Hawaii

Thinking of warmer places

Koke'e silhouette - © Christopher Martin-3154

With the cold snap of the past week, I found myself thinking about warmer climes.  Hawai’i is usually at the top of the list for me and I pulled this 2012 image out of my library as a nice reminder of one of our favourite places in Kaua’i.  This photo is from the top of the Koke’e State Park near the Kalalau Valley overlook.  The tree is silhouetted against the clouds rising up from the coast far below this mountain ridge just before sunset.


Dolphins at play in the waves

Exhalation - © Christopher Martin-4239

When I was on a catamaran sailing along the Na Pali Coast we had a close encounter with a small pod of dolphins where they swam alongside for several minutes. I loved watching the deceptive power in their movements. The cat was under full sail and the dolphins seemed to expend little effort to speed past the bow and slip in and out of the waves.

Slipstream - © Christopher Martin-4275

Nosing under - © Christopher Martin-4273

Splash - © Christopher Martin-4274

Dolphin mirage - © Christopher Martin-4277

On the return trip to the harbour, close to the first visit, a couple more dolphins (different I think as they seemed to be gray coloured versus the blue bodies of the first ones – although that could be a change in the light) came by and this time had a couple of humpback whales with them. The dolphins get very excited when the whales return for the winter and the two species are often found playing together and generally hanging out together until the whales head off around the globe again. The whales did not make any spectacular breaches but I felt no disappointment as just seeing them in their waters was magical.

Dolphin pair - © Christopher Martin-4668

Humpback ridge - © Christopher Martin-4651


Hawaiian surfer: riding off Ke’e Beach

Surfing at Ke'e - © Christopher Martin-5634

(please click on each image to open a higher resolution version)

Ke’e Beach is further up the coast on the north shore.  The waves were big and came in haphazard sets with some breaks sending waves slamming into other ones.  I did not expect to see anyone surfing there but on one of the days we spent on the beach, watching the coastline and keeping an eye out for seals, I saw one fellow sitting on a surfboard watching the waves.  He watched for quite a while and then headed out, presumably having found the right spot and the right way to get out to it.

Into the cauldron - © Christopher Martin-5554

I kept an eye on his progress and when he started catching waves it was awesome.  He knew what he was doing and it was great to watch him navigate through the chaos, pick a wave and then grab a good ride.


Hawaiian bodyboarders: riding off Nukoli’i Beach

Wave riding - © Christopher Martin-1115

(please click on each image to open a higher resolution version)

Nukoli’i Beach seems to be an unpredictable surfing location in the winter.  The waves moving west were great the first few days on this eastern beach that we were in Kaua’i at the beginning of December.  However after one huge storm that raged across the island, they remained choppy and were not frequented by any surfers or bodyboarders for the rest of our stay.  Those first few days I did get out twice to photograph some of the bodyboarders.  The waves were breaking pretty far out but a long lens helped to make a few images.

Carvin' - © Christopher Martin-0902

Down the line - © Christopher Martin-1118

Tunneling - © Christopher Martin-1051-2

Ocean spray - © Christopher Martin-1033

Workin' a small one - © Christopher Martin-0913

Boogie boarder - © Christopher Martin-0814

This trip to Hawai’i I spent my time in the ocean photographing underwater and that squeezed out any time that I might have gone bodyboarding or surfing.  I’ll make up for that on the next visit.  It was really fun to watch these guys ripping along the waves.  I can’t wait to join in!

Flying off the back - © Christopher Martin-0670-3


Egret against an evening wave

Evening flight

This Cattle Egret flew along the coastline where I was photographing the waves crashing into the sun.  Once it was past me, soaring away from the setting sun, the soft pinks and blues in the water and its waves made a nice backdrop.


A rest for a sea turtle

Honu at rest - © Christopher Martin-7028

Having been able to see a Green sea turtle swimming gracefully but using a lot of energy hunting in the reef, it is nice when they can have time to rest undisturbed.  At Poipu beach the lifeguards put up a rope with a fair amount of space around this turtle which had come up on the sand.  It slept for the most part but I had a chance to get a couple of photographs with its eyes open when one of the sounds of a busy beach reached through the slumber.  Very beautiful animals.


Image

Sand reflections in Kaua’i

 

Between the sand and the surface

I love the way light diffracts, focuses and reflects under water.  During my swims with an underwater camera I had a lot of fun playing near the shore.  This beach near Kapa’a is called Baby Beach as it has a nice reef that breaks the waves creating a safe place for kids to swim.  These silvery fish are curious and they did a nice job filling in the middle of this photograph.


Swimming with a Honu

Honu - © Christopher Martin-4298

I went on a sailing trip up the Na Pali coast yesterday.  The morning was clear and we had a great trip with visits from a couple of separate pods of dolphins and a few humpback whales.  After turning around at the Kalalau Valley, the captain found us a calm cove and we had an hour to snorkel.  Halfway through the swim, I found a Green sea turtle fishing down in the coral.

Foraging Honu - © Christopher Martin-4230

 Foraging Honu - © Christopher Martin-4220

I was about 30′ above it and just floated along watching it swim and explore.  After a few minutes, it surfaced and when it turned to me, I had a second to photograph it swimming.  Soon after with lungs full of fresh air, it descended again and soon disappeared into the blue.

The descent - © Christopher Martin-4307


Palm tree sunset in Wailua

Wailua Sunset - © Christopher Martin-2539-6474

We had a lovely sunset a couple of nights ago.  The western of Wailua, where I am staying, has a few mountain ridges and valleys blocking the view to the ocean directly but the on this night the sky was beautiful.  A stand of palm trees in the courtyard made a great silhouette to anchor the pastel lines.


The Na Pali Coast

One of my favourite places on Earth is Ke’e Beach at the end of the road on Kaua’i’s north shore.  The road ends at the beach and from there the Na Pali coast begins.  The beach has been a great location for swims with my kids, snorkelling with my parents, a visit with a beautiful monk seal while the wild coastline has always provided a spectacular background to it all as well as wonderful times spent hiking and sailing with my wife.

The Na Pali - © Christopher Martin-2539

(please click on the image to open a page with a higher resolution version)

Last year, I photographed the coastline in the late evening with the waves crashing onto the first cliff face.  One of the images from that time on the rocks was one of my favourite landscapes in 2011 and was well-regarded in a National Geographic photo contest.  Whenever I’m at Ke’e, I keep an eye towards the sets of cliffs that stretch westward.  There is usually something good happening visually – and sometimes it is magnificent.

A couple of days ago, I was knee-deep in the water on the east side of the beach having a great time photographing two very different subjects. One was a large seal that lounged through the day and as the afternoon waned, there was a half hour where it bounded through the shallow water, playfully rolling, swimming and slowly making its way across the submerged rocks out to the reef and the open water.  The second was the Na Pali cliffs which were thrown into progressively darker silhouettes down the coastline with the sea spray hanging like textured mist in the air from the endless pounding of the waves into the rocks.  The greens and blues in the water reminded me of gemstones while the muted greens hazed by the mist seemed to suggest the breathing of the rain forest.  Really great individual details to pull together.

The sunset came and went without much excitement as a low cloud bank out at sea swallowed up the sun before any color came into the sky.  I was not disappointed though as the afternoon performance was pretty incredible.  Coupled with the seal made for another memorable visit to Ke’e.


Feasting on rainbows

Feasting on rainbows - © Christopher Martin-2276

This Manini (Acanthurus triostegus) was one of many swimming in the sheltered cove at the Lydgate Beach Park when I was snorkelling there yesterday.  The fish has a great nickname, the Convict Tang, owing to the stripes resembling those of a prisoner’s uniform of old.  When this one moved into an area of the rocks and coral where rainbows were shimmering, I swung my camera that way.

A good friend loaned me a waterproof casing for one of my cameras and it has been fun to play around with during time on the water.  It’s a different game shooting underwater and I am really having fun learning a bit of the how tos required to get a good image.  A very (very) long ways to go to approach the likes of Brian Skerry though!


Sunrise across Kalihiwai Bay

Sunshine on Kalihiwai - © Christopher Martin-3583

I went further up island to the north shore for sunrise this morning.  I went to Kalihiwai Bay which lies between Kilauea and Hanalei and opens its arms to the Pacific due North.  I went along the western side towards Anini Beach so that I would see the colors in the sky and the sun rising out of the east across the bay.  It proved to be a very nice location to photograph daybreak from.

North shore morning - © Christopher Martin-3471