Three green turtles and a passenger

Three green turtles

It’s not unusual to see green turtles hauled out on shore. Sandy beaches are prime resting spots, but these three chose this rocky bay, only a few hundred yards from some of the best beaches on the island. Perhaps they valued quiet over easy access.

The middle one of the three had gained a passenger that I didn’t notice until I processed the photos, an a’ama crab, making the most of its excellent vantage point.

Green turtle and A'ama crab

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Mountain Road stream

Mountain Road stream

Mountain Road stream poolThe Kohala Mountain Road passes over the dry southwest side of Kohala Mountain. There are several streams running down the side of the mountain toward Kawaihae and the Kohala Coast and they can run anything from dry to flash flood. It all depends on the rain.

This stream, just below the road’s high point around 3,500 feet, is running somewhere in the middle of the flow range. The top photo shows the stream tumbling through a series of pools on its way to the coast. And those black pipes? The photo to the left shows a small dam, built into the stream. Those pipes gather water from behind the dam and carry it to ponds where it’s stored for use during dry times.

Abstracts: Breakwater

Abstracts-Breakwater concrete

I was quite taken with these giant concrete shapes that form part of the breakwater at Lapahoehoe Point on the east side of the island. The breakwater was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers and is needed to protect the boat launch ramp from trade-wind-driven seas.

Abstracts-Breakwater

Metallic skink at the golden pools

Metallic Skink on lava

When I was last at the Golden Pools of Keawaiki, I encountered this metallic skink skittering along the water’s edge and then clambering up over the lava. I’m always impressed by creatures that live in such a harsh environment.

Metallic Skink at golden ponds

Rampant tropical plants

Tropical foliage at Lily Lake

Tropical FoliageI live in a pretty green area of the Big Island, but I always enjoy a visit to the much wetter east side. The extra rain allows the tropical foliage to run amok. Trees and shrubs compete for space and light, and vines run everywhere – along the ground and up tree trunks. It’s a riot of many shades of green and leaves of every size, from tiny ground covers to giant bananas to the distinctive leaves of a monstera deliciosa surrounding its flower (below).

Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Plant Life.’ See more responses here.

Monstera Deliciosa flower

A flowery flounder and lobe coral

Flowery Flounder and lobe coral

A small flowery flounder passes over what I think are patches of lobe coral. Those two bumps casting shadows on the top of the fish are the flounder’s eyes, which sit on the end of small stalks. As you can see in the photo, the two eyes are pointing in different directions. This isn’t a case of wandering eyes; they work independently.

However, flounders, like other flatfish, do indeed have the most remarkable wandering eyes. Flatfish start out looking like regular fish, with one eye on each side of the head. As they transition from the larval to juvenile stage, one of the eyes migrates over the head to join the other one on what ends up being the top side of the fish.

The eyes migrate to different places, depending on the kind of flatfish. Some are left-eyed and some right-eyed, which refers to the eyes’ relationship to the mouth. Flowery flounders are left-eyed flatfish, the eyes being to the left of the mouth when seen from head on.

There are pros and cons to photographing flounders and other fish that rely on camouflage for protection. On the plus side, once they settle, they tend not to move so it makes it easier to get a photo. On the downside, because they blend in so well, it’s not easy to get a photo where the fish is clear. The best hope is to see one on the move, as I did with this one, not only to get a photo, but also to enjoy their elegant motion as they ripple through the water.

Mongoose alert

Mongoose

On a recent hike at Pu’u Wa’awa’a, I was ambling along one of the trails when I heard squeals and a commotion in the grass a few feet off to the side. A mongoose shot out from cover hotly pursued by a second one. They took off down the trail, away from me, before vanishing into the undergrowth on the other side.

A couple of minutes later, this one reemerged, trotting away on the trail before it turned suddenly and gave me this look. I don’t think my presence had registered earlier, so it must have been a bit surprised to see me. Don’t know what happened to the other one, but since I didn’t hear any horrendous screeching, I suspect it got away.

For more information about Pu’u Wa’awa’a and its trails, go to puuwaawaa.org.

Ohelo ‘Ai growing in the lava

Ohelo 'Ai and Mauna Kea

Ohelo 'Ai growing in lava

 

Ohelo ‘Ai (Vaccinium reticulatum) is an endemic plant also known as Hawaiian blueberry. It’s seen here growing on the inhospitable slopes of Mauna Loa, with Mauna Kea in the background.