Category Archives: Activities

Salt burned trees

Trees on the coast of the Big Island, Hawaii, turn gold from salt spray exposure

At my local snorkeling spot, a lot of trees on the shoreline have suddenly sported fall colors. I’m sure this has nothing to do with the season. Rather, I think a series of large swells has battered the trees with more salt spray than they’re used to and this is the result. Hopefully, they will bounce back when things settle down again, although swells in Hawaii were large enough last weekend for The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational surf competition to be held for the first time since 2016.

Hazy water

Fish swim in hazy water in Hawaii

These days, when I go snorkeling, it’s not unusual to encounter hazy water like this. 10 years ago this would have been unusual. Today, it’s closer to the norm. I don’t know why this is, but warmer water is likely one factor.

From a snorkeling perspective, I have to be a lot closer to fish to hope to get a decent photo of them.

Crossing the line

Late afternoon sun of the coast of Kohala, Hawaii

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

The current eruption at Kilauea has been putting out a considerable amount of vog. This volcanic haze can make life difficult for people, causing respiratory and other medical complications. But it can also cause colorful skies.

I was driving home from work last week on a day when the vog was heavy and the sky glowed. There wasn’t much wind – another reason the vog has been hanging around – so the ocean was calm. I’d stopped to take photos once, but when I saw this little boat heading for this band of sunlight, I pulled over again.

I’d lucked into a quiet break in the traffic and was far enough from the coast that there was no sound from waves coming ashore or from the boat’s engine. I watched for a while until the boat crossed the glittering band, before returning to my car and heading home.

Spinner Dolphins zipping by

Spinner dolphins off the coast of Hawaii

We have had a seemingly endless stream of swells rolling in from the west, west-northwest, northwest, and north. What they all have in common is that they make snorkeling miserable here. The water gets churned up, reducing visibility to near zero, and getting in and out can be an adventure.

A few days ago, there was a gap between the incoming swells, allowing the water to settle a little and visibility to improve. And, luckily, that was a day that a pod of Spinner Dolphins went by.

I had stopped swimming for a moment and popped my head up to look around when I saw fins arching through the water towards me. This pod of 20 or 30 dolphins was just passing through, but I was happy to snap a few photos, of which these were the best two.

The visibility still wasn’t great, but any dolphin encounter is a moment to be treasured.

Spinner dolphins off the coast of Hawaii