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September 2, 2007

monk seal lounging on the beach

Guido went for a walk, while Katia and I were hanging out on the beach reading our books one morning while we were staying up on the North Shore. When Guido came back, he started talking to Katia in Italian. I heard the words "la foca" and knew right away that he must have seen a seal! He said he thought he saw a big rock on the beach, but when he got closer, he realized that it was a seal! So off we went to check out this amazing creature. I have heard of Hawaiian Monk Seals coming up on the beach every now and then but it is a pretty rare sight to see and something I have never experienced in person.

The lifeguard was pretty sure it was a girl seal. Isn't she cute?
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November 25, 2007

turtle beach

Laniakea Beach, more commonly now known as "turtle beach", which is located on the North Shore of Oahu, is known for the Hawaiian green sea turtles that hang out on the beach on most days. They have been hanging out there during the afternoon and early evenings for about 10 years now that I am aware of. At first, only a few people knew of the turtles. Then the massive tour groups started to arrive. Now tour buses stop at the beach and the traffic near this beach is often almost as bad as a high surf day.

The first time I saw the turtles, I was pretty alarmed with how some of the visitors were treating the turtles. They were touching them, crowding them, and some were even trying to sit on their shells. Now thankfully there are daily volunteers that keep the crowds under control and try to educate the visitors so that the turtles are able to have some peace.

I have been lucky to be at this beach a few times when there were only a few other people hanging out. It is pretty amazing watching the turtles "just be" on the beach. If you are ever visiting Oahu, I would definitely recommend a visit to this beach, but go on a weekday to avoid the larger crowds.

Here are some of my favorite turtle pictures:
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March 24, 2008

seal hanging out on the beach

I went to White Plains Beach today to hang out for a while and read my book. White Plains Beach used to be a private military beach but is now a beach open to the public and is about 4 or 5 miles from my house. I parked my car, set up my chair, and noticed a few people with cameras walking towards a spot a little bit to the left of my chair. I walked over to see what was going on. There, below a little mound of sand was a cute Hawaiian monk seal.

I moved here 25 years ago and this is only the second time I have ever seen a seal on the beach (post on my first seal sighting). I talked to the lifeguard to find out if this was the first sighting of this seal. He said there have been 4 seals hanging out in the area for a while now. After about an hour or so at the beach, I headed on home.

Here are a few cute photos of the seal on the beach. He or she was inching his/her way up and finally rolled over to snooze for the day.

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June 21, 2009

moving like a turtle

I had a fun day on Friday taking Kim and Chris (her husband) on a tour of part of the North Shore. We had lunch at Kua Aina burgers and then hit a few of the beaches. The highlight was our stop at Laniakea Beach ("turtle beach"). We saw a few turtles swimming in the water. As we walked down the beach, we saw two more turtles hanging out on land. While we were there, On our way back to town, we stopped for some shave ice at Aoki's Shave Ice.


Below are a few more photos of the turtles we saw hanging out on the beach:

First turtle we saw...
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Second turtle...
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Third turtle (the one that came out of the water while we were there and moved slowly up onto the beach, same turtle from the video above)...
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As far as packing is going, I am moving as slow as a turtle although I am finally making a good dent in my list. Packing and flying are the two things I dislike about traveling. I don't know why packing is so difficult. It really should be an easy task. I have my list. I take similar things every year. Instead it is usual at least a 3-day event. I equate packing to a turtle moving on land. He moves a bit, rests, moves a bit more, and then rests some more. I get my suitcases out, sit and stare at them, grab my list, sit and stare at my stuff, pack a bit, sit and stare (and get distracted), and then pack a bit more.

Heading over to my dad's in a bit and then back to packing...

Sending a special Happy Father's Day wish to my dad and to my brother as well as to all the other fathers out there :)

November 21, 2009

"bird(s)"~ PhotoHunt

PhotoHunters


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January 29, 2010

"spotted"~ PhotoHunt

PhotoHunters

My problem this week was having too many choices. I even took some new spotted photos today for a photography class I am taking. But in the end, I just could not pass up cute. I took these photos at Sea Life Park on Oahu in April, 2005.

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April 17, 2010

"covered"~ PhotoHunt

PhotoHunters


A Hawaiian monk seal covered with sand:

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May 9, 2010

first day at the beach with my new camera

A couple of days ago, I decided to take my brand new Canon T2i camera to the beach for the first time. I only took the kit lens (18-55mm lens) with me, being a bit nervous about the salt spray and possible sand since it was a windy day.

I drove to White Plains Beach first hoping that perhaps I would luck out and find another seal on the beach since I saw a seal on this beach twice (a few days apart) two years ago. No seal this time. Because White Plains Beach is not not really one of the most picturesque beaches, I got back into my car and drove a bit further down to the beach at the end of the road by the Coast Guard station. This beach in my opinion is a nicer beach, although also a bit rugged. As you drive to this beach, you will see a few cars parked along the side of the road at the more deserted part of the beach before reaching the parking lot. Most people that go to this beach park in the parking lot at the end of the road. There is a bathroom at this beach but there are no lifeguards.
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I hung out for a while taking lots of photos, trying to learn the ins and outs of my new camera. I am realizing that it is going to take me a while to learn to take good photos with a DSLR. I am determined though not use the auto and program modes and instead take all of my photos using the manual settings. After taking an hour's worth of photos, I realized that I forgot to check some of my settings! My white balance setting was on cloudy (and it was a sunny day) and my ISO was on 200 where 100 might have been a better setting. Even so, when comparing my photos to some photos I took with my Canon G9 at this same beach a couple of months ago, I could see a difference in photo quality.

After about an hour at the beach, I got back in my car and drove just a bit to the area where people park on the side of the road to check out the more isolated area of the beach.
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I only planned to spend about 15 minutes or so before heading on home to watch the Red Sox game (in hindsight I would have been better off skipping that disastrous game). Just before leaving, I took a walk down the beach to check out the view around the bend. As I got closer, I noticed a roped off area with some signs posted.

It was a SEAL!!!
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Now, you would think reading my blog that I see seals on the beach every day. Hawaiian Monk Seals are endangered species and do not generally hang out on beaches in Hawaii. I have just been very fortunate to be at the right place at the right time to see a few of these magnificent creatures. This is only the fourth time I have seen a Hawaiian Monk Seal on a beach in Hawaii.

My first seal sighting was in August, 2007 up on the North Shore.

My second seal sighting was in March 2008 at White Plains Beach, a beach not too far from my house. This time, I arrived at the beach just as the seal was coming out of the water.

My third seal sighting was a few days later. This seal (not sure if it was the same seal) was stretched out snoozing at the other end White Plains Beach. I recently posted a photo from this seal sighting a couple of weeks ago as one of my PhotoHunt posts. Ironically, this was my first beach outing with my brand new Canon G9 camera two years ago.

Seals are not very active creatures. Once they find their spot for the day, they don't move much. I lucked out catching the seal I saw on Friday do this move:
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June 10, 2010

photos from Laniakea Beach

Monday afternoon, I drove up to the North Shore to take some photos with my new camera, my 60mm lens and my brand new 10-22mm lens. I stopped at four beaches and took tons of photos. Here are a few photos that I took at my first stop, Laniakea Beach, otherwise known as turtle beach.

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November 28, 2010

little green gecko

I have been meaning to add my favorite gecko photos from my visit to the Lyon Arboretum. I believe this gecko is a I think it was a Madagascar day gecko but I am not positive.

I am generally NOT a fan of geckos, at least the brown variety that occasionally take up residence in my house but this little gecko was so cute. He or she was pretty curious as I started taking photos and even crawled right up to me. I am not sure if it was the reflection in my lens that interested this gecko or just a strange person snapping photos. The gecko started out by peeking its head over a leaf and eventually even posed for me.

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July 6, 2011

look who I found on the beach the other day

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I usually stay away from the beach on summer holidays because of the crowds and because of the difficulty finding a parking spot but Monday turned out to be a beautiful day and so after watching the Red Sox game (it was not pretty), I decided to go to the beach for the afternoon, trying my luck at this little stretch of beach not too far from my house. This is a beach that does not have a lifeguard and is usually pretty empty. Parking is along the side of the road only on the beach side.

It was my lucky day! I spotted one little open spot where I managed to squeeze in between two cars. After grabbing my chair, I scanned the beach for a good spot, and there he was. The cutest little Hawaiian monk seal hanging out on the beach. Well, not that little, but he was a just a baby, a 1-year old seal.

Of course all I brought with me was a book (my new Italian book that I am guessing is about at a 2nd grade reading level), some water, and my tiny point and shoot camera. I could have kicked myself for not packing my DSLR with my nice new long lens but my plan was to read and and hang out and not to take photos since I have taken photos at this beach many times before on days when the beach is not very crowded.

I set up my chair near the seal, settled in, read my book, watched the kids play in the ocean, and checked out the seal now and then. The sky looked pretty threatening to the right, but fortunately the clouds stayed just where they were all afternoon. At one point, about an hour after I arrived, the seal rolled onto his back and started to use his two flippers to rub his chin. That was it. He was just too cute. I could not sit there any longer. I had to go back home to grab my camera. I knew the seal wasn't going anywhere but I was a little worried that I might not be able to find another parking spot when I returned. I did take a few photos with my little camera but I wanted to take some close ups so I took the chance and headed back home to get my nicer camera.

When I returned to the beach, again luck was on my side. I saw one open spot and I grabbed it. There was a path right by my car that lead up to the beach where a bunch of tents were set up. I walked up the path and took a right, thinking that I had parked much closer to the other end of the beach. I started walking down the beach for about 10 minutes before realizing that the seal had to be down the other end of the beach because I was getting too close to the larger part of the beach at the end of the road. Have I mentioned before that I have no sense of direction?

The funny thing is that after walking back in the other direction and just around the bend by the tents where my car was parked, there was the seal, not more than 3 or 4 cars lengths away from where I originally parked. All I had to do was turn left instead of right and the seal was right there around the corner from my new parking spot! Well... a little walk on the beach never hurts anyone :)

The seal was back on his stomach when I returned so I never got any close ups of his cute tan little tummy. I did take a few photos though with my little camera before going back home to grab my DSLR.

Even though the sign is in the way, I love this photo of both the seal and a girl laying out getting a tan. I took this photo before going back home to get my nice camera. The tents in the top right side of the photo are right where the path was by my new parking spot.
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When I returned to the beach with my DSLR camera, the seal was back on his stomach. This photo shows the seal while looking down the other end of the beach.
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I hung out taking photos from every angle just on the outside of the ropes set up to protect the seal. The seal started out by not moving much at all. Eventually as the water kept coming up and splashing near his face, he would get aggravated and move just a little bit. Finally when the water started coming up more frequently as the tide came up, he turned his body around, flipped over a couple of times, and eventually swam away. Below are a bunch of photos I took from the time the seal was just hanging out snoozing to the time when he went back into the water.

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Continue reading "look who I found on the beach the other day" »

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