Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In Praise of . . . Reading

In the nine months I've owned a Kindle, I've delighted in reading more books than I have read over the past ten years. Previously, I spent my evenings sitting in front of the TV, watching my life slip away from me. Now, my imagination is fired, my mind leaps at new possibilities, anything is possible.

Am I saying to purchase a Kindle? No. What I am saying is - READ!

If you're not comfortable reading, get something fun and practice reading. It is worth it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

People People Not I

Thank Goodnes I'm an architectural photographer.

I watched this photographer arrive on the beach with a client family in tow. From what I overheard he sounded dismissive of their requests about how they wanted to be photographed.

That would be ME! I am definitely NOT a people person. Thank heavens I photograph empty buildings with no people anywhere to be seen! Of course, I have my bad days too, when even the buildings shake with terror upon my arrival.

(By the way, I undoubtedly mis-overheard and this photographer is probably the nicest guy in the world. I, however, definitely am not! Ask anybody)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

About Time!

About time! The ocean is slowly beginning to warm back up again. That, combined with the dynamic of a smaller group and clear water, brought out playfulness in the Maui Pink Cap Swimmers this morning. Again, about time!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bon Voyage

Most of the visiting Humpback Whales have begun their long journey back to Alaska and FOOD. For months while in Hawaii they do not eat a single bite of food. Do you have any idea of how cranky I would become if I were to miss my lunch? Let alone breakfast, lunch and dinner? For several months? You would definitely want to keep as far from me as possible.

Everyone still wants to see whales, so the few humpbacks are mobbed with kayakers, paddlers, and whale-watch tour boats. I took my teeny tiny little kayak out this morning and soon found myself over a singing whale. Because I was sitting still out in the ocean, everyone assumed that I had found something, and I was crowded by wave after wave of kayaks and paddleboards. Then over my marine radio I heard a call to all boat captains that this group of kayaks had found a pod of whales. The congestion during a Pali closing pales in comparison.

I could no longer hear the singing of the whale over all the chatter, splashing and engines, so I headed home. When I encountered a mother and calf along the way, I made sure to NOT stop so that they would be left in peace. Bon Voyage to the whales. Have a great trip back and eat some extra krill for me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bloody Fun

My new friends, Livit and Kurt, wanted to go for a swim this morning. This was Kurt's first real ocean swim and I'm afraid I threw him into the deep end. He emerged alive, but dripping way too much blood.

They both expressed an understated interest in swimming with dolphins, so we headed out to spinner dolphin territory. As we swam out we were hit by high winds and choppy water, and Kurt looked a bit tense. Livit was at home in the water and once the dolphins swam by for a visit even Kurt began to relax. He was so focused on the dolphins that he forgot to think about anything else.

Due to a very low tide, they both struggled to get ashore and managed a few scrapes and cuts each. Hopefully, this encounter with dolphins will inspire Kurt to get into the ocean again. And to buy a new towel which is not spotted with blood.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cowardly Lion

I pass so many intriguing people on my morning walks. I wish I weren't so shy, I would love to have the courage to go up to a stranger and talk to them.

The works of famous "street photographers" have only recently inspired me to have the guts to photograph people I don't know. Now if only I could go that extra step of asking people if I could take their photo... Someday

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Waiting Spinners

When I got to the beach this morning, the dolphins were impatiently waiting right by the shore. "Come on, Don. Hurry up." They waited while I put my wetsuit on, they continued to wait while I got my camera out, they even waited while I waddled across the rocks wearing giant fins on my feet. Once I got in the water, they could wait no longer. "Let's go, Don. Swim, swim, swim. Keep up, keep up."

Whew, what a workout. After a half hour I finally fell behind and they were happy to swim at their own speed. Click HERE (or Below) for today's brief Video.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mystery Woman

For the past few weeks everyone on the beach has been wondering about this woman. Previously, she wore nothing but a bikini and a large diaphanous scarf wrapped around and around her head. The scarf has come off, but still no one has seen her face. What is her mystery?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Is Here

The Maui Pink Cap Swimmers were joined by some new swimmers and turtles this morning for our weekly ocean adventure. The water is still a little chilly, so again we did a "down and back" swim. It was good to see Bruce home again after an absence, and it was even better to be swimming under clear blue skies in relatively calm water. I almost miss the wind and rain.

Joyce couldn't bring herself to get into the water after having her kayak bumped by a Tiger Shark yesterday. Fortunately the rest of us aren't nearly as wise as Joyce, so we had a fun worry-free swim.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Its A Small World After All

Several Maui Pink Cap Swimmers accidentally converged in kayaks more than a mile off shore today. Doug and Christine along with several friends paddled in from one direction while Island Caretaker Lynne approached from another. Then shortly after I left, Cheryl and A Colt's Life's Jonathan merged with the very social group as well.

Sometimes the world seems so big, other times it is incredibly small.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Most of the homes I photograph are behind walls, but today's had the most threatening gate I've ever encountered. Usually they pocket into the wall or swing open; this one was different. It raised up like a great hatchet. When it descended to close, it landed with a great loud clang and clatter like a giant guillotine. I wouldn't be surprised to see it cut a car in half.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Clear Spinners

What a treat. A group of thirty Spinner Dolphins came to join me on my ocean swim this morning. I was doing a deeper water version of our usual Sunday swim - and there they were.

They seem to be picking up bad habits from the Humpback Whales in the neighborhood. They swam by a few times to check me out, then moved on. C'mon guys, it is OK to stick around and play for a while.

At least they aren't mimicking the whales' habit of swimming in murky water. Most of today's encounter was nice and clear. Which might explain why I didn't see any whales close-up this morning, I wisely stuck to the clear water myself.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Shark Attack

One of our Maui Pink Cap Swimmers survived a shark attack Monday. Click HERE for the Maui News article. Photo by Amanda Cowan of the Maui News.

You Decide

You decide what was going on in this photo. I was there and I couldn't figure it out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tail Time

Whale butts. Lots of whale butts this morning.

Near the end of today's deep water ocean swim a Humpback Whale calf kept swimming by to check me out. Each time the baby got too close, the male escort would suddenly pop up from under me. The water around the whales, as always, was so murky that I was repeatedly surprised. I was expecting the male each time, and I would look and look and look for him and see nothing; then suddenly his posterior would be in my face.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wet Sunday Swim

Wow! Maybe there is a raincloud hovering over my head.

A foolhardy group of seven showed up this morning for the Sunday ocean swim. Braving cool winds under an overcast sky, we gingerly made our way into the waves. It was so cold we could see our breath underwater! Despite murky water we plowed through the chop out to a popular snorkel spot. As always "The Aquarium" was clear and filled with beautiful fish. And cold water. And warm water. It was bizarre swimming from refrigeration to spa, one moment icy, the next instant hot.

As we began the return swim, once again the skies opened in a deluge of rain. We were in serious danger of getting wet! I could see Cheryl next to me better under water than I could above. Fifteen minutes later the clouds finally broke, the wind died, and we had a smooth sunny swim to shore. Weird spring weather.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tilting with Windmills

We had a choice today. Enjoy the warm sunshine of Makena, or hike up the West Maui Mountains to Maui's alternative energy source.

The journey up to this photo (top) was actually pleasant with a cool wind and occasional sprinkles. Then the skies opened up in a full downpour. Each additional step closer to the windmills brought heavier and heavier rain. Finally, we couldn't take it any more and were forced to turn tail and run. The dirt trail became slippery slidey mud and now we were worried about making the 1600 foot descent too quickly. Cliffs are spectacular to hike along until there is a danger of going over the edge.

We got back to the car covered in mud and soaking wet, again. I'm beginning to suspect that my cousin, Danny, travels with a rain cloud hanging over his head (although he would say the same of me).

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fresh Take

My little cousin, Danny, made a crazy solo kayak trip to the island of Molokini in a brisk wind this morning. I say "crazy" because I have yet to muster the courage to attempt the voyage myself. I began to worry after four hours, but with binoculars Doug was able to see Danny paddling back in, so I calmed down.

I love learning new things.

Danny has informed me that my thinking about global warming has been all wrong. He says that climate change is actually a manufactured conspiracy theory created by a guy named Al Gore. Without Al Gore, there would be no climate change problem. He says that scientists agree that man is too insignificant a creature to be able to affect the climate of something as large as planet Earth. Scientists say that any unusual weather may be part of a natural cycle of climate change, but these changes have repeatedly happened over millions of years and man has always managed to survive them before. We will adapt and survive future changes as well. As for any people who may have difficulties adapting -- he cites the plagues of the middle ages. He says that the great plagues were nature's way of dealing with a seriously overpopulated Europe.

Boy, to think I have been wrong all this time.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wet Behind the Ears

My little cousin, Danny, is visiting from Indiana for a week. He got me off my butt and out hiking through the Redwood forest this morning. I don't know why he is smiling in these pictures, we spent the entire day slogging through rain, our shoes squishing with every step. Of course, I took us the longgggg route and our return was directly into a cold blustery wind. The warm car felt oh so good when we finally stumbled back to it.

I'm not sure what kind of trees these are. They look dead below, but have a solid green canopy of pine needles high above. Polipoli State Park supposedly has three kinds of pine tree. I know these are not Redwoods, so they are probably either Sugi or Cypress.

Since our drive up to Polipoli was in a pouring rain which kept falling all day, we assumed the entire island was getting soaked. Boy were we surprised on the way down to see no rain anywhere. Boy do I know how to pick the hikes.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Romance on a Desert Island

How glamorous! A Maui beach wedding. They will even have the photos to prove it.

The reality is a little different. All Maui beaches are open to the public and wedding parties (sometimes three per beach) have to share with sunbathers, joggers, kayakers, and others.

Hopefully, the bride and groom will only have eyes for each other, and the photographer will find angles where nothing exists but the loving couple.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Too Far

I was knocked off my feet by a nasty winter virus Thursday morning and am only now struggling to regain my balance. No way I was going to swim this morning, but I desperately needed to get out of the house and get some exercise. "I know, I'll sit in my teeny tiny little kayak and give the Maui Pink Cap Swimmers a safety escort!"

Perfect! I got a casual little seven-mile paddle and the swimmers were led to whales. We never got close enough to see them underwater, but everyone saw the humped backs, the tails, and could see and hear them blowing.

Of course, I got a little too much exercise, but hopefully I will be back on my feet after another three days of bed rest...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Every Dog Has Its Day

Chilly and Coolio were the names posted directly under each of these rottweiler-wolfhound mix canines. And below the names was their website: CoolDogMaui.com.

Hey, if someone as boring as me can have a web site, then these stylin' pooches definitely deserve one.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Every Home Needs A . . .

Oops, I forgot to have a life; I've been in front of the computer working all day.

As I continue photographing a series of incredible homes, I keep my eyes open for surprises - things I've never seen before. The house I partially photographed on Tuesday has an outbuilding with Steam Room, Dry Sauna, and Refrigerated Plunge Pool (see photo above). Nice.

Also, at one end of the huge Great Room they have a doggie bed. It looks more like a shrine to me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Shark encounters can mess with your head.

Since her near miss with a Tiger Shark on Sunday, Lynne hasn't managed to get back into the ocean - until today. Actually, she was fine (well, a little shaken) after the encounter; it was processing the video she took which got to her. Seeing how big the shark was and how close, ended up giving her the willies.

Using me as her safety crutch, she swam us both out to a remote place where there was a pod of dolphins. A place where I was uncomfortable. Me!?! Uneasy? In the ocean?! Yes.

I think I can state that Lynne is definitely over her fright. But now, how about me?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Big Blow

I got a couple hours break from my all-day photo shoot in Kapalua so I
thought I'd check out the blowhole. Old Faithful has found serious
competition here on Maui!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sandy Prognostications

A large shark approached way too close to the Maui Pink Cap Swimmers this morning.

Before the swim, Malcolm sculpted a turtle, a shark's mouth and a ray at the edge of the water. On the return leg the swimmers saw a dismembered turtle on the ocean floor and were approached by a ten foot (at least) shark. Verrrryyyy Scary. Being the group's maverick I was out in deeper water seeking a singing whale and did not see the shark. Lynne got a great video of the shark swimming right up to her (Click HERE or Below for her Video). Check out her blog for a first-hand description at: http://www.islandcaretakermaui.com/

On the way in we saw an Eagle Ray which completed Malcolm's sandy prediction of things to see. And, of course, while we were all out deep hoping for a whale encounter, we watched as whales swam between us and the shore. If only...