Category Archives: In The Water

Rainbow Cyan

A rainbow off the coast of HawaiiA rainbow in black and white
Patterns in the sand in Hawaii
A Bullethead Parrotfish in Hawaii

This is the fifth of my rainbow colors in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.) It’s also where I get into trouble. Cyan? What’s cyan doing in a rainbow? What happened to blue?

Well, blue is coming. What’s gone is indigo. The traditional rainbow colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. These colors were assigned by Sir Isaac Newton way back in the 1600s. In fact, he started with just five colors – red, yellow, green, blue and violet. Later, he added orange and indigo to the color spectrum. These days though, what Newton called blue is today called cyan, and what he called indigo is now called blue.

In reality, there are no bands of color in a rainbow. There’s a continuous gradation of color. The bands are seen because the human eye is limited in the colors it perceives. Converted to black and white, the bands dissolve.

So, for my rainbow colors, I looked at my photos and what I see are red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue and violet. Of course, if you look at the colors on the inside of a rainbow, you’ll see they keep going, back through the same sequence. And where the red of this supplementary rainbow overlaps the violet of the primary, the result is more of a purple color.

Having labored through all that, today’s rainbow is a small, bright segment on the ocean, with a black and white version of the same image. Then we have a patch of sand underwater, showing different patterns and colors. Finally, a bullethead parrotfish, bashes its beak on some coral in its pursuit of food.

Bright fishes

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Something Fishy.’ See more responses here.

This seemed like a good opportunity to post a gallery of some of the fish I see when I snorkel around here. Most are brightly colored or have distinctive markings.

Also posted in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ See more responses here.

Rainbow green

Number four of my rainbow colors in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.)

This rainbow soared over the tsunami siren above Kapaa Park on the Kohala coast. I found the stray float catching the sunlight as it drifted in the water. The buildings of the Kohala Town Center in Kapaau are painted in very bright colors, including this vibrant green railing.

More spinner dolphins

A spinner dolphin off Hawaii
Spinner dolphins off Hawaii

A couple more photos from my dolphin swim at the end March, for Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.)

Dolphins are bright in a couple of ways. They appear to be quite intelligent. One thing I noticed during this encounter was how much clicking noise the dolphins were making. It was more or less continuous. The clicking is basically the dolphin’s sonar, and it’s how they keep track of each other and their surroundings. It’s very precise and accurate.

Also, the markings of spinner dolphins in Hawaii differ from those elsewhere, which tend to be a more uniform gray. Hawaii’s spinners are only gray on top, with a pearly band along their sides, and a bright white underside, as prominently displayed by the dolphin in the center of the lower photo, showing off for the camera (possibly).

Another humpback whale breach

This is a follow up to yesterday’s post. These were taken just a few minutes after yesterday’s photos. It might well be the same whale, but here, it had moved along far enough that I was no longer shooting straight into the sun. The blue of the ocean comes out and my eyes also had a chance to recover!

Last weekend was the third and final of this year’s Sanctuary Ocean Count of humpback whales. Each year, counts are conducted between 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on the final Saturday of January, February, and March. These months are the height of whale season in Hawaii, though whales can be seen here from November through April. The counts happen on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi and Kauaʻi and are coordinated with similar events on Maui. Volunteers gather at sites around the islands to watch for whales and count their numbers and activities. This information is used to help researchers track how many whales come to Hawaii to calve and mate. Over the last few years, numbers have been in decline, but it’s not clear whether that’s due to drop in the whale population or a change in their migration patterns.

Volunteers for the counts are mostly local people, but more visitors are taking the opportunity to get involved while they’re here. This year, because of Covid restrictions, only site leaders took part in the count, but that will hopefully not be the case next year. I’ve done several of these counts and it’s fun to set aside the time to sit and watch the humpbacks. Sometimes they just cruise by, but often they splash and leap out of the water, putting on a show that’s wonderful to watch.

For more information about NOAA’s Sanctuary Ocean Count, go to https://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/involved/ocean-count.html.

Posted in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ See more responses here. Also posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme of ‘Volunteering.’ See more responses here.

Humpback whale breach

  • A humpback whale breaches off the Big Island, Hawaii
  • A humpback whale breaches off the Big Island, Hawaii
  • A humpback whale breaches off the Big Island, Hawaii

This is the first of a pair of similar posts for Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.)

Early last month, I was nearing the end of a walk on a trail along a west-facing shore in North Kohala. I looked out toward the late-afternoon sun sparkling on the water and thought I saw a paddleboarder. A moment later, the paddleboarder fell into the water, then miraculously emerged again. I realized this was not a person, but a humpback whale slapping a pectoral fin. The whale was close enough to shore that the long fin appeared human-sized.

I moved to the shoreline, sat on a rock, and got my camera ready. The whale moved on underwater. So I returned to the trail, looked back one last time, and saw a different whale breach a little farther out. Back to the shoreline and my seat, camera again ready.

This whale was more cooperative and launched itself upward again. I was able to get these images which, shooting into the sun, look almost black and white.

Stick swimming crab

A stick swimming crab in the waters off the Big Island, Hawaii

This month, Becky’s April Squares challenge theme is ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.) First up I thought I’d share something very unusual, which I consider myself lucky to have seen.

You’ve probably heard of stick insects, but the stick swimming crab is a far less often encountered creature. Most crabs scuttle about on the sea floor, but swimming crabs have flattened segments on their legs, which they use to propel them through the water. But even with this different method of propulsion, swimming crabs tend to stay close to the bottom.

The stick swimming crab (Charybdis baculum) has a different approach. It heads for the bright light at the surface where it paddles along, maneuvering with its spindly legs. It will sometimes snag bits of floating debris and attach them to its body to enhance its appearance. Its goal is to look like a small, drifting haven for juvenile fishes and other marine organisms that often gather under such floating islands, which offer them some protection from predators. With the stick swimming crab, that safety is an illusion. Instead, they’re part of the crab’s lunch box, to be picked off at its leisure.

Stick swimming crabs spend most of their time at the surface, but return to the sea floor for periodic molts. This one looks like it has recently molted.

Oh wait, it’s just a stick.

Also posted in response to this week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme of “Something Learned.” See more responses here.