Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 5, Small circle island tour, Sea life park

During our tour around the east side of Honolulu, we touched on many geographical points. While at Hanauma Bay, we saw very distinct headlands and bays. The waves hitting the bay and the headlands were very distinct in curvature (convex from the headland and concave from the bay). The waves hitting the headlands were constructive and those hitting the bay were destructive. We also learnt how natural formations like the beach at Hanauma Bay can be conserved - big groups of tourists or people are not allowed to visit the beach and are only allowed the spend 15 minutes around the area. Also, only 300 people are allowed to the beach a day. Furthermore, people who do get the opportunity to go down to the beach are required to pay a fee of $7 and are given a talk on conservation and the regulations of the beach before being allowed to go. Hawaii takes pride in conserving its natural environment and ensures that it is preserved for future generations to enjoy like we do.

On our way to Sea Life Park, we stopped at a sea cliff where we were able to see a blowhole which was formed as a result of lava flow thousands of years ago. The blowhole was formed as a result of a lava tube where the lava was able to flow out of the volcano from that distinct hole. Today we were able to see the destructive waves cause water to rush into the blowholes (previously lava tubes) and spout from them. These are unique to Hawaii and other volcanic islands. Preserving geological formations like these would be difficult. For example, if a seawall was built, there would not be any seawater entering the blowholes or any water spouts, completely defeating the purpose and the attraction.

We also stopped by a beach where we were able to see the lava rocks. We were told by our tour guide that if we were to bring a lava rock away from Hawaii, we would be cursed. This further emphasizes the importance and significance of these would-be souvenirs to Hawaii. These lava rocks were formed many thousands of years ago and should be preserved and left alone just like the rest of the natural environment in Hawaii.

While hiking up to the lighthouse we were able to see the effect of wind erosion on the mountains. The side which the wind hit was more sharp as compared with the relatively flat surface of the other side of the mountain which did not get any wind. This relates to what we learn in the classroom whereby erosion has a great impact on the land and is a very slow process on the larger scale. The mountains were also clad with cliffs which were made from different layers of rocks thousands of years old from the lava flow. The park we hiked at had specific opening and closing hours to ensure the preservation of the natural environment.

Lastly, at Sea Life Park, we learnt about the conservation of the ocean life. We learnt how human development has resulted in the loss of countless sea life being lost. For example, animals like dolphins, otters and penguins would eat plastic, causing them to choke and die. Sharks, dolphins and large fish also occasionally get caught in large nets. Oil spills similar to the one off the Gulf of Mexico many years back result in the loss of marine animals. Conservation of marine life, most of which native to Hawaii on bigger scale is highly related to the conservation of the natural environment. We have to preserve them so future generations can enjoy beautiful scenery and magnificent animals like we do today. As a step to conserve marine life, places like Sea Life Park were erected and within, the Dolphin Cove ensures that dolphins are well taken care of. Conservation is crucial as it ensures that ancient traditions and natural wonders like the animals and natural formations in Hawaii still remain when we are gone.

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