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English Top Page > Splash talks story
Splash's Kauai talk. There are some pictures too.


Jan-16-2009 Fri

There has been talk for about a week about an impending storm.
Today the weather service had posted high wind warnings for the Island of Kauai. Schools were closed people were warned to take precautions. The wind although blowing Kona never lived up to the hype.

Strong Kona winds do cause the water on the East side of Kauai to become unusually clear. It had been blowing Kona now for a few days. I finally decided to take another look at the Andrea F. Luckenbach. It is one of the better known shipwrecks on Kauai. Its location close to shore in shallow water on the windward side does a good job of keeping people away.

In March of 1951 the Andrea F. Luckenbach was bound for Yokohama Japan from San Francisco. She made a stop in Honolulu due to the Master becoming ill. He was put in the hospital and the voyage continued under the command of Frederick P. Dietrich, a hastily promoted Second mate.

She made it around Barbers Point and set her course through the Kauai Channel. There were some squalls that reduced visibility but no severe weather. At about 2005 hours on March 11th she struck bottom. There is some disagreement about where. The crew maintained that she hit a yet undiscovered pinnacle about 3.5 miles off shore. The Coast Guard investigates think that she probably hit a reef North of Papaa Bay. Mr. Deitrich's license was suspended for a year on account of the incident.

She floated free and finally came to rest near the location of the current Kauai Hilton. She was sticking out of the water for about 20 years before she finally slipped below the surface. During that time I am sure that quite a few people must have noticed. She is still there on the bottom slowly blending in to her surroundings.

The wreck of the Andrea F. Luckenbach is not the intact wreck full off gold that I would like to explore. She is in my backyard so I thought that i would put up some pictures before her name has finally faded away.

Nenue Xanthic Transformation

Sep-18-2008 Thu


This is a Nenue, Gray Chub, Rudder-fish, or Kyphosus bigibbus.

Call it what you like it but I will call it a Nenue. In these pictures it is going through a xanthic color change. Which means that it is turning yellow.


Yellow Nenue are very rare. I had seen a few near Kauai and Niihau before. What is new here is, this is the first time that I had seen one change color.


It started as a small yellow spot on its nose. We thought that it was an injury at first. The spot grew and became more yellow. I started to tell people that it was turning yellow and it did. Of course most people probably thought that I was pulling their leg on this. People believe all kinds of stories. When they hear something true.They suddenly become skeptical.


Why does it turn yellow? That is what everyone wants to know. The most common answer is that it is turning into the Queen Nenue and becoming a female. This is usually followed with the fact that if something happens to it another will turn yellow and take its place. Now this doesn't hold water. If it were true they would become extinct. The yellow ones are far to rare for this to be true.


The important thing to me is that it does turn yellow. It doesn't hatch as a yellow fish. This was new to me.


There are also yellow Trumpet-fish. These are also rare.


Some fish do change color and sex at the same time. So the above reason is not so outlandish as it may seem. The Parrot-fish and Wrasses are some of the best examples of this.


I will keep an eye on this fish and see if it changes back. It would be interesting too if more started to turn yellow. Then again someone may just decide to see it the yellow ones do really taste better. 


This is the same fish. This year the black has started to appear.  I think that it may not last much longer.


This fish is still swimming around.


Helicopter Rescue

Mar-30-2008 Sun


Sunday March 30. I spotted a helicopter towing something orange underneath. I thought that it was a water bucket but someone with binoculars said that it was a person.


It was flying high on the ridge above Kalalau Beach. They looked like they were searching for something. We watched as we drove by wondering what they were looking for. I did get some pictures although I wasn't sure what I was looking for. 


The next day I read in the Garden Island that it had been two hikers. They were picked up and brought to the beach. I am guessing that is where they started from. 


Many times I am asked if people climb the cliffs of the Napali. The answer is that the cliffs are not good for climbing. There is much loose rock making them very dangerous no matter how good a climber you are. The rock can give way or fall on you. In spite of this people do climb the cliffs. Some are rescued, as in this case, putting the rescue workers in danger themselves. Even with a helicopter it is very dangerous to rescue people. Many places are too steep to get a helicopter in the wind is often strong and gusty especially near the ridges that they have to pick people off of. Some people fall, some are just never heard from again, and some do make it. The cliffs are very unforgiving. 

The Hawaiians say that there were trails up the cliffs around the island a long time ago. They are long gone now. I often look at the cliffs and try to imagine were the trails might have gone. I have no intention of trying to climb them though. They are not safe to climb or even to stand too close to the edge or the bottom of them.

4-6-2008 I learned some new information about this rescue from someone who was at Kalalau at the time.
The two were called Hollywood because they were working on a documentary video. That morning a Monk seal had come up on Kalalau Beach to rest. They spent much time watching the seal. They decided that it was a sign that they should climb to the hole at the top of the cliff. The people at Kalalau told them that that was not a good idea.

They climbs toward the hole and got very far up the cliff. Eventually they called for help with their satellite phone. The helicopter rescued them and brought them back to the beach. The rescuers would not let them bring their backpack back with them. Afterwards all they were thinking of was how to get back up the cliff and get their backpack with their phone and video camera inside.