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.
These robust steps lead into the water at the small park between the Port of Kawaihae and its small boat harbor. They’re nice and wide so surfers can get in and out on their way to the surf break in the vicinity. I was hoping that a large shape might pass by the steps, which is not unreasonable since there are a lot of sharks in this area.
This sign stands behind the little beach below Puʻukoholā Heiau at Kawaihae. Typically, When a shark is sighted, a temporary warning sign is put up, then removed after a few days. This sign is permanent. The reason for this is that beyond this beach is Pelekane Bay and that’s the site of an underwater heiau dedicated to sharks.
This heiau, called Hale o Kapuni, was built by a chief for whom sharks were considered carriers of the spirits of his ancestors. Human sacrifices were carried out on the beach and afterwards, the bodies were believed to have been placed at the heiau for the sharks. Those days are long gone, but the bay and surrounding area is still home to a large population of sharks, hence the sign.
This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Morning Rituals.’ See more responses here.
Most mornings, I try to get in the water, as conditions and schedules allow. Morning is the best time for snorkeling as the water is usually calmer before the wind picks up as the day wears on. Visibility can vary from day to day and it can help to check surf reports to see if there are any swells moving in. But calm water doesn’t guarantee good visibility just as swells don’t always mean bad visibility. There’s only one way to be sure and that’s to jump in.
My favorite thing about snorkeling is that every day is different and I never know what I’ll see. Going to the same spot means I become familiar with some of the regulars, but there are always transient creatures passing through including rays and dolphins. And while those big creatures are great to encounter, it’s equally interesting to watch the activities of smaller fish and marine invertebrates.
It’s a rare day indeed that I don’t emerge prattling on about something I saw while I was in the water. And on those rare days, well, I’ve still had a good swim to set me up for the day ahead.
I get the impression that, for most people, if they have to see a shark, they’d prefer it to be from this perspective – going away from them. Being something of a contrarian, I’m always looking for sharks coming toward me. The qualifier in this is what kind of shark it is.
This is a whitetip reef shark, the first I’ve seen in quite a while. Whitetip reef sharks tend to be curious and will cruise up and check me out. Once they determine that I’m really quite boring, they carry on in search of something more interesting.
Now if this had been a tiger shark, well, all bets are off.
Posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective.’ See more responses here.
I’ve seen sharks when I go snorkeling, but this was the only time I’ve seen a shark from shore. I couldn’t identify it from just the fin and tip of the tail, except to rule out whitetip and blacktip reef sharks. Likely candidates would include gray, tiger, hammerhead, and Galapagos sharks.
Posted in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Top.’ See more responses here.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Something Scary.’ See more responses here.
Here’s a photo of a whitetip reef shark passing almost directly beneath me. In truth, these sharks aren’t especially scary since they’re more curious than dangerous, but the sinuous movement and serious chompers can send a shiver through anyone who encounters them in the water.