Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Busy Harbor

It was a gorgeous morning.  We not only saw several whales, but lots of interesting ships, sailboats, tourist cruise ships and aircraft.  Take a look:

Seem what I mean?  The best thing about rain in Hawaii is that the trade winds keep the clouds moving at a brisk pace, so you hardly ever get more than a spritz...and lots of nice rainbows.

This racy red trimaran appeared to performing something of a shakedown cruise.  You can see why it caught my eye.  Everything about this vessel shouted racing, but I don't know for sure.

This shot was included to show the three hulls, but also because it looks like I inadvertently caught a couple of whale blows in the lower left.  The beasties were all over this morning.

She finally raised one of her sails.  I really hoped we'd get to see her in full-sail, but didn't.

Continuing my scan of the area, take a look at the Kwai.  The jaunty angle of that mast had me convinced the ship had run into heavy seas and was damaged.  Turns out, it's part of the rigging!  She's berthed here between voyages, though this is the first time we've seen her.  Click on the link to learn about fascinating vessel.  In another time and life, to be part of the crew on such a boat would've been my dream job.  I might've ended-up being a modern day Joseph Conrad! :))

You can see some crewmen at work in this shot.

This Air Force plane, painted in the same colors as Air Force One, departed this morning.  Maybe the President and family are traveling to another island.  Guess we'll watch the evening news to see if they have the story.

A tanker and her tugs heading into the harbor while the Star of Honolulu steams by on her morning whale watching tour.

The Nord Steady moving toward her berth.  In the foreground is the Kwai.

You can see how light the ship is from the amount of orange below the waterline, but she's still pumping ballast water off.  I'm just guessing here, but I believe it's sea water and very clean.

Maybe that's the captain and harbor pilot watching the maneuvers from the bridge wing...or not. :)

And finally, the sunset on December 26th.

The colors became more intense as the sun disappeared.

Have a festive New Year's celebration, if your new year falls on January 1!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Container Ship, Cruise Ship, Tugs And Outrigger Canoes

I imagine a clever songwriter could turn the title of this post into a song.  Something along the lines of Leonard Cohen's, Hallelujah.  Among the several interesting things we were privileged to see the past few days, one was an unusual conjunction of ocean going vessels coming together at the harbor entrance.  It's probably nothing too exciting, but for us it was one of those rare-ish moments not seen very often.  Our primary goal this morning was looking for whales, when we noticed this.  I grabbed the camera and here is what it captured:

Let's back up a day or two--the 22nd, to be exact.  This rainbow happened at a bit past eight in the morning.  Nice way to begin a post, don't you agree.

Relax, it's not a shooting star or newly discovered comet.  It's an airliner seen from probably twenty or thirty miles away and many thousands of feet above us.  It's heading west, chasing the sun, which illuminated the engines contrails.  We're not sure how far our binoculars can see, or the camera lens when zoomed, but we saw it for a rather long time.

If I may beg your indulgence yet again.  This was taken on December 23rd, at 5:58 PM.  Rain showers were falling mostly west of us and I thought the colors were striking.

Also taken on the 23rd, I liked the golden reflections on the ocean and harbor.

At 6:03 PM these colors demanded to be photographed.

Thanks for being patient folks.  This is the shot I was telling you about.  A Matson Navigation Company container ship is just leaving the harbor as one of her tugs heads for her berth.  The small, colorful lines are six-place canoes racing toward Waikiki.  That's another freighter in the right foreground, being off-loaded, while the Pride of America cruise ship's stack is visible in the left foreground.  She's just tied-up for her day-long port call.  Click on the photo for a closer look.
This, just for historical accuracy, was taken at 8:30 AM on Christmas Eve, 2016.

Hope Santa brings you everything you wanted tonight!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Santa's Helpers Load His...Sleigh?

Tuesday and Wednesday we were treated to one of those operations you don't see everyday.  About twenty local stevedores, or perhaps more appropriate to the season, "Santa's Helpers" were busy loading the NYK Lines, IYO, with four pleasure craft.  We have no idea where these boats were headed, but several people are going to have a Very Merry Christmas!  Here's what it looked like from our vantage point:

Our first contestant being rigged by a gang of stevedores.  You know the drill by now...Click on any of the images for a closer look.  Two diver's heads can be seen in the water, waiting to attach the massive sling about to be lowered.

First trial lift.  The crew was extremely careful throughout the maneuvers--checking, and re-checking the rigging and stability.

I titled this photo:  "Gently, gently."

The second contestant up for loading is just being eased onto the deck.  A lot of work happened after this as the crew secured the vessel to multiple supports.

The end of the first day was rather nice.

Day-2 began as this beauty pulled along side for her turn.

Another successful hoist.  At this point, we thought they were done.  There didn't seem to be enough deck space for any other boats.

Not so fast!  This sleek sailing yacht, with about a 60-70-foot high mainmast arrived and it didn't look like it was sightseeing.

Life at the airport continued as normal while the hoists were taking place.  In this image, it looks like the Elves at FedEx packed this really BIG flying sleigh with several tons of presents for Hawaii's good girls and boys.

This one took the longest for obvious reasons, but it was also successful.  Into that night, we could see welding being done to secure her to the deck.  Later, the IYO departed and these wonderful presents were on their way!  I hope the families have really big chimneys!  That's my Christmas story for today boys and girls.

The NYK Line IYO, packed-up and ready to go.

Hope each-and-every one of you has a wonderful holiday--in whatever way you celebrate!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Holiday Travel-Jog

About a week ago, I went for a jog much earlier than usual, and took along a camera.  I reversed my route, too, in hopes of getting images with more daylight and a different viewpoint.  It's a new look at Honolulu dressed for the holidays.

First stop:  Honolulu Hale ("Hale" means house or home in Hawaiian) or city hall and it's wonderful giant-size seasonal figures.  This group is called "The Snow Family".

I thought the young snow lad holding his surfboard demanded a close-up.

An over-sized keiki (children) choir, attired in board shorts, Aloha shirts and beach cover-ups, accompanied by a ukulele and washtub stringed instrument.

A huge Christmas tree decorates the lawn in front of city hall.  Click on any image for a closer look.  Those two skinny things are tall palm trees, but you probably knew that. :)

Massed poinsettias flank the giant tree.  In the background are the three front entrances to city hall.

My favorite:  Santa and Mrs Claus, with green sea turtles and a penguin playing in the fountain.  I really loved Santa flashing a shaka, his short-ish sleeves and pants and his bare foot dangling in the water.  Mrs Claus is likewise dressed in island style.

Shadows from the giant trees in a park next to city hall make it tough to see, but trust me, the huge blocks spell-out Mele Kalikimaka or Merry Christmas, in Hawaiian.

A hula dancer with a giant lei, a drum, a gourd drum and ukulele. 

A fountain between North King Street and Kapiolani Boulevard.  It features a waterfall with a young man mending his hand-thrown fishing net.

A close-up of the fountain.

Sometimes, seeing a building you've seen a thousand times in a different light from a different perspective is photo-worthy.

Perhaps not a particularly remarkable photo, but I'm still surprised and amused whenever I see palm trees on a roof top.  It's one of those things that confirm we aren't in Kansas anymore. :)

Winds that day were out of the southwest, so planes were landing opposite the normal trade wind pattern.  It means giant airliners and military jets, too, travel just off Waikiki Beach and the rest of the shoreline heading west, which explains why this United jet is so close.

I love this mural of President Obama, but usually when I'm close to it, it's almost dark and there's no way I could get a photo.  Even this day, the sun was just far enough to the west that a shadow covers part of the image.  That's a car's back window in the lower right.

When I was in position to get the President's photo, I noticed this art work on a nearby building.  Kinda reminds me of some of Picasso's work.

This unique painting was on the same wall.  Now that's what I call creative!

This orange bougainvillea caught my eye.  Notice the Christmas light cord wrapped all around it.

One of two of my favorite new condo towers under construction.  It's called the Waiea Building, located along Ala Moana Boulevard, just across the street from Ala Moana Beach Park.  The dramatically-curved facade is most unusual these days.  Seems most new buildings are strictly utilitarian rectangular forms, totally lacking in any esthetic value.

Kitty-corner across the street from the Waiea Building is my second favorite.  Never seen anything quite like it and I love it.  Hope to get a chance to have a look inside both when they're finished.

Another mural just inside the Ward Warehouse shopping center.  I noticed it as I was stopped to find out where some singing was coming from. 

The source of the singing.  A group of young children, accompanied by older kids, singing Christmas carols for their moms and dads and all the shoppers.  It was a nice respite from the running.  Earlier this morning, about thirty-thousand folks ran the Honolulu Marathon.  A lady here inquired if I had run it.  I laughed and told her no.  Once, two years ago, was plenty for me!

Another building I never see this view of.  I really love the artwork built into the facade.  I believe it's part of the University of Hawaii Medical School.

Hey!  Who wouldn't want a new Porsche under their Christmas tree?!

This advertisement was in the window of the dealership with the Porsche.  I thought, I've gotta get a photo of this to show the world what businesses have to do to excite Hawaii residents to buy a car.  Most places on the mainland would offer a trip to Hawaii.  I wonder just how many people living here would actually take such a trip.  Most of us don't have appropriate clothing for Europe.  Maybe that should be included in the offer! :)

I'm still on Ala Moana Boulevard and that's the Star Princess cruise ship tied-up at Pier-2.  As I got closer, the immense size of this great ship became even more impressive.

A large wreath and garland outside a night club along the route.

I'll admit this might be pretty lame, but it's a feature of another building never seen before.  We see the other side of this interesting structure every day from home, but I never knew where the elevators were until this run.

In a post about three years ago, I took a photo of another one of these rather grotesquely-twisted trees, but this one really takes the cake.  I'm no psychologist, but I strongly believe these trees could be used in an updated version of the famous Rorschach test.  They fascinate me, yet it almost hurts to look at them.  I'd tell you what I see here, but it's probably better if I don't. :))

It's only about half a mile to home now.  This is on Bishop Street, in front of a bank building.  Really large Christmas tree ornaments and nearby, extra-big wrapped gifts.  It's a nice splash of color for this rather gray area. 

Finally, an all-time favorite in the categories of color, shape and scent.  Plumeria has such a beautiful perfume and it's so nice that they are planted in so many places. 

Hope you are having a nice weekend and that the rest of the holiday season is all you're hoping for.