Category Archives: In The Water

Signs: Beware of spiny urchins

The beach in front of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
A sign at the beach in front of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

I was amused by this sign on the beach in front of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Spiny urchins in the rocks are like white lines on the highway. But of course, a visitor is not necessarily aware of this and the Four Seasons wouldn’t want any of its guests impaling themselves on spiky marine life, especially if they were likely to complain about it later.

This sign wasn’t far from another one that basically said you’d die if you set foot on the beach (here). Perhaps this was why the very lovely beach was deserted when I was there.

Spotted boxfish

A male spotted boxfish
A female spotted boxfish

The male spotted boxfish (top) is blue with orange highlights and white spots along the back, whereas the female (second photo) is a fairly uniform brown with white spots all over. Despite their shape, boxfishes are nimble swimmers boasting a good turn of speed and surprising maneuverability.

I got these photos because the male boxfish came up to check me out a couple of times and the female was unperturbed by my presence as she searched for food on an old pier piling.

Rainbow runner chasing a mackerel scad school

A school of mackerel scads, or Opelus off Hawaii

On a recent swim, I was turning to head for home when I saw this large school of fish rocketing towards me. As they zipped by I snapped the top photo. I could see they were mackerel scads, known in Hawaii as Opelu.

The reason for their haste also became clear as the last of them went by. The bottom photo shows a rainbow runner hot on their tails. Both fish are members of the jack family, but it’s a family that doesn’t get along. Mackerel scads are a favorite food of rainbow runners.

In a matter of moments, the fish disappeared out of sight. These were the only two photos I was able to take of the episode and I was thrilled that both turned out pretty well.

A school of mackerel scads, or Opelus being hunted by a rainbow runner off Hawaii

Abstracts: Koi in Lily Lake

Koi in Lily Lake at Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden

Koi swim in the still waters of Lily Lake at Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. For more information about Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, go to htbg.com.

Posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Trees.’ See more responses here.

Morning swim

A spotted eagle ray swims in the waters off Hawaii
Spotted eagle ray swimming
A spotted eagle ray hunts in the waters off Hawaii
Spotted eagle ray hunting

On a morning swim with my wife a couple of days ago, we were lucky enough to see a spotted eagle ray cruising around looking for breakfast. It stopped often, to probe the sand and rocks for food, and was successful at least once, since it emerged from its efforts chewing and swallowing. This eagle ray looked a bit battered, with damage to its tail fins and a chunk missing from its right wing, but it didn’t seem to be affected by this at all.

As we continued swimming, I saw the ray heading the same way. For a while it followed us, got ahead, then we followed it. On the way we saw a couple of flowery flounders, a couple of day octopuses, a crowned jellyfish as roughed up as the ray, and an oriental flying gurnard. It’s not a great photo of that, but it’s the first one I’ve seen here.

Near the spot where we planned to turn around and head back, I passed over a hole in the rocks and, glancing down, saw the distinctive shape and colors of a green turtle. I think it must have chosen this spot to take a rest, but my appearance startled it and it clambered out of the hole and swam away.

  • A Green turtle resting in a hole in the waters off Hawaii
  • A Green turtle emerges from a hole in the waters off Hawaii
  • A Green turtle swims in the waters off Hawaii

Shortly after that, the turtle encountered the eagle ray. The two of them crossed paths a couple of times before going their separate ways.

A Green turtle and spotted Eagle Ray in the waters off Hawaii

The great outdoors

A view of Hualalai from the water
Hualalai from the water.
A sailboat enters Kawaihae Harbor
A sailboat returns to harbor.

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

In Hawaii, people spend a great deal of time outdoors. It’s common for people to have an outdoor kitchen, sometimes their only kitchen, sometimes a second one where a barbecue is the featured cooking apparatus. Carports often feature chairs and tables with cars parked elsewhere. The lanai, or deck, is as well-used as any room in the house.

Outdoor activities are popular here, too. Many involve the ocean and its inviting water: swimming, snorkeling, paddling, and of course surfing. Plenty of people go fishing and hunting, longtime sources of food for the table.

For me, experiencing the great outdoors primarily involves hiking and snorkeling. Hiking isn’t especially popular here, especially along the coast where it can get quite hot. I get strange looks when I hike the length of popular beaches togged out in hiking gear, including shoes, hat, and fanny pack loaded with water. For most, the beach is a place for stretching out and broiling in the sun, not actively working up a sweat.

The vast majority of photos on this blog are taken in the great outdoors. These photos are a small selection of things I’ve seen while out and about, from sweeping views to birds and bugs.

A view of Kohala Coast from Koai'a Tree Sanctuary
A view of the south Kohala Coast from Koai’a Tree Sanctuary
View of Mauna Kea from Pu'u Wa'awa'a bench
A view of Mauna Kea from Pu’u Wa’awa’a.