Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ray Day

My friends the Maui Pink Cap Swimmers gathered for our weekly ocean swim this morning. The water was clear, but cool, and the swimmers took off with no looking back. I, as usual, brought up the rear and got to swim with a Spotted Eagle Ray and a Manta Ray along with a few of the more playful swimmers. There is a definite benefit to being slow since I often see things nobody else notices.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Remember This Date

Wow, just like clockwork! I've swum here on Maui with spinner dolphins on November 29th in 2006, 2007 and 2008. I've marked my calendar for next year. Click HERE (or Below) for today's Video.

Friday, November 28, 2008

They're Back

We saw several humpback whales this morning out in the deep water. We didn't get close enough to get any decent photos, but we saw backs, tails and blows. I've been hearing reports of whale activity all week, and could hear them singing underwater a couple of days ago, but this was the first time I've seen them for myself.

All this thanks to Doug who decided he wanted to kayak to Molokini. This was the first time I've been in a kayak since spring and Molokini was definitely an island too far. It was a fun ride out, but the return trip was pure agony. Oh, my aching back.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Joelle and Kevin, thank you so much for opening your home to us for Thanksgiving dinner. We had a great time. Joelle (pictured here), you always bring a wonderful element of class to any situation. We are proud to be counted among your friends.


The weirdest thing. While swimming recently in Makena I noticed a strong sulphur smell in a certain area. Today in that same area I noticed this place on the ocean floor where the sand had obviously been bubbling up from below. Has the Haleakala volcano become active once again?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Out of the Closet

No time for play today. I was photographing a seven bedroom oceanfront home with a master walk-in closet half the size of my house. Yes, this closet could easily contain my bedroom and living room.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Look Out Bruce!

Despite chilly air and chilly water I went for an ocean swim this morning. Bruce was out and about, but so were spear fishers looking for both food and sport. Fortunately they decided that Bruce was too big to handle.

A Lapse In Time

Last week I watched a stunningly beautiful movie on Blu-Ray called Baraka which had many time-lapse scenes. I've never attempted time-lapse photography, so yesterday I decided to try it out. So here's yesterday's sunset in Makena (click HERE or below for the Video).

Monday, November 24, 2008

It Can't Be

How could this have happened? It is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the sun is shining, the ocean water is warm and clear - today is the perfect summer day! So why are Christmas decorations up at the local shopping center?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Band of Fools

Another gray day greeted a small, but determined, band of Maui Pink Cap Swimmers this morning. The light sprinkling of rain somehow made the ocean seem colder and getting in wasn't easy. One of our new swimmers ran into a coral head while swimming through the Arch. We could all hear the collision (click HERE or below for the Video) and were glad that she only scraped her back and didn't crack her head. Then another first-timer ran into a jellyfish and everyone scrambled for the shore. Well, not the idiots, of course. I kept on swimming. As did Lynne, David, Jonathan and Cheryl.

No other major incidents were reported and the sun actually broke through the clouds on our return. Blue skies are back!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Inspiring Towels

Neighboring islands and the horizon disappeared this morning. Smoke from the burning of sugar cane fields and volcanic haze from the Big Island were to blame. Man and nature working in harmony to make it difficult to breathe.

So I couldn't understand why this pleine air painter was on the beach with no view to work from. It turns out she was doing some very abstract work. Perhaps she was finding inspiration from some colorful beach towels.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I saw dolphins splashing offshore this morning as I entered the ocean for my swim. Boats had gathered to observe them, so I swam out deep to the boats. The current was running strong and I never got closer than a hundred yards away. I could see the dolphins leaping just over there... Just out of reach... To anyone who thinks that swimmers could possibly harass dolphins, I say "Pish posh, what nonsense!" Dolphins and whales may choose to approach me, but only if they are interested. With a single flick of their tail they easily shoot away.

Then I went to visit Bruce the shark. The fish in the area darted away when I dove down which must have startled Bruce. All I saw was a tail disappearing in a cloud of sand. Almost...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The last sugar mill on Maui continues to operate in Puunene, for now. While the sugar industry has shrunk to economic insignificance compared to tourism, it still exerts enormous political pull. Harvesting is still done in the traditional method of burning the fields of cane causing huge clouds of smoke to billow high into the sky. Not a problem, says the industry because it all blows away out to sea. The hundreds of miles of plastic irrigation pipe? According to the sugar industry it all burns harmlessly turning into carbon dioxide and water.

How do we get so upset about the burning of the Amazon rain forest, but don't care about the constant and ongoing burning of huge cane fields right here at home? Oh, that's right. I almost forgot. "It is the island way."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Lynne

Lynne got her birthday wish and danced with Spinner Dolphins this morning. She is one of the younger Maui Pink Cap Swimmers and loves to dance with dolphins. I was lucky enough to be included in her ocean swim, and got a little bit of video and a few still photos (Click HERE or Below for Today's Video). Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Puzzling Clues

Doug and I do the newspaper crossword together every day. The crossword seems to have many special words which appear in almost every puzzle. "Ape" meaning "to copy" and its variants (aper, aping) is one of those words. When the clue is "wading bird" the answer is almost always "egret".

The problem is, I see many egrets every day, but I have never ever seen a single one wading. In fact the closest to water I've ever seen them has been when they're pooping on our neighbors' pool decks; but always on the deck, never in the water. They spend their nights gathered together in a single tree, making the tree look like it is loaded with giant white blossoms. Their days are spent hunting for insects, lizards, and small animals. There is usually a large group following any riding lawn mower, harvesting whatever has been stirred up.

So, cmon crossword editors, get a clue!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gray Day

Cloudy skies, cloudy water, a bit of rain - this is South Maui? Even many of the die-hard swimmers were so unnerved that they turned around early and headed for shore. Me? I kept going and managed a good workout, not very interesting, but strenuous nonetheless.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

All Clear

My new friend, Amy, talked me into an ocean swim this morning down at La Perouse bay. The clear water was a glorious improvement over yesterday's murk around Pu'u Ola'i. Thanks, Amy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Suddenly From Below

I was nervous swimming in murky water this morning. It didn't help when this big white thing with a large open mouth headed toward me from out of the depths. Whew, just a manta ray.

It was feeding on all of the organic debris in the water, swimming loops to gather as much as possible from each rich location. (Click HERE (or Below) for today's Video) I hung with it for a few minutes, then, with a flick of its wings, it was gone. Vanished into the gloom. I decided I didn't want to suddenly encounter any other large creatures, so I cut my swim short and headed back to shore.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pruning Away

Words fail me today. So here's a photo I took this morning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All-Out Battle

I watched two big males fighting over this small three-legged turtle this morning. Well, it wasn't exactly Fight Club. The smaller male would swim up to the bigger one until they bumped shells. Then they would lightly nip each other on the neck and the smaller one would casually swim away. Most of the time the smaller one would try to burrow under the larger one, I guess it was trying to dislodge it from it's resting place. All in all a very laid-back Maui kind of conflict.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Young Surfers

Several keiki were surfing at the Cove in Kihei this morning. I wouldn't have noticed except that as I walked past, a boy smaller than this guy was casually riding a wave facing backward. He seemed to be looking for the next and bigger wave rather than appreciating the one he was on.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I.D. Help

This bird was making itself at home on my neighbor's pool deck. At first it looked like a domestic duck, but it had a beak with a hook at the end instead of a flat bill. It also had claws at the end of each webbed toe.

Help! What is it?

Update - November 13, 2008
Good news, it appears that this was a kept duck which escaped; but from where, we don't know. Anyway, here's the poop...

What you found here is a Female Mascovey Duck. It is originally from Southern Texas but has a growing population here in Hawaii. They are quite common as pets since they are pretty social and only the females are able to fly. Hope this helps. Please fell free to email any time.
Casey Primacio
Office Manager
Hawaii Audubon Society
850 Richards Street, Suite 505
Honolulu, HI 96813-4709
Phone/fax: 808-528-1432

A Diet for Clarity

I don't swim in murky water. The visibility was poor today, but I found if I kept to the deep water then it was clear enough for me. The trick, of course, is getting to the deep water.

Our Sunday swim group started small and dwindled as the passage out to the deeper water progressed. Eight brave souls persevered and were rewarded with a good workout.

On our way back, barely visible through the cloudy water, Kevin and Suzanne found this manta ray zooming along the bottom. It seemed to be happily eating whatever it was that was obscuring our vision. Keep up the good eating, manta!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Just Passing By

Spinner dolphins have been roaming up and down the shore the past couple of weeks. Somehow I kept missing them, until this morning. They made a few close passes to check me out - good thing because the water has been rather murky and I would never have seen them otherwise. It seemed to be a big group, but I couldn't get a count the way they became invisible more than ten yards away. Who knows, maybe they will swing by and visit the Pink Cap Swimmers tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weirder than This?

I watched the most bizarre trio of fish wiggle their way across the ocean bottom this morning. Each time I approached with my camera, they would stop and gather tightly together. According to Wikipedia they appear to be Frogfish. Even though I can't see it in the photos, they are supposed to have a thin spine between their eyes from which dangles a fishing lure right in front of their mouths. It's a good thing I don't have one of those lures, I know for sure that I would be constantly chasing it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Real Deal

I photograph many of the most beautiful homes in Hawaii, but the one today stands apart. Yes, the ceiling trim, door moldings and baseboard are limestone. Yes, the art on the wall is carved limestone. Yes, the tub is a granite boulder cut in half, carved out and polished smooth inside. It has a single hole cut in the bottom as a drain and is filled by water which falls from the ceiling. And this is only one of the many, many unique rooms in this amazing home.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Maui No Ka Oi

Yesterday I met a charming couple from Indianapolis at the beach and we chatted for a while. As we were talking a light suddenly went on for one of them and he said, "You're Maui Don, aren't you?" He told me that during the past few months whenever he would get discouraged, he would go to my blog and get all excited about their upcoming trip to Maui.

I really appreciated the positive feedback. Did you hear that, Maui Visitor Bureau? My blog got someone excited about Maui. Maybe a little subsidy would be appropriate...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Keep On Keeping On

I am finding it difficult to concentrate on work with election results playing in the other room. It was great getting out into the ocean earlier today, away from TV, radio and the internet. Personally, I'm not thrilled with either presidential candidate; I'll keep on swimming calmly along no matter which way things turn out.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Caution Artists at Work

Art is alive and well on Maui. This morning on my walk I passed two artists working to capture the beauty of Maui's south coastline. I stopped briefly to speak with each of them, and each had business cards and web sites.

I featured Jim Freeheart (top photo) in an earlier blog post (click HERE for that post). His work is boldly colorfully impressionistic (click HERE for his web site).

An artist who I have not before noticed on the beach is Ken Kennell (click HERE for his web site). His style is pointillistic and far more subtle than Jim Freeheart's.

Both mentioned galleries in which their work is displayed. I think it is great that artists can make a living doing art. It gives me hope that maybe someday...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday SWIM

The Maui Pink Cap Swimmers seemed to be in a hurry this morning, but in a hurry to get where? With the group's most potent socializers all off island, stopping and chatting wasn't an option. Neither, it seemed, was stopping and playing. Still, I got some great exercise. Click HERE (or Below) for a short video of today's swim.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Searching, Searching...

One great thing about living on Maui is being able to swim with people who are even more passionate about swimming with dolphins and whales than I am. Hard to imagine, isn't it?

All of us are impatiently scanning the horizon searching for signs of Humpback Whales. Glen thought he saw one yesterday surrounded by snorkel boats, which got our hopes up. It's still early, but soon...

Nancy and Jeff love dolphins and whales and manage to visit them often, work permitting. Somehow they even dragged me out into the ocean on this gray rainy morning. There wasn't much wildlife out there but we had fun blowing bubble rings and splashing about.

Amazingly, Nancy did the impossible and got me to pose for a photograph. I'm still not sure how she tricked me into getting on the wrong side of the camera. Never again!