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Swimming In An Aquarium At The Waikiki Roughwater Swim

Dr. Gail Grabowsky, a fast ocean swimmer, remarkable overall athlete, author and a renowned biologist from Hawaii, has done dozens of Waikiki Roughwater Swims during her career – and swum the Waikiki Roughwater Swim course hundreds of times throughout various times of the day.

With the Waikiki Roughwater Swim coming up on Labor Day Monday, September 5th, Dr. Grabowsky explained what the thousands of people can expect to see during the 2.4-mile course. Swimmers see a constant array of marine life swimming abundantly over beautiful coral.

Her Top 10 List of the most likely creatures the swimmers will spot during the Waikiki Roughwater Swim:

1. Coral. The most common types off Waikiki are Lobe Coral (Porite compressa) which is yellow, green or purple and and Cauliflower Coral (Pocillopora meandrina) which like rough water and looks a lot like its common name suggests. It is white, brown or purple.

2. Black triggerfish (Humuhumu ‘ele’ele). These fish hang out higher in the water column so swimmer can really spot them easily.

3. Wedgetail Triggerfish (Humuhumunukunukuapua’a). The official fish of the state of Hawai’i. Look for these famous fish near the bottom dashing in and out of the rocks.

4. Bluespine Unicornfish (Kala lolo). There are bunch of nice-sized kala as swimmers head out the channel but they can be shy.

5. Yellow Tang (lauipala). These lovely all-yellow deep bodies tangs used to school by the thousands, but they have been over-collected by the aquarium trade collectors; however, there are still some out there once you get into the Marine Life Conservation District.

6. Convict Tang (Manini). Look for these white fish sporting 5 black stripes grazing algae off the rocks.

7. Goatfish (Weke). All kinds of species of these fish with “whiskers” can be seen rutting through the sand in search of goodies to eat.

8. Eagle Rays (Hihimanu). Look for these majestic underwater flyers in 30+ feet of water cruising over the bottom.

9. Green sea turtles (Honu). Not always visible, but on occasion swimmers will see a turtle on their way out to sea or on their way back in to the finish.

10. “No see ums”. “This is the name given to all the little critters that float in the water a sometimes inflict annoying, but not particular painful little stings. I have not yet ever heard their true identity being revealed; someone needs to do a plankton tow in an area where we swimmers run into them.”

What about all those things famed Hawaii channel swimmers like Mike Spalding and Linda Kaiser swim over or into during their marathon swims? “Fortunately, there are no box jellies, man-o-war or sharks on the list. These creatures are very rarely encountered in Waikiki, unless you swim on box jellyfish days. If you do see a shark, it will most likely be a black tip, so enjoy! They tend to not be dangerous. Be more afraid of the other swimmers stealing your draft!”

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

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