Walk this way

Footsteps mark the way at Kaulana Manu Nature Trail in Hawaii

I posted here about the spiffy new Kaulana Manu Nature Trail facilities. This is another feature of the upgrade. The actual trailhead is 100 yards or so up the old road from the parking area. I would have thought that negotiating this stretch safely could have been achieved by the placement of a map (which is there) and a couple of clear, but not ostentatious arrows.

Apparently, the trail planners have less faith in the public being able to negotiate the simple transition from car park to trail. Instead we have this solution, a series of footprints to guide even direction-challenged walkers.

There’s a problem though. I tried walking in these footsteps and it made me tired and fearful that I was going to pull a muscle somewhere. Plus, it seems very discriminatory to pigeon-toed people.

Convict Tangs and a Surge Wrasse

A surge wrasse swims in front of a school of convict tangs in the waters off Hawaii

I was photographing this school of Convict Tangs when I saw this initial phase Surge Wrasse swimming in the opposite direction. This is not a fish I see too often and it’s one which my fish book describes as ‘one of the most difficult Hawaiian fish to photograph.’ I think this is because of its scarcity and it’s tendency to spend a lot of its time close to shore in shallow, surging water.

Lady beetles on passion vine leaves

Ants and ladybugs on a passion vine leaf

I spotted these two lady beetles on the underside of a passion vine leaf. The top one is a Seven-spotted Lady Beetle, the other a Variable Lady Beetle. But what got my attention was the fact that they appeared to be interested in the yellow spots on the leaf, as were several ants.

I knew that some passion vines produce these colored bumps to make it look like butterfly eggs are already there. Butterflies don’t like to lay eggs where another butterfly has already done so, though the leaf bumps aren’t foolproof in this regard (see here).

What I didn’t know was that the bumps produce nectar, which attracts ants, as was the case here. And the ants will defend this food source against caterpillars munching on the leaves. Isn’t nature fascinating!

A Manta Ray zips by

A manta ray swims in the waters off Hawaii

It’s been quite a while since I last saw a Manta Ray while snorkeling, so I was thrilled a few days ago when I saw a familiar shape heading towards me. It was low down in the water and when it saw me it veered away a bit, carrying on at a good clip despite swimming into the current running that day.

The manta was big, with a 10 to 12 foot wingspan, and a lot of pale markings on top. It seemed in good shape though its left wingtip appeared to be permanently curled up. I hoped it might slow down or turn, but that was not to be and it soon disappeared to the south.

Turbine painting

Maintenance work on a wind turbine at Hawi Wind Farm, Hawaii.
Maintenance work on a wind turbine at Hawi Wind Farm, Hawaii.
Maintenance work on a wind turbine at Hawi Wind Farm, Hawaii.
Painted patches on a wind turbine at Hawi Wind Farm, Hawaii.

I came across this scene at Hawi Wind Farm on my way down to walk at Upolu. I’ve seen similar before, various maintenance tasks being performed on the turbines. In this case, the crew appeared to be cleaning rust streaks and then painting them.

When I zoomed in I was taken by a few thing. First up was the shadows thrown off by the man up in the air. I thought this shadow had the look of an old time whaler. When I zoomed in, I was charmed that they were to be using a roller to paint these rather large turbines. Granted, they were just patching bad areas, but it seemed like they might use something giving quicker coverage. I also liked the patterns made by the painted patches, as if some kind of code was involved.

Oh, and yes, they missed a bit!

Flies on him

A steer covered in flies

The expression ‘No flies on you’ means you’re a busy person and/or quick to pick up on things. It dates back to the 19th-century and was intended as a contrast to horses and cattle, such as the fellow in this photo, which tend to be fly magnets when at rest.

Pitcher Plant

A pitcher plant at Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden

I liked the color and markings on the lip of this Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes Truncata) at Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. Almost made me want to jump in. Almost.

For more information about Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, go to htbg.com.