Monday, November 28, 2016

Speed Post

Alex and I just decided to go try out Robs Good Times Grill, so this will be fast!  We are celebrating me finding a job.  YES!!!
This is what I saw today in Poipu:
Box fish:
Octopus, thank you God:

Just his little eye looking at me.  And junk in the water... There were still waves, but though the water ran me around a little bit, I still enjoyed myself.

Especially after an octopus and then a hiding Spotfin Scorpionfish:

Several Cowry shells, none of which I picked up to take home:
This one I actually did pick up and thought it felt light, so was probably empty.  But I couldn't be SURE, so I put it back down... :(  Better safe than sorry...

And a very green flea bite cone shell.  And no, I didn't pick this one up!  Not only did I think it was occupied, but they have poison.

There was a huge Monk Seal snoozing on the beach or as Alex calls them, a Lump Seal. HA.  None of my pics turned out, as it was snoozing on the little island and I didn't want to get very close.
Lastly, there was another Juvenile Rock Mover, this one not green:

They are def harder to see when not green.  This one stayed very close to the rocks, too.

A nice surprise snorkel.  And I had a very nice talk with the lifeguard, regarding those signs NO SWIMMING that they put up.  They are trying to get folks to not swim in the tight area where the rip will take you and dump you downstream.  I said that I agreed, we don't want drownings.  I told them that I can usually get around the rip, but found out that people, once seeing someone in that area, will go in, even if they are not hip to the problems.  The lifeguard said: Yeah, people are like lemmings! :)

So he suggested entering in front of the Waiohai, which I did.  Then I sneaked around to where I wanted to go...

Any day with an octopus is a good day...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Alpha & Omega

My sister-in-law helped us this week by volunteering to get our Christmas tree with us.  It's not impossible to pick one up in our Toyota, but it's not as easy as buying it and throwing it in the truck!

We've moved since our last tree and also traveled one year, so we haven't had a chance to see all of our ornaments recently:
We have too many t-shirts, so need dressers in the living room.  Yeah, it's not cool, but it's real.

One of my favorite ornaments: Alpha & Omega.  The Beginning and the End.  A great reminder.  And very comforting.

Two seals were snoozing on the little island when I arrived.  Since they were out of the immediate traffic pattern, I wasn't worried that folks would bother them.  And it gave me a reason to talk to a very nice lady from Colorado.

One biggish seal and one smallish one.  You can see the waves were still reporting to work, so the water wasn't the best when I got in.  And I only got into the Kiddie Pool, as there were No Swimming signs up.  I think because there was a drowning recently that the lifeguards are being more aggressive in trying to keep folks out of the deeper water where the rip current is more fierce.  It is sometimes within my power to stay clear of it, but I have noticed that once one person gets in, everyone decides it's ok for everyone to get in..and I don't want to encourage anyone to go beyond their skills.  I am NOT a lifeguard.

For my sweetie:
Trunk bad visibility water.  Waves = bad vis.

Pretty clouds:
AKA God's Rays

There seemed to be quite a few eel tails, too.  Here's one:

I never did find the head of this one.  But there were more eel heads to spot:
 I have noticed other eels have the protruding tubes in their noses.  I'm still pondering why they have those, as compared to our noses.
I spotted a lizard fish, too, which wasn't in the sand as I normally see them, but on the side of a rock:
I noticed it was on a "busy" rock too: at least 2 Drupe shells, some coral and some unidentified sea stuff.  (Yeah, I'm not the most scientific person...)
A tiny humuhumunukunukuapaa, too:
Maybe 2 inches at most!  And rather afraid of my hulking presence, but it didn't hide in the nearby hole, so it was being brave..
Also spotted a Hawaiian Green Lionfish:

Hiding near a they normally do.. Look at those spines!
And saving the best for last, one octopus, which peeked up at me:
It's the brown part, just below the pinkish stuff... and yes, after it saw me notice it, it slid under the rock.  I waited, out of sight, and it popped up just a bit to look at me.  Smart enough to keep an eye out...

Friday, November 25, 2016

No Parking

Just a beginning note to let you know that I often crop out the stuff that needn't be shown.  But in attempting to get this cloud and palm pic, I ended up with the No Parking sign too. HA.  Another example of seeing things once I get the pix home that I don't see when I take the photo. 

The clouds were amazing yesterday! The lower light gave 'em shadows that normally would be lost in the brightness.

Found another, even smaller juvenile Rock Mover Wrasse. This one did a fab job of hiding in the green seaweed:

Amazing, right? The 2nd photo is easier, because the fish is at the top and you can see its "antlers" better.  This little guy didn't do a lot of bending in the current, as they usually do, but stayed near the seaweed to hide.  What is also intriguing to me is how the personality really changes as they grow older and bigger: they are quite aggressive, throwing rocks around and driving off any other fish that gets in their way.  Size helps, of course.

Another demonstration of why one shouldn't pick shells up to take home: you may be depriving an Electric Blue Crab of its home:
This photo is blown up a bit.  I see a shell move in a way that it wouldn't if the original animal were still in there, so I know it's a crab.  But I never see the legs until I get it home and blow up the photo.
Octopus #1 just appeared underneath me.  No warning. 

Good camouflage, but just enough color difference so it can be spotted.  No pun intended.

The legs all curled up, this one stayed like this a while, then proceeded to the "peeking" stage.

This also pointed out why I carry a backup camera, because my 1st choice camera was out of juice just as I found this one and snapped a few shots.  So there was a hurried change of camera, getting #2 out of the dive pouch, taking off the #1 camera and attaching #2 to my wrist with its leash.  Oh yeah, how often would I drop the camera if it didn't have a leash attached to it?!

Peekin' at me, peekin' at me.  While hiding, of course.  In the original photo (this one is cropped), you can barely see the octopus as it blends so well with the colors of the bottom and seaweed.

Octopus #2:

Look for the red rock near the top.  Then just down, the white and greenish brown is the octopus.  A little guy. Always a thrill, not just because of the challenge of seeing it (always followed by a spoken Thank You, God!), but to know that new octopuses are being hatched and growing.  This is a pond where they can be caught, so I don't advertise where I see them.  

I also found a very small, probably 2-3 inches, Spot Fin Scorpion Fish!
 This is what I saw at first: just "something" in the hole.  There was a thread of some kind over the hole, so not sure how the scorpion fish actually got in there without disturbing the thread..

Once it spotted me, it zipped to the wall of the hole, hoping I would go away.  Good thing I don't take these movements personally!

I hope someday to get a closeup of the Scorpion Fish eyes...they are very odd and cool.  In this case, red and kinda reflective.  This one also has little "horns" on its head and good camouflage..

Would you have known this was a Scorpion Fish?

Hole in coral just to the left of these words... What I said in my head was: No, it can't be!

And for those of you not lucky enough to live in Hawaii, I got an email from my cousin who lives in Canada.  They have now to wear jackets...winter is coming on!  Here in Hawaii, we are wearing sweaters, even though it's only 73 degrees.  We have breezes, too, but doubt it would be called a wind chill factor.  Enjoy God's blessings today.  I thank God for my readers, too, even if there are only 25 of you...tell your friends! And thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Waiting patiently

This was the scene that greeted me this morning: rain at sea, waves and no other people. Oh yes, some did walk by, but no one got into the water.  So I hesitated, praying for direction, about whether I should go into the Big Pond or the Kiddie Pond. I didn't feel as if I got a clear direction from God, so I played it safe and went into the Kiddie Pond.  But not before I saw the seal on the beach:

Totally snoozing!  Two young boys had paused to watch it, so I enlisted them in helping put up the Stay Away signs.  People sometimes mistake the seal's nap for being in distress, i.e., they think it's dead.  I can't fault them for it, because with all that blubber, it is very hard to tell if they are even breathing.  This one did move a bit, so we knew it was alive.  The boys kindly helped and we had 3 signs put up quickly.  Then After thanking them, I got into the water in the smaller pond.

There were plenty of small eels, most notably what I think was a Zebra Eel:
If it is a Zebra, I don't remember it having such a stubby snout.  But it does have stripes.
There were also a few Snowflake Eels:

Very cute.  It looked up at me, as if to say hello. Actually, it was probably afraid I was going to grab it, which I would never do!  Even these eels, which I consider to be the most docile, could probably hurt my hand or finger.

And in case you need a lesson from the Soap Box, please never feed an eel!  They are first of all meant to be wild, God gives them enough food and who knows what an expectant eel would do when the next unknowing person stopped by WITHOUT the food they were expecting?! OK,  nuff said.

I found several Cowry shells, but here's the photo I'll share of two of them hiding:
These Snakeshead cowries are so glossy and pretty, especially with the sun shining down on them.
There was also a gigantic turtle that swam by me:

This was definitely the largest turtle I've been around in quite a while..maybe ever!  But it barely paused in its journey, so I snapped a few photos and let it go out to sea. 

Another Scorpion Fish today:
It was hiding in a cleft in the coral head, so its nose is at the bottom of the photo.  Tail fin just to the right of the urchin.  Good hiding spot.

Once more people were around and because I wasn't yet tired from battling the current, I slid on over to the Big Pond.  There were a mess of fish gathered around; no idea why, but this is kinda what they looked like:
Indo-Pacific Sergeants and Blue Spine Unicorn Fish.  Must have been about 25 fish at least.  

And of course, once I popped up, I saw the rainbow:

Unfortunately, I had a spot of water on the outside of the camera lens, but you can still see the palm trees and rainbow.  No rain, no rainbows!

And we did have rain while I was swimming, which was perhaps what kept others off the beach.  But Hey! If you're in the water, you're wet anyway, right?  All the clouds do mess with the light, but more sun came out eventually, so it was a good snorkel.

And I found 31 operculum....yay.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 18, 2016

One of each...

Today I saw one of each of my favorite things: octopus, scorpion fish, seal, juvenile rock mover wrasse, sea hare, lizard fish.  Oh the days are packed!

I seem to be pretty good at spotting beige things. (If only that were a job!)
While the octopus remains my favorite, finding the Spot Fin Scorpion was the coolest: I saw a rock.  I thought oh hey, if I were a Scorpion Fish, I'd hide on the other side of this rock. So I swam to the other side, and there was one there, hiding under the overhang! How cool is that?!
There were lots of great clouds today, too:

I had to wait until 8:30 before going in. No one was lingering at the beach.  If I drown (God forbid), I want someone to call someone for me.  My plan was to use my wetsuit instead of my dive skin (the usual), because at home the wind made me feel almost cold....but by the time I got in, I was sweating in that heavy suit.  It's only a partial (the elbows to wrists are bare, as are the knees to feet), but the sun bearing down on that black neoprene was HOT. 

I did spot 4 3-spot damsels, guarding their coral head:
I smile every time I see these...especially since there are 4 of them. One much bigger, so perhaps the MOM of the group. I appreciate their dedication, too, because the coral head isn't in very good shape, but they guard it anyway. True blue.
And for my sweetheart, I'm calling this Climb Every Mountain:

Doesn't it look as if the Box Fish were starting a long climb?

Perhaps I'm just having a Sound of Music moment..let's see: so far, I've had my favorite things, now climbing every mountain.  Gosh, I'm scaring myself.  Or maybe I'm just thrilled that I don't have my old job: they are in the Annual Meeting this weekend.  I thank God that I don't have to plan or put those together anymore!

I liked the clouds and the seal, of course.  All alone on its own it should be.
I thought you might appreciate seeing a portion of the bottom...coral, stones, sand and probably operculum that I missed seeing. (I did bring home 30 of the little record-to-date is 78.  That means at least 78 dips down to pick 'em up.  Yeah, I agree, that's crazy..)
And the snakeshead cowry hiding in some nearby rocks.  They THINK I don't see them. 
Early morning sunlight.  Well, I had to do something while waiting to go in.
What a difference a little light makes, right?
And these two urchins must be cousins: same general appearance, but diff colors.  These are the Boring Urchins: they bore into the rock to make these holes.  That's why they always look just the right size.
And I did find several eels, so lest you think I'm ignoring them, here you are:

This one was really trying to disappear, but not being very successful.
I was very thankful for the creatures I spotted (Thank you, God!), but also for the protection He gives me each time I ask.  (See Matthew 7:7.)  When I got into the big pond, the current blasted me right down the line. Thankfully, I was able to swim at a 45 degree angle and get where I wanted to go.  It's when you're in a current that you realize how small and powerless you can be.
Please have a great weekend!  It's Aloha Friday.