A Biologist’s Underwater Blog

Ron Mizutani
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Wednesday - September 15, 2010
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Veteran waterman Terry Lilley

You no longer have to be a certified scuba diver to enjoy the wonderful world below the ocean’s surface. Marine biologist Terry Lilley of Hanalei is providing the expertise and the avenue to view the magic online.

Lilley dives almost daily and has more than 1,000 hours of underwater high-definition video. It is because of his growing library that he’s produced a weekly blog featuring our unique marine life.

“As far as I know I have more underwater HD video from Hawaii and California then anyone on this planet,” says an excited Lilley. “For 10 years I’ve been diving every two to three days, shooting high-def video and I’ve captured most all of the marine life that lives around Hawaii.”

The blog can be found at http://terrylilley.wordpress.com  and features one lesson after another.

But Lillie is not just a tour guide. He is a fantastic storyteller. Each video clip is filled with useful information, fantastic images and, in most cases, an intriguing story.

“When you see the same coral head or moray eel 30-40 different times, it’s easy to tell the story of that animal,” says Lilley, who has a background in both diving and surfing.


“With most scientific research, reefs are monitored 15 to 30 minutes a year. I go out to the same site 50 to 80 hours a year, so I’ve captured the stories and I’m aware of the changes.”

The veteran waterman believes his blog can serve as a great educational tool for students of all ages. He says most of his short movies were shot in places very few if any divers have ventured to, let alone videotaped.

Lilley shoots most of his video off his kayak at more than 60 dive sites on Kauai.

He visits them monthly to check on the health of the reef and the creatures that call it home.

“Ninety-nine percent of my underwater work is done from my kayak, and that allows me to get to reefs that divers can’t reach or dive boats can’t get to,” he says. “It’s a unique way to get to the marine life that most have never seen on HD video.”

Lilley shoots high-definition video for his weekly blog

His subjects range from roi and other invasive fish species, to lobster season and how to determine the sex of the mysterious crustaceans. There’s a segment on what lives below the surf at Hanalei Bay, and a tense dive with a white-tip shark. And that’s just the start.

The former professional surfer hopes students will share his blog with friends and classmates. He also encourages visitors to post comments and contribute their stories as well.

“Local residents have so much knowledge of the past, and if they can respond to the blog, then all of a sudden we have this huge sharing of information,” says Lilley, who hopes the clips will inspire people to understand their roles as caretakers of the ocean. “My job is not to tell people what they have to do to better manage our ocean environment. I document what’s out there and stimulate people to talk and share. We don’t have time to reinvent the wheel. Changes are happening rapidly. This generation can make a difference.”

Lilley is doing his part. All we have to do is log on and enjoy the ride - and eventually do ours as well.

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Most Recent Comment(s):

Awesome Terry Lilley piece! The link is incorrect tho, from within your article to the blog (it’s broken). Also, when you click to email it, it sends another broken link. Just thought you should know. http://www.midweek.com/content/columns/currents_article/a_biologists_underwater_blog/

The correct link to the blog http://terrylilley.wordpress.com


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