Archive for July, 2014

Shrimp talk

July 16th, 2014

Reader Tess asked me to update the status of the opae ula. Well, Tess, thanks for asking.

They're the same as at last check: I have the original group living in the ten gallon tank, and I don't feed them anymore because there is a lot of algae growing on the glass.

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I started with about 175 shrimp, which started breeding after about a year. As they hit their breeding peak, I would sometimes see about 12 berried females swimming around, and dozens of juveniles floating vertically.

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I guesstimate there are probably 500 or so shrimp living in the tank now, of all life stages. That's good. It's a healthy population. Now that they've hit population density I no longer see berried shrimp, but I do always see a batch or two of newly hatched larvae floating around.

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I started a second unit, initially in a ceramic flower pot. I wanted to experiment with the substrate and conditions to mimic what I thought might be the conditions of the natural anchaline pond habitat. I postulated that since the pot walls are opaque, it would encourage breeding in cave-like conditions.

photo 1

I used abalone shells rather than coral rock as the substrate, wondering if the rough exterior would pacify the shrimps. Plus, it's pretty to view from atop.

Nothing happened with the shrimp after about six months, and then the pot cracked and leaked, so I did that all-too-common "temporary permanent" thing. I grabbed a five gallon plastic bucket from the garage and used it as a stopgap measure, with the intent to buy a pretty pot later. Later has never arrived.

It's been about a year and the shrimp are not yet breeding in the bucket. I'm not sure if it's the wrong substrate, the wrong environment, or plastic leaching chemicals into the water, but nothing is happening. I'll just keep waiting.

Meantime I've created a dozen or so shrimp bowls for friends or my desk, and because the shrimp are hardy, they thrive.

So that's my shrimp update - if you have an idea as to why they're not breeding in the bucket, please comment! Thanks!

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Catching up with singer Charice

July 14th, 2014



She's small in stature - but huge in talent and charisma. Dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as "the most talented girl in the world", Charice released her first international studio album, Charice, in 2010.

The Filipina singer was part of the cast of TV series Glee as Sunshine Corazon, and is also a judges of the Philippine version of The X Factor.

Charice and me

Charice and me

Now, the international sensation has a new album out this summer called Chapter 10. I was lucky enough to spend time with her talking about it. She told me it's a nod to her new identity and image; last June she announced publicly she is a lesbian.

"Since I came out it's like a message I want to send to everyone: This is the real Charice. It's something I've been wanting to record and sing. Some of the songs are covers and one is an original that my friends and I wrote. It's very personal," she explained. "The idea of the album is like the theme song of my life."

She stopped in Hawaii over the weekend to play concert dates on her Charice World Tour 2014. It's her third time in the Aloha State, and she says she always enjoys visiting the Islands. "I love Hawaii. The beaches, you can never go wrong. It's just a beautiful place," she reflected. She also feels right at home because "everyone looks Filipino too!"

What does she do on her spare time? "Shopping, ukulele. I just learned last night how to play the uke. I've always wanted to play and I got a gift, and I love it. I love to say I learned it here in Hawaii," she smiled.

Her tour goes from March to August - and she says it's going well so far. "The traveling is tiring but when you get to then place it always makes you feel good. The people who come to the show, they're amazing."

Her fans would certainly say the same about her!

Monk seal rehabilitation on Hawaii Island

July 11th, 2014

A new hospital on Hawaii Island will be opening its doors to its first patients this week. But it's not of the human variety.

Courtesy: NOAA

This seal is one of the seals being treated. Courtesy: NOAA


It's the world's premiere facility dedicated to saving endangered monk seals, which are only found in Hawaii, and one of the most endangered species in the world. The monk seal population has been in decline for several decades, and scientists say this is one of the most proactive active recovery programs of any program in the world.

This seal is one of the seals being treated. Courtesy: NOAA.

This seal is one of the seals being treated. Courtesy: NOAA.

Rachel Sprague, PhD is the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Coordinator from NOAA Fisheries Service. She talked to me about the first four patients. "There are two weaned pups from Pearls & Hermes Reef, and two juveniles from Midway Atoll and French Frigate Shoals."

They are all malnourished- victims of a population struggling largely because of human impact- tangled in fishing lines or injured from swallowing plastic. They've been in a prolonged decline over the last year.

This seal is not one of the seals being treated. It's an example of a malnourished seal. Courtesy: NOAA

This seal is not one of the seals being treated. It's an example of a malnourished seal. Courtesy: NOAA

Every summer, NOAA sends  a group of scientists to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands to monitor the population, disentangle seals, and perform a number of other recovery activities.This year they were able to identify a number of younger seals in great need of help.

Sprague explains, "Up until now we've run into a lot of seals, particularly in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, that are starving and that we think are going to die and we've had to turn our backs and walk away from them because we haven't had the facility to care for them."

Now, they will be the first patients at a new hospital in Kailua-Kona called Ke Kai Ola or The Healing Sea. It was built just to help save this species.

This seal is being treated at the hospital. All photos were collected under the following permits:  NMFS Permit No. 16632-00 and No. 932-1905-01/MA-009526-1. Courtesy: NOAA.

This seal is being treated at the hospital. All photos were collected under the following permits: NMFS Permit No. 16632-00 and No. 932-1905-01/MA-009526-1. Courtesy: NOAA.

Sprague continues, "This is a brand new hospital built by the Marine Mammal Center out of California. This is a $3.2 million facility built by one of the premiere marine mammal rehabilitation organizations in the world, and they built it here specifically to help us with monk seal recovery."

She believes it will greatly impact the population recovery, but even so, it will be years before the seals are able to get off the endangered list.

There are 200 monk seals in the main Hawaiian Islands and 900 in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The  seals living in the main islands are experiencing a population increase. Those living in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are seeing a population decrease. In order for the seals to make it off the federally designated endangered species list, there needs to be 2,900 seals total.

Doctors and volunters will feed the seals high protein fish shakes because the animals are malnourished and would have died if left alone. In two months the seals will be released back to their home. "What's going to be the most exciting is having them back in the wild where they belong, contributing to their species," notes Sprague.

How can you help? Scientists say if you see the seals at the beach, leave them alone. If you're fishing, properly discard any debris.

Also, NOAA has a 24-hour hotline that you can call to report an injured seal. That's 888-256-9840, or you can e-mail them at

Learn more about monk seals and you can help them at



Hurricane Claus

July 9th, 2014

Claus just went on a trip for nearly three weeks. I was a single mother. In this time I started my job at KHON2.

What's more important, I feel, is to say that in this time I was able to keep the house REALLY CLEAN, work a full time job, and still take care of Olivia.

I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let this house look like it was cleaned by my man.

I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let my house look like it was cleaned by my man.

There were actually days when I came home from work and thought, "This house looks really good." That doesn't happen often - believe me. But it did during his trip!

The week he returned, the house fell to pot. He was jet lagged, I was dragging myself around because the accumulated fatigue of the schedule change was kicking my behind, and nobody was asking Olivia to pick up after herself and/or picking up after her.

The first day off I had, I spent two hours cleaning! I think this definitely settles this battle of the sexes, because for over a decade he's been insisting that I'm the messy one.

Men! We will have to revisit this accusation!

Wake Up 2Day on KHON2!

July 7th, 2014

I started a new job on June 30 as morning anchor on WakeUp2Day from 5 - 8 a.m. weekdays on KHON2 News. It's extremely fulfilling but I've been subsumed with the transition!

Di & Ron

Di & Ron

I get up at 2 am to get ready and drive to work. For this, I go to sleep at 7:30 p.m. I've done morning anchorships before and I know it takes me at least three weeks to acclimate to the extreme schedule change. I'm ready and willing. I'm happy.


The show is three hours long, the longest I've ever done. It is fun and fast paced, so it goes quickly. My first week was a lot of fun. I'm lucky to have clicked with the crew; everyone has been very helpful and welcoming.

With show guests.

With show guests.

I also love working in the middle of town, across the mall and near Ward Centers! Not that I didn't love my old station, but we weren't located in as fun a part of town!

My family and friends are happy for me but my daughter is still a little huffy! I used to drop her off and pick her up from school, so now that my husband has to do the morning delivery, she's kind of resentful.

I honestly don't fully understand (though it's flattering to be missed) because our mornings  - like everyone else's - are one big rush to drag a sleepyhead out of bed and push her through her routine before we rush off to wherever she needs to be. I feel like it isn't quality time, but she misses that hour.

I chose to work mornings because I get off in the early afternoon, so I can have a few hours - possibly leisurely ones - with her in the afternoon. Oh well. She'll adjust.

So back in the game: I love being a part of the media again. I have missed the culture, the pace, the energy, the craft, the people. There is nothing like it, and I'm grateful to be living my passion.

Di & Ron

Di & Ron

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