Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summertime Ocean Playground

Click HERE for more photos from today's swim.

Summer is definitely here! The water was warm, very warm, and people were in the mood to play. After an hour in the ocean I usually want to get moving to warm up - not today. Stay a little longer? Sure, why not?

Turtles were everywhere. We were warned about sharks in the area, but fortunately did not see any. Even though we did go out of our way looking for them (we're not too bright).

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another Great Summer Movie

Pixar has done it again! How do they produce great movie after great movie?

I have to give their new film, UP, an enthusiastic two thumbs up. Like their previous winner, WALL*E, this mixes strong pathos (I was sobbing at one point early on), powerful visuals harkening back to the silent film era, and very clever writing.

Go see UP.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blame It On The Dolphins

My buddies, the Spinner Dolphins came to play around me during my ocean swim this morning. One of the zodiac tour boats zoomed over and dropped all of their snorkeling passengers into the middle of the pod, but the dolphins didn't seem to mind. The tourists were thrilled. One woman could not stop laughing with delight, her snorkel was emitting a constant stream of giggles. It was strange and very funny to hear.

I guess the dolphins recognize different people after a while. They maintained a small distance from the snorkelers but repeatedly approached very close to me. We swam and we swam, and now I'm exhausted. My head keeps drooping over the computer keyboard and I can barely keep my eyes open. My boss is going to kill me, I still have hours of work to do today and I'm not feeling very productive. (Click HERE or Below for Today's very short Video)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

King's Highway Again

Civilization ends just five miles down my street. Several times each week I make the bumpy ride out for a little quiet time alone beyond the reach of man.

This morning I felt inspired to go the extra mile (or six) across the rough lava field. I am awed by the desolation. Jagged 'a'a lava rocks everywhere and not a plant leaf to be seen. Black, brown and gray are the only colors left under the glaring sun. I am always shocked when the green oasis cove appears out of nowhere, then disappears as I continue the treacherous trek. Finally below me appears a grove of scrub trees along the shore with a substantial swinging log seat. Ah, a shady rest spot!

Okay, now the only real option is to trudge all the way back to my car. This time the barren rocks with no shade anywhere are less impressive and my feet ache from slipping and stumbling over loose rocks. Now I remember why I don't hike the King's Highway more often.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How Many Chucks . . .

I got to meet several friendly people during my walk this morning.

An orthopedic surgeon stopped me to tell me that I was walking all wrong. All wrong?! I'm just walking. You know, one foot in front of the other.

She says that I'm overpronating which will cause knee damage which will lead to hip damage and then death, I guess. She asked for my phone number so that she could call me to recommend a foot doctor. I'm hoping that I'm really walking just fine but that she needed a way to ask me on a date without her husband finding out.

Then there was this sculptor working beachside. I asked what kind of wood he was using and he said, "Rainshower tree."
I asked, "You must mean Rainbow Shower tree?"
"No," he said "Rainshower. Some people call it Monkeypod, but its real name is Rainshower (which sounds nicer, I think)."
His name is Dale Zarrella and you can Click HERE to check out his web site.

Finally, I spoke briefly with a guy who was working Nunchucks while standing in the surf. He says there are weapons competitions and also martial arts competitions with padded nunchucks. He laughed when he mentioned padded nunchucks, I guess he prefers getting hit with the real thing. Click HERE (or Below) for a brief Video.

Salad Days

Just weeds, right?

Well... many of Maui's roadside weeds are edible. Easily found along many rural roads are Bamboo Shoots, Fennel, Basil and, of course, Tomatoes. I'm feeling inspired to make a salad.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dolphin Dreaming

A group of twenty-two dolphins came by to check me out on my ocean swim this morning. Shortly after I saw them a guy calling himself Dolphin Dave also joined the fun. Dolphin Dave seemed to get along very nicely with the spinner dolphins, and they with him. He was an interesting guy, click HERE for his web site.

He spoke to me at length about a movie with which he was involved called Whaledreamers. I've put it on my Netflix queue and will let you know what I think after I've seen it.

He also had a knack for blowing bubble rings. Two of the rings in this photo actually connected then merged into one ring. Amazing stuff.

Oh, the dolphins. Dolphin Dave's persona did not completely eclipse their presence. They were playful but rather fast moving. They swam by closely time after time, but each encounter was brief. Click HERE for more photos from today.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hot Hot Hot

Summer has arrived with a vengeance. It is sunny, hazy and hot. The only comfortable place is near or in the ocean hoping for a breeze, for any breath of air to whisper by. Ahhh, a moment of relief and then a wait for the next cooling puff of air. Ahhh.

Or you could be like me and spend the holiday weekend in front of a computer screen in an air conditioned office working, working, working...

I did manage an aggressive ten mile walk this morning during which I thought I was going to die from heat stroke at least ten times. The first two miles were a delight, then began the slow descent into the inferno. So actually, the office work is a blessing. Bring on the work.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Almost the Undead

Weird. Even though the sun was shining brightly today, we did not cast any shadows. How could this be? Have we become a kind of vampire which can tolerate the sun?

People living between the two tropics (Capricorn & Cancer) experience two days each year when the sun passes directly overhead. Today was Maui's first Lahaina Noon and when the sun was at its highest point we were shadowless. Cool.

The merciless sun continues warming the ocean and the Maui Pink Cap Swimmers did lots of playing this morning. We also found a Spotted Eagle Ray which had no spots. Click HERE for photos of today's swim.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Visiting Monk

A rapidly retreating tide left lots of tiny manini stranded on the shore this morning. At first I thought they were fish scales glistening in the bright sun, not entire fish.

And what was I doing on shore instead of in the water this morning? I was part of the crowd which gathered to watch one of Hawaii's critically endangered Monk Seals hunting fish along the shore.

Maui Boy seemed to have no difficulty catching and eating lots of fish. He was born in Kipahulu nine years ago and has fathered pups on Kahoolawe, Maui and Lanai. Some expect the species to go extinct in the next fifty years, so it was a real treat to see one of the few remaining monk seals.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Say Goodbye to the Reefs

UPDATE: I got my facts almost all wrong (see post below). Unfortunately, the loophole is even worse than I reported. But it has nothing to do with aquarium collecting or gill nets. I will say no more here, the fewer people who know the exact details, the fewer people who will take advantage of this horrible situation.

If only it weren't so. Apparently a new state law designed to protect the island's reefs has a loophole - a HUGE loophole. Gillnet fishing which had been banned, is now allowed. All you have to do is go to Oahu and get a permit to catch fish for aquariums. This morning I saw a boat struggling to drag a huge net back and forth, back and forth along the south Maui shore. I just happened to be there when the fishermen checked in with a DLNR agent before going out.

Please tell me I am wrong. Please tell me that I misunderstood. I'm thinking this big school of fish I swam with this morning will not be there the next time I return.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Clean Ocean Water

I love swimming in the clear clean ocean waters. Yes, I know, I regularly swim through clouds of fresh dolphin poop. But it's worth it. I consider it the price I pay for an incredible experience, besides, I really don't pay it much mind. In fact I try to ignore it. I also see many explosions of fish poop every time I'm out, but I dismiss that as all part of life in the ocean.

But the giant sea turtles have gone too far. Their poop was washing ashore on our beach today. Some here, some there, more over there. I scooped up the first bits, but then it all became a bit too much. Just you turtles wait. I will get my revenge on you when I go for my swim tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thanks, But No Thanks

Eighteen frisky Spinner Dolphins joined me on my ocean swim this morning. I'm not sure why, maybe it was the warm water, but they were definitely in the mood for love.

And at first I was a little worried that they might not have realized that I wasn't a dolphin. Maybe it was my cologne.

I do not touch anything underwater. It is a rule of mine. Probably born from some twisted incident in my youth, but this policy has served me well over the years. In the past it has never mattered around the dolphins because they always stay at least an arm's length away - but not today. I was twisting and turning to avoid being rubbed up against. Who knows? One thing might have led to another and I'm not sure I'm ready to be pregnant with a dolphin baby.

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

Monday, May 18, 2009

Water Birth

Cheryl emailed me this photo of myself and Doug at her baby shower showing off our balloon toss prize winnings. Since I have been working all day and only took photos of bedrooms and kitchens (boring), I thought I would bore you with a photo of me instead.

I had a dream on Saturday that Cheryl gave birth (she's due in two weeks) during our Sunday ocean swim. She did the full swim yesterday but the baby did not make an appearance. Maybe next Sunday...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Boring Fun

That was a long nap . . . but I do feel refreshed now.

We had another big turnout for Steve and George's birthdays today, and another beach potluck. Yum.

For whatever reason warmer water means less clarity but also more fun. A big school of large fish swam by and half the group didn't even see it. Ocean camouflage is amazing to experience. We were in the mood to investigate whatever came along, but the ocean was mostly empty. Except for all the turtles, fish, sharks - you know, those boring everyday things. (Click HERE for today's photos)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lazy Days of Summer

Even the usually hard working outrigger canoe crews were taking it easy this morning. No wind, hot sun - I would be relaxing too. In fact I feel inspired, I think I will take a nap. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Maybe I'm part otter. Keep me away from the ocean for even a day and I start to dry out. Ohhhhh, it was great getting back in for a swim after working on dry land all day yesterday.

OK, the boss says I need to get back to work now. A hui hou

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Group Purchase

I just finished another day and evening of shooting at a Makena estate today, and I am ready for sleep - lots of sleep. (Yawwwwwnnnnn) Hey, maybe if 5,000 of us get together and put in $10,000 each we could buy this place. Let's see, then we could each stay there one day every 14 years.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Floating With An Eagle

Swimming was a joy in a relatively warm and flat ocean this morning. Turtles were everywhere and I even encountered a Spotted Eagle Ray on my return swim.

Unlike Manta Rays whose main feature is a huge open mouth, Eagle Rays actually appear to have a head (something which I was once accused of having when someone mistakenly thought they heard me speaking intelligently). While Mantas filter feed on plankton and microscopic organisms, Eagle Rays have impressive teeth used to crush the shells of the mullusks and crabs which they eat. I often see them rooting around in the sand for their prey. Before encountering this ray I found fragments of a very large Cowrie shell on the sea floor and wondered what could have crushed such a substantial shell. Now I know.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Old Hawaii

I have traveled back in time to a quieter less developed Hawaii. My last two photo assignments found me relaxing on large oceanfront lawns under shady palm trees, lots and lots of palm trees rustling in the soft warm breeze. Beautiful photographs are so easy to make in heaven.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring Break

Lucky me. Clouds formed in a critical area of the sky and I could not get the photos I needed today so - I had to swim.

Doubly lucky me. Suddenly the water is almost warm. Two weeks ago we were freezing, now wet suits are being shed and a frenetic pace is not required to stay warm. Hooray for the return of relaxing and playful Sunday swims. Click HERE for today's photos.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Driven to . . .

Swimming? What is that? Dolphins? Sounds familiar...

While working, I am a man possessed. Everything else falls by the wayside including eating, going to the bathroom, everything. Even my Sunday ocean swim with the Maui Pink Cap Swimmers. Hopefully in a few days the photo shoots will end and life will resume...

Friday, May 8, 2009

The New Old Me

I don't often recommend movies, but when I do they are well worth seeing.

This evening we saw the new Star Trek movie and I have to say it was the best of the eleven (yes 11) Star Trek movies. I have been a fan since the early days of the first television series, which made this nostalgic version even more poignant; but I think this film manages to stand on its own just fine. If you want to see a fun summer action movie, go see it. I might even tag along, I am looking forward to seeing it again. Even if I am a little light headed after having been shorn today.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Au Naturel

Try as I might, I am incapable of fully opening my eyes underwater. I have friends who do it beautifully, they look so natural that they appear to be flying through air. All I can manage is to scrunch my entire face into a tiny squint, making it pretty obvious that I am struggling through water.

As you can see from my state of undress, the ocean was almost pleasantly warm today. I felt so free, no longer tightly wrapped in a rubber wetsuit. Next to go is the hair, buzz cut here I come.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Shutter Tripping

It's funny the lengths to which people will go to get a cell phone signal. Strangely, I find (like this guy this morning) that the most expensive resorts on the island have dead spots which no wireless services reach. Kihei, no problem; Kapalua or Wailea Point, forget it.

Or maybe he was just enjoying the view so much that he had to share it with someone.

The sky was too hazy for my current photographic project, so I got in my teeny, tiny little kayak to scout additional angles for when the vog lifts. Hopefully tomorrow will find me tripping the shutter once again.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spotted on this Morning's Swim

No, I am not changing my spots. Unless you are talking about work locations. It seems that I will be photographing private Castles in Italy for the month of October. Unfortunately I will not be receiving a per diem for food and lodging and will have to stay in the palaces that I am shooting. Fortunately, most of them have swimming pools and staff including private chefs. I wonder if they will have internet access as well? I've got to keep on blogging, you know.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

New Swimmer on the Way

Chilly winter water had prompted intense Sunday swims without much playing and fun. Go, go, go had been the theme song for the Maui Pink Cap Swimmers the past few months.

I am happy to say the water temperature is finally edging up a degree at a time and the group is becoming incrementally friskier. The lively mood even continued after we crawled ashore, as we celebrated the upcoming arrival of yet another swimmer.

The beach baby shower for Cheryl and Jonathan featured spectacularly ono-licious food, a balloon tossing competition and, of course, presentation of gifts by the Magi, I mean swimmers. Oh, and yours truly along with talented partner Doug kept the water balloon in play longest and farthest, and won great gifts - beach towel and picture frame. What a surprise!

Check out the photo of Cheryl to the left. She is due in four weeks (yes, the first week of June) and is becoming more beautiful (if that is possible) with each passing day. Click HERE for more photos from today.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Game Playing Dolphins

As I swam through an area of murky water this morning I encountered a large group of very playful spinner dolphins. Many of them were playing the leaf game where one dolphin drops a floating leaf and the others zoom in to pick it up. Many of the dolphins were also playing the mating game. Over and over again. Maybe that's why the water was so murky in that one area...

Click HERE or Below for today's Video.