B1 Intermediate US 721 Folder Collection
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(suspenseful drums and strings)
(intense horns and drumming)
- [Coyote Voiceover] The Pacific Ocean is as blue
as one might imagine in their dreams.
And if you travel 2,500 miles
off the Southwestern coast of North America,
you will find a series of land masses known
as the Hawaiian Islands.
This lush paradise seems as if it would be
the perfect place to encounter numerous species of animals.
However, truth be told,
the wildlife is few and far between.
It's distance proximity to any main continent
has kept it rather void of your typical reptiles,
amphibians, insects, and arachnids.
However, what it lacks in its creatures to feature on land,
it makes up for tenfold
with its rich plethora of marine life.
- Look at all the poop.
- Are you rolling?
- [Camera Man] I'm rolling.
- Alright guys, now you may notice
we're pretty excited out here,
because today is our first scuba diving adventure.
Now, we will be exploring Whalers Cove.
This is the same place we scouted the other day
when we were snorkeling.
We saw tons of marine animals.
Today is going to be a little different
because we will be scuba diving.
Now, to catch an animal, it's not going to be easy.
So I'm bringing with me this giant blue bucket.
The goal is to slowly coax an animal into this,
bring it up to the shoreline,
and then get it up close for the cameras.
Wish us luck, guys, and get excited,
because today is going to be one epic dive.
- [Coyote Voiceover] It's one thing
to explore the Hawaiian tide pools.
It's another thing to snorkel along the reefs.
And it's a completely different world
the minute you go 25 feet beneath the surface
with a dive tank.
Mark and I had recently become dive certified,
and today was going to be our very first
open water ocean dive.
Safety is everything when it comes to submerging yourself
into the great unknown of the ocean.
So we carefully assembled our dive gear
and checked it thoroughly
before heading down to the shoreline.
Woo! It is hot out here.
Okay, guys, my BCD is weighted properly,
got my air tank hooked up.
It's time to strap into this puppy
and get out there under the water.
- [Man Off Camera] Alright.
- [Coyote Voiceover] For those of you who
are not scuba certified,
let me take a moment to tell you
that the instant you deflate your Buoyancy Control Device,
there is a moment of sheer terror as your body sinks
toward the ocean floor like a bag of rocks.
In your mind you know that the regulator
in your mouth contains the precious air
that your lungs so desperately need,
so you trust what your brain is telling you,
and slowly you begin to breathe.
This is the point where your heart rate begins to even out.
You are breathing underwater,
and you are not drowning.
Then you open your eyes and realize
that you are beneath the ocean waves
in a world you never imagined existed.
You look around, gather your bearings
and coordinate with hand gestures to your dive team
that everything is absolutely okay.
Ah yes, your dive team.
One of the most important rules about diving
is that you never, and I mean never, dive alone.
So today we will be exploring alongside Mike and Brian,
two veteran divers who know this area
and its animals incredibly well.
Our goal was to find an animal that we could safely catch
and bring to the surface for a presentation.
And as our dive fins propelled us forward,
we immediately began to admire
the schools of brightly colored fish
as they darted in and around the massive coral structures.
We saw enormous sea urchins armed with razor-sharp spines,
and big squishy sea cucumbers
that were nearly the size of my arm.
These were good candidates.
However, they were also species
we had come upon in the tide pools.
So we continued further, keeping our eyes on the lookout
for something even more bizarre.
(steel drum music)
The art of diving takes some getting used to,
and the real key is to take your time.
For a human, life beneath the surface moves in slow motion.
So, as long as you pace your breathing
and let your dive fins do all of the work,
the experience is absolutely magical.
For beginner divers like Mark and myself,
a tank of air should last around an hour.
And as it turns out,
this was plenty of time to find our star animal,
because around forty minutes in
we came across the one and only crown-of-thorns.
This large sea star is armed with hundreds
of razor sharp, venom-lined spines.
So it was a risky maneuver,
but I managed to use the edge of my GoPro tripod
to gently coax it from its hold on the rocks
and into our bucket.
(suspenseful music)
This was the perfect animal to bring above the waves
and present in front of the cameras.
So we clasped down the lid
and headed toward the surface.
(light music)
- Woo! We got one.
- And by got one, what he means
is the one and only crown-of-thorns sea star.
This is one dangerous bucket right here.
They're extremely venomous.
Fortunately, we got it safely up off of the rocks
and into the bucket without being spiked,
and now it's time to get it into a controlled setting
so we can get up close for the cameras.
- Dude, I think I got that shot perfect.
I swam right down and I had you come in
right up to it with it in the foreground, oh man.
- It couldn't have been in anymore perfect position,
I was able to get on the backside of the rock,
and what's cool is they actually come off the rocks
much easier than I thought.
I was able to just use the backside of the GoPro AquaPod
and it kind of floated it up,
and right into the bucket.
- [Mark] Wait until you guys see,
it barely fits in this bucket.
- [Coyote] It's big.
- [Mark] It barely fit in there.
- It is a big sea star.
Alright guys, lets get up here.
- Go this way.
- Wow, this bucket is a lot heavier on land
than it is in the water.
And inside is one very toxic marine creature.
Are you guys ready to meet the crown-of-thorns?
- [Camera Man] Let's see it.
- Okay, now what I'm going to do is
slowly pry off the top of the bucket.
Let me see where it's at here.
Woo! Still down on the bottom.
Look at this, the entire circumference
is filled with sea star.
- [Camera Man] Now is it upside down right now?
- It is upside down, which is actually
working in our favor.
Now, what I'm gonna do is very slowly
pour the water into this Tupperware container,
and then the sea star will gently crawl in there.
There we go.
- [Camera Man] And a perfect flip.
- There we go.
Look at you.
Alright, let's take a minute
to admire the size of this animal.
Now, this is one of the largest growing sea star
species on the planet.
I am in awe of this creature right now.
I cannot believe how big it is.
I was hoping maybe we would find one
about the size of my hand.
This is about maximum size,
and I want to count its legs really quickly.
Because I want to tell you guys about that.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine...
18 legs.
Now, I have read that the maximum number of legs
that the radius disc that makes up its body can grow is 20.
This thing has 18 legs.
Now, when they start off and they're small,
like many sea star species, they only have around five legs,
and as they grow, as that center disc grows,
they have more arms that then grow off.
Now what I'm going to do...
No, I'm not going to be spiked by the crown-of-thorns.
At least not intentionally.
- [Camera Man] Can you at least see how sharp they are?
- Yes, I will see how sharp they are.
But what I want to do first is just wear
this pair of dive gloves to see
if I can gently pry it off the bottom and actually hold it,
because it will be much easier for your presentation.
- [Camera Man] It can spike through those gloves.
- It can.
That's why I want to try to handle it as gently
as I possibly can.
Wow, look at that animal.
Unbelievably bizarre looking.
Like a living pincushion.
- [Camera Man] You can really see it
losing its shape already.
- Yeah they do.
Now the body is very gelatinous.
You'll begin to notice it starts to droop
as I'm holding it up and out of the water.
Now, these animals can stay out of the water
for a significant amount of time,
but I am going to have to keep dunking it down
so that it keeps its structure.
- [Camera Man] I don't even know what to say about this,
it's like a combination of a sea cucumber,
and a sea urchin, a sea star, an octopus...
- It's like many things all at once.
Now, all of these legs are prehensile.
Which means they can move independently,
and they help this animal grip to the sides
of rocks when it's under the water.
And like other sea-star species,
if they lose one of their limbs,
they can actually regenerate that limb,
which means that it will grow back.
And its tube feet, let me turn it like this.
Can you see all the tube feet on the underside?
- [Camera Man] Oh man, they're like little mushrooms.
- Yeah well, they're like little mushrooms
and have little suction cups on the end.
And they use those tube feet
to move through the environment.
Now, we found this one on a big flat rock.
Which is where they usually try to hang out
to keep their body spread out,
and as they're slowly moving along,
what they will actually do is regurgitate their stomachs.
How gross is that?
And then the stomach will lay on top of the coral
and digestive enzymes will break it down,
and it will slowly slurp up the remains,
leaving behind nothing but a coral skeleton.
Alright, I'm going to set it back down
into the water here for a second.
Really gently.
And they are rather fragile.
I have to be real gentle, I don't want to be spiked.
Let it slowly detach from my glove.
There you go, buddy.
Let go.
Woo! He's stuck on to me.
See all the sea feet letting go?
There we go.
Now, I am curious...
- [Camera Man] Oh boy, no, no.
- [Coyote] As to...
- [Camera Man] No, you're not gonna get spiked.
- As to how sharp those spines really are.
And no, I am not going to intentionally spike myself.
That's far too risky.
But what I do want to do,
is I'm gonna gently pry it up again here.
Can you see its back there with all the spines up?
Can you see that?
Let me just...
Oh wow.
- [Camera Man] How sharp?
- We are talking needle sharp.
- [Camera Man] Can you feel the tips of it?
- I can and they're very slippery.
You can actually feel the slime on the sheath
that is encasing the spine.
Similar to the lionfish, the way that these spines work
is if something applies pressure to them,
that membrane peels back,
and then the venom seeps out into the wound.
- [Camera Man] Let me check it out,
they seem pretty dull to me.
- They're not, be very careful.
- [Camera Man] Oh yeah.
- They are very, very sharp.
- [Camera Man] If you were to put any kind of pressure,
they're going in.
- It would not take much for your hand
to whap down on this, or if it bumped into your leg
when you were scuba diving,
you would be in really, really bad shape.
Now, the spines are actually relatively brittle,
and that's where you really run into the problem:
not only are they venomous,
but it's really easy for them
to break off inside of your skin.
So, a spine goes into you,
or in this case probably many spines,
they break off, the venom sets in, you begin to swell.
As that liquid builds underneath the skin
the spines dig deeper and deeper
and they're almost impossible to get out
unless you actually have surgery.
That's why so many people
really approach this animal with caution,
and it is just suctioned onto my hand
and my arm right now--
- [Camera Man] It's gotta make you nervous.
- A little bit, but it is important to note
that this animal cannot shoot its spines.
The misnomer that porcupines can shoot their quills,
the crown-of-thorns cannot shoot its spines,
so you actually have to apply pressure,
similar to the spines of a lionfish,
to get them to stick into you,
and then, of course, for that venom to get into your system.
Now, the crown-of-thorns
is considered a problem species in many areas
because if there's an outbreak of them
they can actually decimate a coral reef.
The females can release up to
sixty million eggs in a breeding season.
That's why they become such a problem,
if you have an outbreak in an area where
there are no predators, they can quickly decimate a reef,
and, right now, that's what's happening in Australia
on the Great Barrier Reef.
- [Camera Man] So, what's eating these out here?
- That's a good question, you would think
something with all of these spines, and it's venomous,
would probably have no predators,
but, believe it not, there are a few species of crabs,
shrimp, and also the Triton's Trumpet, which is a big snail
that are capable of eating these sea stars.
You look at thing and you say to yourself,
"Nope that's not gonna be a meal for me,"
but, alas, there are some creatures out there helping
to control the population of crown-of-thorns sea stars.
Absolutely gorgeous.
And this one is a beast.
This is pretty close
to maximum size for the crown-of-thorns.
- [Camera Man] What did you say,
you saw it from 20 feet away?
- I could see it from about 20 feet away.
I was coming towards the rock,
and I was like "Wow.
"There is one of the animals
"that we hoped we would come across."
- [Coyote Voiceover] Working with marine animals
is a very delicate balance.
Not only did we need to make sure
that the animal was properly hydrated, and gently handled,
but I also needed to be concerned for my own safety
and the well being of the crew.
- [Camera Man] So, Coyote, what did you think?
First time diving, pretty awesome?
- I told you guys this was going to be epic,
and I won't lie, I was very nervous at first.
As soon as you're underwater, though,
and see all the fish swimming around,
it's like you're on another planet beneath the surface.
It's so calm, so relaxing,
and the one animal that I hoped we would come across today,
the crown-of-thorns sea star, sure enough showed up.
I'm Coyote Peterson, be brave, stay wild,
we'll see you on the next adventure.
Alright, let's get this animal back off into the ocean
before I get spiked.
- [Coyote Voiceover] The crown-of-thorns
is a venomous marine animal,
and even the smallest poke from one of its many spines
has the potential to be incredibly painful.
If you ever find yourself beneath the ocean surface,
and just so happen upon one,
simply admire it from a safe distance.
Hey, Coyote Pack, have you picked up your tickets
for the Brave Adventures Tour, yet?
There's only a few left,
so make sure to click on this link
to reserve your seats today,
and remember, the tour is the only place
you can find one of the exclusive Golden Adventure Tickets.
And don't forget, subscribe!
So you can join me and the crew on our next big adventure.
- I am so proud to have written this book
and it was inspired by a lot
of the adventures that we have had.
(animals roaring)
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LOOKOUT! Toxic Starfish!

721 Folder Collection
Zenn published on August 10, 2018
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