Under the Sea – Part I of II…by Brad Marks

As you read this, we are on our way to catch the Gulf migration. We had to cancel this trip last year and looking forward to giving the Average Year efforts a booster shot (a few ticks behind, but link here). Thanks to some local finds, the count sits at a healthy 240 with just a shade over 9 months left. A few days in Dauphin Island will assuredly push me closer to the 300 goal. We first head to Florida for a boys agility competition and then make our way back across the panhandle to Gulf Shores. While we travel to our first base camp, Brad will be taking the helm to boldly go where no Intrigued post has gone before! Thankfully there are people like Brad (and his wife) that are willing to risk it all and live to post about it. …catch you later in the week, meanwhile, take it away Brad…(note, you can hit the image link to see larger versions of his shots)

With the exception of Hawaiian green sea turtles, nearly every Intrigued article has been about something with feathers, or at least above sea level.  This one is going to completely different.  The only air you will see is what’s reflected on the underside of the surface of the water, or the “underside of air”.  There’s also an evolution of photography woven throughout the story.  Grab your reef-safe sunscreen and a towel, because we are going snorkeling.

But first, set the way-back machine for a bit of history before we “dive” in.  Our friends from Boston scored a “free” condo on Kauai (kah-oo-ah-ee) for eight days in February 2000.  Of course, we said we’d go with them.  We found babysitters for Allyson (she was not quite four years old then and retired grandparents are wonderful).  Once we booked flights from frozen Chicago to Kauai (known as the Garden Isle), we were on our way.

Jan and I were in Hawaii!  We were very excited to squeeze out every ounce of fun during our first trip to the islands.  We decided to snorkel at Ke’e (KAY-ay) Beach on the northwest side of the island.  We were looking forward to some sunshine and warm water.

This was going to be our first underwater photography experience.  Not knowing what to expect, and not wanting to spend a bunch of money on a camera if we didn’t like it, we used disposable film cameras.  Five of them if I remember correctly.  Each little “camera in a box” had 24 exposures of ISO 400 film, a nearly microscopic (smaller than most smart phones) fixed focus plastic lens (only in focus for about 3-10 feet away), and a thumbwheel to wind the film. (Kids, go ask your parents or grandparents about manual winding film cameras)

After arriving at the beach, I jumped right in.  Holy crap the water is cold!  We were in Hawaii, right?  Shouldn’t this water be warm?  After the initial temperature shock, I eventually remembered to breathe and started snapping photos.  The water around Hawaii is very deep and never gets a chance to really warm up.  The ocean currents push very deep water up the steep slopes of the islands (upwelling) towards the surface.  Here is the first fish I saw, and photographed, underwater.

Under the See by Brad Marks
(digitized* film photo, 2000)

It is a surge wrasse (Thalassoma purpureum).  They are about the size of the 2-3 lb. bass from a farm pond but much more colorful.  The surge wrasse likes heavy surf areas (hence the name) and is usually within 30 feet of the surface.

After snorkeling for most of the morning and afternoon, I had already gone through two complete disposable cameras.  Jan reminded me that we still had more snorkel days planned and to save a camera (or two) for later in our vacation.  Two days later we found ourselves on the south side of Kauai at Po’ipu (POY-poo) Beach.  It is a lovely two-part lagoon, with a spit of sand down the middle where monk seals like to sun themselves.  By the way, Kauai has more beaches per mile than the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. One of them is 17 miles long.

Under the See by Brad Marks
(digitized* film photo, 2000)

This is (ready for the DON, Department of Obvious Names nomenclature) . . . drumroll please . . . an orangespine surgeonfish (Naso lituratus).  The orange-colored spines I could figure out.  The surgeon part is because their spines can inflict a nasty wound if you get too close, like surgeon’s scalpel.

Yes, these are sort of crummy fuzzy photographs.  Remember, they were taken with a plastic fixed-focus lens underwater in highly aerated surf and then converted to digital.  Enough excuses already, let’s see some more fish photos. 

Under the See by Brad Marks
(digitized* film photo, 2000)

These bluespine unicornfish (Naso unicornis) were just cruising around the water at Po’ipu Beach.  They typically grow to be just over two feet long.   This pair looked fully grown from where I was swimming.  Like many reef fish, these have leathery skin instead of scales.  The male in the photo has long streamers from the tips of his tail.  Both sexes have the unicorn feature on top in front.

Back in the day, we were used to waiting days to weeks to find out what sort of photos we ended up with.  I remember taking the camera boxes and rolls of film to Wal-Mart or Target to be “developed” into digital negatives.  I ask for the film back so I could scan the negatives later.

The rest of the underwater photos in this story are from the Big Island of Hawaii. 

Jan and I returned to the Big Island with our friends from Boston in January 2002.  (remember Foggy Hike?  Same trip.)  On a very sunny day in January, we took a snorkel cruise to Kealakekua Bay.  While the rest were still putting on our fins and masks, Jan jumped in with our new hardshell Sealife Reefmaster underwater camera (35mm point-n-shoot with built-in flash; no more disposables for us) strapped to her wrist.  This eel was just gliding over the coral, probably surprised by all of the snorkelers that just invaded its territory. 

Under the See by Brad Marks
(digitized* film photo, 2002)

It is not uncommon to see a whitemouth moray eel (Gymnothorax meleagris) poking its head out of the coral.  It is uncommon to see the entire animal swimming outside the protection of the coral.  Our guide told us later that the eel wasn’t in a threatening posture (mouth wide open), it was just “breathing”.

This side of the Big Island drops off very quickly.  In front of us was this wondrous coral reef with all manner of undersea life.  Behind us was the Pacific Ocean and deep blue nothingness.  Coral can exist in water down to a couple hundred feet deep.  Since the slope is so steep here, the band of dense colorful coral is very narrow (remember your geometry?).  After lunch on board the catamaran, we went into the water again.  After all, we had nearly two dozen rolls of film at our disposal.

First in the water after lunch, Jan saw this beauty nearly immediately, probably even before I was fully in the water.  Again.

Under the See by Brad Marks
(digitized* film photo, 2002)

It is . . . are you ready for this . . . a pinktail triggerfish (Melichthys vidua).  (DON working overtime again) They move about by wobbling their top and bottom fins only.  The “trigger” part of the name comes from the two dorsal spines.  The very large one can be held erect and literally lock in place when the second smaller spine “triggers” it to lock.  The fish can use these as a defense mechanism.  No, not to spear predators, but to lock themselves in place, hiding in a hole in the reef.  They swim into a small hole, “trigger” the spines, and they are locked in place until the danger passes.

A couple of days later Jan and I went on a scuba excursion.  She was already scuba certified; I was not (at the time).  We found a local dive shop that gave me a provincial “resort” certification, as long as I was with at least two other certified divers and could demonstrate enough skills to NOT drown anyone else.  For my first dive EVER, we did the most complicated entry possible:  a bench entry** at Two Step Beach.  The “beach” is located next to Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau (poo-oo-HO-new-ah oh HAW-now-now) National Historical Park (or Place of Refuge) on the west side of the Big Island.  The “beach” itself is not much more than a lava shelf at the edge of the ocean.  We took a deep breath and jumped in.  (See more of the story in the NOTES below).  After only a few minutes in the water at 35-40 feet beneath the surface (I think that’s a record depth at Intrigued, just like I think Ravenpalooza was at a record altitude of 14,115’), here is one of the very first locals we saw.

Under the See by Brad Marks
(digitized* film photo, 2002)

You may recognize the Hawaiian green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), or honu, from a prior post.  It was peacefully gliding by us on its way to the deep.  Again, we really didn’t know we had a good photo until we developed the film a couple of weeks later. 

Fast forward the calendar to 2005.  We took our daughter Allyson to Hawaii for the first time.  She was excited to get in the water to try out her new snorkel gear.  One of our favorite places to go is Kahalu’u (ka-ha-LOO-oo) Beach Park on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The park has a nice lagoon mostly separated from the open ocean by a shallow reef.  On calm days between tides, the water here is warmer than Kealakekua Bay . . . for the most part.

In the middle of her first day snorkeling, Allyson popped up and said a fish was eating her fins.  We were skeptical at first because the tide was out and the water was shallow, thinking she scraped the rocks underwater.  But a few minutes later we saw this guy attacking her pink fins.

Under the See by Brad Marks
(digitized* film photo, 2005)

This Picasso triggerfish (Rhinecanthus rectangulus), more commonly known as humuhumunukunukuapua’a (hoo-moo-hoo-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-pooah-ah), or just “humu”, must have thought Allyson’s fins were a competitor because it kept attacking them.  The “humu” is Hawaii’s state fish.  We decided to move on and snorkel in another part of the lagoon.  But when we returned two days later to the same spot, guess what happened again?  Yup.  A humu, maybe even the same one, was attacking Allyson’s fins.

By now we were having our film developed on the islands as we shot it.  We used Longs Drug based on a referral from a local photographer.  (Longs also has a very fine selection of after-sun products for those that tend to burn and not tan, like me.)  She told us they know how to properly develop underwater photos, where most mainland labs do not have much practice with it.  On this vacation we shot 24 rolls of film total; five of those were beneath the waves. 

A couple of days later, the three of us went to Kealakekua Bay snorkeling.  A few minutes into the trip I noticed water sloshing inside the hard-shell case.  Three grains of sand were caught in the seal and were letting in sea water.  I was able to get to the boat and get the film safely out of the camera, but the damage to the camera was done.  The seawater had already shorted the electronics and corroded the battery.  Our underwater photos for this trip were over.  Once we were home again, I tried to get a replacement camera for the housing.  But by this time, everything had gone digital.

Stay tuned as our tropical photographers decide whether or not to enter the unknown realm of . . . underwater digital photography.  Gasp! Thank you for reading.  If you want to see more underwater photos from our Hawaii adventures, please visit here.  Just don’t look too far ahead for Part II photos.  Those will be coming soon to Wildlife Intrigued.


Thanks again to Jan and Allyson for proofreading and editing.  Thanks to Jan for many of the photos in this article. 


*I digitized the 35mm film negatives via two methods:  1. I purchased a dedicated Nikon Coolscan V ED film scanner.  2. I built a rig for my Nikon DSLR with a macro lens and backlit the negatives.  I have digitized about 400 rolls of 35mm film over the past few years through both devices.

**A bench entry involves timing the outgoing waves so you jump from the two-foot high bench right when the wave begins to retreat, pulling you away from shore.  The bench is on the edge of 10-15 feet of water so you do NOT have to worry about hitting the bottom.  You DO have to paddle like hell for a few seconds to make sure the next wave doesn’t push you right back into the hardened lava.  This was our view as the bubbles cleared after jumping in.

Under the See by Brad Marks
(digitized film photo, 2002)

As we surfaced after the first dive a few yards offshore, the dive master tapped me on the shoulder and told me we simply had to reverse the process to get out of the ocean.  Being the largest and presumably the strongest in the group he wanted me to help him.  He went first to made it look easy.  He asked me to fully inflate my vest and be ready to kick like crazy with the waves TOWARD the lava bench.  When the right wave was coming, he yelled “Now!” and I paddled for all I was worth.  The wave lifted me above the bench, pushed me a few feet inland then started to pull me back out again.  That’s when he grabbed my vest and held on.  Once I was stable on the rocks, he said “now you have to help me grab the rest of them”.  It was Jan’s turn next.  An extra-large wave lifted her and brought her in above the bench.  However, since the water was so high it was also going to pull her right back out.  I grabbed her scuba tank and held on until the water receded.  Then the instructor and I lifted her a few feet inland so the next wave wouldn’t carry her back out again.  On our second dive of the day, we walked about 100 yards to a shore entry where you simply walk into the ocean and back out again.  That would have been much simpler overall.  But then where would the cool story come from?

Feathers and Fur – Part 2 of 2…by Brad Marks

Body hurts, eyes red and very exhausted, I must be in Sin City! Most of that condition is due to non-stop birding since we arrived – the rest of the time, well, as the say, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. The birding front has been incredible. Already +22 for the Average Year (link here – not updated yet) with a number of lifers in the mix, all of which will assuredly be featured here sometime in the future. Meanwhile, I wanted to get the 2nd part of Brad’s Yellowstone adventure out to you.

Take it away Brad…

In the last episode our intrepid travelers had arrived in Yellowstone National Park in June.  It was June . . . remember that.  There was a blizzard on the first night.  They scraped snow from cars, endured closed roads, saw geysers, bison, birds, rotten egg smells, etc. 

Now you are up to date.  Time to continue on after our second of three nights in the park.  This is our  last full day at Yellowstone.  Here’s the map to help set the stage again. (It’s a big one a takes a few seconds to open.)

It is still mid-June in Yellowstone.  Another 4” of new snow fell overnight (second night in a row) at Lake Lodge, though much more snow fell in the higher elevations.  Again.  All of the park roads were closed until about 10am.  When some of the roads were finally opened and the car was cleared of snow (same benefit card snow scraper) we headed to Fishing Bridge a few miles up the road.  However, when we arrived, there was only one car in sight with the ranger inside her car frantically waving and yelling for us to stay in our car.  After about 10 minutes, she came out of the car to check the area.  She motioned it was OK for us to get out now.  We learned she was in her car because a grizzly sow and her cub had ambled through about 30 seconds before we arrived.  Their tracks were still visible in the early morning snow.

Shots from Yellowstone National Park by Brad Marks

We walked out onto Fishing Bridge to get a view up and down the waterline.  We’d only been there a few moments when this pair of American white pelicans went flying by.

Shots from Yellowstone National Park by Brad Marks

Hit the jump to learn more about Brad’s Yellowstone adventure.

Continue reading Feathers and Fur – Part 2 of 2…by Brad Marks

Feathers and Fur – Part 1 of 2…by Brad Marks

Well, we are officially off to the West. During our absence, I am turning the keys to the Intrigued Headquarters over to Brad. He will be keeping you entertained while Linda and I quest for the Holy Grail…eh, more like a bird or two or fingers crossed 20. Figured this would be a perfect time to roll out one of his two-parters from probably my favorite destination – Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy!

Take it away Brad and remember, no mega-parties at HQ until AFTER the work is done …

Many years ago, our family (Jan, Allyson and I) took a trip to Yellowstone National Park.  You may remember me telling you that our daughter Allyson didn’t want to spend so much time looking at rocks in this prior post.  Based on the pushback from a tweenager, I only booked three nights at a lodge in the park, giving us two full days for exploring.  Accommodations inside the actual park are limited and usually fill up 8+ months in advance for summer visits.  Two full days is by no means an extensive amount of time in Yellowstone (we still drove hundreds of miles inside the park and barely saw anything, IMHO).  Taking the advice of a fellow traveler, photographer, and friend, we had flown into Salt Lake City and rented a car for the drive to Yellowstone.  Our trip was in early June, hoping to miss most of the tourists with their kids still in school.  We approached from the west entrance through West Yellowstone in Montana.  Literally within a few minutes of the park rangers checking our annual park pass, we stopped along the road and were greeted with this view.

Shots from Yellowstone National Park from Brad Marks

Hit the jump to read more about Brad’s Yellowstone experience.

Continue reading Feathers and Fur – Part 1 of 2…by Brad Marks

Writing with Stone…by Brad Marks

Greetings All! Was able to reproduce Brad’s “lost” post so able to bring you post on another form of blogging. As you are reading this, Linda I will be on the road heading back to the tundra..I know, I know, trust me the call of South Padre Island is getting stronger cold mile after cold mile (and looks like snow and ice in our path). Keeping with Brad’s theme, created my own silicaglyph intro (you might have to hit the link to view the larger version to make out the craptastic figures)

Brian's Texas Gulf Coast Glyph from Galveston Island State Park

I’ll catch back up with you in February, for now, enjoy Brad’s much more entertaining read…take it away Brad…

Long-time readers of Intrigued know that Brian takes many trips in the US to catch photos of rare, and not-so-rare, birds.  His life list credits include many birds that barely make it to US soil.  Jan and I like to take vacations to really cool places that may or may not have birds.  Recently we have begun making more attempts to find wildlife wherever we are on holiday.  I think the Intrigued team takes slightly different types of vacations.  Though this may be a subtle difference (bird vacations to cool places vs. cool places that just happen to have birds).  Now that I’ve got you all warmed up for birds or cute furry animals, I’m not going to write about either of these.  At least as far as I know I’m not.  This tale is about petroglyphs. 

Hit the jump to read more about this early method of blogging!

Continue reading Writing with Stone…by Brad Marks

A Foggy Hike…by Brad Marks

Greetings everyone, I hope everyone was able to enjoy their Christmas (or your celebration of choice) with family and/or friends. Ours was a bit hectic as we started early with our traditional gift exchange which has somehow morphed into “EVERY PRESENT IS MINE” event for Ruger. Hit the treadmill to pre-work off the annual feast and then promptly went to work packing up to head south. Thanks to brilliant idea from Linda, this is the first time we didn’t have to take down the 12′ (by now fire-hazard) real tree in the midst of the chaos. All that effort to get to somewhere with temps above single digits. As we will be dealing with some sketchy roads for at least the first long day… maybe 2, thought it would be a perfect time to bring out one of Brad’s post from another warm location. We’ll catch up later in the week… Brad, take it away…(note, you can click on the images to view the full size images)

Our first trip to the Big Island of Hawaii was in 2002 when we met two of our friends from Boston.  The four of us decided to go on a hike to see the waterfalls of Waipio Valley from a trail at the top of the valley.  Waipio Valley is located on the north side of the Big Island, in the Kohala Watershed Forest Preserve.  This wasn’t where all the tourists take the pretty pictures of the black sand and surf.  We were way back at the beginning of the entire Waipio Valley.  The tour book (Intrigued Legal says I can’t use the name because it’s considered an endorsement) gave us specific non-touristy directions to a fantastic hike with a 1500’ waterfall.  Once we had interpreted the instructions and turned at a certain colored fence located 3 (or so) miles outside of Waimea, because the instructions were that precise. Not really sure where the edge of town really was, it took us a couple of attempts to find the references in the book. We parked the rental car and climbed through the security fence.  Don’t worry, this was a pedestrian entrance to somewhat public grounds, shared with a private owner.  This part of the Big Island is all green; rainforest green not palm tree green.  The horses inside the fence were very happy to see us, or at least the treats they thought we were carrying.  After a few moments of nudging us with their noses, and realizing we had no treats, they wandered off.

The four of us followed the unofficial footpath past the municipal water supply and started into the rainforest.  The elevation was about 2700’ at this point and in the middle of a rainforest.  The temps were much cooler than along the coast, but still very much shorts and T-shirt weather at this point. 

After a minute or two in the rainforest, we kept seeing forms of Hawaiian Ginger along the pleasantly maintained unofficial trail.

Waipio Valley Hike by Brad Marks
(scanned 35mm film negative)

Hit the jump to read more about Brad’s Hawaiian hiking adventure!

Continue reading A Foggy Hike…by Brad Marks

Something Completely Different…by Brad Marks

With just under 5 miles to go, by the time you read this my last remaining goal of 2022 will be officially checked off. Oddly thanks to Covid, I was able push through the remaining miles and again break the 1200 mile ribbon – there were around 64 miles still to run at end of November. Over the years, I’ve found that running can help ward off sickness or minimally break down whatever heathens make it through my defenses. Feeling under the weather or exposed to the possibility equals 7-9 miles per day – less and don’t sweat enough to purge the sickies, more than 9 miles the immune defense get redirected to muscle recovery instead. I am definitely NOT advocating this approach for others, simply noting it as beneficial to my goal. As I celebrate the accomplishment, going to let Brad take you for a few miles on a hike. Put on your surest footing gear (not Crocs ha), this trek covers some dangerous terrain.

Take it away Brad…

Concrete.  Asphalt.  Crushed gravel.  Grass.  Granite.  Dirt.  Leaves.  Shredded tire chips.  Wood chips.  Mulch.  All good hiking surfaces.  What about hardened basalt?  You know, cooled lava.

I know. I know.  This site is called Wildlife Intrigued.  I have to admit, I’m not going to describe or show any photos of wildlife in this article (unless you count tourists).  But I thought it was interesting and would capture your attention and maybe, just maybe, entice you to visit Volcanoes National Park sometime.

Jan and I were able to reprise a hike we first completed in 2010.  As you’ve seen by now in a few of the past posts, we visited Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii.  And as the name implies, there are volcanoes involved.  Even though Kilauea volcano is currently erupting, there is no molten lava in the Kilauea Iki crater.  Actually, there’s no molten lava within two miles of where we were hiking.  This particular crater last erupted in spectacular fashion in 1959.  (See this site for iconic photos of the drive-in eruption of Kilauea Iki.)   

Despite having arrived early in the morning, the parking lot was nearly full.  I think we found the last available space in the small lot.

Kilauea Iki by Brad Marks

Hit the jump to continue the hike.

Continue reading Something Completely Different…by Brad Marks

Ravenpalooza…by Brad Marks

Somehow we are officially in December and as far as I can tell, we must only be getting one maybe two weeks top per month being no other explanation for how fast time is flying by. Yesterday I was wondering whether to isolate my Turkey from the rest of the fix’ns or just make one big scrumptious pile and douse it with the entire contents of the gravy bowl. A day later wondering if I’m going to get my shopping done before Christmas Eve (which, at this pace might end up being tomorrow). Thankfully, we can lean on Brad to keep us entertained while I wage battle with the hourglass. I must say, our new staff member is doing quite well on his goal milestones – especially the bonus counter for the use of “craptastic” – we never imagined it would find its way into a post in the “literal” sense. Editor note, he would have pulled a mega-score if he had replaced bird “pose[ing]” with a Python reference to the Norwegian Blue nailed to the perch – now that would be Senior Corporate Staff Writer at Intrigued material hehehe. Enough of my rambling, let’s get to Brad’s latest offering, the Ravenpalooza (or should that be Ravenpooplooza?).

Take it away Brad…

The Fall of 2021 was our first visit to Pikes Peak in Colorado.  Jan and I had high hopes of spectacular views from the top. The sun was shining in Manitou Springs at the base of the mountain where you board the cog rail to ride to the peak (visit here for more details on the cog rail).  We booked our tickets for the cog rail while driving to Colorado the day before, so we didn’t end up getting the best seats.  In fact, we ended up sitting backwards on the train as it headed up the mountain.  We were fighting gravity the whole way because the average incline is a 10% grade (up 10 feet for every 100 feet forward) with short runs of 25% grade.  This also means that while we were facing forward on the way down, we were still holding onto our seats so we didn’t fall into the laps of the people sitting across from us.

Unfortunately, the weather can change very quickly around the Front Range of the Rockies.  That visit was no exception.  As we approached 9,000 feet on the ride to the top, clouds settled in and the view diminished quickly.  At about 12,000 feet, snow started to slant past the windows.  By the time we reached the peak, we were in a full-on blizzard.  The snow was falling so fast, and the wind was so strong, that we had to follow the handrails to the visitor center for fear of getting lost in the white-out.  Understandably, we were disappointed not to have a good, or any, view at the top.  Jan and I did decide to run outside for a quick selfie in the blizzard, then ran back inside just as quickly.  After a quick break in the visitor center, we boarded the cog rail for the ride back down the mountain.

Fast forward to Fall 2022.  We bought cog rail tickets months in advance to try for better seats.  Jan and I  ended up with two front row seats.

Hit the jump to read more of Brad and Jan’s “clearer” return to Pikes Peak.

Continue reading Ravenpalooza…by Brad Marks

Changes Aren’t Permanent but Change Is: Part 2 of 2… by Brad Marks

Howdy folks! Not sure what it is like in your setting, but in our parts – it’s damn cold. As a gauge, my last two training runs have been on the treadmill. Guess what I HATE more than anything else…Christmas commercials before Halloween has arrived, BUT, running on a treadmill is easily second highest on my multi-volume set of things that make my blood “boil”. I enjoy running in the snow, tolerate running in sleet and fight through temps into the teens, however, 20mph winds pushing windchills into the single digits can freeze-“burn” the lungs right out of my chest. Reluctantly, tied on the Summer shoes, cranked up the conveyor belt and caught up on several streaming shows – harder that it sounds since I had to strain to hear over the body constantly nagging “Can we go OUTSIDE now!, how about now, I know what we should do..let’s go out there, please, please, pretty please, you know, real mean train outdoors, the ballet called, they want their tutu back, is that your picture next to the ‘wuss’ entry in the dictionary?!?” My body doesn’t even whine that much during ultra races. In an effort to save my sanity and maybe help push the mercury up (do kids even know what that means anymore?) let’s all toast our toes over lava with the second part of Brad’s post on Hawaiian volcanoes.

Take it away Brad…

Brief recap.  Twenty years spanning vacations to the Big Island.  Halema’uma’u crater relatively stable. Blah Blah Blah.  At the end of our last episode as we left our intrepid volcanic crater in the Spring of 2018, hell was breaking loose.  Literally. 

The first sign that something big was happening in 2018 was on April 30th when the lava in the Overlook crater at the Kilauea summit dropped significantly.  This meant that the magma had rapidly drained away from the summit and, based on the earthquake trail, was moving rapidly to the East Rift Zone.  To help with the scale of the next part of this article, please visit the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) site to see a map of the East Rift Zone.  I’ll wait while you go check out the map (humming a popular game show theme song). Halema’uma’u crater is to the lower left of this graphic. Here’s a re-post from a prior article.  It is a wildlife and adventure blog after all.  This trio was captured flying over the caldera on our last day on the island this year.  Remember, Nene prefer to walk everywhere and do not normally need to fly.  Just goes to show how large the caldera really is. 

Hawaiian Volcanoes by Brad Marks

OK, now we can go onto the next section.

Continue reading Changes Aren’t Permanent but Change Is: Part 2 of 2… by Brad Marks

Changes Aren’t Permanent but Change Is: Part 1 of 2… by Brad Marks

In a bit of a surprise, Brad has managed to bring us a two-part post. I have no idea how he had time to crank out not one, but TWO posts with all our new Intrigued employee required training that is just short of 30 online classes, two instruction led workshops and a week long retreat. Included in this curriculum: Information Security, Data Privacy, GDPR, Data Classification, Industrial Waste Management, Prohibitive Harassment (unless target is a lawyer), Insider Trading, Office Ethics: How Not to Embarrass Your Boss in Public (there are some Twitter employees that would benefit from our 2 day course), Corporate Assets Usage (jet, carpool, yacht, big wheel, unicycle, pogo stick, jacuzzi), Lawyer Hell Week (first rule of Hell Week, don’t talk about Hell Week), Performance Reviews, Incentive Compensation (I see Brad already added another “craptastic” check in this post!), Intrigued Birding Rules (link here), a complete viewing of the Monty Python comedy series and Field Safety 101 which includes a very useful workshop on how to properly swing (and if needed avoid) a tripod to escape a wild animal attack – hint, you do not use it on the animal. I’m exhausted just thinking about the workload. While I head off for some rest and a fruity drink with an umbrella in it, enjoy part 1 of Brad’s very “hot” topic.

Take it away Brad….

By now you may have noticed a few guest posts about birds and turtles on the Hawaiian Islands.  We have been fortunate to have been able to visit the islands several (more than a few, less than many) times.  We’ve also visited Volcanoes National Park each time we are on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  Who doesn’t like walking around on an active volcano?!  We’ve seen dramatic changes inside Volcanoes National Park.  I’m not talking about new parking stripes, or the remodeled Volcano House.  I’m talking about geological changes that can take thousands or millions of years to occur.  For example, Pikes Peak in Colorado looks pretty much exactly the same as it did 100 years ago, except for the new Visitor Center at the summit and the kitschy shops around its base.  The same could be said about the Kilauea caldera on the Big Island the prior hundred years.  Even Tom Sawyer’s creator, Mark Twain, seemed unimpressed at first with the Kilauea caldera saying it was “a wide level black plain” and that it was like “a large cellar – nothing more”.  Twain was unimpressed until he realized the scale of what he was seeing.  The “place looked a little larger and a little deeper every five minutes” he said.  Since the Halema’uma’u crater appeared in the early 1920’s there have been precious few large-scale changes.  That’s why after reviewing photos from our most recent visit this past August, I realized how much had changed since the prior visit in 2015.  And how much had changed from the visits prior to that.  Here’s my attempt at explaining or illustrating the changes we have witnessed over the 20 years of visiting Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.  (time for a gratuitous volcano photo from 2010)

Hawaiian Volcanoes by Brad Marks
Continue reading Changes Aren’t Permanent but Change Is: Part 1 of 2… by Brad Marks