Category Archives: Activities

Tufted Spiny Lobster

A Tufted Spiny Lobster scurries along in the waters off Hawaii

It’s fairly common to see lobster molts while snorkeling, but not live lobsters, since they’re mostly active at night. On a recent swim, I got down to the water earlier than usual and was rewarded by seeing two fairly lively Tufted Spiny Lobsters. The smaller of the two scooted amongst the rocks and never really came out into the open, but this larger one traveled a good distance over the sea floor before scuttling backwards under a ledge.

These lobsters are notable for the patches of blue at the base of their antennae and the pale stripes on their legs.


The pool at Kamehameha park in Kapaau Hawaii
The pool at Kamehameha Park in Kapaau.

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Pets and Playgrounds.’ See more responses here. I’ve gone for the playgrounds part of this since I don’t have pets, unless you count the rat in the attic!

The shadow of a basketball hoop
Just waiting for the ball to drop.

As you might expect, I’ve managed to find seven photos with nary a single human at play in them. Most of the photos were taken at Kamehameha Park in Kapaau. However, I also stopped to take photos at a park in Waimea because I thought it was deserted, but I discovered there were a few kids with parents there. So I was careful lining up my photos. These days, an older guy taking photos in a kids’ park stands a good chance of being arrested or shot!

A water bottle left behind after a baseball game
After the ballgame.

How to play pigball

Piglets wrestle for a mango

Leave one large unripe mango on the ground and wait for the arrival of seven small piglets. Watch them bat the mango around, trying to snare it in their small jaws. There are no rules in this game, so pushing and shoving is common, as is running around for no clear reason.

The winner is the one who snags and keeps the mango.

Piglets wrestle for a mango

It’s a strenuous activity so a post-game rest is advised.

Piglets resting

Road closed

The spot where the 2022 Mauna Loa eruption crossed the road to the observatory
The spot where the 2022 Mauna Loa eruption crossed the road to the observatory

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Roads, Paths, and Streets.’ See more responses here.

After a recent hike off Saddle Road, I had time to take a drive up one of my favorite roads on the island, which leads to the Mauna Loa Observatory. Well, it used to; it doesn’t get there anymore. That’s because a flow from last fall’s eruption of Mauna Loa crossed the road a few miles short of its destination. I was curious to see what the scene looked like now.

The cloudy skies added some atmosphere to the drive which was, as always, a lot of fun. It’s a winding one lane road, so even though there’s little traffic, one has to pay attention. Any distraction could result in driving off the road into the inhospitable lava fields bordering it.

I confess, my secret hope was that, when I arrived at the flow, there would be a sign saying ‘Road Closed.’ Alas, that was not the case. Clearly, the Department of Transportation figured the seven foot high wall of lava conveyed the message well enough on its own. The only sign there warned against walking on the new flow. I didn’t need that warning. This is a’a lava which is really hard to walk on anyway, and in a new flow it could be quite unstable and even harbor pockets where one could fall through into still hot lava! Still, I’m sure some folks have clambered up there just because it’s there.

I took a few photos, then turned around and headed back down, not least because it was damp, windy and I was freezing, which is not why anyone comes to, or lives in, Hawaii.

The HISEAS dome on the slopes of Mauna Loa

On the drive down, I got a good view of the HI-SEAS (Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) dome. This is where teams of volunteers do research for what it would be like to be living on the Moon or Mars. I’m not sure if it’s in use since the COVID shutdown, but at least it survived the last eruption.

Clouds meet the and on the saddle between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea in Hawaii

Farther down, the land seemed to be steaming, but in the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the weather often seems to be part of the landscape.

The Mauna Loa Observatory Road on a cloudy afternoon

And the views, which change with every twist in the road, are strange and stunning and wonderful. It may not be possible currently to reach the end of the road, but it’s still a great drive.


Two fishermen on the North Kohala coast, Hawaii

I saw these two fishermen on these rocks at the foot of a cliff in North Kohala. By the time I got organized, this is the photo I got. The photo I was after happened moments earlier, when the pair were being soaked by spray from a big set of swells breaking against the rock shelf the right of this photo. By the time the next big swells moved in the two of them had moved farther away from that spot and the photo opportunity had gone.