Hohonu Moana: Exploring Deep Waters off Hawaiʻi

Mission Logs

Follow along as participants in the cruise provide updates and reflections on their experiences, the science, the technology, and other elements of the expedition.


Mission Summary

2015 Hohonu Moana: Exploring Deep Waters off Hawaiʻi: Mission Summary

After three months of operations, four cruise legs, 65 days at sea, and 37 remotely operated vehicle dives, the 2015 Hohonu Moana: Exploring Deep Waters off Hawai’i expedition was brought to a close.

September 27

September 27: Here in Hawaiian Waters It Is...Cold!

We may be working in the tropics, but it may come as a real surprise to some that down on the deep-sea floor, the bottom waters we are exploring are near freezing temperatures.

September 26

September 26: Day in the Life of an Executive Officer

NOAA vessels are a unique platform for ocean exploration. As they operate around the globe, collecting critical data about the world’s oceans and the ever-changing climate, they are often the most visible manifestation of America’s environmental intelligence, stewardship, and  scientific community.

September 25

September 25: Celebrating the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion

On September 25, 2014, almost exactly 109 years after the first national monument, President Barack Obama issued Proclamation 9173, which extended the boundaries of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

September 23

September 23: Harbor Branch Exploration Command Center Links Graduate Students with Hawaiian Cruise

This semester, faculty members John Reed, Joshua Voss, Shirley Pomponi, and Dennis Hanisak at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute are teaching a new graduate course, Ocean Exploration, at the Harbor Branch Exploration Command Center.

September 22

September 22: Creature Feature: Deepwater Hermit Crab

Hermit crabs are unusual in having a soft posterior region, the abdomen, hidden within a snail shell or other covering. A hermit crab must change shells throughout its life as it grows: that is, unless it is a deepwater hermit crab, family Parapaguridae.

September 21

September 21: Frustrated on Shore

Telepresence is both a blessing and a curse. Ninety-five percent of the time it is an amazing tool that allows NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to tap into the intellectual capital of a science team bigger than what even the largest research vessel could accommodate.

September 19

September 19: What Is In a Name, and Why Do We Care?

If you follow along with the video stream and listen to the scientists describe the features and animals that appear, you’ll hear many unfamiliar, complicated, and foreign-sounding names. Welcome to the world of scientific nomenclature!

September 17

September 17: Restocking CAST – Okeanos Explorer Brings Supplies to Fish and Wildlife Service Researchers at Johnston Atoll

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer delivered materials to the Johnston Atoll to help U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers combat the invasive yellow crazy ant.

September 12

September 13: The Relief of Getting Underway

Ahh...the feeling I get when the ship starts to move away from the pier for the first time at the start of a cruise is so nice. I can just feel the tension leaving my body and the farther away we get from land, the better I feel. Watching the land drop below the horizon is just a wonderful feeling.

September 12

September 12: A Long Time Coming

I am thrilled to say that because of my participation on Leg 4 of the Hohonu Moana expedition I will not suffer the melancholy aspect of Violet Fane’s poem that some things “often come too late.”

September 1

September 1: The Sorceress and the Scientists

During the expedition’s remotely operated vehicle dive on August 17, we saw a very unusual eel with a long, fleshy extension from its nose. Swimming a mile below the sea surface at a terrace near Gardner Pinnacles in the Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument, this eel was both a discovery and a mystery.

August 31

August 31: Volcano Fish

The fishes that we see on all but the shallowest Okeanos Explorer dives live in the habitats of extinct volcanic lava flows – they are volcano fish. Some live near active volcanoes as well as on extinct features.

August 30

August 30: Understanding the Development of Deep-water Precious Coral Communities Using Submarine Lava Flows From the Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawaii

In Hawaii, lava flows on the Big Island provide a unique opportunity to examine the development of coral communities across time.

August 21

August 28: Characterizing the Environment of Hawaiian Deep Coral Communities

In an attempt to understand the flow rate in coral beds, seafloor instruments were deployed in the main Hawaiian Islands in prior years and will be recovered during Leg 3 of the 2015 Hohonu Moana expedition by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

August 21

August 21: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer: Called to Service

While the rest of the team went about wrapping up their activities, the Commanding Officer received a call from higher levels in the command: the ship needed to divert course from her current transit and head to Tern Island, French Frigate Shoals, to rescue four scientists.

August 20

August 20: University of Hawaii Exploration Command Center

As a fourth year PhD student at the University of Hawaii (UH), I am finally directly involved with my first Okeanos Explorer expedition as an on-shore scientist working from the newly established Exploration Command Center at the UH Manoa.

August 19

August 19: The New NOAA Inouye Regional Center Exploration Command Center

The Hohonu Moana expedition in the Hawaiian Islands has an Exploration Command Center at the NOAA Inouye Regional Center (IRC) in Honolulu. The IRC is located on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.

August 18

August 18: Re-surveying Deep-water Habitats in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands After Over a Century

The current expedition aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer has been particularly exciting because it has provided the first images of many deep-water environments in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

August 15

August 15: Seeing Stars: How High-definition Video Helps Us Understand the Deep Sea

My name is Dr. Christopher Mah. I am a research collaborator in the Invertebrate Zoology Department at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. I am one of the world’s experts in the biodiversity and evolution of sea stars (also called starfishes or asteroids). 

August 13

August 13: Ridges and Pillows of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument: How to Think Like a Geologist

NOAA's remotely operated vehicle, Deep Discoverer, has been exploring the volcanic rift zone ridges in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument during the Hohonu Moana: Exploring Deep Waters off Hawaiʻi expedition.

August 9

August 9: Watch Continues on Shore

This is my third field season with NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Having a background in mechanical engineering and an interest in robotics, the remotely operated vehicle cruises have always been my favorite cruises.

August 6

August 6: Why Collect Rocks? An Overview on Geologic Objectives for the Hohonu Moana Expedition

The Hohonu Moana expedition presents an unprecedented opportunity to observe and sample the volcanoes from the Northwest Hawaiian Ridge within the Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument.

August 4

August 4: Getting Your Feet Wet in Deep-sea Biology...

If you’ve been tuning in and thinking to yourself, “This deep-sea research thing looks great; get me involved!”, you may be wondering where to start. Here are some thoughts for the prospective student of deep-sea biology.

August 3

August 3: Exploring Deeper on Kanehunamoku/French Frigate Shoals Seamount

Kanehunamoku Seamount, previously referred to as the seamount north of French Frigate Shoals, was basically just a small set of contour lines on a NOAA nautical chart until 2001.

July 31

July 31: Leg 2 Commences!

After many months of planning and coordination, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer departed Pearl Harbor, Oahu, this morning at approximately 0930 and got underway to commence Leg 2 of the Hohonu Moana: Exploring Deep Waters off Hawaiʻi Expedition.

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