Monday, September 19, 2016

On the way to Ni'ihau....

When I got out of the car today, I immediately checked out the cloud situation and found this (please forgive the telephone lines...):
Yes, the moon was hanging on, just so I could snap the photo...and get the obligatory palm tree too.

The waves were being very domineering, and since it was high tide too, there was somewhat of a rip current in the big pond....i only stayed about 10 minutes!  (And that is VERY rare for me.)  But having learned from my previous rookie mistake, I decided not to mess with the powerful waves and got out, rested a bit, then went into the kiddie pond.  My friend later said had the current taken me, I would probably have ended up on Ni'ihau!  That's a long way.  And they don't relish strangers. But I did snap a few pix of the seal and the turtle, both of which had already been protected/roped off by a hardy volunteer, before I got into the smaller pond:

If this photo looks a bit different, it's because I had to crop it...the lady who was standing in front of me had a very revealing thong on...with her hoodie, one would almost think she was bottomless.  Ladies, I plead with you: please check your look in the mirror before venturing on the beach!!!  But the seal slept on, apparently immune to others' bad taste....

As did the turtle:
I can almost see how someone would miss the turtle, as they do stay still and can look like rocks.  But the lady who walked between this turtle and the water should have been more careful.....
There was a Scorpion Fish, probably about 7 inches long, including the tail, so a young one..
Got it?!  Does this photo help?

Same photo, the 2nd one is a cropped version of the first one.  If you find the light lavender rock, it's to the left of it. They are ambush predators, so they stay very still and await their prey.  (And if you haven't seen the effects of the ambush predators, go to and find my Frogfish eats puffer video..)

This Scorpion Fish moved and showed its yellow and orange before I was quick enough to snag a photo.  Then, of course, once I was ready, it stayed still, showing only the raggy, sandy colors.  

The real treat of this somewhat bad visibility dive was the operculum that was still being used by its Turban shell.  I had so many interesting shots that it's hard to pick which ones to show you!

The Hermit Crabs were there, too, and at first I thought one was living inside the Turban Shell, but I think the shell and its original owner were still both intact.  Hence the "little lid" closed up tight, to protect the animal inside. Look for the crab with orange and black legs, with blue eye stalks:

So there were anywhere between 3 and 4 crabs at least....all in various stages of investigating a new shell...or trying to boost the original owner out!

In the final photo, you can see 4 is tricky, though, as it is light colored with greenish legs..and much smaller.  This busy scene kept me occupied for probably 15 minutes at least.  Mostly because I was fighting the waves and trying to duck under to get the shots....

There were some nice wispy clouds...and the sign you see on the left protruding from the water is the Don't Go Beyond Here! sign...and I do heed that.  Just beyond that is where the waves blast in, unabated.  And they had some serious power today.

And finally, Praise God, there was a small octopus:

You probably correctly assumed the brown-ness was the octopus.  If you click on it, you can probably see the eye a bit better.  But as most of them do, this one was hunkered down in its den, and had no intention of venturing outside with the Big Eye lady waiting....

Here's an Eagle Eye challenge for you:
It's a Cowry Shell.  Hidden away in a bit of coral/rock.  No, I'm not lying.

Here's a cute little fish I almost forgot:
I call it a fish with a Mohawk.  Doesn't it look as if it has neatly cut hair on its head?!  It's a small Orange Spine Unicorn Fish.  I don't see 'em this small very often.  But very cute, as it darted about down there.

And this is my "accidental" photo, taken as I was on my way in:

See all the sand in the water?!  And it was quite frothy there....your takeaway from this should be that one should be also careful getting out.....I actually had my fin, which was in my hand at the time, ripped out of my hand for a minute.  I got it back, quickly, but still....I get too accustomed to an easy entry that when it isn't, it takes me by surprise!

And by the way, Operculum is from the Latin, meaning little lid.  And the singular is Opercula... A fabulous day, even with rough water and currents.  Amazing..

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