Monday, May 31, 2010


On Memorial Day I like to remember, not only those who died for our country, but all those who had been important in my life.

Somehow, the ancient Hawaiian ruins (below), which are just down the street from my house, put me in the best frame of mind for thinking about the past. When I am inside these eight foot high walls, I imagine the people who built them and wonder what the structures were used for. My body wanders through the lava rocks but my mind walks the streets of the past. This is another of my favorite secret spots. Most of my neighbors don't know about this place and I have never seen anyone else there.

Thank You to all of you who have made such a difference in my life. I am thinking of you.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Turn Around

I don't know why so few swimmers turned out this morning, but it was a good thing. The water was so dangerously murky that at least four (wise) people turned around and got out before reaching the arch. It being morning and all, it took me a bit longer to smarten up and head for shore. I haven't heard from the remainder, so I'm assuming that none survived. I guess it will be an even smaller group next week.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Going Underground

Death Marches are what I call my usual exercise walks, because I walk more than ten miles and push myself hard. Sometimes I've even gotten a little too close to making the name come true - when it is too hot and I go too far.

But today I decided to have fun. I walked to three of my neighborhood caves and climbed around inside them. OK, I almost fell a couple of times and got a little too close to death once again, but at least I had fun and got to do something a little different.

Stairway to Nowhere

A few hundred yards down my street is a stairway which goes . . . nowhere.

A neighbor has subdivided their land on a steep hill and is selling lots on the top and lots at the bottom, and has built a stairway connecting the two.

But so far, it is just an empty hill with a stairway which goes nowhere.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Another Stylin' Turtle

Seeing this sea turtle snagged by a large hook with bait still attached made me sad this morning. Sad and a little angry, but mostly sad. Putting it in perspective though, I have seen people with major piercings which actually frightened me, so I shouldn't worry too much about a turtle with a piece of jewelry. It was probably on its way to the turtle cleaning station to show off its new bling (and to get the bait removed).

I stumbled across a fish cleaning station this morning (below) where the fish were waiting their turn to get tidied up by a tiny Rainbow Wrasse. They weren't nearly as stylish as the turtle since none of them were wearing any accessories. Turtles are way cooler.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spooky Ghosts

I heard ghosts booooooing this morning, so the Ua'u-Kani must be back. And they were! They sound just like ghosts in old movies which is spooky. I've seen feathers in their burrow entrances before, but had never actually seen the birds until today.

I wish they would dig deeper holes because a dog killed several of them at this location last year. Still, it was really cool to get to see them. I hope they make lots of babies.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Turtle Research

NOAA with help from several local volunteers (me included) captured, measured and tagged several turtles today, including one of the critically endangered Hawksbill turtles. Actually, we tagged the Hawksbill last year, so it did not have to endure that indignity again. The good news is that she (probably female - it was too young to be certain) has gained weight and grown since last year. Hooray! The bad news is that I too have gained weight since last year. Boo!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Service Station

Wow. Nice shiny clean shells. The fish at this turtle cleaning station really do a good job and the turtles know it. They are usually queued up waiting their turn. I would get in line if I could hold my breath for longer than fifteen seconds...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wild Water

Needing a change of pace, the Maui Pink Cap Swimmers headed south to a spot where thousands of miles of open ocean crash against lava cliffs. Today the collision between waves and shore was relatively gentle, but still provided an adrenaline rush as we got pushed back and forth, in and out. Like on a roller coaster we found it even more fun to ride with no hands (check out the very short video below). YeeHaw!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Above and Below

Today's adventures with my friends ranged from hiking high above the clouds to crawling through caves deep below ground. We trekked from the rim of Haleakala volcano down into the crater, then through a long pitch-black lava tube, and back up again.

No matter what fun times we have, they all include two essential elements: eating and napping - both of which were present today. Anybody up for an ocean swim tomorrow (along with brunch and sleepy time, of course)?

Friday, May 21, 2010


Little does this guy know that next week it will be dragged (carefully) up on shore for its yearly check-up. I was part of the crew last year that tagged, weighed, and examined this Hawaiian Hawksbill Turtle for the first time and will help out again next week. I wish I got free annual check-ups.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hi Def Hooray

Sorry for the boring photos of my neighborhood today, but I just got a new camera and needed to take some quick test shots. I actually got it for underwater photography but the housing is on back-order, so you'll have to wait for those photos - and Hi Def Video! Hooray!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ocean Traffic Jam

I have been working way too much! Yesterday was a 13 hour day with only a brief break for dinner. A blog entry wasn't even a remote possibility. Luckily today's photo shoot ended early and I managed a late-morning swim.

But Wait! What is this? A traffic jam out in the ocean? Twice I swam into big crowds and had to carefully thread my way through head-to-toe snorkelers. Now I know why I usually swim early, to beat the crowds.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Try and Knock This Over

Vandals smash or knock down my parents' mailbox at least once every year. Maybe they should try what one of my neighbors used - poured concrete. The form went deep into the ground and required one of those big cement mixer trucks to make the pour. This thing would probably stop a bulldozer.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I love the enthusiasm brought to our Sunday morning ocean swims by visiting swimmers. To us who are accustomed to turtles, turtles and more turtles, seeing yet another turtle is barely of note. But the excitement of a new swimmer encountering one of these stately creatures for the first time is contagious. Wow! A Sea Turtle!

The entire swim becomes magical as we search out special creatures and formations to show to our visitors. It's not just another boring swim, but a real-life adventure and we are the heroes.

Click HERE for more photos from this morning's swim.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Turtle Box Lunch

Wow! I got to see my very first Box Jellyfish this morning!

I almost hit it while swimming and when I turned back to take a photo, I noticed it moving quickly toward me. I backpedaled but couldn't put any distance between us, it was pulsing too rapidly in my direction. Fortunately I am not one of those brainless horror movie victims who stays in the path of the oncoming monster, I moved aside and let it pass me before chasing it to get a photo.

One of my friends back on the beach wasn't so lucky. His entire forearm was red and swollen, and he was in great pain after swimming into a jellyfish which sounded just like this one. If you swim in Hawaiian waters, may I suggest you Click HERE for the Wikipedia article? It seems that only a few of the Box Jellyfish species are deadly, most are just annoying. The good news is that we have lots and lots of Sea Turtles and Sea Turtles love to eat Box Jellyfish.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Which Came First?

You might think the top photo is the "Before" and the bottom photo is the "After" but you would be wrong.

Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler and Nicole Kidman (among others) had been on Maui for several weeks filming the upcoming movie Just Go with It. It took over a week to build this bar set on the north end of Wailea Beach and when it was finished it looked great. I would have loved to stop by for a cocktail sometime, we don't have any truly on-the-water bars or restaurants in South Maui. Then suddenly it was gone. Vanished into thin air with not a trace remaining. Or maybe there's some kind of Lost thing going on here...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bring 'Em On

Yep, all at once. Isn't that always the way? One bunch ripened this week, and three more are on their way. Bananas, bananas, and more bananas.

A friend gave us a jar of toasted coconut shavings - yum. He gathers coconuts from his yard, shaves the meat with a potato peeler, then puts them on a cookie sheet in his bread warmer overnight. Easy.

Now that we're inundated with Apple Bananas (my favorites) I wondered if I could do the same thing. Friends dry their extra bananas with fruit driers and, since I don't have one, it never occurred to me that I could dry fruit too (I'm not too bright about some things). Well, it is possible. Slice them, put them on a cookie sheet, pop them in the oven at the lowest setting, and like magic the next morning you have soft dried bananas. Give them an extra few hours and they become nicely chewy. I haven't tried for a crispy texture because I don't have any more bananas. Yet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hiding In Plain Sight

Very few fish don't hide when I swim up and try to get a photo. Most of them do not run (swim) away but instead turn to directly face me. Like the yellow fish above, when they are head-on they are so thin that they are nearly invisible. I, on the other hand, do not have that problem of being too thin. If only.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Old People

Our Sunday swim group has diverged into the "Serious Swimmers" and the "Old People." How do I know this? I went to the FaceBook page of one of our younger swimmers and the caption below the underwater group photo was "Me, my Dad and other Old People." Ouch.

I admit it, I am not getting younger, but I'm not completely ready to be lumped into the Old People group. Then again, I wonder how the 28 year old in the photo felt about now being labeled an Old Person (Josh?)?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Good Looking and Dangerous

Good looking and dangerous - just like me. If you've ever tried clearing Bougainvillea or Fan Palm debris, you are well aware of their thorny demeanor. So, maybe not exactly dangerous; maybe more prickly or annoying. Yep, that describes me much better.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Getting Away

I love working out of my home. Love it!

But there are down sides. Such as distractions, lots of distractions. Unimportant chores suddenly need to be taken care of immediately. Like being behind on my record keeping and filing which has kept for ages - until now. Anything to keep from actually doing my work.

But you know what is worse? When I am so caught up in a work project that I never leave the house. I wake up in the morning, get on the computer and work all day, then when night falls walk to the next room and go back to bed.

I did make it all the way out to the mailbox (which requires taking two steps from the front door) today which is where I found this flower for today's blog photo. I promise I will actually get more than two feet away from home tomorrow. Cross my heart.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cowardly Me

I admit it - I'm a big coward. And that is why there isn't a different photo on my blog today.

I have been seeing a lot of puffed-up puffer fish recently. They are easy to spot - from a distance one looks like a white styrofoam coffee cup floating on the surface. When I get closer I realize I'm looking at the white belly of an inflated fish. Usually, they are accompanied by another, unpuffed, puffer fish which keeps biting at the inflated fish.

As I moved in closer to take a photo of the two fish this morning, a turtle happened to swim by. The uninflated fish waggled itself over to the turtle and bit down hard on the turtle's neck. Ouch! The turtle quickly turned tail, zooming away. And I did too! Yes, I am a coward.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dinosaur Wars

Unlike the sweet and harmless Green Anole, these two Brown Anoles looked ferocious as they battled it out this morning. Neither would give up and after periods of posturing, they would bite and claw at each other. They took brief breaks then went at it again, hissing and biting. When I left they were both bloody but standing their ground.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In Lockstep With The Crowd

I felt like one of these silver fish on my too-long commute yesterday. On the quiet little island of Maui, how can there be such big traffic jams? I'm usually more like the Butterfly fish in this photo - going my own way and oblivious to the crowds.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Turtle Breath

Very few swimmers showed up this morning, and even fewer were not hung over (Happy 25th Birthday, Brian) but that gave each of us more up-close and personal time with the sea turtles we encountered. The hardest part of learning turtle talk is getting over their seaweed breath. Yuck.