Sunday, September 30, 2007

Another Pink Cap Swim

I always enjoy the Sunday morning ocean swim with my friends. Our group was quite large and fragmented from the moment we hit the water. There were the serious swimmers and there were those of us who love to play. We spent time playing with turtles and a couple of spotted eagle rays who seem to have made Makena their temporary home. One of them was holding still so that a pair of small Rainbow Wrasses could clean it (click HERE for lots of photos and a video from today's swim).

Many thanks to Doug Rice for taking this (unretouched) photo of me from an angle which hides my chubbiness quite well.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting Comfortable

At the turn around point of my ocean swim this morning I came across two spotted eagle rays in the shallow water along the shore of the so called "black sand beach." They were pretty laid back but cautious about letting me get too close. They always kept slightly ahead of me so that they could speed away if necessary.

It took twenty five minutes of swimming with them for them to determine that I was not a threat and let me swim along side. Or perhaps it took that long to get used to my bad breath. Click HERE or below for the video.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cleaning Up

I had fun photographing a wonderfully decorated home yesterday and took time for an ocean swim this morning. Turtles everywhere! A few years ago I was lucky to see one sea turtle, now I see lots of them every time I go out.

For some reason I always seem to see the more interesting critters near the end of my swim. Today I saw a spotted eagle ray zoom away along the sea bottom in the opposite direction, but I did not have the energy to chase it. So I looked and looked below me in hopes of seeing another. Nothing. Then I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye, and there they were. Two spotted eagle rays swimming quietly along side me just out of reach. When I reached for my camera they dove for the bottom. I guess I'm not the only one who is camera shy.

I usually see a pair of rainbow wrasse cleaning other fish at a certain spot on the reef. You would think they would find me a treat considering my poor personal hygiene, but they always leave me alone. Maybe I am an acquired taste?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pink Cap Swimmer Fun

I had a fun ocean swim with my friends this morning (click HERE for lots of photos). We got to interact extensively with a manta ray which was doing loops for us. We showed it right back that we could do loops too (click HERE or below for the Video). We also swam with three spotted eagle rays and lots and lots of sea turtles.

I always thought that bluefin trevally looked mean, like giant piranha. I imagined them tearing their prey (hopefully not me) apart with their mean little mouths.

Since taking the photo below this morning, I realized that they eat like so many other fish - by swallowing whole (just like I am told is how I eat). Suddenly, they no longer look so threatening to me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bruce et al

The Maui version of the Christmas Cactus was blooming to excess this morning. Gaugin had it right with his vision of oversize plants in the tropics, these flowers range from six inches to over a foot each. Yes, I realize that it isn't Christmas; but on Maui they never get things quite right anyway.

As a way of not thinking about the killer kind of shark, I concentrate on looking for specific other creatures while I swim. Today I was thinking, Manta Ray, Manta Ray, Manta Ray... And that is just what appeared on the home stretch. Just a quick swim-by way down below, but a Manta Ray nonetheless.

Bruce was home alone today. I guess things didn't work out with the house guest (click HERE for a very short video).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Where Was I?

I just realized that I haven't written to you in a while.

I always attribute to my spouse the power of extreme concentration. But with this new blogging thing, I am becoming aware of my own ability to completely lose myself in my work. When I am working I forget all those unimportant things like keeping hydrated, sleeping, going to the bathroom, bathing, seeing friends, and writing blog entries.

I am not going to play catch up, but instead jump forward to today and another lovely ocean swim. Bruce was home with a friend, and I keep getting bolder and bolder with video camera in hand. Hopefully, I will keep that hand. Same goes for my approach to a moray eel today.

I was called in for an emergency photo shoot yesterday, so I now return to working on those images. It was good talking to you ever so briefly. A hui hou

Friday, September 14, 2007

School Days Memories

Lucky me! I waited and waited this morning. Then just when I had given up and was about to leave a few spinner dolphins came in.

The dolphins like to play catch with each other, and sometimes with the people they meet. They will carry a small found object such as a leaf on the tip of their nose, or more often on one of their front flippers. They will drop the item then race each other to pick it up again. On rare occasion they will drop their item near me, I will carry it for a bit, then when I let it go they will race to get it back.

Today, however, I felt like I was back in school where I was (rightfully) always picked last for sports teams. The dolphins would drop their item in front of me, then just as I was about to reach it, one of them would zoom in and grab it and zoom off. Repeatedly.

That was not the end of my humiliation. When I got home I discovered that almost every time I had hit the record button on my camera, I was turning the video off not on (and visa versa). So I have lots of video of empty water with my hand flashing past as I swam, but not much of the dolphins.

Did I have fun today? DEFINITELY!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Turtle Sex

I consider a day successful if I have learned at least one new thing. I love seeing something that I haven't seen before while out on an ocean swim - well, usually. This morning I had a couple of surprises.

I always pass these small unicorn fish around the same location on my swim, but today was the first time that I've ever seen them schooling. Maybe after a few classes they will be able to organize into formations.

This spotted eagle ray swam right through the middle of their gathering before posing for me.

Then I noticed floating on the surface a large male turtle which didn't look quite right. I swam closer and noticed that he was ready for loving. Not a pretty picture, but fortunately for you, everything shrank out of sight before I could get a photograph. Interesting, though, that a sea turtle's penis emerges from its tail.

Bruce was home with the same guest, and I saw a rare hawksbill turtle munching on some coral (click HERE or below for the Video).

Monday, September 10, 2007

World's Meanest Boss

I have the world's meanest boss who has over scheduled me with toooooooo much work this coming week. At least I got a nice beach walk in this morning and am hoping to sneak away for a swim Wednesday morning (shhhh, don't tell him). I will try to get you a couple of glimpses into the two residences I will be shooting this week. Back to work now...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Future Olympians

We were joined on our usual Sunday swim by members of the Cascade Swim Club of Calgary. Usually when a visiting team swims with us they are way too serious and focused on swimming, swimming, swimming. These kids knew how to relax and have some fun. They rode the slosh, leaped from the jumping off rock, and even dove down to Bruce's cave. Their enthusiasm was infectious and I had even more fun than usual. Click HERE for more photos from today's swim. Click HERE or below for a video of the swim (which also includes 2 brief clips from my swims earlier in the week).

Friday, September 7, 2007

Perfect Work Day

Ninety degrees Fahrenheit, no wind, cloudless sky - a perfect day to spend working in front of the computer. This sunset was from the photo shoot of a Maui residence which I did on Wednesday.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Aloha Francesco

My buddy Francesco is reluctantly heading back to Amsterdam this afternoon. While he would love to stay on Maui, he had to face up to the unlikelihood of finding work as a molecular biologist on this small island without a work visa. Then again, he told Lynne, "This is a paradise with no problems." Lynne, I saw the knowing little smile which crept over your face.

I took him to meet Bruce and he was thrilled with his first ever face to face encounter with a shark in the wild (look closely in the photo and you will see Bruce). We saw three moray eels, lots of turtles and both rode the slosh (yes, incredible, I rode the slosh - again!).

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fanmail from a Flounder

Oops, I missed the ocean swim race yesterday. My official excuse is that when I printed the entry form yesterday morning, I noticed the bold print which stated "NO RACE DAY ENTRIES." This being Maui, where everything happens at the very last moment, I was shocked; but what could I do? So I spent the day working.

I still have several more hours of work in front of the computer before tomorrow morning's photo shoot, but I did manage a lovely swim this morning. I got one of my better videos of Bruce and friend at home (click HERE for video) and also saw some strange behavior from a flatfish. Usually when I approach a flounder it immediately buries itself in the sand. Today's fish was fearless. I got several photos and lots of video (click HERE for video), how unusual.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Pre Race Day

One of Maui's big ocean swim races happens tomorrow, the Maui Aumakua Swim, so there were only a few of us out swimming this morning. It was great getting back into the water after sitting in front of a computer for the past three days working.

Bruce was home with a guest, but they were a bit antisocial and moved to the back of their cave. The tide was high and the surf gentle, so I actually rode the slosh for the first time in years. What fun! Patti found four spotted eagle rays who were in the mood for love (with each other, not us). Click HERE for additional photos from today's swim. Click HERE or Below for the video of today's swim.