Hikianalia Science Report | April 17, 2015
The Polynesian voyaging canoe Hikianalia is on a 2,400 mile return journey from Aotearoa to Hawaii. Crewmembers will be sending frequent updates so that educators and students can track her progress in conjunction with the Worldwide Voyage Tracking Map.
We left Auckland on Wednesday in windy and cold weather. We put out the fishing lines and caught a small Kahawai (ca. 30cm total length) which we gave back to Kanaloa. Later that afternoon we caught a bigger one (62cm total length) which we decided to keep. It turned out to be a female with many eggs in the egg sack.
We cut off two spines of the fin to be used for one of our science projects. The fin spines get stored in a special buffer that preserves the DNA in the tissue surrounding the spines. The DNA can tell us something about how the different fish we catch are connected to each other. For example, the DNA could tell us if this Kahawai we caught is the same species as any of the other Kahawaiʻs we caught on other legs, and if so if it belongs also to the same stock. We also opened the stomach for our other fish box science project to see what she has eaten and if it contained any parasites or marine debris like plastic. The only thing we found were about 25 half digested anchovies between 3 and 10 cm in length.
We have been measuring the water quality regularly since we left Auckland. The temperature at the surface of the water is slightly increasing (from 18 to 19º C), which makes sense considering we are heading north east towards warmer waters. We are expecting bigger increases of temperature that closer we get to Tahiti.
Several birds have been around us. Mostly albatross are gliding effortlessly throught the winds, circling around us. But amazingly we have also seen some smaller birds. Yesterday and today we saw a small flock of little black birds that look like swallows. We also had a little green sparrow taking a rest on Hikianalia. We suspect it got swept out to sea from Aotearoa by the high winds of the last few days, as it is not a bird that is equipped to fly long distances with rest.