Favorite Photos

It’s only six weeks until the move, and I can feel myself getting more and more nervous as we get closer. I am looking through photos of our time here on the island, and feeling more nostalgic than I thought I would.

I think the big takeaway for me is that anywhere can feel like home if you live there long enough.

Anyway, I thought I would put together some of my favorite pictures so you can see what these last four years on Guam have been like. Being away from friend and family like we are, I know that pictures are one of the only things that makes anyone feel connected to us anymore. It’s hard to believe I left my home ten years ago after graduating ASU, and I have been so many places since…

I miss you all.

Larry the turtle
A green sea turtle.
Jenifer DeLemont
The waves washing up on the beach.

 

plumeria
Plumeria flowers on a tree by our house.
stormy day
A storm closing in.
clouds
I loved the clouds over the ocean. I am going to miss the ocean view.
orchids
Ground orchids on Mount Lam Lam.

 

Green Sea Turtle
A green sea turtle in the morning.
sun set
Just another sunset.

 

pond
A pond on a sunny day.
rainbow is epic
The ocean is so beautiful.

 

a bite
Dragon fruit, which is one of the awesome fruits that grow here.
power plant
An abandoned power plant.

 

aweome sunset
The sunset over the ocean, which is always awesome.
Gun Beach
Gun Beach.

 

kitty
A kitten at the animal shelter.
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Under Two Lovers Point looking at Tumon Bay.

 

coconut crab
A coconut crab.
all the pink
Another sunset.

 

cocnuts in a row
Coconut juice being sold.
Ocean
A typhoon offshore made the ocean look churned up.

 

Passion Flower
My favorite flower, a passion flower.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since we moved to Guam for what started as a two-year tour (and then got extended twice.) It feels like such a short time since I was packing up to leave South Korea and stay with my mom in Oregon while Rich went to school in Mississippi.

Somehow, four years flew by, and it’s time for us to move on. As I sort through all our clothes and possessions and get them ready to be packed, I remember all the things we have learned since we moved here.

For example, we hardly knew how to swim when we moved to Guam. Now, we’re both great swimmers.We learned to scuba dive, too. After much study, I think we know the names of all the fish on our reef, and a lot of the coral as well.

I learned about coconut grabs, huntsman spiders, and tropical flowers. I also got to find out a lot about the Chamorro people who are native to Guam. I watched Proa boat races and learned to eat reef fish.

We did some volunteer work painting the local animal shelter. I’m allergic to dogs and cats, but I still care about them. We learned a lot about the unique challenges that islands face when it comes to ecosystems. (We also got to pet lots of animals.)

Guam has been fun. We’re really going to miss it. However, I am sure that Hawaii is going to be great, too! I can’t wait to love it.

Jenifer DeLemont
Just a picture of me.

 

Around the Island

This is just a post full of pictures from around the island.

Jenifer DeLemont
A rope swing a San Luis Beach which you can only get to at low tide.

 

best yellow tree
These trees are covered with flowers every spring

 

Jenifer DeLemont
Me in downtown Tumon

 

good view
Tumon Bay, where I live on Guam

 

single flower
A single plumaria flower

 

Jenifer DeLemont
Sunset over the ocean

 

orchid tree
Flowers on an orchid tree (one of my favorites!)

 

reflection
Clouds reflecting on the surface of a pond by the port

 

Marina
Gab Gab marina

 

Jenifer DeLemont
Just a dreamy sunset

 

 

Schools of Fish at Gun Beach

One of my favorite things about being the ocean is being surrounded by schools of fish. I love when they are swimming all around you like thousands of butterflies dancing on the wind. It doesn’t happen very often.

Fish School
Eating algae off the dead coral

On Gab Gab reef I see a school of Convict Surgeon fish now and then. At fish eye I saw some other surgeon fish once. However, most of the time there are not fabulous schools of fish swimming around me.

Schooling fish
Surgeon fish swimming past me

I am pretty new to life in the ocean. I grew up in mountains in California, and then in the desert in Arizona. I have not had much opportunity to even be near an ocean. When I was, it was usually a trip down to Rocky Point where we just splashed in the waves a little.

Fish Schooling
Bump head parrot fish schooling

When I put a snorkel on for the first time and saw what was under the water, it was amazing. I went from someone afraid to swim to someone that never wanted to do anything else again. I fell in love with the coral, and the fish, and the turtles.

Fish Schooling
Convict surgeon fish swimming by

Of course, then summer came and the coral bleached. I looked into it and found that the coral has been bleaching and dying off a little more every year. I started to look at what I had thought to be rocks, and realize that it was actually dead coral. Now, I have come to realize that my time being able to appreciate the ocean is short. There is simply too much CO2 in the air and water, and all the coral planting in the world can’t save our reefs.

Jenifer DeLemont
My favorite picture of surgeon fish schooling by me

I regret not having the chance to see them before they began to die. More than that, I regret that there will probably be nothing left to see in my lifetime. It’s a tragedy that has left my husband and I sobbing on a beach more than once when we really saw how bad it is.

fish schooling
I saw this kind of surgeon fish last time I was in Oahu

However, there are still schools of fish sometimes. There are still manta rays and turtles sometimes. There is still beauty to see, and I am grateful and I feel privileged to have that opportunity. Between this blog and my YouTube channel, I am doing my best to share what I see. I know that not everyone gets the chance to see the reefs, and I hope that I help them connect with the ocean and the animals and plants that live there, even if it is from afar.

Jenifer DeLemont
My favorite shot of the convict surgeon fish

The ocean is a beautiful place, and I wish that we could save it. That said, I know scientists have said that it is too late. I know that they have said we surpassed the levels of CO2 that will melt the polar ice caps. I know we are already in the middle of a massive extinction (the Holocene extinction.)

fish schooling
Feeding frenzy

However, anything you can do helps. Life often finds a way when no one thought it could, and if we reduce the amount of plastic that we use and try to consume less as a species, some life in the oceans might survive. Whatever you can do, please do it. If you can afford to put Testla roof tiles on your house, do it. If you can buy and use cloth bags for shopping, do it. If you can stop buying single use products, you should.

fish schooling
Schools of fish swimming by me

We should all be doing whatever we can, even if it’s not enough to save every species of coral and fish. If we can save anything, we have to try.

 

Crown of Thorns Problem

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The Crown of Thorns starfish Acanthaster planci (COTS) has contributed greatly to declines in coral cover on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and remains one of the major acute disturbances on Indo-Pacific coral reefs.

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I hadn’t seen them much around Guam for the first couple of years that we were here. I saw my first one at Dadi Beach on the Navy base. I ran into two at Fish Eye Marine Park, and so on.

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However, I had heard that they could sometimes breed like crazy and take over an area. Last weekend, I finally saw that happen.

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We were swimming from Gun Beach towards Tumon Bay. As we passed the Beach Bar and the stage where they have traditional dances, we began to see Crown of Thorns star fish. First just one, then another, then another, then another…

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By the time we were even with the wedding chapel just past the beach area, we were in the midst of a huge bloom of Crown of Thorns, at depths of 10 feet to 30 feet all along the coral.

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It is always discouraging to come upon these very poisonous and very evil star fish who gobble up healthy coral and leave barren wastelands. However, it is even worse at Gun Beach, where last year’s bleaching had already taken so much of the coral. Now what little is left is being gobbled up!

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For anyone who snorkels or dives regularly, remember that it can make a huge difference if you report these Crown of Thorns blooms right away to whomever handles such things in your area. Here on Guam, it’s up to NOAA, who do reef monitoring, and who are piloting a program to begin killing Crown of Thorns star fish.

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It’s harder than one would imagine to kill a Crown of Thrones. I always figured it would be a good idea to just grab them from the water and let them dry out and die on land. However, it turns out that they spawn when they feel threatened.

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If you scare or upset a Crown of Thorns, it will essentially spray babies out. Therefore, it is up to the professionals to strap on a dive tank, and carefully inject each arm of the Crown of Thorns with poison.

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This way they are killed without being jostled or moved, and so they don’t know it is happening. (They are only star fish after all, so it’s not like they have brains.)

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So the takeaway here is: These evil star fish are killing what coral we have left. If you see something, say something. Don’t try to kill them yourself, or you could make a bad situation worse. And avoid contact because they are very poisonous.

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Manta Ray!

Manta Ray by Jenifer DeLemont
A Manta Ray swimming at Gun Beach.

It’s unfortunate that rays are such a rare sight on Guam. My husband and I have been snorkeling nearly every weekend that we have lived here, but we never say one.

Yesterday, we finally saw one for the first time ever and it was glorious. It went gliding along the ocean floor in front of us and it was beautiful. It’s hard to tell scale under water, but it was big. I would guess about four or five feet across; maybe a little more.

 

 

If it helps for scale, we were snorkeling on the surface of the water about 30 feet from the ocean floor. Anyway, it was a magical experience and I am really glad that we got to have it before we moved to Hawaii.

Manta Ray by Jenifer DeLemont.
One more of the Manta Ray.

If you check out my YouTube Channel, you can find a lot of the other amazing sea life that we have seen here on Guam.

We have come across a lot of stunning things, from turtles to cowrie shells, and even a friendly barracuda. It has been a real adventure living here, and I’ll miss it when we go.

A Swim at Gab Gab

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I have written before about Gab Gab, a reef inside the harbor on the Navy Base. This is juts some pictures from one of my snorkels there, so you can see what it is like.

There are anemones, turtles, schools of fish, and all about a million awesome corals. It’s a beautiful place.

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This is a masked puffer. There are a lot of types of puffer fish here, but I don’t see them as much except in June and July (which seems to be when they are getting friendly with each other.)

The masked puffer is in front of some beautiful hard corals.

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These are soft corals growing on hard corals. The ocean is (for the moment) full of species competing for space.

I like how the soft corals seem to pop up and grow on things like mushrooms.

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There are several sea turtles that are usually seen around Gab Gab. I have looked online a lot, and it seems to me that they are Green Sea Turtles.

Several military spouses and insisted rather vehemently that they are hawksbill turtles. However, I don’t think that is the case.

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Above, you can see a cleaner wrasse eating parasites off two larger fish. One is a standard Parrot Fish, and one is a Rainbow Parrot fish.

Parrot fish have these tiny, silly-looking fins. I have no idea how they move to fast.

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At fist I thought these might be cuddle fish. However, upon more searching online, it looks as though they are reef squid.

I had never seen them at Gab Gab before August of 2017, but it seems that there is an explosion of squid and other invertebrates going on. I am glad, because I love the way they change color.

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Anyway, this is what it looks like swimming along the reef at Gab Gab.

It’s a really amazing experience to swim through these underwater gardens.  I am grateful that I got to see them.

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Electric Beach, Oahu Hawaii

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For the second time, I went to Electric Beach on Oahu. This time I went on a Sunday, and boy was it crowded! Apparently weekdays are much better.

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I was extremely upset to see two random men come along and punch a sea turtle on the back. I have no idea what that was about, but it seemed like some kind of macho thing. I wish people would respect endangered species and keep the required two meters away.

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Anyway, as I have said before, Electric Beach is where the heated water from inside the power plant on the shore pours out of big pipes.

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Lots of things like to come there. Last time I saw a sting ray. This time, several small green sea turtles.

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The coral is small. It’s not like Guam, with huge coral stacks that build reefs that dwarf me. There are mostly rocks, and then some small corals living on them.

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Even without big corals, there is no shortage of interesting sea life. There are some very pretty sea urchins that live among the rocks.

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If you go to Oahu, take the trip out of Oahu and up the coast. It’s worth it.

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Particularly if your goal is to see turtles, Electric Beach is a good spot. I noticed that most of the people on the Great Barrier Reef tour with me were out to see turtles. They really are some of the cutest things in the ocean.

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I am still sad about the loss of our resident turtle by my house at Fish Eye, whom we called “Larry.” The other turtles here are great, but they are strangers who come and go. Larry was like a friend who was there every day to go for a swim and play.

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Still, seeing turtles is always awesome.

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