I escaped the summer heat this morning with a walk through a mixed deciduous/pine forest in upcountry Maui. Brrrr it was chilly and everything was a lovely green, which was quite a contrast to the hot Makena desert. I liked this one spot so much that I am posting two versions of the exact same photograph. Enjoy
The truth is that tropical waters are relatively devoid of wildlife. Yes, the waters surrounding Maui are mostly a wet desert. Which is why I get so excited when I see a school of fish and start taking lots of photographs.
But not today, today was different. I was surrounded by school after swirling school of fish. Most of them kept just far enough away from me that I knew any photographs would not come out. And the Halfbeaks above I wasn't even able to identify until I got home and saw them on my computer. Hundreds of them in their school.
Anyway, it was a glorious day for experiencing an abundance of fish.
These two Spotted Eagle Rays came flying past me this morning like bats out of hades, soon to be followed by a third one. It turns out they weren't fleeing a predator but were, instead, late for a party. I did not see the big gathering, but snorkelers in the area told me of lots of them all together.
What with all the concern about sharks lately, seeing fins breaking the surface of the water near shore this morning was of some small concern.
No worries! Just seven playful Spotted Eagle Rays.
But they were totally invisible to my camera. I could see them fine, but the photos only showed the surface of the water. What to do? Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I took my sunglasses off and held them up to the camera. Problem solved.
Okay, now I want to know what all this nonsense is about digital cameras requiring "circular polarizing filters?" Huh! I think that myth has been sucessfully debunked.
Today was not a good day to encounter dolphins. The water was still murky in spots from way back when Tropical Depression Flossie passed through with her rain causing mud to run into the ocean. I was repeatedly startled when large dark shapes suddenly swam toward me. Even though I knew they were probably dolphins, in the gloom I could never be sure until they were right on top of me.
On the other hand it was a spectacular day for photographing dolphins. The muddy water made a nice dark backdrop for glowing dolphin bodies once they got close enough for me to see them. Even then, my camera saw them much better than I did.
I just started my swim this morning when a group of Spinner Dolphins went racing by me.
They didn't slow down, they didn't stop to say Hello, they did not even acknowlege me! They must not have realized that I am the Dolphin Dude, and it must be because I wasn't wearing my usual pink swim cap.
I never really got the concept of "Staycation." Many of my friends are thrilled to check into a local beach resort, but I always wondered why that was special? I guess the fact that I already live in a gorgeous home on the beach, and they don't, makes all the difference.
But today I finally understood. We drove over to Lahaina for the evening and wandered the streets before settling in to one of the best meals we've experienced in years. Wow! And then strolled along Front Street and stopped for dessert from one of the numerous small vendors. What a treat. I guess we have been away from an urban environment for way too long, and that is what I had been missing. My ideal staycation would definitely be in the heart of town, surrounded by restaurants, museums, shops and people. What fun.
I've been nervous about swimming recently. Rain from Tropical Storm Flossie caused a lot of dirt and debris to run off into the ocean, so the water has been way less than clear. Add to that the sightings of some big sharks in the area and you get a reluctant me.
On the other hand, I cannot stay away from the water. I just can't do it. And I'm glad I went in. While conditions were not perfect, they sure were'nt terrible.
I'm a guy who likes to get out into the ocean several times each week and interact with the creatures I encounter there. I often swim with dolphins, sharks, rays, and whales. Check out my photos on my website: www.TropicalLight.com