This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your Happy Place.’ See more responses here.
There were a few options for this theme, but I went with this collection because I love going snorkeling and because, just a few days ago, my wife and I revisited Two Step for the final time before Hawaii loosened its restrictions on visitors. We got up early, drove down, and were in the water around 7:45 am. There were two other people swimming at that time, no one else waiting to get in.
The top photo was taken after our swim, around 9:30 am. In a ‘normal’ year, at this time of day, this whole area would be dotted with groups of people, and chairs and mounds of towels left by people already in the water. The bay would also be similarly populated with people, cruising around, looking at fish. There would be several snorkeling tour boats out in the bay, dumping people into the water. Two Step is one of the best spots for snorkeling on the island but, truth is, much of the time it’s kind of a zoo.
However, one of the nice things about Two Step, that I’ve mentioned before, is that it’s a marine reserve. No fishing is allowed and the fish have figured that out. I can’t emphasize enough how differently the fish there react to people than they do in areas where fishing and spear fishing is allowed. They’re so much more mellow and less inclined to dart away.
Also posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.
This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Anniversaries.’ See more responses here.
Often, on our wedding anniversary, my wife and I go to Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden (formerly Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden). This year the garden was shut, and still is, probably until tourists return to the islands. So a different anniversary is my birthday, which is not marked with candles on a cake, since that would be prohibitively expensive, but usually by a trip somewhere and a meal out. This year we went down to snorkel at Two Step and then had a wander around Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, otherwise known as Place of Refuge, which is right next door.
Two Step is a very popular snorkeling spot on Honaunau Bay, south of Captain Cook. This is a marine reserve so no fishing is allowed and the fish tend to be more numerous and mellow because of this. It’s a popular spot to see and swim with dolphins, though I haven’t done either of those things there. Currently, it’s not nearly as busy since there are very few tourists on the island and those that are here are diligently following quarantine rules (I’m trying to keep a straight face writing this!).
After our swim we made the short walk to Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. The park is on the south side of the bay and, at the moment, is fully open only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. However, on the other days, pretty much everything else is accessible, it’s just that the parking lot and visitor center are closed. What this means is that there’s basically nobody there so our visit was quiet and uncrowded. The park is an important place in Hawaiian history, and the location is beautiful. What’s not to like?
This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Turning point.’ (See more responses here.) Since this is a photo blog about the Big Island it seems appropriate to post some photos from my first visit here in 2010, a visit which was the catalyst for the move to the island. There was no ‘ah ha’ moment, but these photos give a general idea of some of the things that appealed.
The top photo is Pololu beach on the North Kohala coast. Second photo is a Hawaiian green turtle resting on the black sand beach at Punalu’u County Beach Park. Third photo is tropical foliage next to a small cascading stream. Fourth photo shows some small lava breakouts in the flow that was active at that time. Conveniently, that activity was about 100 yards from the parking area and only 10 feet or so beyond where I was standing. The bottom photo is a view of Two Step, a popular snorkeling spot, from Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park.
There are seasons in Hawaii. Summer is hotter, and wetter on the dry side of the Big Island. But let’s be honest, there are many people who live through freezing winters and boiling summers, sun-free winters and sun-seared summers. They believe Hawaii has summer year-round, and not just any summer, but a pleasant summer where it’s warm and sunny but not inhospitably so.
For those people, and in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Summer,’ I give you a typical summer shot of people getting ready to go snorkeling, or just exiting the water. The photo was taken at Two Step, next door to Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park — in February. Bwahahahahahaha.
While out snorkeling one day I came across this scene. It’s not a great photo (though the murkiness adds a little to the menace, I think), but still enough to identify it as a shark, resting on the sandy bottom. Later in the day, it was still there. It was more visible with its head out from under the ledge, but the water was cloudier so I didn’t take photos.
I’m pretty sure this is a whitetip reef shark as I’ve heard about one hanging out in that area. The white tips, that give the shark its name, are on the dorsal and tail fins so aren’t visible in this image.