Sunday, March 29, 2009

Humpbacks in Hawaii


It's Humpback whale season in the islands.

I've been wanting to get out in my kayak and paddle around, but this has been a wild and windy winter season. Two years ago, I had a very humbling experience with the wind and have been cautious since then. I am a strong paddler from all my experience with outrigger canoe paddling. However, the "wind line" swallowed me up despite all my efforts. It was an experience I won't forget, and don't want to repeat.

The very early morning is the best time to go out, the wind has not picked up yet. Even in a big boat, it's not as easy to spot the whales when the ocean is filled with whitecaps from the wind.

To be out in a kayak and experience a whale cruising by, takes my breath away. Time stands still, and all I can think about is how blessed I am, and how magnificent the whales are. They breach and blow and slap and dive, and it is always a thrill to witness.

Today I have some whale photos to post that were taken by a recent guest, Alan Fritzberg. He shared them at breakfast with everyone, and said I could post them. His shots are great, and I was excited to see them.

The Humpback whale season in Hawaii is Nov-May. They travel down from Alaska to give birth and mate. The whales do not eat while in Hawaii. They fill up on krill, 1 to 1and 1/2 tons a day(!!!) to stock up for the trip. Their round trip jaunt is a mere 4,000 miles a season.

An adult whale is 40-50 ft long,and weighs 25-40 tons. Each female bears a calf every 2-3 years. Their gestation period is 12 months long. The calf at birth is 10-15 feet long. The calf nurses often.

The male "Kohola" Hawaiian word for whale, is the singer. They sing long, complex songs, sometimes lasting up to 30 minutes long. It may be part of mating behavior, also used to navigate and establish hierarchy.It is an amazing experience to hear their vibrates right through your body and speaks to your soul. I like to go under water to listen to them singing.

Whale season is not over yet, if you have never experienced an encounter with these gentle giants, treat yourself and book a whale watch, or look for them from shore... you will be glad you did!

Our wonderful Maui Ocean Center has a great interactive whale display. It is a complete aquarium with a fish tunnel where I love to watch the graceful manta rays.

oooooo eeeeeeee...shrrreeeee..ooooooo uuuuuuu.. rrrrrreeee... ( whale song! have to hear it for yourself!)

A hui ho, until later....

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Horseback riding in Hana Hawaii

Cherie and her son Rocket at the Waikamoi Falls near Hana, Maui, Hawaii

My son, Rocket and I had a great time together while he was home recently. We drove out the "back side" of the island to Hana. This is one of my favorite drives on Maui. The Kaupo Gap at sunset is breathtaking. Gazing at the deep crevices and shadows of the Haleakala slopes is something I could do for hours. I want to bring my watercolors and camera out to this amazing scenery and spend the day watching the shadows grow.

Our destination was Maui Stables in the lush area of Kipahulu Valley. We arrived at the stable on a sunny morning knowing full well it could be raining within the hour. The weather changes in Hana throughout the day. You can see the squalls coming in off the ocean.Hana Maui Hawaii horseback riding guide Keoni

Our guide, Keoni, was the best guide on any organized adventure I have ever experienced. He was a delight in his cultural pride, commitment and dedication. Keoni shared many of his stories from small kid days growing up in Hana. He began our ride with a chant, and shared another chant with us when we arrived at the overlook of the waterfall. He knows many plants and their traditional medicinal uses. He was entertaining and sincere, and I really enjoyed "talking story" with Keoni.

Keoni explained that the correct pronunciation for Hana is to put more emphasis on the first Ha....this translation means "alert." The people of Hana in ancient times had to remain alert against warring neighbors from the Big Island.Horseback riding in Hawaii with Maui Stables in Hana

The horses of Maui Stables were beautiful and in excellent condition. They seemed sure footed on the trail up to the waterfall overlook. Even though I don't spend much time around horses, I do enjoy a great ride now and then, and this really was a fantastic experience for my son and I. Look these folks up while on Maui, you'll be glad you did!

Mahalo Maui Stables, we had a blast!

Aloha for now,

Monday, March 2, 2009

Geckos in Hawaii...The Mo'o

Anole Hawaiian Iguana GeckoAloha...

I am posting shots I took of some of the geckos of Hawaii. I see the green on on the red ti leaf a lot more these days. It's called the Anole. This bright green gecko likes to sunbathe and is usually visible during the day doing "push ups" out in the sun. The males do this display to claim their territory. The Anole is a type of iguana.

The first geckos I met, and most enduring, were the "house gecko." They may startle a visitor, but these are our friends. They can eat up to 5 mosquitoes or termites a minute. I have seen them do battle with much larger insects as well. They actually will eat their young (yuk). The males are very aggressive with each other. I've heard that this type of gecko has been in the islands for 1500 years...they came in with the canoes. Their eggs are tolerant to salt water, and may have also floated in to land.House Gecko in Hawaii

House Geckos chirp at night, so you know they are on the job. They like sugar water and honey, and they are a bit messy with their droppings. I have one who lives behind a painting that remains lit. I guess it is good pickings in that warm, lit area. I prefer them on the lanai where they can keep any other bugs from coming into the the tropics, that is impossible unless you poison everything...and I don't. One or two house geckos is a good thing. They are considered good luck.

The Jackson chameleon is really wild looking. It looks like a mini triceratops with it's three horns. They use the horns for show and battle. While the males are showing off, the females are bearing young live, no eggs. Jackson chameleon in HawaiiThey move very slowly and grab with their "thumbs" They blend so well, it is often difficult to see them. This Jackson is shedding it's skin.

The Mo'o (Hawaiian for Lizard) is an ancient mythological being that appears in the Hawaiian creation legend. It was considered sacred and was respected as a communicator to the gods. The Mo'o is depicted in a lot of art and tattoos of Hawaii.

It looks like a good garden day, so Aloha for now!!