Great barracuda being cleaned

Great barracudas give me the willies, more so than sharks or most anything else in the ocean. There’s something about their appearance and how they hang motionless in the water that I find unnerving.

A little way south of my usual snorkeling spot, there’s a concentration of these fish that always rattles me as I swim through. Most of the barracudas I see are two feet long or less, but there a few among them that are much bigger than that. When I run into them, I’m leery about pointing my camera at them in case that upsets them in any way, because they don’t look like fish that would take kindly to being upset.

On this day, I was swimming with a friend when we came upon this very large great barracuda, just hanging in the water. Turned out it was being cleaned. The little blue and yellow fish above the head of the barracuda is a cleaner wrasse. These little fish set up store in different areas and clean mucus, dead tissue and parasites off other fish, which make regular visits to take advantage of this service.

Many fish being cleaned have an aura of great contentment while it’s going on, and this barracuda also looked quite relaxed, to such an extent that I lost my trepidation about it and got a bit closer than I normally would.

The wrasse is probably around 3 inches in length which would mean this barracuda is probably around 4 feet long.


Red-billed leiothrix

A red-billed leiothrix perched on a branch in a kipuka on the Pu’u O’o trail off Saddle Road. A kipuka is an area of land that has been surrounded by a lava flow. Kipukas often contain older trees and other plants that are a haven for native and non-native birds and other creatures.

This leiothrix had an exceptionally red bill because it was carrying a bit of ripe thimbleberry, presumably to young birds in a nest nearby.


This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Taste.’ See more responses here.

In Hawaii, cooking outdoors is an everyday affair. Some houses have their kitchens outside. Others, with kitchens inside, have a secondary setup on the lanai (deck) for outdoor cooking. And of course when we’re talking outdoor cooking, we’re talking barbecue. Most days, when I’m out and about, I’ll catch a scent on the air and think, ‘Oh, someone’s cooking something good.’

This photo was from a simple lunchtime barbecue and, yes, it did taste good.

Cat in the grass

A cat rests in some tall grass, ready to take off if danger threatens, or pounce if some bird is unwise enough to come too close.

The ocean doesn’t want me

I came across this little scene on an early morning walk around Kiholo Bay. I looked around. There was no one in the water, no one visible on land. The gear appeared to be abandoned. But all I could think of was a Tom Waits song, The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me, and in particular the line in it, ‘All they will find is my beer and my shirt.’ The shirt is there, and this is Hawaii – no one’s leaving their beer behind.

Posted in response to this week’s Friendly Friday challenge on the theme of ‘Abandoned.’ See more responses here.

Signs: No parking

I was going to title this, ‘Unclear on the concept,’ but decided not to comment in that way. It’s possible the two drivers didn’t see the sign, or saw it and didn’t care. Either way, they have a reasonable chance of getting away with it. This isn’t a heavily policed area, and even if a cop goes by, there’s a fair chance they’d simply ignore the transgression. The most likely case for something happening is if one of the people who lives in the vicinity complains.

The sign is at the top of a busy trail down to the Captain Cook Monument. A redesign of the road junction nearby created new parking opportunities and this has resulted in a surge in people using the trail. With more use, word gets out and soon the trail will be overused, the shoreline around the monument littered with trash, and the waters and coral in the bay damaged and degraded.

Not that this is the fault of these two drivers, but since they’re clearly breaking the law, let’s blame them for everything anyway.

Abstracts: Water patterns

I like seeing the different colors and patterns of the water’s surface from below. It’s like a kaleidoscope with it’s ever changing appearance.

Psamatodes abydata moth

The psamatodes abydata moth is also known as macaria abydata. Its common name is dot-lined angle moth. The moth was first introduced into Hawaii in 1970 and became established on all the main islands by 1984.

This one was perched on the window of a vehicle, giving it that splendid blue background and cool reflections.