Horses with a view

Horses and the ocean

I used to see these four horses frequently when I went for walks. They’re still around, but not as accessible as before. This pasture has been sold and is now used to grow Hawaiian heirloom sugarcane for use by a rum micro-distillery.

Another thing that’s changed is that the brown grass has been greened up by the last two hurricanes, both of which have dumped a good deal of rain, but generated very little in terms of wind, at least around here.


Dwarf pineapple

Ananas nanus-dwarf pineapple

This little pineapple (Ananas nanus) is grown for its looks but is edible. With sharp spines on the leaves, it should be handled with care.

This one was at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden near Hilo.

For more information about Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, go to

Egrets and turbines

Egrets and turbines

Today marks the 1,000th post on this blog. To mark the occasion I looked for a suitably appropriate subject and couldn’t find anything! So instead I chose this photo since it featured a couple of subjects I must have seen a thousand times.

I pass the turbines at Hawi Wind Farm on my way to the part of the coast where I regularly walk. And I’ve seen an awful lot of cattle/horse/sheep/goat/lawn mower egrets since they are omnipresent. Plus I have a soft spot for them.

In this photo, a flock of egrets is on a mission to get from one pasture to another one. They aren’t the most graceful of flyers, but en masse I find they make a very pleasing sight.

Bench overlooking Honokane Nui Valley

Bench overlooking Honokane Nui Valley

I’ve posted a photo of this bench and view before, but when I took this walk beyond Pololu a few months ago the bench was in bad shape. One of the legs had rotted out and if I wanted to sit, it had to be on one end and with care.

So last time I hiked up that way I took a tape measure, planning to assess the damage and work out what was needed to fix the bench. However, when I got there I found someone had beaten me to it. And unlike my repair idea, they had wisely decided to discard the previous bench frame and replace it with a plastic one.

While it might be somewhat less aesthetically pleasing, the plastic frame should last a lot longer than its predecessor. It’s also securely anchored with metal rods so the bench should be around for a good long time. Something to look forward to next time I make the hike.

Abstracts: Cruise ship windows

Abstracts-cruise ship windows

Every week, a cruise ship drops anchor off Kailua Kona and passengers are ferried ashore to explore the delights of the town or to go on tours of the island. While it’s there, the ship dwarfs the town.

This image shows a section of the ships side, row upon row of cabin windows. Technically, one might be expected to refer to these as portholes, but I don’t think that applies to cruise ships, which are basically giant floating hotels.

Spinner dolphins

Spinner dolphin leap

Spinner dolphin leapingOn a recent walk I noticed some disturbance in the water not far offshore and was happy to see a school of 15 to 20 spinner dolphins. I thought they were headed south and set out to follow them from shore. Then they turned around and went north again. I followed. This happened several times, so I just sat down and watched while they tried to make up their minds.

Spinner dolphins get their name from the twirls they make when they leap from the water. It’s thought this activity helps dolphins know where others in the school are because the bubbles generated by their takeoff and return to the water are a good target for their echolocation.

Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Back to School’ (Yes, it’s a stretch!). See more responses here.

Spinner dolphins

Going to the Moon or Mars?

HI-SEAS site on Mauna Loa

HI-SEAS access road on Mauna LoaSitting at around 8,200 feet on the northern slope of Mauna Loa, is the HI-SEAS (Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) site. The dome is where a crew of volunteers stays, simulating what could face a similar crew living on Mars. The terrain has similarities to Mars, the crew can only go outside in space suits, and communications are delayed by 20 minutes as they would be in real transmissions between Earth and Mars.

Currently, I believe the dome is empty. The last mission, scheduled to run for eight months from February 15, 2018 through October 15, 2018, was canceled after a few days because of some kind of accident, the details of which were never released.

The photo on the left shows the approach road to the HI-SEAS site with a near full moon above. Public access to the site is not allowed for obvious reasons, but I do think it would be great fun to dress the kids up as little green Martians and take them trick or treating there. Imagine being inside the dome when there’s a knock on the door.

For more information about HI-SEAS, go to

How long is a zebra moray eel?

Zebra Moray Eel

Zebra moray eels are one of the easiest eels to identify, their circular stripes differentiating them from any other eel. They feed mostly on crabs, which they crush with their blunt teeth.

These eels can grow to five feet in length, but are usually smaller. This one though is probably about as large as they get. The yellow tang near its head could be as long as six or seven inches, while the saddle wrasse at its tail tops out at ten inches. That would make this eel somewhere between four and five feet long. It’s certainly the biggest zebra moray that I’ve seen.