Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Caught In Between

On one side of my house is the ocean and on the other side are 5 eighteen hole golf courses. Sounds like an idyllic setting, right? Wrong. Between the mowing and weed-whacking which begins each morning at 4 a.m. and those darn waves, the noise is almost unbearable. I mean, how could it possibly be any worse?

Okay (big grin), minor noise issues aside, this really is heaven on earth. The sound of the waves often lulls me to sleep along with calls from herds of Axis Deer roaming the fairways. And I usually awake to the scent of freshly mown grass on the morning breeze. Nice.

I also love our little micro-climates. These two photos were taken only a short time apart this morning. The top one was facing north and the bottom one facing south. And this is how the weather stayed for most of the day - sunny at home and cloudy just a mile south.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Defensive Measures

Another reason I am fascinated by critters which rely on camouflage is they stay put. Their disguises work best when they don't move - which makes them (relatively) easy to photograph. I saw this Flounder (above) because it was moving, but when it saw me it settled down on the ocean floor. I had a really tough time finding it again, it took me quite a few dives to get this photo.

On the other hand, Eels hide in cracks and under rocks and coral. I noticed this large eel (below) as it was slithering from one place of concealment to another. Instead of dashing to the next crack, this one stood its ground and threatened me with wide open jaws. I (wisely) kept my largish underwater camera between it and me - and kept my distance. Eels are notorious for not letting go once they latch on, and I didn't want to lose any body parts this morning. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dang It All To Heck

Dang it all to Heck!

Every single day, dozens of dead bees wash up on my beach. Since this always happens I assume it is part of nature's cycle of life and death - this is how it is supposed to be.

Why am I so upset? Because I keep stepping on dem buggahs and keep getting their stingers lodged in my feet! Ow, ow, ow, owwie!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Frogfish Redux

No, I am not obsessed with Frogfish. It's just when I discover a new one, I can't help but post a photo of this bizarre creature. Due to the uniformity of color of today's, it is much easier to actually distinguish from surrounding coral than the last one I found.

By the way, I am referring to the photo above, not the one to the right (although there are some very strange creatures in that photo as well).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Every Day

Yes, I live in an island paradise where it is perfect every day of the year. Lucky me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dissed Again

Thanks, Doug, for the incredible dinner last night. Good friends and great food, what more could anyone want?

Too much of that tasty food is why I was riding low in the water this morning. Each stroke was sluggish and I swallowed mouthful after mouthful of salty water.

I kept seeing unusual flashes of light on the ocean's surface just yards away, not normal reflections of water but something else. Otherwise it was a normal swim in choppy and windy conditions. When I got to shore, people with binoculars said they watched a pod of dolphins following behind me as I swam. Maybe the dolphins were offended at not being invited to dinner last night and were showing their hurt feelings by dissing me. Or maybe they decided I was moving too slow and wasn't worth playing with. Or maybe...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Another Crazy Swimmer

One of my swimming buddies, Scott, also gets out into deep water. Here is one of his amazing Humpback Whale experiences this past winter. Scott, you Rock!
(Click HERE for an alternate way to view this incredible video)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I was so totally focused on my powerwalk (or deathmarch which is a far more appropriate description) this morning that I forgot to stop and smell . . . Well, actually, flowers were the only thing I stopped to photograph today. I kind of didn't notice the whole rest of the world as I watched my feet trudge step after step after step . . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sammi Who?

Everyone seems to know Sam.

Immediately after almost swimming into this turtle, I looked above water, saw some kayakers, and began chatting with them. When I mentioned that I swim with the Pink Cap Swimmers, I was asked if I knew Sammi. This is a very small world. One of them was the daughter of the woman I bought a painting from last week, which made her first cousin to Sam.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Merry Christmas?

After today the days get shorter and shorter, which means Winter Is On Its Way. And I was just beginning to thaw out from the last one.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Back Up Plan

It is not my fault. My camera was commandeered on this morning's ocean swim, which is why you are seeing way too much of me in today's post. I hate being the center of attention (yeah, right) and would much rather hide behind the camera than pose in front of it.

We did our usual swim in reverse in honor of my backwardness. It is surprising how different things look from the other side. I had fun coming instead of going (or was I going instead of coming?).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ugly Town

Only the mother of a Frogfish could not be repulsed by its appearance. But they do succeed at blending in amazingly well.

So well, in fact, that I did not even notice the smaller Frogfish until I had taken a couple of photos this morning. The smaller fish is taking a HUGE risk swimming in front of the larger one. Frogfish can swallow whole a fish up to twice their size. Including other Frogfish. Romance must be in the air... (oops, I mean water)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Balancing Act

Finally! A guy on the beach who wasn't digging a boring hole. Well, actually he was digging a hole, but only to get wet sand to drip on his spires. I'm still not seeing any clever sand sculptures, but this was definitely a step in the right direction.

As for relaxing (?) on a dead tree trunk... I don't think I could ever get comfortable while balancing to keep from falling off - not to mention the splinters. Ouch.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Don Unleashed

Look what I got for my birthday - a dive flag! Now I can swim anywhere without a worry of any kind. Finally I will be safe from danger. Hooray.

I tested it out in the waves of La Perouse bay and found it much easier to tow than my kayak. Deep water critters - be warned, because I am a-comin'. Next stop - Tahiti.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Naked Swimmer

I felt naked this morning. I only had a brief moment before work for a short swim, so setting up the underwater camera case was out of the question. No big(ish) camera, no rash guard, no fins, just swimsuit and goggles. Well, and of course, a little point-and-shoot camera tucked in my suit, but that doesn't count. It was wonderfully freeing, swimming without stuff. Stuff, who needs it?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Act of Kindness

I was touched by this scene. Probably because I'm the kind of guy who would say, "Fix it yourself!" Ask any of my friends, I am definitely lacking in the social graces. But it isn't my fault. I don't know why I'm a jerk, but it was probably something I ate.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Those Crazy Swimmers

This poor Pufferfish chose the wrong spot to inflate this morning. Tucked in between coral and spiny urchins, it was completely stuck and struggling to get out. Ouch. It must have missed the day in school when they were warned about inappropriate places to blow themselves up.

We saw lots of unusual creatures on today's swim, including two White Tip Reef Sharks in the shark cave. Martin swam through the cave hoping to scare the sharks out so that we could see them. Nope, they just looked him over like he was crazy and stayed put. This one (below) was wandering around as I arrived and I had to chase it to get this photo. No wonder they were hiding, they were afraid of the insane swimmers. Click HERE for many more photos from this morning's swim.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lay Low

Stop moving!

When they are still, Flounders blend in so well that they are invisible. But this guy kept scooting here, there and everywhere. It must have been agitated about something because its spiky fins were fully extended. Maybe it was having a bad hair day and didn't want its photo taken.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mean Boss

The bad part about working for myself is that I've got a nasty boss. He won't let me go home from work at 5 o'clock, or 6 o'clock, or 7 or 8.

On the other hand I was able to tell him to "Stuff it!" around sunset without getting fired. I actually got up from the computer, walked to the door and watched the sky turn colors for fifteen minutes - before, of course, going back to work.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Dirt on Samara

I was smitten by the style and use of color in the painting this plein-air artist was creating this morning on the beach. So much so, that I went to Karen's studio later in the day and bought the oil painting below. Well, actually I finagled Doug into buying it for my upcoming birthday. He never knew what hit him and his wallet until it was too late. Poor guy.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Treacherous Creatures

What is it about Ice Cream Annie (above left) and jellyfish? By the way, that is not a jellyfish snorkeling with Annie. But the last time I met her while out swimming, I saw several different jellies (click HERE for that post). Today I just barely avoided colliding with a Box Jellyfish (below) shortly after seeing Annie. Thank goodness, I'm too busy for a stay at the hospital.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Early Mornings

I have taken on way too much work recently, so my only workout opportunities lie in the early morning. It has been great seeing the island and ocean in a different light.

I was surprised by how easily these two guys were able to move a very heavy outrigger canoe using two soft boat bumpers. Ingenious.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Young Turks

In never before seen footage (ok, not video, so not really footage) Brian is spit from the Slosh. Nice ride, Brian!

A younger group has begun dominating the Sunday ocean swims, and that is a very, very good thing. Energy, excitement and enthusiasm abound - something which has been lacking since Christine stopped swimming as much. It is amazing what a difference one person can make. Noticeable this weekend was the absence of Janet and Patti and socializing rest stops.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Oil, What Oil?

Doug arrived on the Alabama gulf coast on Thursday and said the beaches were as pristine and sugar white as always.

Yesterday was a whole different story as small blobs of sticky oil began washing ashore. Yes, I know, the photo just looks like dirt on snow, but those bits of tar stick to everything and do not come off (easily).

I was down there in 1979 after a big spill and found that once the oil got on fabric, the only thing to do was throw it away. Everyone carried little squirt bottles of kerosene which quickly rinsed oil off the body. So things aren't hopeless. Just go nude and bathe regularly in kerosene. No problem.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Food for the Fishes

What is this idiot photographer doing wrong? No, I'm not talking about angle of flash or f-stop.

He is kneeling on the reef. Coral is fragile and easily broken, but takes a long time to grow back. So don't use the coral to brace yourself.

Also, he is feeding the fish. Definitely a no-no. Besides upsetting the ecosystem, it teaches the fish that where there are people, there is food. Fish bites were becoming common at popular snorkeling spots until tours stopped offering fish food.

I only hope that he didn't become food for the fishes as well. Just after I left, I saw this shark heading his way to check out the commotion...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cloudy Days and Thursdays . . .

The best conditions for photographing flowers and waterfalls are overcast skies. Since this morning started out cloudy, I thought I'd visit a few more of my neighborhood waterfalls. Considering that I live in a desert clime, there are a surprisingly large number of streams and waterfalls! Enjoy

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chanting for Dolls

After dinner in Paia on Monday, I noticed the stupa at the Maui Dharma Center was all lit up like a Christmas tree. It seems that Monday was the Buddha's birthday and crowds of people were gathered. They were chanting for things like Whirled Peas and Llama Dolls and such. I will never truly understand religious practices.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Human Corpses in My Yard

There are human corpses buried in my yard.

The story I've been told is:
As ancient human remains were discovered on the Hawaiian islands, they were shipped off to the Bishop Museum on Oahu where they were stored in boxes and drawers. Native Hawaiians were not happy with this treatment of their ancestors, so the remains began to be repatriated to their original islands.
A certain property developer made a deal where he would inter numerous skeletons in a beautiful ocean-front location in exchange for the right to build houses on the shore.

The bones of the Hawaiians are in the square stone structure and the other rocks are supposed to be the remains of a Canoe Hale.

In the ten years I've lived here I have never seen any Night Marchers (Hawaiian warrior ghosts) so I'm assuming that our bodies all died peacefully. Then again, I sleep so soundly that the apocalypse could happen and I would never know.