With Jean’s help, our team was very successful and got many of the top fish on our list: Leaf fish, butterfly fish, file fish and eels. At the end of the day, one of our vans headed to the Waikiki Aquarium to drop off more fish for holding while the other van went back to our rental house to wash and dry our gear.

dive gear

Dive gear hanging out to dry.

collecting containers

Collecting containers, cleaned and drying.

Stay tuned for updates on when the new animals will be on exhibit at the Aquarium!

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