Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Believe it or not, I was all set to post these pictures on Sunday. But seconds—and I do mean seconds—after I'd finished getting them ready to upload, my computer went completely wonky on me. I didn't get things straightened out until Monday evening, and I wanted to give it at least a day to make sure everything was copacetic and that my laptop wouldn't freeze right in the middle of writing this post.

This year's trip was my third visit to Kauai. On previous vacations I'd seen seals, whales, and birds galore. But I had yet to see a Hawaiian green sea turtle, usually referred to on the islands by its Hawaiian name: honu. I'd hear about people spotting them on the beach or in the water all the time, but I'd yet to experience it myself.

Happily, about halfway into this year's trip, that all finally changed. The road we use to go back and forth from where we stay to... well, everything else, is literally carved into a mountain, and the shoulders are about as wide as a bicycle tire; in one lane, the person riding shotgun would be able to touch the mountainside if they stuck their arm out the window, and on the other you had a guardrail, about a foot of land, and then the Pacific Ocean. Dad and I were returning from a second visit to the Kilauea preserve, which put me on the ocean side of the road. I was checking out the water as he drove when I noticed something fairly large floating in the clear aquamarine water. I told Dad I was pretty sure I'd seen a turtle, so once he found a suitable place we turned around and went back; the photography gods were definitely smiling down upon me that day, because the place I'd noticed it was right next to a scenic pull-off. I hopped out of the car, camera in hand, and almost did the Snoopy happy dance when I saw the turtle was still there:

As I watched and clicked away, it floated up to the surface...

...took in some air...

...and then casually allowed itself to sink back down into the water:

Just after I'd taken that sequence of photos, a large wave came in and crashed upon the rocks below where I was standing; when the water had settled enough to see into once again, the turtle was nowhere to be found. Needless to say, I was still totally psyched about seeing my first honu; even more so when I saw that the photos came out okay.

And yes, that really was the color of the water at that time; I didn't tinker with or alter it in Photoshop even one iota. Amazing, huh?

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