The group experienced excellent weather for snorkeling. The sun was shinning and the water was glassy and clear. The day started by heading down to the City of Refuge. All the kids were eager and excited. The snorkeling was good, however by Hawaii standards it was not ideal. The water was cloudy in places but we still got to see a couple of cool creatures. The highlight for the students was witnessing a turtle arriving at a cleaning station! The turtle held still and dropped to the bottom as numerous reef fishes plucked away parasites living on its shell. This is a fascinating phenomenon and great example of symbiosis. The turtle depends on the reef fish and the reef fish depend on the turtle. This is a great metaphor for students thinking about the symbiosis that exists in their families.
Lunch was held at the adjacent national park. After lunch the students explored some of the impressive tide pools at the park. The guide entered the pools and picked up various urchins, shells and sea cucumbers allowing the students to hold them. This provides the students with a unique opportunity to observe sea creatures up close, enhancing education and appreciation.
The group spent the last part of the day picking guava and lilikoi from a community members orchard. In addition, the group sought out an array of orchids blossoms. Many species of orchids are native to Hawaii, providing ornamental and ecological value.