Got him! Ah. – Mark “Did it get you again”? – Got nailed again! On the palm of my hand. When I say the word island, what comes to your mind? I’m guessing a small, desolate blip of land in the middle of a massive body of water. That’s what I imagined when I came to the Hawaiian Islands. However, once we arrived on Kauai it was considerably larger than I ever imagined. Spanning roughly 560 square miles, it is the fourth largest land mass in the chain of eight islands. Nicknamed the garden island it’s interior is a diverse mix of dense tropical forests, canyons, rolling hills, and scattered pockets of human civilization. – What’s going on guys. Right now, it’s about in the morning and the tide is at its lowest which is the perfect opportunity to search for marine creatures.
And what we’re going to do today is explore a place called Secret Beach. But to get there, we’re gonna have to hike down this trail through the woods to get to the shoreline. I hope you guys are ready ’cause it’s adventure time. When it comes to the coastline, no matter where you stand, the Pacific ocean rules the horizon line, stretching further than the eye can see in all directions. – Going down in the easy part. It’s getting back up the hill after an afternoon of tide pooling that’s really gonna be brutal. Oh, wow! Look at that, blue sky, blue water. Golden sand. If you want a picture perfect image of Hawaii, this is truly it. Looks like there’s rocks off in this direction and where there are rocks, there are tide pools and where there are tide pools, there are marine creatures. As we traveled across the soft, golden sand, the sun’s beating rays were immediately noticeable as even at seven o’clock in the morning, the temperatures were nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alright, if we keep heading in this direction. You see down there, all those waves crashing against those rocks and I imagine there are probably some tide pools scattered up through there so let’s head in that direction. Are the rocks slippery out there? – They might be, you can see this, check it out. This is all like super volcanic all this rock, ancient. And ah, great for gripping on your boots when it’s dry but when it’s wet, it is like black ice so be very, very careful as we’re getting closer to the water. Stretched out before us was an elaborate maze of inter-tidal pools. These pockets of standing salt water were left behind by the fallen tide and served as a much needed refuge for marine animals that were hoping to avoid the scorching sun.
So it was just a matter of methodically searching the pools one at a time to find some creatures to feature in front of the cameras. Look at all these little pools. Tell me these like pockets that have like rocks in them these little mini aquarium ecosystems. We got a bunch of little snails in here. I did see a small fish swimming it went underneath the rock and it was hiding. That’s cool, it’s like its own little civilization right there in a tide pool. Now I do imagine that the water does get up high enough where this is all covered probably to the rock line here. But in the time being, let’s see this water, wow it’s actually pretty cool down there in the rocks.
You can feel it’s warmer at the surface. As I put my hand in deeper, it is much cooler. So it would not be difficult for small marine creatures to survive. Alright, well I don’t see anything catchable in here. Let’s keep going that way. It’s a little black sea cucumber. There’s some movement up here. Oh my gosh, I got a little shrimp thing right here.
Got to be very gentle with its legs. It’s incredibly fragile. Get you off of there. Look at that. That’s a shrimp Of some sort. Whoa look at its colors. It’s so bright. That’s crazy, can you see its thorax there, its tail. See its tail? – [Mark] Oh yeah, it’s like a coral shrimp or something. I’m gonna have to look that species up in our field guide. That’s actually the first time I’ve ever caught a shrimp. Trying to catch zebra blenies and I just look in and see this brightly colored alien looking creature. Look at all its antennae. Like little strands of fishing line in the wind. How cool is that. Wow. Alright, I’m gonna put this guy on my hand and let’s see if it’ll swim backwards. Are you ready? – [Mark] Yeah. – Bye buddy. – [Mark] Cool, look at that. Awesome, that was a cool find. – Wow, did not expect to catch a shrimp.
Super cool! – [Coyote Voiceover] Moving further down the shoreline, I carefully searched in every nook and crevice I could find. These shaded sand havens were ideal hiding spots for all kinds of animals. And it wasn’t long before we came across our next find. – [Mark] Is the water cold? – Ah a little bit. It’s cold way down deep inú there. See if I can get this, it’s a Banded sea urchin. It’s stuck to this rock. There it is, floating. Hold on. Ow! Ow! They are venomous. – [Mark] Did you get a spine? – I did. Got it. – [Mark] Nice. – [Coyote] Balancing it on a rock. Very, very, slowly. I can confirm that sea urchins do sting. And it does hurt. Real slowly, I got it balanced here. Can you see it? – [Mark] Yep. – That’s a banded sea urchin right there. I’m gonna keep it partially in the water. Look at that. Wow! Like a little tide pool porcupine. Now, the sea urchins in Hawaii have a nickname. Sometimes they call them the Hawaiian tattoo because they say it feels like getting a tattoo with all the little spines that go into your skin.
And as I reached down and tried to gently coax this one up I actually took a stinger right in the finger. Not a problem, doesn’t hurt too bad. Kind of feels like bee sting. – [Mark] Ah, look at him move. – Wo! These are venomous, very mild venom. But I can certainly attest to the fact that it feels about like a bee sting. I’m gonna gently get this– – Kind of looks like lion fish in a way. – In my hand here. There we go little sea urchin. Very cool! Look at that. Isn’t that beautiful? – [Mark] Gorgeous. – Look at that banded striping, and that’s where they get that name Banded Sea Urchin and for the sake of not wanting to get spined again, I think if you guys got decent shots, I’m going to go ahead and put it back into the water.
‘Cause my hand is very soft from being wet all morning. And this sting definitely does hurt. – Ah! – [Mark] Did he get you again? – Got nailed again, all on the palm of my hand. – [Mark] How did that happen? – Choo choo. – [Mark] Really? – Put the little spines down. Yowsers, okay well good, look at that. Now it’s tucked back into a tiny little shaded corner. – [Mark] Wow, that was fast, it like. – They move a lot faster than you would think when they want to and ah, it is definitely risky to ever try to handle a sea urchin. I don’t recommend that you try to doing it. Some have venom that is very toxic. This one is very mild. Ah my hand does burn right now. The tip of my finger feels like about like a bee sting. It is uncomfortable. So do not try to handle sea urchins. But I’m glad we got that one up close for the cameras.
‘Cause I knew they were here in these tide pools, a very common species here on Kauai. Alright guys, let’s keep moving. Exploring at low tide can be a risky adventure. Not only were the rocks slippery and sharp, but the drop offs into the ocean were dangerously turbulent. So the crew and I did our best to move with caution and precision. – Alright guys so we’ve hit kind of an impasse. We’ve got to move all the gear and all of our little observation containers up and over this rock wall. Still a lot to explore. We had traveled for nearly three miles down the coastline before coming to upon a massive outcrop lined with jagged rocks and intricate cavernous pockets this was a perfect place to search. And before we knew it, we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of sea urchin city.
– Wow, look at this! – [Mark] Oh man. That’s like a tide pool paradise. – Be very careful. Wo! It’s a beautiful water, we got a waterfall coming off there. And a couple of perfect tide pools. It looks like if we head in this direction we can get down and start exploring. I think this might be it guys. This is a gold mine, the secret spot that’s gonna have the coolest creature of the day. Wow, this almost looks like a movie set. – [Mark] It does, well it kind of is a movie set, a movie set for real wilderness. That’s right. (cinematic music) Come on up here. Wo! – [Mark] Watch where I’m stepping. – Ah it looks dangerous down in there. – [Mark] Yeah it does, look the tide’s really coming in now. – A wave coming in here.
Kind of scanning, you never know, you can just see an octopus slinking along. Oh cool, there’s another sea urchin. – [Mark] Oh wow, I see that. – There’s two. Look at this. One pool, two different species. I’m just gonna grab them and bring him up there. – [Mark] Okay. – Ah this is great. We can compare both of these species side by side. Hold on, I gotta gently get this one off the rock. Got it. – [Mark] Whoa! – Look at that. – [Mark] That’s a sea urchin? – That’s a sea urchin alright let’s back up and get away from these breaking waves.
Take a few steps back there. Watch where you’re stepping there. Look at this, okay. We’re having a lot of luck with sea urchins and I put a little water into this clear container so I can keep them hydrated. But on my left here, I have bore sea urchin. – [Mark] Bore, with a B? – With a B, bore like it digs into things. And on my right, a helmet sea urchin. Two very distinct and different looking sea urchins. Check that out. Now first, let’s take a quick look at the bore sea urchin. I’m gonna place this one back down into the water okay. Keep this guy cool and hydrated. Now believe it or not, this little marine creature is like this incredible tidal pool mole in that it digs through the environment. They have five teeth on their underside like this. And they chew through the rock. – [Mark] Whoa, really? – They chew through rock, believe it or not. – [Mark] The rock we’re standing on? – The rock we’re standing on, they will bore right through it just like a drill and then they will use all of these outer spines to wedge themselves in and keep a strong holding position as they then dig deeper into this volcanic rock structure.
Now look at that, now all the spikes are starting to fold down. Now what I’m gonna do for you real quick, here Mark is gently hold it up and look at its underside there. Now that’s both its mouth and its butt. That you’re looking at right there. – [Mark] They’re one and the same? – One and the same. You see that, there’s his little bore mouth there. That’s so cool. – [Mark] And that’s what chews through the rock? – That’s what chews, actually you can see the little teeth right up front there.
See those white, sticking out, oh he’s retracting them back in. Now I do not know if these bite. They do not sting. And I would assume that with five teeth that can cut through rock, he can probably cut through human skin. So I’m gonna be extra careful when handling this tide pool creature but look at that. Now they do not sting like the banded variety right. So I’m not worrying about any little spines going into my hand. However, if you do step on one of these, if you’re walking barefoot through the tide pool, trust me, it’s like stepping on a pin cushion.
I’ve had it happen and it is not pleasant. Well that’s pretty cool. But the one that I really want to look at is the helmet urchin. I have never seen one of these in the wild, only in books. And look at that. It really looks like a helmet and it’s covered with all these hard plates which I’m guessing are made of calcium. It’s kind of like an exoskeleton and what kind of makes them really different from the bore variety is let me flip it over. Look at all of those tube feet on the other side side there. – [Mark] Oh man, it’s really purple underneath.
Yeah. And very, very sticky. And there’s its mouth, and its butt both in the same place. And what they’re doing is slowly moving along all of this volcanic rock and they’re eating all of the dying plant matter. So feasting on algae and any dead plants all of that is fair game. So these guys kind of go through and clean the environment. They’re filtering all of this ecosystem through their bodies. So what’s great about these is that they’re an indicator species.
An indicator species means that if this animal is healthy, the environment is healthy. And I grabbed this one because it was the largest, but I also peaked over the backside of the rock there and all the surf. There’s about 30 of these on the back side of the rocks. Now you look at this creature and you say to yourself, man well obviously nothing eats this. Believe it or not, humans eat sea urchins in several different cultures. Now, I look at this thing and I think to myself man this is like rock solid, what exactly are you gonna eat? It’s actually the insides that are edible. Now if you think eating a sea urchin sounds strange, here is something that’s even more bizarre. Several different varieties actually have a parasite in their butt. That parasite is a crab. So let me flip this guy over again a crab will actually bury itself into the sea urchin’s butt and feast off of its insides.
Ah! – [Mark] That sounds awful. – How would you like to have a crab crawling up your butt. – [Mark] To me, that, I think that answers itself, no way. – No fun, I hope you don’t have a crab in your butt buddy. Alright, I’m gonna bring the bore urchin back up into the shot one more time. Get ’em side by side. Look at that! Two sea urchins that are so distinctly different, so cool. I’m Coyote Peterson, be brave! Stay wild. We’ll see you on the next adventure. Alright, let’s get these two back into the tide pools. Like clock work, the tide was quickly returning so I carefully work my way down the rocky descent and release the urchins right back where we found them. The diversity of marine life along the coast of Kauai was impressive. And whether you are exploring the tide pools under the cool darkness of night or braving the scorching sun rays by day, it’s indicator species like sea cucumbers and sea urchins that truly exemplify just how healthy this ecosystem is and will hopefully always stay.
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