Author Archives: Graham

About Graham

I take photos when I'm out and about, recording life on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Alexandrian laurel

The flowers of an Alexandrian laurel in Hawaii
The fruits and flowers of an Alexandrian laurel in Hawaii

Alexandrian laurel (Calophyllum inophyllum) is known as Kamani in Hawaii. It’s a canoe plant, which means it was brought to Hawaii by the early Polynesian voyagers. They would have carried this evergreen tree because of its importance for building their ocean-going outriggers.

The small white and yellow flowers usually bloom twice a year and are followed by round fruits with a single large seed.

Another spotted eagle ray encounter

A spotted eagle ray swims in the waters off the Big Island, Hawaii
A spotted eagle ray swims in the waters off the Big Island, Hawaii

Last week, I posted about an encounter with three spotted eagle rays (here). A few days after that I ran into one of the small eagle rays a little farther up the coast. The visibility wasn’t good – those pink spots are small organisms floating in the water – but the ray came so close that I was able to get a few photos. I’m pretty sure this was the same one that was so curious on the first encounter. This time it didn’t hang around but drifted by, disappearing into the murky water.

A spotted eagle ray swims in the waters off the Big Island, Hawaii

Spencer Beach Park beach

The beach at Spencer Beach Park, Hawaii

A few days ago, I posted about a heron encounter (here) when I didn’t have enough time to walk along the coast before going to work. I took this photo when I did have that time.

This is a view from Spencer Beach Park towards Kawaihae Harbor. The footprints are mine. There were no others. As a start to the day, it doesn’t get much better.

Watching an octopus

A day octopus in the waters off Hawaii

The easiest way to spot an octopus is to see it swimming (top photo). They’re not large creatures but they’re quite distinctive when they swim.

If they’re not swimming, one thing to look for is certain fish, such as goatfishes and jacks, just hanging around in a spot for no apparent reason. When these fish are hunting alone, they tend to be more active in probing the rocks and trying to disturb prey. But when they’re hunting with an octopus, they seem more content to let the octopus do the work and snapping up whatever emerges. I’ve found that goatfishes are particularly helpful as an octopus indicator.

A while back, there were videos online of an octopus apparently punching a goatfish. I wasn’t surprised by this. The octopuses I’ve seen don’t seem best pleased by the presence of goatfishes. Part of this might be down to feeling that the goatfishes are not pulling their weight in the hunt. But another factor might be that if goatfishes give away their position, for the octopus that can be fatal.

Octopus is a popular food in Hawaii and has long been so. If I’ve learned to look for goatfish as an indicator of their presence, then no doubt spear fishermen have too. These days, if I see an octopus when anyone’s spear fishing nearby, I don’t do anything to draw attention to it.

A day octopus in the waters off Hawaii