I can’t believe in a few days it’s June. Half way through the year. Time goes so slowly and so fast at the same time, yet recently it’s been flying by. Even my birthday 2 weeks ago feels like a lifetime away. Anyway. Weekend Friday Favourites, things that have made me smile or caught my eye.
This week I got to see wild flamingos with a trip the UNESCO Deltebre in Tarragona. Rice fields line the roads right up to the nature reserves where you can see flamingos, glossy ibis, cranes, different types of ducks to name a few. It was amazing seeing them wild just being flamingos. Peacocks have competition for being like magic carpets in flight.
I think there’s a British Seagull on holiday in Barcelona at the moment.
Que? For about 2 weeks occasionally I’ve heard a different sounding seagull. I’m used to hearing and seeing yellow legged gulls who sound like they’re laughing at you. This gull sounds like the UK, or rather beaches in the UK. That’s the first thing I noticed when I visited my parents last year back in the UK, the beach didn’t sound right. The gulls had a different voice. Maybe I’m imagining it, made they got swept here with the storms in March, maybe they’re just exploring for a while.
I’ve also seen more of a type of plover, I think ringed plover (I swear not I’m a bird geek! I just like to know the names of birds like I do animals!) at a spot where I run too. There was 1 and now there’s 4. I’ve never seen them before here so was curious. Same way that I’m not a bird geek, I got a bird ID book as I kept seeing different coloured gulls from the balcony last year. Turns, out they’re teenage gulls 🤦♀️.
Anyway, back in July last year baby fish clouds were still around and I was getting more comfortable being in the water. The visibility wasn’t so good most day. I was getting a little frustrated that I could never focus the camera on what I was shooting and that most of the shoots were grainy. Nat, you’re in the water and the water’s moving! Photography works differently in the water to on land. I still didn’t want to use flash to disturb the fish or to attract larger scarier fish!
On good vis days I had fun watching tiny fish who only kept the the bottom not bothered by the drama higher up in the water column.
The rest of the garden at Lyon Arboretum leading from the Buddha was more semi wild rainforest. Still manicured, yet compared to the actual manicured part it was wilder, more forest. I’d got to the point I couldn’t and didn’t want to take any more photos, yet every twist and turn of the path was something I wanted to photo knowing I’m probably never returning again. Trees were more than just trees. They were cities in themselves with ivy, moss and host of other plants growing on them who in return housed hundreds of bugs, insects and animals. The big tropical leaves growing free competing for the sunlight. Leaves as big as umbrellas.
I only realised editing these photos I never changed the ISO. In my defence I wasn’t using or understanding how to use ISO 2 years ago. Yes, it’s been 2 years and I’m only just sharing the photos! This part the island has its own climate (The Hawaiian Islands have 10 of the 14 climates in the world!). Sunny skies accept for the Manoa Valley that day. It’s crazy how for such a small island in the middle of Pacific ocean different locations on the island have different climates and weather all in one day. It freaked me out almost daily when I was there that I was on a tiny volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean which is huge and deep, feeling open and exposed. I live by the Mediterranean Sea with a huge continent behind me with one fault line running in the middle of the med sea. I feel safe as there’s lot of space. Even in the UK an island itself where I grew up I never thought I was on an island. It’s what you’re used to. None of this however excuses my lack of using ISO.
Just like how plants grow in cracks in walls!
Canopy tops like coral fans looking up matched each other like jigsaw puzzles for light. Neither one bumping into each other leaving a little breathing room between them.
Deviating from the path at the end of Manoa Falls trail back the carpark, enticed by pink flowers and thick tree truck bases you could camp in we stumbled across Lyon Arboretum.
Lyon Arboretum’s a botanical garden run by the University of Hawaii set in 194 acres conserving native Hawaiian plants and their relationship and role in Hawaiian culture. Entry is free, although you’re encouraged to make donation of I think $10 person which I’d happily pay again as it’s perhaps the most magnificent, magical botanical I’ve been too. Yes, there’s a manicured lawn of which the main path of stone and wood stepping stones, takes you around detailing plants in Hawaiian culture, as all botanical gardens have a manicured lawn somewhere. In addition to native Hawaiian plants they also have many other non native plants such as ornamental tropical and temperate plants. More gems I think are hidden in the many trails up into the rainforest. Sadly we got there about 45 minutes before closing (coming from Europe or rather Spain, the early closing of many places was a shock). That was just enough time to walk around the main trail. I’m sure trails off the main path leading up into the rainforest are way less quieter than Manoa Falls trail next door. That trail’s way too busy! I didn’t see the gardens advertised much, so I think it’s a if you know it, you know it garden which is great if you want to escape the escape the hustle and bustle of the tourists while being tourist. And yes, I took way too many photos. Editing them for here was so hard.
Aside from the security guard chickens in the carpark and wild birds near the sea and at Diamond Head monument I didn’t see much wildlife on Oahu. I did have moment with this guy. We watched each other for a few minutes.
I have a confession, I didn’t know what arboretum meant when I saw it. It is a botanical garden devoted to trees for science and educational purposes. If I had used my Spanish I would have guessed it. Only looking it up I saw the root (hehehe) arbor. Tree in Spanish is arbol. The science and educational bit makes sense too as to why it’s run by the University of Hawaii. Duh Nat.
All this summer as much as I can I’ve been visiting a magical world. A world I discovered last year on holiday in Mallorca. A world whose outer bubble I see everyday but never give much thought what’s under the surface. A world I’ve only glimpsed at in photos. A world all winter I couldn’t wait to visit as summer came. A world that holds so much allure and mystery humans still haven’t explored perhaps even 1/3 of it.
It started with P wanting me to snorkel. Mallorca is perhaps one of the best places in the Western Mediterranean to snorkel. In the summer the waters are warm, clear and rocky. Rocks perfect for fish, warm and clear perfect for humans to visit without having to suit up. Back in Barcelona I got little sad. I didn’t think I could snorkel or visit under the sea until the following summer. It’s a city beach, there’s not going to be anything hanging around in the water. That changed the day I saw a flash of silver treading water. The next day I took my googles and snorkel. A few days later so P and others would believe me there’s fish along the city beaches his old Go Pro. The Go Pro turned into an Olympus Tough 6 with this year since about late May as often as I can I’ve been in the water visiting the city fish. It might not be the best, clearest waters however it’s world I feel’s secret as few snorkel where I go. That’s changed a bit this year as Decathlon opened up in a local mall with easy access to snorkels more have been visiting, but I think most on the beach think I’m crazy.
I always believe salt water cures almost anything. Having a bad day, it’s too hot, having a good day, that cooling hug it gives as you take dip makes you forget about everything. When I watch the fish just be, everything slips away. The sea and it’s inhabitants don’t know about how your day’s been, how’s your week’s been, they don’t care if you’re happy or sad. They’re just going about eating, trying not to be prey, hunting, just being. In a crazy way I’ve made friends with a few. Okay maybe not friends, but they always say hi if they’re around. Saddled sea breams are known to be friendly but are probably just checking me out. From visiting almost daily for about 3 months I feel kinda protective of them and the rest of the fish I’ve seen travelling this summer. They don’t know about what’s happening outside of where they live. They might be noticing climate change, they might not be. They haven’t got a voice to fight back to say help like land animals can (maybe Orcas are as they’re the oceans bullies. One rogue pod has been attacking boats in the Med and Atlantic. El Pais in English who first reported it. BBC article). I don’t have to tell you their habitats are changing. For most they’ll only do something when there’s nearly no fish to eat.
The below photos are from late May to mid June. I’d had the camera all winter only to test it out 2 minutes before going in. It’s point and shoot right? Nope. There’s a little more to it Nat hence the bad photography and for now they’re jpegs. The sea bottom back in May and June had a lot of seaweed/plants growing. Now in August there’s more peacock’s tail. Yep I got a Mediterranean marine ID book 🤓 And yes I spook myself out when the visibility’s low. When I didn’t know what was just beneath the shoreline when I swam or treaded water I didn’t freak out much. Now I know what’s under there, for every big fish, there’s an even bigger fish…