Category Archives: November 2016

A stripebelly pufferfish

Stripebelly pufferfish

A stripebelly pufferfishA stripebelly pufferfish
Most pufferfish are extremely toxic and the stripebelly pufferfish is no exception. The stripebelly differs from other pufferfish in that its skin is unusually high in toxins, rather than being concentrated in internals organs.

These pufferfish will eat most anything and have a powerful beak (see the photo at left) that can inflict a nasty bite. People have lost fingers and toes to these fish, so they aren’t to be messed with. That said, they mostly hang around just above the sea bottom and, as a result, I’ve never actually seen the striped belly that gives them their name.

In my attempts to identify what I see in the water, I use John P. Hoover’s book The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Whales, and Seals. His website is hawaiisfishes.com.

Wild turkeys

wild-turkeys
One of the joys of driving the old Saddle Road from Waimea towards Hilo, is that one will almost certainly see groups of wild turkeys. These birds were introduced to Hawaii almost 200 years ago and are going strong still.

From what I’ve seen, the question of ‘Why did the turkey cross the road?’ is best answered by, ‘To get back to where it came from.’

From a driving perspective, encountering these birds gives me a chance to yell, “Get out of the road, you turkeys,” which must be the mildest form of road rage.

Eucalyptus logs at the log yard at Kawaihae.

Log yard

Eucalyptus logs at the log yard at Kawaihae.
The Hamakua coast of the Big Island is the first landfall of the northeast trade winds and, consequently, gets a good deal of rainfall. Combined with warm tropical temperatures and good soil, the area is a prime growing area.

One of the crops is eucalyptus trees. The trees grow fast and straight. When they’re harvested they’re trucked to Kawaihae, the port on the west side of the island, to this log yard. They’re stored there until there are enough logs to ship to Asia, which seems to be about every couple of months at present.

I happened to be driving by late one afternoon and was struck by the light on the log ends. As can be seen from the hillside in the background, Kawaihae is one of the driest spots on the island, averaging around 10 inches of rainfall a year.

A Hawiian green turtle rests at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.

Green Turtle sunbathing

A Hawiian green turtle rests at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.A Hawiian green turtle rests at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.
One of the attractions of Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, north of Kailua Kona, is that it’s a popular resting spot for Hawaiian green sea turtles. This turtle was hauled out on a long curve of golden sand known as Honokohau Beach. He had the spot to himself, which is good. People are supposed to stay at least 20 feet away from turtles, but many don’t.

For more information about Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, go to bigislandhikes.com/kaloko-honokohau-park/.

Fish swim in an anchialine pond at the Queen’s Bath in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.

Abstracts: Queen’s Bath fish

Fish swim in an anchialine pond at the Queen’s Bath in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, just north of Kailua Kona, contains a feature known as the Queen’s Bath. This is an anchialine pond, containing a mix of freshwater and saltwater. Freshwater seeps into the pond from rainfall. Saltwater infiltrates through cracks in the lava. Because of this, the water level rises and falls with the tide. I can verify this as I took this, and other photos, sitting on a rock near the water’s edge. Just before I left, I realized my feet were now resting in water, the level having risen.

Anchialine ponds are unique ecosystems and this one contained several fish including these two. The one in the back is a convict tang. Not sure what the other one is. What I liked about the pond is the stained glass effect it created.

For more information about Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, go to bigislandhikes.com/kaloko-honokohau-park/.