Sunday, November 27, 2016

Recent Photos From Paradise

Here are some photos from the last few days I thought you might enjoy:

This, along with the next three photos, were taken from Channel-8's broadcast of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Here, you get an idea of the immensity of Hawaii's All-State Marching Band.  Over 400-band members and 200-hula dancers performed in this, the 90th-Anniversary of  one of America's most iconic parades.

They had to dress warm for the low-40's temperatures Thursday morning in New York City, but their incredible energy, excitement and Aloha Spirit must've helped keep them toasty.

What an honor to be one of ten marching bands selected out of 200 considered.

They even had a float with a volcano spewing confetti "lava".  They did a fine job representing Hawaii and I'm sure their parents are busting with pride.

A couple of days ago, we were treated to a rainbow appearing in front of a huge downpour, mostly over the ocean.

Atlantis Adventures Majestic, tours Honolulu Harbor at sunset.  Normally, we see her heading out to sea, but on this evening she took a leisurely trip around the calm waters of the expansive harbor.  The trade winds were very strong, along with rough seas, which may have been a factor in their decision to stay close to home.  I'm sure more than a few of the passengers appreciated their concern. 

Click on this photo to better see why I took it.  The cruise ship Star Princess was berthed at Pier-11 when a Matson container ship passed by on the way to her berth.  We feel really lucky to be able to watch these giant ships maneuver--or be maneuvered by tugs--in such a small area.

For some reason, many container ships are turned-around and backed into their berths.  This would be the case today.  Normally, however, there isn't a nearly thousand-foot long cruise ship so close.

She's being turned by the tugs.  It's probably not at all exciting for the tugboat captains--just routine.

A couple of passengers with their morning coffee, one watching the container ship being turned and one enjoying the view of Honolulu.

Later that morning, the NYK vehicles carrier, "Harvest Leader" headed to sea under the control of at least two tugboats.  Here's a link to more information on this "green" Eco-friendly behemoth.

It's just an illusion of close proximity, but I'm quite certain the caution exercised by everyone involved in moving these large vessels within the harbor is very real.

No green flash yesterday, but once the sun disappeared the scattered clouds took on some amazing colors.

As the evening crept-up on us, we had a pretty decent view of that giant TV screen on the Star Princess.

A Hawaiian Airlines inter-island jet took off not long after sunset.

The sky just kept getting more and more beautiful, though the mai tai might've helped my perception.  Friends who live on the mountain view side of the building shared the spectacle and really enjoyed it.

Hope you all had a nice weekend! 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Coconuts And Golf

Thought I'd share some photos from a pre-Thanksgiving round of golf Wednesday morning.   

A not uncommon sight in the islands, but an important, potentially life-saving service.  The man located in the "cherry-picker" bucket is removing unripe coconuts from these very tall palm trees.  The job was made a little more exciting today as the trade winds were blowing from from 20-35 mph.  You know the drill...click on any of the photos for a closer look.

In this image, the young, greenish-yellow coconuts can be seen.  The workers use a machete-like hatchet, almost as big as a canoe paddle, to hack palm fronds and coconuts from the trees.

An Air Force C-17 about to land on Runway-8L.  That's the Waianae Range in the far background.  Landings and takeoffs of military, commercial and civilian aircraft add to the unique character of Mamala Bay Golf Course.

Back to coconuts and golf.  On this hole, I hit my drive into the pile of palm fronds and young coconuts at the base the tree with the worker climbing down.  In addition to finding my shot, we found four other balls that had been dislodged after who knows how many years up in that tree.

He's almost down.  Workers use spur-like attachments to their boots to aid in climbs and descents.

One of our group about to hit his tee shot as a Hawaiian Airlines inter-island jet is about to land on Runway-4R.

That's all for now.  Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Did You Ever Wonder...

This post is about a few of the interesting things happening every day, all around us, but often just out of sight.  Have a look...

Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night wondering where construction crane operators learn this challenging job?  Me neither, but now we know.  On the morning of November 16th, we were enjoying breakfast on the lanai, when we noticed the crane on the pier just about dead center in this photograph.  With binoculars, we were able to see what appeared to be a training set-up for student crane operators.  Click on the photo for a closer look.

This photo was taken on November 18th, on what appears to be "final exam" day.  The operator trainee was tasked with moving the white cylinder between the rows of "obstacles".  We're guessing the folks in the orange/yellow vests are grading the student's performance.  Since we never saw a single obstacle bumped, we're betting he, or she, will get their license.  Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

Now, when we look at a construction site, we'll have confidence that the crane operator(s) are well-trained and qualified to do this very demanding and potentially dangerous job.  Notice the huge sailing vessel in the background.

Zoomed-in, you can see just how big it is, especially compared to the dingy tied to the stern.  We have seen the upper portion of her very tall mainmast when she was moored at Kewalo Basin, but for some reason, she was anchored just outside the small boat harbor for a day or so.  Wish I knew more about this very big, no doubt luxury yacht.

This is the OSRV (oil spill recovery vessel), Clean Islands.  The 130-ft. long ship just moved to a berth directly in our view and we couldn't help but notice the big Santa Clause this morning.  Cars zooming along Nimitz Highway will have something seasonal to brighten their view now.

It's a bit early in my humbug opinion, but what the heck.

We often see giant, Noah's Ark-like vehicle carrier ships here, wondering just how many new vehicles are off-loaded.  Most of us never see them, either.  These are on a pier, not visible from the streets.  It seems hard to believe so many vans and cars will be sold here and on the other islands, but there it is.

Ever wonder where all the countless tour buses go to spend the night?  A small portion of them park in this garage facility just off Nimitz Highway.  We've counted twenty inside and another eleven  outside the building (to the right) early morning, before the drivers begin heading out.  There must be nearly a thousand on O'ahu, between the city and tour companies.

This outside parking area next to the bus barn can hold another bunch.  It gives some perspective on the scale of the tourist industry in Hawaii.

The Firebird fishing vessel.  I included this photo in case you ever wondered where tired, beat-up, rusty commercial fishing boats go to die.  Last year, one in much worse condition slowly sank very close to this hulk.  Seems port authorities were unsuccessful in reaching the owner (living in another country) to either repair, remove or sell it.  Army (yes, Army!) divers patched the hull and re-floated the hulk and it was towed away.  By the looks of this one, they may soon have another training opportunity.  Hope a few of life's nagging questions have been answered for you. :)

That's it for today!  Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

First Supermoon In 48-Years

Late Sunday night, or early Monday morning, depending on your point of view, the most super of supermoons brightened the sky above Hawaii.  If you missed it, or your view was obstructed by clouds, geography or buildings, it'll be awhile until your next opportunity--November 25th, 2034--to be exact.  For us, the strongest view would occur at 3:52 AM!  I cheated a little and finished taking photos at just about 2:00 AM.  The moon's path was pretty much overhead, which meant I had to hang over the lanai railing to get the shots.  That made stability almost impossible, so the images aren't as sharp as I'd like.  I expect lots of you enjoyed the show watching, or recording one of several live broadcasts.  Ain't technology grand!   

And Saturday, we had what are called "Kona Winds", which simply means a southerly wind direction instead of the dominant northeast trades.  When that happens--happily not that often--O'ahu's normally clean and clear air is supplanted with a bit of volcanic dust from the active volcano Kilauea, located on the Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island.  The particulates in the air make for some wonderful sunsets and yesterday was no exception as you'll see below.

Finally, a few days ago I was on the golf course hustling along before dark, but it was tough to concentrate due to all the rainbows.  Thought I'd throw in some photos to make this post a bit more colorful and happy.

So, what's the big deal, you must be asking.  Nothing much, really.  I mentioned the challenge in taking photos and this underwhelming image is proof.  No background, city lights or ocean to suggest scale, just a gray moon.  Maybe conditions will be better the next time around in 2034.  I wonder if I'll be alive then and, more importantly, remember my name or how to use whatever passes for a camera. :))

The first of several sunset photos taken on a day with a fair amount of volcanic haze over O'ahu.  This photo was taken at 5:31 PM.  Nice reflection on the water.

This was taken a minute later.  The sky had a bronze cast, with a bit of gold dust thrown-in.  Not your typical Hawaiian sunset, but beautiful in its own way.

As the sun descended, the golden reflection moved across the harbor and was quite stunning.  This was taken at 5:38 PM.

My favorite of the day.  The darker clouds looked more like mountain tops peeking out from the clouds below.  Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

Happy time and colors!  One of the many rainbows distracting me from the game that day.  Golfers are always looking for an excuse for not playing "up to par", and rainbows works for me. :)

This one was subtle, but still photo-worthy in my humble opinion.  That's the clubhouse at Mamala Bay Golf Course, on Hickam Air Force Base, known today as, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Diamond Head substituted for the rainbows in this photo.

Another one, flanked by coconut palms, swaying in the trade winds.  It is truly lovely being there as late afternoon eases into twilight.

That's all folks!  Enjoy your tomorrow!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Monster Surf And Other Stuff

O'ahu and Maui were gifted by some monster surf the past few days and I captured some shots of the action from last night's local late news.  Women, for the first time, were invited to participate in the fun at a big wave contest held at "Jaws" (Pe'ahi Beach) surf break on the north shore of Maui.  Proud of the ladies who had the courage to meet such a daunting and dangerous challenge.  And we should all celebrate another "glass ceiling" being shattered.  I've also thrown-in a few other photos taken the past week or so.  Here we go:

Paige Alms, First woman to win the Pe'ahi ("Jaws") Challenge.  My thanks to Honolulu's local CBS Affiliate, KGMB, for providing this video.  Click on any of the photos to get a closer look.

I'm speechless!  Here's a link to learn all about one of the world's greatest big surf spots, "Jaws", aka, Pe'ahi Beach, located on Maui's north shore.  I highly recommend watching the first video of the surfers risking life-and-limb to ride some truly monster waves.  Some of the wipeouts might give you nightmares.

Can you imagine doing this?!

A wipeout on O'ahu's north shore.  No deaths were reported from either location.  Whew!

This pretty-well illustrates why we live here.  Forgive me for showing this.

A Delta airliner taxis by while I'm trying to make a dreaded three-foot putt.  No respect!

Red ginger adds some color to the golf course.

A Navy C-40A on short final to the reef runway.  It's based on the Boeing-737-700, with significantly improved capabilities compared to the C-9B (one of my favorite aircraft) it has replaced.

Same night, different aircraft.  I guess, based on the sky, you pretty-well know what's coming up next! :))

Yet another fiery sunset! 

Something we don't see very often:  A Coast Guard MH-65-Dolphin rescue helicopter performing...what?  Hover training perhaps?  At least, that's what we thought it was doing, since we didn't see anyone in the water. 

My version of a closer look. 

It's all about commerce.  A container ship heads out, as a tug towing a container-loaded barge heads in.  The ocean was like glass this day.

Time to say goodnight.  The streets of Chinatown are glowing gold as evening settles over Honolulu.  My glass is empty and so is my stomach.  Dinner is on the horizon, so I'll sign-off for now.

Enjoy your tomorrow!