Thursday, August 4, 2011

Back Home - and the Race Nears Full-Swing

The 2011 HIBT was a fantastic success, and the 2011 HIBT Great Marlin Race has also gotten off to a great start!  When fishing started on Monday morning, we already had 5 tags sponsored - which speaks volumes to the degree to which the billfishing community has gotten behind the Great Marlin Race program.  It is really exciting to have so many folks who wanted to get involved right off the bat!

The boats blast off at the "Start Fishing" call

By the end of the week we had a full complement of ten tags sponsored - and five tags already deployed.  So far in the week following the end of the tournament, three more tags have been deployed (for a total of eight) - and the last two are out on boats today, in hopes that they'll find their way on to a cooperative marlin.

I'll be updating the website in the coming days with complete lists of teams and sponsors and getting the interactive map finished up - as well as providing any breaking news about tags reporting, etc.  So keep checking back often!  Also - in addition to updating the website, blogging and tweeting, I do send out blast e-mails as well whenever any significant event occurs.  If you'd like to be added to the list, feel free to send an email to: and I'll make sure your name is there!

As always, 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Here We Go Again!

Since my arrival in Kona on Friday afternoon, it has been a whirlwind of activity.  We started with the Charter Boat Meeting right after I arrived, where all the excellent captains and crew members were briefed on the rules and expectations for the tournament.  It was fun seeing so many familiar faces - and to meet some folks whom I've been wanting to meet for a long time.

On Saturday the teams started arriving to register.  I was really struck by how international this tournament is - with representative teams from all around the globe.
The team briefing is in full swing!

Sunday morning was the team briefing, followed by the HIBT Kona Parade.  Who doesn't love a billfish parade?
The Laguna Niguel Billfish Club showing their true colors...

Sunday evening was capped off with a wonderful party at the Hale Halawai.  Among the highlights of this annual event is the singing of the national anthems of each and every country in the tournament.  It is really a treat to see all the teams of each nation gather up front to sing along with the orchestra.

And this morning I had to hit the dock at 0600, with tags and poles rigged and ready to be handed off to the angling teams as they board the boats.  A total of six tags went out this morning - and although fishing has been good, I don't believe any have been deployed yet.  I'll keep you posted!
Opening morning at Kailua Pier

Also - if you just can't wait for the blogs, I've also set up a Twitter feed which (if my thumbs will cooperate), will allow me to give minute-by-minute updates when exciting stuff happens!  You can follow along @greatmarlinrace.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Exciting Times Indeed!

The past few weeks have been very exciting indeed for the Great Marlin Race.  It was an amazing experience to assemble the tracks as the final datasets came in, and see for the first time where all the marlin had gone, and how the tracks from 2010 compared to the ones we got in 2009.
Pacific blue marlin tracks from the Great Marlin Race 

2009 (orange) and 2010 (white)
When you see the tracks on top of one another, there are both similarities and differences that really stand out.  For instance, there seems to be a corridor, of sorts, to the southeast of Hawaii that several marlin followed both in 2009 and in 2010.  However, whereas several of the 2009 fish went on to head south towards the Marquesas, in 2010 we saw a broader diversity of destinations - both further west and further east.  It will be interesting to do more analysis on these tracks, to examine the underlying oceanography and see if we can get some clues as to why they may have done one thing one year, and something else in the next.  The take-home message, though, is that it is important to observe these kinds of migrations for several years running before making any broad generalizations about behavior, or the factors that shape it.

It has also been a very exciting time to look ahead to the future of the Great Marlin Race.  We have already received a grant from West Marine to support a tag in 2011, and we are working with a variety of other corporations, foundations and individuals to help our billfish research and conservation programs to continue to develop and to grow in the years ahead.  I look forward to sharing more information here as the details fall into place!

Finally, as always, I want to express our deepest gratitude to all the people who have supported, and continue to support the Great Marlin Race program.  To the anglers, captains and crews and all the folks at the HIBT, to the staff here at Hopkins Marine Station and the Center for Ocean Solutions, thank you for an amazing year!