Maui Ocean Center Series Dive Below The Surface

Traveling exhibits and monthly Sea Talks look deep

By: Dawna Robertson

With an ocean of opportunities, the Maui Ocean Center always finds new ways to share the sea with its visitors. Throughout the month of February, the center is hosting the traveling exhibit, “Archipelago: Portraits of Life in the World’s Most Remote Island Sanctuary.”

This “on the move” venue features dramatic photography of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as captured by renowned artists Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager. The award-winning team has been photographing endangered animals and plants around the country since 1986.

“Maui Ocean Center is an ideal venue to display ‘Archipelago’,” explained Kate Zolezzi, the aquarium’s general manager. “The powerful and dramatic photographs are a perfect complement to our colorful and lively exhibits, and we all strive for the same outcome to display Hawaii’s natural beauty in a meaningful way, as to convey the fragility, uniqueness and ultimate importance of these Islands.”

Most recently, Middleton and Liittschwager turned their collective cameras on the flora and fauna of the vast, remote region stretching some 1,200 miles northwest of Kauai. The “Archipelago” exhibit results from two years of arduous effort trekking to the region aboard research vessels. Photographs will be displayed alongside various center exhibits.

“Archipelago” includes rich portraits of marine and terrestrial flora and fauna, landscapes and seascapes, and interpretive imagery and information expressing the biological exuberance of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. These photographs are also featured in the duo’s new book, Archipelago, published by National Geographic.

Zolezzi added, “‘Archipelago’ gives Maui visitors and residents a rare chance to experience the hidden beauty and spectacular ecological richness of a world that normally is veiled from the public eye.”

Sea Talk Sees Future

Maui Ocean Center’s free monthly Sea Talk Series will continue on Tuesday, February 21 at 6 pm with “Marine Mammal Stranding Considerations.” The revealing program will be presented by David Schofield, marine mammal response network coordinator of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Focusing on 15-plus years of such situations, Schofield will discuss the numerous challenges faced when marine mammals are stranded including public safety, the health and well-being of the animal, and the circumstances surrounding the stranding event. Topics will cover stranding causes, rescue to release and the difficult decision-making processes of these situations.

The mission of the Maui Ocean Center is to foster understanding, wonder and respect for Hawaii’s marine life. This state-of-the-art facility was named “Hawaii’s Top Attraction” by the Zagat Survey US Family Travel Guide. Hours are from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, and from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. in July and August.