Saturday, May 31, 2008

Seal of Approval

This is one happy guy. He and his team won their tennis match today, then all his aches melted away in his prized hot-tub. Oh, and there were hours and hours of the French Open to watch on TV on three different networks. How could life possibly be any better?

For me I have been working all day while jamming to Amy Winehouse's album Back to Black, and Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon's album Sixty Six Steps. I can highly recommend both. Speaking of seals of approval, just what is the one in the photo peeking at?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hawaiian Culture for Sale

Maui generally offers a rather sterile middle-America tourism experience: mega resorts, clean sandy beaches, national park, and a couple of road trips. I appreciate the few cultural activities which are slowing arising, such as outrigger canoing from the Fairmont Kea Lani. Visitors get a little exercise, some history, legends, chanting and conch shell blowing. Not to mention a video record of the experience. What could be more Hawaiian?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nightmares in the Deep

I watched Bruce venture out for a swim this morning while his home was being visited by a group of silverbacks. He didn't seem pleased about leaving, probably grouchy after being woken from dreams about lobsters and pink suits. Poor guy, I know how he feels (especially when it comes to waking up after a nightmare about pink suits).

I swam through water which was crystal clear alternating with goopy water filled with all different size and shape of micro organisms. How long has it been since the full moon? The good news is that this nutrient-rich soup brought out a manta ray who was actively feeding. I swam with her for quite a while, but was challenged to keep up. She kept moving pretty fast. Fortunately she moved back and forth searching for the most food, so sometimes I was able to anticipate where she would go next. Still, I was so out of breath from following her that I had nothing left for deep dives and photos.

Do you think it possible that she was moving fast out of fear that someone might try to make her wear a pink suit?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kiawe Dreaming

Maui's south shore used to be lined with groves of Kiawe trees, all descended from a single tree brought from Paris and planted on Oahu in 1828. I do not lament the wholesale removal of these tangled shrubs with long, sharp thorns; however, the few remaining giants have a special place in my heart. I feel a sense of loss each time one of these historic trees is cut down.

This Kiawe is still keeping watch from Wailea point. For years our Sunday swim group used to meet at Keawakapu beach and swim to Polo beach, then walk back. This lone tree provided the landmark which guided our course. We would swim and swim, and it always got further away, never closer. Until, suddenly, we were upon it and then past it to our destination.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What's Hot and What's Not

Love 'em and hate 'em - is how I feel about two movies playing now.

The bad news is that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a total disaster. Yes, it delivered the non-stop action upon which the franchise was built. Unfortunately, it was empty, meaningless action. I never felt like any of the characters were in the slightest bit of danger. Ever! How can I cheer for any of the good guys to win when they were never threatened in the least. Boring and then some.

On the other hand and despite bad reviews, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was a winner. It was much better than the original, and I cared deeply for each of the characters. Unlike the swordfight in Indiana Jones where no one gets even a scratch, in Narnia important characters die tragic, heartbreaking deaths. People prevail through terrible injustices to grow and become better. No happy Hollywood endings, but lots of inspiration. And humor.

Even though we own all of the Indiana Jones movies on DVD, I will NOT be buying this one. But I WILL be buying this installment of the Narnia series.

As for today's photograph, it has nothing to do with either movie. But the water was warm and I saw lots of turtles and fish on this morning's swim.

Monday, May 26, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Woo Hoo! Congratulations Doug! Winner of the 24th Annual Wailea Open
Tennis Championships.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wicked Attrition

Two weekends and three of our regular Sunday swimmers have moved back to the mainland. Is it something I said? Aloha Jonathan and Cheryl!

Click HERE (or Below) for the Video of Today's Swim.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dandelion Fluff

The trade winds have returned and I feared that this bride on our beach might unwittingly join Elphaba, Nessarose, and Sister Betrille. Her husband-to-be and the officiant took turns keeping a firm grip on her. Was it to prevent her from blowing away or from running away?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Where Will It Stop?

The madness must end!

Yes, I imagine that it is helpful to some species of tree to be pruned back a bit. But enough is enough!

Maui's landscapers have lost it, they've gone over the edge. We have one of these orchid trees on our property and it is a big, full, beautiful TREE. Not an emasculated pole with some leaves sprouting from the top. Oh, the tragedy (of the lengths to which I'll go to caption a photo).

On another note, congratulations to me! One of my photographs has been featured on the cover of a magazine, hawaiihome + remodeling. My photographs appear in many magazines: local, national and international; but this is the first time I've had a cover to myself. Way to go! Oh, and congratulations to my client, Long & Associates AIA, for winning several design awards.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Drowning Victim

Fourteen Maui fire department recruits got to experience ocean rescue training today at the beach. Lots of noise and commotion, especially from instructors yelling drill-sergeant style. I swam over this guy in the photo who was waiting to be rescued. He became popular among the snorkeling crowd until the firemen-to-be arrived. I probably should have introduced myself to the recruits since I will be seeing some of them each time some well-intentioned visitor calls 911 to have me rescued.

I visited the home of a couple of rainbow wrasse who usually have a crowd of fish gathered waiting to be cleaned of parasites. Today a pair of false barracuda were being cleaned. They would hold their mouths open each time a wrasse approached, although I never saw a wrasse actually venture in among the teeth.

According to my buddy, Christine, the false barracuda really is the name of this species of barracuda. I wonder if any of them have developed an inferiority complex over their name? I wouldn't want to be the one to have to tell them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Nerd Within

I have heard strong opposition to wind generators here on Maui, saying they are eyesores destroying the beauty of paradise. Personally, I find them beautiful for what they represent. Not just for progress (I am a member of the generation which considered processed food, i.e. Velveeta, to be the highest achievement of civilization) but for movement away from the choking diesel fumes of the Maalaea power plant.

Speaking of my worship of progress, the photo above is a zoomed-in crop of the photo to the right. (Nerd Alert!) I am fascinated by what today's cameras can do. I took this photo during a shoot today in Wailea, not realizing that an interesting image lie hidden within its borders.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Never Too Much

Some friends of mine complain about too many tourists, too many kayaks, too many... Personally I love being able to share the beauty of Maui with others. I also, selfishly, appreciate the presence of boats in the ocean just in case I need to be rescued.

Monday, May 19, 2008


You know that I have been working too hard when all I can scare up for my blog is a photo of my dinner. Yes, my salad was absolutely delicious, made from the best possible ingredients imported from all over the world. What really pleases me, though, is that I have become a good enough photographer that I can take a casual snapshot of my food and it actually looks great. Not an easy feat - try it yourself and send the result as a comment to today's blog. I'm looking forward to seeing what you had to eat.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pink is the Word

Malcolm's fascination with the color pink has moved from our swim caps to the women's suits and now, tragically, to the men's suits. Toni ordered the suits and, of course, she decided that the European cut is more attractive (like pink wasn't bad enough, we have to go with skimpy too). Yes, that is me in the photo hidden underneath all the pink fabric.

We are always looking for new challenges and today we moved rocks by walking on the sea bottom. To make it more interesting we did it in deep water. Click HERE (or below) for the Video.

Pink suits! What's next? Without a doubt, another Grand Adventure! Hooray!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Death in the Morning

The ocean was flat this morning. I saw no sign of the surf break which killed these two surfers. After hiking in the burning sun along the King's Highway, this shady spot offers cool relief. And sobering reflection on the power of the ocean; people die in crashing surf in my neighborhood every year. Broken surfboards and broken backs are a regular part of life here, as are hard bodies and dark tans.

The sea cliffs which you see in the distance caused me to fear for my life today. I used to have a fear of heights which came back to me as I hiked along the edge of these crumbling cliffs. Twice I suppressed panic attacks as I slid toward my own demise. And twice I somehow stopped short of the fatal plunge. Living life on the edge, and surviving intact, is what keeps me vital. That, and bran muffins.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sneak Attack

Photographing beautiful tropical fish while out swimming is a daunting task. When I approach them they do not swim away, they simply turn profile so all I see is a thin edge. These fish were all gathered to be cleaned of parasites by a couple of Rainbow Wrasses; and I don't know if they were totally oblivious or if I've become sneakier. Or maybe they like my cologne...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Extreme Outsourcing

One of my neighbors had their home hand carved from wood and stone in Indonesia. It was disassembled, carefully packed in several large cargo containers, shipped to Maui, then reassembled here. The workmanship was exquisite; and if you look closely, hidden in patterns of leaves and flowers, you can find themes specific to the owner. Yes, the monkey is holding a computer hard drive and enjoying a smoke.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ready to Drop

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Hooray, hooray! Lots and lots of dolphins this morning; and I got to swim with them for more than half an hour. I felt good laid-back energy out there, of course the fact that the dolphins were sleeping may have had something to do with that. Click HERE (or Below) for the Video of today's swim.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cover Up

A trip to the beach reveals that more and more people are taking sun damage seriously, perhaps too seriously. In a return to the Victorian (no, not Victoria's Secret) era children are routinely smothered in more clothing that they would wear to school or church. I have always admired Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's tenet that "Less is More" and nowhere more so than at the beach.

Then again, this morning I had to appreciate the elegance of a parasol for a stroll down the beach.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers' Day

Today was a nice, low-key day for me. Yes, I did a bit of work; but I also had lunch and dinner with my honey, enjoyed an easy swim with my friends, and laughed while watching "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" at the movie theater. I hope you enjoyed yourselves too. Oh, and Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

When You've Got Limes...

Years ago when my friends Kim and Carl bought their current house, they were pleased to discover that they had also acquired a prolific lime tree. Every week they would harvest ripe limes and take them to the local organic food store to be sold. Everyone raved about the delicious flavor of their home-grown limes.

Then they went on vacation. For a month. Upon their return they discovered that their limes had turned yellow. Oops, time to start making lemonade!

Friday, May 9, 2008


OK, maybe I'm a bit of a woo-woo after all. I'm not exactly sure of what is out there, but I do believe in some kind of spiritual force, or God, or something. I also believe that it acts when I am least expecting it.

Sorry, I guess I'm being obscure. Let me elucidate. On my walk today I stopped to talk to a couple of guys who were playing with a video camera on the beach. The guy I talked to (oops, I can't remember their names - but I also could NOT remember my ATM pin number or my social security number today) was rather evasive in answering my questions about what they were doing. He finally revealed that they were visiting from Canada so, what the heck, I mentioned that one of my clients, Luxury Retreats, is based in Canada. He told me, of course, that his brother is the president of that company. Small world.

My favorite extreme coincidence story is about a trip I took to Europe. One of my friends told me that I must look up a friend of his, Christophe, while in Paris. Being even shyer back then, I did not look him up. Later, on the island of Ibiza I spent a whole day on the beach talking to an interesting guy. He gave me his card when I left. The name looked familiar so when I got back to my hotel room I checked. It was, indeed, Christophe from Paris.

Occurrences like these and many other strange incidents have convinced me that there is more to this life than what I can see.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Return

Finally! After months of absence I got to swim with a group of spinner dolphins for forty-five minutes this morning. They certainly made sure that I got my daily exercise, no slacking off allowed today.

As long as I kept up with them, they were friendly and stayed close. As soon as I began to dawdle (like when taking photos or video) they would lose interest and swim away. So I would start swimming again and one or two of them would come back and say, "What is taking you so long?" and lead me back to the group. Click HERE or below for today's Video.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mmmmmmm.... Tasty!

Obviously, as shown by tonight's sunset, my claim that Lahaina has better sunsets than Makena is a bunch of hooey. I will now eat my words: I was wrong.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fast Track Home

The Tahiti Express was running today. Consequently, I had to work very hard for most of my swim. The joy came when I swam back into the current and, wooosh, I was back where I started. Nice.

When I see silverbacks (scuba divers) near the underwater lava tube I wait for them to swim in. I wait at the other end for whatever sharks they frighten out, but nothing today. Bruce's cave was also empty. Maybe when the sharks went out for dinner last night (sharks almost never eat in) they had too much to drink; and when they caught the Tahiti Express home they missed their exit.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Something In The Water?

Time after time, I've noticed that Lahaina has spectacular sunsets. Down here in Makena a big glowing ball drops into the ocean and its all over. No colorful sky, nothing.

I spent the day and evening in Lahaina today photographing another marvelous ocean-front residence. Even though my emphasis is usually on the home, I couldn't resist firing off a couple shots of the sunset.

What is it that Lahaina has? Smog from Honolulu? A psychic vortex? Or maybe its something in the water?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The End of An Era

My overly macho swimming buddy, Steve, has always wanted me to take a photo of him with our shy friend, Bruce. Now, I generally do not manipulate my photographs much beyond color balance and dodging and burning. Since Steve, however, has finally given up on Maui and is moving back to the mainland, I thought I would grant him his wish. So this is a composite of two photos, one with Bruce way in the back and Steve up front, and one of Bruce up close - both taken within minutes of each other. I have simply replaced the far away Bruce with the closer one. Oh, and I absolutely did not alter Bruce's eye, he really did look wild and unpredictable today.

Shhhhh! If you don't tell Steve, I won't...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Firm and Tart

Until I moved to Hawaii, I had never heard of Apple Bananas; I had assumed that all bananas were the same. They are NOT. Their tart flavor and firmer texture makes Apple Bananas my favorite, and I am happy that we have at least two groves of them on the property. Yum.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Somebody's Got To Do It

Rough life, spending the day on the beach in a swim suit!

Actually, I like my life better - I got to enjoy the beach this morning. These guys were working when I arrived and still trying to look beautiful hours later when I left. I'm sure that working with models has its rewards, but give me a spectacular home to photograph any day!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sticky Bombs

Watch where you step! South Maui has once again become a minefield beneath Monkey pod trees. Every year these large, majestic shade trees drop bazillions of foot-long seed pods which, when crushed, exude an oily sap that adheres to everything. In a couple of weeks the roads will look and sound as if they had been sprayed with tar, and I will be walking inches taller from the residue on the bottom of my shoes. It could be worse, imagine them dropping tons of bananas instead.