Category Archives: In The Water

Magnificent manta rays

Two manta rays in the waters off Hawaii

Yesterday, my wife and I hadn’t been in the water long when we saw large shapes ahead. There were two manta rays in fairly shallow water that was a bit churned up and cloudy. I took photos, but wasn’t optimistic they’d turn out in the conditions. The mantas swam away and we followed at a distance. There’s no point chasing mantas. Like most things in the water, they can put on a burst of speed that would leave us far behind.

Two manta rays in the waters off Hawaii

The mantas didn’t go far before they curled around and came back towards us. The water was clearer in this area and sunlight illuminated them as they headed our way. The lead manta was quite a bit bigger than the other one, probably around a 14-foot wingspan. They passed close beneath us, then turned again, looped around and headed back. They did this back and forth three times before finally moving on.

Later, when I was coming back, I saw the big manta again. It was in deeper water that was more cloudy so I didn’t get photos, but I watched as it did a couple of loop de loops and some sharp banking and turning. It just seemed to be having a fun day in the ocean and in doing so, made it a fun day for us, too.

A walk from Spencer Beach Park to Hapuna

On the Ala Kahakai Trail between Spencer Beach Park and Hapuna
The beach at Mauna Kea Resort.

A few days ago, I posted here an image from a recent walk along the coast to Hapuna beach. I thought I’d post more photos from that walk for this week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme of ‘Paths and Trails’ (more responses here), and for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (more responses here).

The trail crosses beaches large and small.

Of course, besides the views I was on the alert for anything moving on the beach or in the air.

Other parts pass through trees and other vegetation.

EV Nautilus

The NOAA EV Nautilus off the coast of Hawaii
The NOAA EV Nautilus off the coast of Hawaii

I saw this ship off the coast of North Kohala, but couldn’t immediately identify it because it was too far offshore. Luckily, it hung around and a couple of days later I saw it much closer and stopped to take photos.

The ship is the Nautilus and it’s an exploration vessel operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust and was engaged in research, sponsored by the National Geographic Society. They were studying marine mammal vocalization and local shark diversity and abundance around Hawaii.

For more information about the ship, go to For more information about the research project, go to

The NOAA EV Nautilus off the coast of Hawaii

Red Reef Lobster molt

A Red Reef Lobster molt in the waters off Hawaii

I saw this scene almost immediately after getting in the water, the bright red catching my eye. At first I thought it was some kind of garish fishing lure, snagged in the rocks. Then I saw other details and figured it must be some kind of marine invertebrate and probably a molt.

When I got home, checked the photos, and consulted my marine invertebrates book, I realized it was the molt of a Red Reef Lobster. Its sensory hairs can clearly be seen on the claw. These lobster are active at night and so rarely seen, but they can live in shallow waters and they molt every 6 weeks or so.

I doubt I’ll ever see a live Red Reef Lobster, so this is probably as close as it gets.