Propellor by South Point boat launch

Propellor by South Point boat launch

The South Point boat launch, on the southern tip of the island, is found in a small notch in the coastline. This old propeller marks one side of this small bay. Its size shows its not from a boat that would be able to use the ramp. More likely, it’s a souvenir from the wreck of a bigger boat that met its fate in these waters.

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Green turtle in shallow water

Green turtle in shallow water

A Hawaiian green turtle swims over a field of large boulders, looking a bit like a boulder itself.

Vireya rhododendron

Vireya Rhododendron

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Thankful.’ (See more responses here.) I mulled a few options but decided to plump for this photo. It’s a vireya rhododendron at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden and I chose this for two reasons. First is that I’m thankful to be able to visit the gardens on a regular basis. There’s always something new to see there. I can happily spend an hour or two wandering around, peering into flowers, and snapping photos of geckos clambering over this, that, and the other.

The second reason is that I feel fortunate to see gorgeous flowers, such as this vireya rhododendron, on a frequent basis. Some I find in a garden setting and some are just blooming roadside. There’s so much variety on the Big Island that a drive of just a few miles can take me to a different climate zone and a whole new world of plants and animals.

For more information about Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, go to htbg.com.

Abstracts: Padina japonica

Abstracts-Padina japonica

Padina japonica is a kind of seaweed which is found in tide pools. I love it’s creamy curled shape.

Fiery skipper butterfly

Fiery Skipper Butterfly feeding

A fiery skipper butterfly stops to feed on blue heliotrope (Heliotropium amplexicaule) flowers.

Fiery Skipper Butterfly

Sunrise from Mauna Loa

Sunrise from Mauna Loa Observatory

The sun peeks above a heavy cloud layer, as seen from the slopes of Mauna Loa.

Monk seal resting in a tide pool

Monk seal resting with fish

Monk seal restingMonk seals are endangered and only a handful regularly live in the waters around the Big Island. The seal in these photos is one of these and I’m lucky enough to see him on a regular if not always frequent basis. When I do see him, it’s not unusual for him to be submerged in a tide pool as he was on this day.

Sometimes, when there’s been rain, the tide pool will be brown with runoff and all I see is this body with its head submerged. When I first saw this, I wondered if the seal had drowned, but since a monk seal can hold it’s breath for 20 minutes or more I know that’s not what’s going on.

What I like on this occasion, was the little fish (seen above) swimming around the seal’s head and through his whiskers. I like to think it was wondering what the heck this giant lump was that had suddenly taken up most of the space in its pool.

Gecko descending

Gecko descending

A gold dust day gecko scoots down the stem of a traveler’s palm.