August 19, 2008

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Geckoing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 9:09 pm

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Good morning and welcome to our aloha version of wildlife Wednesday. This marks day two of our two week look at the goings on in this tropical paradise. As I honorably mentioned on Monday, we parked ourselves on the North Shore of Oahu for eight days of peace, love and macadamia nuts. Sunset Beach is a fabled surf break, but for our time on this righteous reef, it was as swimmable as a Michael Phelps’ final lap.

When we arrived at our beach house the first thing I noticed was that it was Gecko City. All colors and sizes running road races all over the place. But the ones that really caught my attention were the Gold Dust Day geckos that you can see in photos # 1 and 2. Their green, turquoise blue and red colors were just amazing. They first came to Hawaii from the island of Madagascar, which is off the East Coast of Africa and a great kid’s movie.

Hawaii has five common species of nocturnal geckos, two of which are all female, many of whom are gym teachers. They are the only lizards who are able to make sounds, other than hissing or booing at sporting events. They have highly specialized toe pads (made by Nike) covered with microscopically small suction cups that allow geckos to run easily on smooth surfaces, such as glass, ceilings and ping-pong tables. The first geckos might have traveled to Hawaii as first class stowaways aboard the first Polynesian canoes over 1,500 years ago. So you could say there have been there from the gecko.

Moving along, while my youngest brother was snorkeling at Sharks Cove he saw a sea turtle swimming alongside him. He later remarked to me that he hadn’t seen anything that beautiful come out of the water since Darryl Hannah mermaided in “Splash.” Hawaii is home to five species of sea turtles, the most popular being the green sea turtle. I ran into this fellow (photo #4) on a North Shore beach. He was a magnificent looking specimen and offered us a free night’s stay and complimentary breakfast at the Turtle Bay Hilton (the only hotel on the North Shore.)

Hawaii is home to 28 species of reptiles, including a sea snake and the five species of sea turtles, of which only six are indigenous. The islands are also home to the monk seal, the most endangered seal species in the U.S. There are only around 1,300 in Hawaii and like to haul out on sandy shores. This monk seal (photo #4) came up onto Sunset Beach about 100 yards from our house and stayed for a few days. But after watching the North Korean women win the gold in team archery she took off to check out the lava flow on the Big Island.

Each morning I would get up and walk down the beach to shoot the sunrise, a very unusual activity for me. On the way there I would run into clusters of crabs, who would dig holes in the sand to then come out and run like young Gale Sayers. I spotted this soft-shelled beauty (photo #5) and thought he would make a nice addition to the blog or a tasty appetizer.

One day we took a trip to the Waimea Valley Audubon Center, which is right across from Waimea Bay. As we drove in we came upon the this NBC peacock (photo #6) strolling down the road. This bird was a montage of brilliant colors starting off with the Bejiing blue on its neck. Waimea Valley is home to incredible plant life which we’ll take a look at next week. It also has a tremendous gift shop and the guava smoothies at the snack bar looked outstanding.

That’s it for today. Coming up on Friday we’ll go to the sky and check out some cloud formations from the place where surfing’s Indy 500 is held every winter. So enjoy the geckos, savor the day and we’ll catch you on Friday. Aloha, football fans.

2 Comments »

  1. Welcome home to paradise from paradise. Turtles, gecko’s crabs, oh my! Wild Kingdom at Sunrise Santa Cruz.

    Comment by jerry — August 20, 2008 @ 11:00 am

  2. That peacock was as amazing
    as the Teds bakery guava smoothie.

    Comment by Aimee — August 22, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

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