World renowned scientist dives into Kaneohe Bay

By Howard Dashefsky - bio | email

COCONUT ISLAND (KHNL) -  This exclusive Earth and Sea report gives us a closer look at world renowned scientist, doctor Sylvia Earle.

She's in Hawaii to discuss the state of our coral reefs.

A former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sylvia Earle has led more than 60 expeditions and logged more than 6,000 hours underwater.

She logged another hour off windward Oahu Wednesday, but not before touring the research facility at Coconut Island.

"To have an opportunity to come out and visit the marine mammal facility and see where students come and researchers from all over the world," said Earle. "This is really a wonderful asset for Hawaii and for the world."

The woman who set a record for solo diving to a depth of 3,300 feet, made her first ever dive inside Kaneohe Bay.

Like many who have traveled the globe, Earle says coral reefs in most part of the world are in a terrible state of decline.

However she says many coral reefs, including several in Hawaii, are still doing quite well.

"And the thing is there's hope. When you take the pressure off the reefs and restore the fish and allow them to return and do whatever it takes to keep the reefs healthy the dividends are enormous."

Although every dive offers valuable information, Wednesday's dive for Earle was mostly for fun, as she joined up with a group of beginning divers.

But it did offer her a first hand glimpse into the state of our coastal waters.

And a lesson on how to protect the resource.

"You can never go back to the way they were a thousand years ago but they can certainly be better than they would be if we do nothing."