Friday, February 29, 2008

Squeezed Out

On one side of our house is the Pacific ocean, on the other side are five world-class eighteen hole golf courses. Above the fairways and greens is ranch land, and above that is the national park. Above that, well, you would need an airplane to explore there.

Since the private golf courses and ranch are off limits to the public, that leaves me with the ocean. Its a good thing that I like water. A lot.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jellied Eels

Eels are aggressive underwater hunters. They are also tenacious biters who won't let go of their prey, so fishermen are always reeling them in. Since they are not desirable food fish, their bodies are left to rot and I seem to be stumbling over their stinking corpses all too often. I followed the smell to find and remove this two foot long fellow from our beach today - finally, something interesting for dinner...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Frightful Encounter

High surf is beginning to subside and our beach is littered with sea urchins tossed ashore by the massive waves. When I got to the beach this morning I was told that one person had died and several more had been rescued from the treacherous currents on Sunday. Disregarding the large waves and reports of death, I entered the ocean for my swim. Turbulent water had stirred up the sea floor and visibility was less than desirable; but as long as long as I could see sand and coral below me, I felt it clear enough to swim.

After about ten minutes I swam into a cloud of murky water. I decided to swim through it, hoping to finally discover safe, clear, swimable water on the other side. Visibility continued to decrease and I began to think about recent reports of predatory tiger sharks in the area. With bloody visions in my brain, suddenly, a large dark shape appeared only feet away heading directly at me. Before I could think to react, five more materialized from the gloom. By the time my camera was ready to fire, the six spinner dolphins had disappeared into the murk. "Okay," I told myself as I started swimming back to the beach, "I think I'll only do a short swim today."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Neither Elvis nor Dogs Playing Poker

I got to work with a top-notch interior stylist today and what a delight! It took considerably longer than usual to set up each photograph; but when I took the shot, I knew it was absolutely perfect. What a great feeling, especially since I won't be kicking myself later for not noticing that tacky black velvet painting in the background.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Out of My Shell

The big south swell has arrived. I was getting sea sick sitting on a tongue of lava watching huge surges of water slide by me on both sides. Several large sea turtles were happily bumping along on their own AARP ride. I do much better when I am the one in the water being sucked back and forth, instead of sitting on shore turning green; I must be part turtle.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dory's Chant

It was fun, as always, getting out into the ocean on a Sunday morning with my friends the Maui Pink Cap swimmers. The water was murky at first, but once past the Arch it became crystal clear. The rising swell provided lots of laughs in both the Elevator and the A.A.R.P. Ride. A large portion of the group missed the play time because they were shivering with cold and had to keep swimming, keep swimming (obscure reference to a line in the movie "Finding Nemo"). Click HERE or below for the video of today's swim.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Shooting Whales from Above

I love cool gadgets. Today my friend Lynda took me out on one of her amazing pedal powered kayaks. They work like Venetian gondoliers' paddles by sculling back and forth under the boat (click HERE for more info).

All I needed to know was how to sit and pedal, and the boat zoomed across the water. Amazing! Check out my Video by clicking HERE or on the link below.

This was the first time I've ever taken a kayak out during whale season, and we were rewarded with several sightings. I apologize for the poor quality of the video, it is not easy shooting from a tiny little boat which is bouncing around; I do much better from in the water.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Every beach in my neighborhood seems to host at least one wedding ceremony per evening. Sometimes there are several simultaneous ceremonies and I am entertained by the photographers trying to make it look like each wedding is on its own deserted beach. I had never seen one on this difficult to reach and rather rugged old lava flow. My congratulations to this adventuresome couple for making the best of a rocky situation.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'll bet you thought that the French Riviera, the Costa del Sol and the Amalfi Coast had a monopoly on glamor. Not so! Obviously, Maui can hold its own with the best of them.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I originally came from the Midwest where we waited all year for a rare handful of beautiful summer days. Here in South Maui every day is that perfect summer day.

Today was exquisite.

The cooling breeze off the water, the hot sun, the sound of lapping waves - I was transported to happy summer days of my youth. Not just thinking fondly of the past, I was there, oh, ever so briefly, I was there.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Big Brother is Here



Okay, it's true, I've been seduced by the dark side. But after seven years of the current political climate, it is only natural that I would come to believe in censorship of the media. I will be reviewing all future comments to this blog before allowing them to be posted. As with others in positions of awesome power, I promise to only use my power for good.

I encourage you to comment on my posts; I will publish them exactly as you write them UNLESS they try to infect the readers of my blog with a virus - which someone tried to do today. Infecting minds with subversive ideas will continue to be allowed, but malicious code is unforgivable.

I am watching...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Delicioso Monstroso

Wow! A little education can actually be a good thing!

Among many other plants, our house is landscaped with Ginger and Monstera. The huge green Monstera leaves (up to 4 feet long) provide great ground cover and I have always admired the large sensual flowers (which most people don't even notice). I was surprised when researching my February 6th blog entry, Cave In, to find that our variety of Monstera is called Monstera Delicioso. Delicioso because the flower produces a fruit which takes a year to mature - watch out though, it is poisonous until ripe.

A week after this discovery I noticed an obviously ripe Monstera fruit lying in the street. Whereas previously I would have thrown it away, this time I tasted it - and it was delicious! We've been surrounded for years with lots of this wonderful fruit and never knew it. I love learning new things.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Whale Soup

It is always fun getting into the water with my friends the Maui Pink Cap swimmers. Today we complained, as we always do, about how cold the water was; but we did stop to play less, and when we did we all got numb fingers and blue lips. Most workout swimming pools are kept around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and brought down to a cool 79 degrees for competition.

We consider anything in the water as fair game to play with. Janet, Steve and Josh did their bit to save the reef today when they removed an abandoned fishing line stretched between two coral heads. The turtles thank you three for your valiant efforts. We couldn't help ourselves and had to swim under a snorkel boat we encountered. Not much clearance meant bumped heads, but with this group I don't think any damage was done (at least not to the thick skulls - there may be dents in the hull though).

We asked one of the crew members if he had seen any whales today and he said, "there were so many that it was whale soup out there." He also mentioned that they had a thermometer in the water and that it read 74 degrees. No wonder we were all so cold!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pasteurized Words

I wandered down to the water's edge this evening and watched two standing paddleboarders approach. I liked the way they stood out against the gloom so I took out my little point-and-shoot camera and began taking photos. It wasn't until after I had taken this shot that I realized what I had captured (click on the photo to see a larger version). I tried and tried to catch the later breaches of the whales, but missed every time - and of course the paddlers were gone by then. Luck favors the prepared. - Louis Pasteur

Friday, February 15, 2008

Lollipop, Lollipop, oh Lolli-Lollipop

A certified arborist I know derisively refers to all Maui landscapers as belonging to the school of Lollipop landscape design, as is evinced by the shape of practically every tree on Maui. The innately scrubby kiawe tree below has to be one of their crowning achievements (makes me think of my recent haircut - just call me lollipop).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

No More 911

This morning I was privileged to escort a mother and baby humpback whale. I swam straight out from shore until I hit the cloudy water which signals humpback territory. I swam back and forth and eventually two large shadows emerged below me in the murk. I paused and tried to photograph them, but since my camera could not get a focus lock, it would not take the photo.
They hung with me for a half hour during which time they would surface less than ten yards away, but would completely disappear underwater. A sane person would have been frightened by their proximity, but I was simply pleased (I guess I must admit I was a little excited). They have developed a fantastic camouflage system, but I still don't know how they make the water so opaque. Since I could only see vague shadows, I only tried videoing them once. It turns out the camera could see better than I could - Click HERE for the bad video.

I have grown frustrated by not being able to see the whales underwater, so I doubt I will be swimming out deep any more this season. I know the emergency responders on the sea rescue unit will be jumping with joy when they hear this.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Look on Life

Today was the day. One of my clients made a remark about my hair, so I walked into the salon next door then came back a half hour later with a new look. Can you tell which was the "before" shot and which was the "after" shot?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Break Time

I'm blogging from my cell phone, because today was a very long work
day. I did manage a short swim during my lunch break. I heard a very
loud snort while swimming. "I know that sound," I said to myself. I
turned my head and sure enough a whale had surfaced only twenty feet

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Normal Life

Oooo, scary. Today I got up, worked for a couple of hours, took a walk for exercise, and worked for the rest of the day. This is a little too "normal" for me. At least I will be out on a photo shoot tomorrow.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Back Together Again

I've missed my buddies, the Maui pink cap swimmers, and had a great time out in the ocean with them again this morning. We went out where the humpback whales were swimming and many of the swimmers were bubbling over with excitement after our not too close encounter.

A large swell was coming in and we got great rides in "the elevator" and "the AARP ride." If the water weren't so cold we would probably still be out there laughing our heads off.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

What A Life!

I spent most of today in front of the computer making beautiful images, as I will tomorrow and Monday before heading off on an all day shoot Tuesday. I felt the need for a break so I went out the door down to our sandy beach, took a dip in the ocean, laid in the hot sun for a half hour being caressed by gentle breezes, took another dip, and now I am back, refreshed and ready to work. I love my life!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Wild Life

After a forray into the deep water where I saw nothing but boats, I ventured back into the shallows. It was nice to be surrounded by lots of small creatures once again. Bruce was napping alone in his cave, and turtles were swimming everywhere.

One of the snorkelers I saw out there told me that a couple of turtles actually collided with him today. And the symphony of whale songs entertained me non stop. There weren't many people on the beach today, you could say that the beach was bare.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hired HIt Man

Ah, life among the rich and famous.

One of my neighbors actually hired a contract killer from the mainland to "take out" a tree on the property next door which was blocking his view.

The plan was executed during one of my neighbor's extended absences so that blame could not be laid on him.

The strange thing is that the tree recovered and did not die, but my neighbor did.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cave In

I have continued to be enthralled by caves since reading "Tom Sawyer" as a boy. I guess they reflect the dark romantic unknown of my own mind. I am lucky enough to now live on a property with two beaches, a rocky cliff in between and a cave on the cliff face. Doug and I went down to revisit our secret cave this evening and found these stones which had recently been used to grind sea salt - but no cave. The rocks must have cleaved off and fallen into the sea during the big earthquake fifteen months ago. A parable for my advancing age with bits and pieces falling away with each passing year. Hopefully, these pieces are more along the line of my faults like False Pride than body parts like my wobbly knees.

The photo in yesterday's post is of a vertical variety of monstera (split leaf philodendron) with the colors enriched a bit.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Photo of the Day

Monday, February 4, 2008

Different Jungles

When I was younger I was thrilled to be living in the concrete jungle of the big city. Somehow the glamor has dimmed and the endless concrete, asphalt and glass of Las Vegas felt gritty and depressing.

I am so happy to be back on Maui with lush green growth and flowers everywhere. This island is magical!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Desert Dancing

More than any other sight in Las Vegas, the dancing fountains in front of the Bellagio hotel continue to impress me the most. There's something about massive amounts of water delicately twirling and leaping in time to popular music which moves my spirit.

And then there was the group of young tourists which suddenly stopped, put down their bags and cameras, and began taking turns break dancing. After a few minutes they picked up their belongings and continued to walk along the strip. I couldn't touch the ground with my hand these days, and even a feeble attempt to copy their moves would undoubtedly put me into the hospital, or worse.

That didn't stop my soul from dancing along with both the water and the kids. Oh, how I moved.

World Travel

This evening I had dinner in Paris at the Isle St. Louis cafe. Both
places dear to my heart. Plus, with the miracle of instant blogging, I
may still be in the middle of dinner as you read this.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Learning Ugly

Suddenly returning to the classroom has been a shock to my system. After all, college is a good thirty years in the past. The tips and tricks I've been learning will make my work better and faster - good stuff. Then came my night class...

I am reminded of advanced physics in college when I suddenly went from wading to drowning. Prior to that class I had skated through school, then suddenly I did not have a clue as to what the professor was saying. Even though he was speaking english, it was an english which I did not know. Help!

Tonight's class about Adobe Photoshop was just like that. The instructor was buzzing along - do this, do that, do this - and I did not know how to do any of those things on the computer in front of me. I was on the verge of tears, I felt so completely helpless and frustrated. Fortunately the tech assistant discovered that my computer workstation was defective and that my computer was doing things differenly than everyone else's computers. Whew! Once I moved to another computer everything made sense again. All was right in the world. And I learned some cool new things.