Silent night

The lights of Kawaihae brighten a dark night in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Christmas Song Lyrics.’ See more responses here.

I’m one of those people who sings, hums, and whistles Christmas songs year-round, often to the annoyance of those in earshot. Spoiled for choice, I decided to go with Silent Night with the intention of taking photos of Hawaii’s star-spangled night sky. However, by the time I got around to taking photos, the stars had been blanketed by clouds. These came from a weather system that prompted warnings of blizzard conditions and 100 mph winds!

Such conditions weren’t expected where I live – that would represent climate change of biblical proportions – but the weather system generated clouds and rain island-wide. In addition, it seemed to swirl back and forth and around the Big Island maintaining these conditions for a week and counting.

This photo looks down on the lights of Kawaihae and I think the heavy clouds add a muffled feeling that’s quite in keeping with the song.

Spiders and stick insect

A Hawaiian garden spider and a stick insect snared in its nest
A tiny spider on a stick insect snared by a Hawaiian garden spider

Outside my bathroom window, a colony of crab spiders has created a vast network of webs between the house and utility lines. The image (bottom photo) would have been a good one for Halloween.

In amongst the crab spiders, a female Hawaiian garden spider has staked out a spot. It’s close to the window and I get a good view of what she’s up to. Usually there are one or two little cocoons of white webbing where she has captured and stashed a wee bug for later.

On this morning I glanced outside and saw a large brown shape stuck in the web and lightly wrapped in white. So I went outside and took the top photo of the unfortunate victim. When I looked at it, I realized the garden spider wasn’t the only one in the photo. I noticed a much smaller spider on the stick insect. So I went out again and took the second photo.

I don’t know what kind of spider it is, but I liked its shiny metallic abdomen. I assume that spider was in the process of snagging itself a free meal. The garden spider didn’t seen too bothered, I presume because she figured such a small spider wasn’t going to deplete her larder very much.

Spider webs on utility lines

Coast Guard buoy ship

A Coast Guard buoy ship meets Hawaiian Canoeists near Kawaihae
A Coast Guard buoy ship near Kawaihae

The Coast Guard paid another visit to Kawaihae recently, checking out the buoys marking the entrance to the harbor. The ship approached the harbor around the same time as a double-hulled canoe. The canoeists wisely decided to give the ship priority.

There are rules for who has the right of way on the water, but it’s always wise to remember that a large ship might have little room for maneuver, especially close to shore. I always bear in mind the epitaph, possibly apocryphal, which reads, ‘Here lies the body of Roger Wray, who died asserting his right of way.’

Saddle wrasse

A supermale saddle wrasse in Hawaii
A juvenile saddle wrasse in Hawaii

Saddle wrasses are one of those fish where the juvenile looks nothing like the adult. The top photo shows an adult supermale. The second one shows the very different look of a juvenile. These differences are one of the challenges of identifying fish. My fish book offers a wide variety of photos, but it can require careful attention to identify what I’ve captured with my camera.

A close call

A firefighting helicopter carries water to a brush fire in Hawaii
A firefighting helicopter drops water on a brush fire in Hawaii

Driving to work yesterday, after two days off, I passed a couple of fire trucks parked at the foot of the hill. I didn’t think too much about it and carried on. I didn’t notice anything else unusual until I parked my car and got out. Something smelled a bit acrid, but even then, I didn’t think too much about it.

Once I got to the office I was immediately asked if I’d noticed anything. I shook my head. A hand pointed to the window. When I turned and looked, I saw the bank of the reservoir above our location was blackened, as were the hills beyond. That explained the acrid smell; another brush fire.

I found out later that the fire department had been called to a fire in the area on Sunday evening and had put out a small fire. The next day, Monday, a second fire started in the same area. While the fire was mostly out by yesterday morning, my arrival coincided with the Fire Department’s helicopter being called to gather water from the reservoir to douse a couple of lingering hot spots.

These photos show the helicopter heading out with water, dumping it on the fire, returning to gather more water, and then heading out again. One interesting footnote is that the two fuel trucks in the photos are about 100 yards from the foot of the reservoir bank!

The bottom photo is posted for Bushboy’s Last on the Card photo challenge. See more responses here.

Rainbow over Gloomville

A rainbow over North Kohala, Hawaii
A rainbow over North Kohala, Hawaii

Where I live, in Hawi, it rains 50 or so inches a year. Just down the coast a few miles the rainfall drops to 20 inches a year. So it’s not unusual to be driving from sunny climes and encountering grey skies nearer home. My wife and I refer to this as returning to Gloomville.

These photos were taken on my way home from work. It had been a regular sunny drive up the coast until I got to the hill up towards Hawi. Then I noticed the wall of cloud ahead, illuminated by a bold, but short portion of rainbow. I pulled over and snapped the second photo.

Moments later the rainbow had extended itself to form a bright arc over the cloud covering Hawi. That’s the top photo, and as much of the rainbow as I could capture with my camera.

Ironically, for reasons that are as clear as the skies above Hawi, Weather Underground has a strong tendency to report the weather in Hawi as ‘dry conditions will continue.’ This includes when it can be seen to be teeming down outside the window. The theory in this household is that the weather station reporting this information is either in someone’s carport or it’s operated by someone from the Hawi Chamber of Commerce!

Cozy cats

A couple of cats rest in the afternoon shade

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

I don’t have too many cozy photos, but cats seem to be cozy pretty much wherever they are. These two are from the place where I work. They seem to think that they run the joint, and in some ways they do. They look mellow in the photo, but it should be noted that I call the lower cat ‘Slasher.’ There’s a reason for that.