Sunday, March 12, 2017


It has been wet here in Oregon, but seabirds don't mind the rain.  So we stopped to look at a raft of about 1000 birds that we could see off the south jetty, from the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

Most of the birds were surf scoters, with multi-colored bills and white head patches.  But after searching through all the really dark birds, we found a pair of long-tailed ducks in winter plumage.  Males have a white crown, and females have a white face.  Quite a treat to see.  When bait fish were nearby, most of the birds dove under to grab a meal.

Male long-tailed duck

Female long-tail duck on left, male on right, amid surf scoters

We also saw a small band of western grebes, a bird that always looks graceful.

Gulls were all around, and we saw a bald eagle fly by.  Nice day, despite the rain.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A little Hawaiian music

Today, after spending the morning snorkeling at the beach, we went to the Ukulele Festival at Waikoloa.  There is nothing quite like listening to Hawaiian music played on Hawaiian instruments in Hawaii.  Unless the music is accompanied by interpretive dance.  So, although there were no women in grass skirts dancing the stories today, we enjoyed seeing 2 cousins of the lead singer plus and old friend dance the story that was being sung.

Another performer played the ukulele, but chose non-traditional songs.

There were also a variety of ukulele clinics happening.  And lots of people were carrying their ukuleles around.

This our parting underwater shot.


Friday, March 3, 2017

More dolphins and a surprise

This morning, we rented a kayak in another bay and went exploring.  At the mouth of the bay, 3 boatloads of snorkelers were in the water, so we paddled over.  They were swimming with spinner dolphins.  Today, the dolphins were deeper than on our previous encounter, only occasionally coming up for air.  They seemed to be bunched together more than the last pod that we saw.  I counted 25 in one group.  They rest during the day, so they could have been sleep-swimming.

And the surprise was seeing a manta ray swimming along the bottom, in about 25 feet of water. 

We have one more day in the ocean before heading back home.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Yellow tang

Yellow tang (in the surgeonfish family) bring bright rays of color into a sometimes drab environment.  We often encounter large numbers of them grazing algae on coral structures.  They grow up to 8 inches long.

This morning, almost as soon as we jumped in the water, we encountered a single yellow tang, cleaning algae off the shell and flippers of a sea turtle.  Always a treat to see.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Reef triggerfish

The reef triggerfish is reminiscent of abstract art.  We see them often, but they don't hang around long.  Rather, they go swimming by.  The Hawaiian name for this fish is humuhumu nukunuku apua'a.  This is the fish that is mentioned in the "My Little Grass Shack" song from 50 or 60 years ago.  They grow up to 10 inches long.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Bay, today

Anaeho'omalu Bay is often called A Bay.  It is north of Kona along the South Kohala resort area.  We had read about the bay, but never visited until today.  The water was calm, but not really clear enough to be good for snorkeling, but lots of other water sports were happening there this morning.

In the distance, we could see humpback whales spy-hopping and breaching.

Today was a canoe club race day.  The 6-person, outrigger canoes were zipping around the bay.  Quite an interesting sight to see.

From shore

From shore

From the water

From the water

It seems like everywhere we go, we see wild turkeys.  On our drive home from A Bay, we encountered 4, along the road.

A male turkey displaying to 2 females, plus another female left of mirror

Friday, February 24, 2017

Oh the patterns you might see

Tropical fish are often brightly colored, but even the ones that aren't neon colored can display intricate patterns.

We frequently encounter black durgon (a triggerfish).  Most often, it appears very dark with a white line beneath the dorsal and ventral fins.  However, under just the right conditions, a very elaborate pattern of markings is displayed.  Fish were 8 to 10 inches long.

Sailfin tang (in the surgeonfish family) also display a very interesting pattern.  This fish was about 8 inches long.