Auhust 2021 & Historical Basking Data
August 2021 Basking Narrative
August 2021 saw 67 basking occurrences, 17 less than July and 4 more than August 2019 (the last August for which we have complete and valid statistics due to COVID restrictions, see below).
*Due to COVID beach closings, no direct “year to date” comparison with 2020 can be made. Hence, this month we’ll continue comparing this year’s totals with those of 2019. At this point in the year, we are 19 basking occurrences ahead of 2019, 558 to 539. Please keep in mind that 2019 was our biggest recent basking year since Brutus was still around.
August saw only 5 days without any turtle on the beach. For last year we do not have totals for August. In 2018 and 2019 there were 7 such days.
Over the past 10+ years, over one quarter (27%) of our basking turtles have appeared before noon. July of this year was an aberration, with only 9.5% of the honu coming ashore in the AM hours. This was the lowest percentage of morning baskers since September 2013 when only 7.9% emerged from the ocean in the morning. An exodus from the water of less than 10% in the morning hours has only happened 5 times over this period. Well… it happened again in August! This time, only 5 turtles emerged from the ocean, amounting to only 7.5% of the turtles that basked. Only once, in September 2011, has a smaller percentage (6.0%) of our baskers been “morning turtles.” In addition, it is only the second time during this time period that less than 10% of our baskers avoided the morning hours for 2 months in a row. On both of those occasions, the percentages of morning exits over the 2-month period were almost identical (8.60% this year and 8.55% in August/September 2013).
During August there were 15 different named turtles that hauled out to bask as well as 2 turtles that were not identifiable as members of our `Ohana. Of those two, one basked 5 different times during the month and even stayed past sunset twice. This turtle has also been identified as having basked previously at Laniakea on June 6, 2021.
Our “top 3” baskers for August were Kulihi, Olivia-Dawn and Punahele. Kulihi was up 11 times for his fourth double digit month in the last 5 months and the fifth time in a row he has been in the “Top 3.” Olivia-Dawn came in second with 8 beach appearances and Punahele was third with 7 times out.
August had multiple turtles out on 20 different occasions, with the greatest exodus from the water happening twice, on the 24th and 25th, when 5 different turtles hauled out on each of those days.
The 15 different honu that appeared on the beach in August were Hiwahiwa, Olivia-Dawn, Oakley, Wooley-Bully, Punahele, Keoki, Kekoa, Kulihi, Hao, JP, Hilahila, Kaipua, Makana, Kanoa and Maka Nui.
Historical Year End 2019 Basking Narrative
(see the “Historical” section of the Basking Charts for graphic representation of some of this info)
Basking frequency at Laniakea took a distinct downturn in 2014 and 2015 with the disappearances of first Brutus (who had basked around 200 times per year) and then Kuhina (who hauled out 100 times or so annually). While we may never get back to the levels of 2013 and prior, the year 2019 represents a major upturn in Honu basking as we recorded an increase in basking occurrences for the second year in a row (and actually this was the first time in our reliable recorded history back to 2009 that this has happened!).
In 2019, 741 occurrences of basking took place by turtles that hauled out onto our shore. That represents a 12.6% increase from 2018 and 46.1% more than appeared in 2017. Even so, 2019 was an “odd” year. We currently “track” 20 turtles, 14 that bask only on the “beach” (north side of Laniakea) and 6 that bask only on the “shelf” (south side of Laniakea). Overall, only 7 turtles basked more in 2019 than in 2018 but the ones that did, basked so much more than last year that we ended up 83 basking occurrences on the plus side even with 3 turtles not showing up at all!
On the “beach” side, Punahele basked 64 more times in 2019 than in 2018. Maka Nui, in this honu’s first full year of basking, hauled out 40 more times, Olivia-Dawn appeared 7 more and Sapphire one. Missy was our worst performer, showing up 32 fewer times than the year before. Overall, the beach side had 4 turtles that increased their basking, and 10 that decreased (including 2 that never showed up at all….. Isabella and Hao).
On the “shelf,” Kaimana increased basking by 49 appearances, Makana by 36 and Kaipua by 12. On the downside, Keoki and Hilahila were short of last year and Tripod was totally absent.
Our statistics also tell us about comings and goings and the duration of time on the beach. Looking at the `Ohana overall, of the turtles that haul out, slightly more than half do so between 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm. When broken down between beach and shelf groups, the numbers change. The beach group comes out slightly later and the shelf group earlier. At the beach, 52.8% of the basking starts between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm whereas on the shelf it starts 64.2% of the time during the 3 hour period beginning at 11:00 am (and almost gets to half between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm with 47.4%).
Another interesting aspect of turtle basking is to see more than one turtle out on the beach at the same time. Every month in 2019, we had at least one day with 5 or more turtles up and one day in each of April, May and July with 8 turtles resting peacefully on the beach.
Individually, 4 turtles stayed overnight at least once 9 different times during the year (Wooley-Bully 4, Kulihi 2, Punahele 2, & Sapphire 1), with Punahele recording the earliest sunrise time at 5:49 am. Other than sunrise, Hiwahiwa clocked the earliest time out of the water at 7:30 am. The latest to emerge from the water was Oakley at 6:15 pm. Median times out for all the turtles (i.e. the mid-point in recorded times with half of the emergences occurring before that time and half occurring after) ranged from 11:23 am to 3:12 pm.
In regard to the duration of time individuals spend on the beach, they ranged from 0:02 minutes for Hiwahiwa to 13 hours and 22 minutes for Punahele on the day she “clocked in” at 5:49 am at sunrise and stayed on the beach through sunset. The range of “average duration of time out of the water” for our “beach” turtles is 1:58 for Maka Nui (in 61 appearances) to 4:21 for Oakley (in 36 appearances). On the “shelf” they ranged from 1:15 for Kaimana (with more than half of 83 appearances under 45 minutes) to 3:45 for “old timer” Keoki on 22 visits.
While we cannot reasonably monitor a turtle’s time on the beach after dark, we do measure how often a basking turtle stays past sunset.
During 2019 there were 735 separate appearances by members of our `ohana and 6 unidentified turtles. Discounting the unidentifieds, there were 370 times that a turtle that had hauled out (no matter what time of the day) was still on the beach at sunset. That was more than HALF the time (50.3%).
2020 Basking- 1/1/20-3/15/20, 6/1/20-8/8/20 & 9/24/20-12/31/20 (beaches were closed to the public & Malama na Honu for 123 days when no activity could legally be recorded)
|8) Maka Nui||28|
...and 4 of those we routinely track were absent: