Sunnylands Reflected~

by still waters. (click/tap to enlarge)

The harsh desert,

softened,

by silent pools.

Trees offer shade,

in the fierce summer heat,

allowing buds to bloom,

and thrive.

Water,

turns Sunnyland,

into wonderland.

Cheers to you from The Annenberg Gardens in Palm Springs California~

Fire~

A suspected arsonist has been busy at The Holler.

Multiple fires have recently broken out in our extremely fire prone region that have been effectively fought and extinguished by our incredible fire fighters. We live in Southern California in a climate-change worsened rural fire zone under constant threat of fire.

A highly unusual hurricane is forecasted to bring significant rain to the region this weekend which will be a blessing if it arrives.

We flew from The Holler fires to West Maui two weeks ago with the whole family in tow including the four year old twins who are in love with the ocean. (Click to enlarge).

The fires came with hurricane winds on the second day.

Power, all forms of communication, and food quickly perished and were not replaceable. We were informed by our condo hosts that water may be turned off.

Information was word of mouth. We knew there were three fires on Maui and one on Hawaii. We knew they were very serious. We knew they were close. We saw and smelled the smoke, but we didn’t yet know the extent of the carnage and the heartbreak. It was an extremely confusing time. No clarity about where to go or what to do. There was no access to the internet/iphone or information to make decisions.

We were in condos for three days during the fires that were supplied with no flashlights, candles or emergency supplies. We stood, with hundreds of other souls (mostly tourists), in line for food much of which was packaged and distributed by volunteer organizations, including, but not limited to, a church group in Tennessee. Thank you Volunteer Organizations! You make an incredible difference.

Thousands of tourists clogged the airport trying to follow the governor’s edict to leave Maui. Many were evacuated to a convention center in Oahu.

We left West Maui on the fourth day of the fires which required us to drive by the historic and beautiful town of Lahaina. I took no photos. Lahaina is a mass fatality zone. Photos would have been invasive and disrespectful.

We relocated to another part of the island until flying home yesterday. I include here some photos of beautiful Kihei Maui which escaped the flames, but not the pain.

(Click to enlarge). Maui is strong but she needs our help. It truly does make a significant difference. We experienced this first hand when we received desperately needed food and flashlights. If you are able, here are some organizations that need help, or chose an organization that you know and trust:

https://www.mauinuistrong.info/support

Love and solidarity to the suffering people of Maui~

Centurial~

Century Plants look like giant asparagus and are members of the aspargus family.

Their name is derived because they are said to bloom,

once a century,

and then die.

We have at least a hundred or more at The Holler.

When they bloom,

the stalks are well over 20 feet tall.

They are magnets for pollinators,

especially bees and hummingbirds.

The hummingbirds fight relentlessly for control over the massive stalks.

Our century plants bloom about every ten years and reproduce prodigiously via underground root systems.

Cheers to you from The Holler Centurions~

Look Who Showed Up at The Holler~

Tiny Scaly Breasted Munias are native to India and Southeast Asia (click/tap to enlarge).

I told you birds,

don’t pay attention,

to where they are ‘supposed’ to be!

They looked as surprised to see me as I was to see them, but we are getting used to each other.

There is a whole flock of them.

It turns out these birds were sold in US pet stores as Nutmeg Mannikins.

Some escaped and have been breeding in Southern California.

I had a dickens of a time identifying them because they are not native.

Cheers to you from the new Holler locals who are fitting in quite nicely with the neighbors~

Off the Beaten Path: Painted Sea Caves~

On the western side of Santa Cruz Island (click/tap to enlarge),

in Channel Islands National Park,

off the coast of Southern California,

you will find,

the fourth largest sea cave in the world.

The cave extends for a quarter mile under the basalt cliffs of Santa Cruz Island.

You can enter and explore the cave by boat.

It’s vibrant colors are created by lichen growing on the cave walls.

I saw similar caves in Isla Ballestas in Peru, but the colors in the Peruvian caves were formed by strata in the rock and there was more natural light to see inside:

Islas Ballestas~

Cheers to you from the world’s fascinating ‘Off the Beaten Path’ Sea Caves~

Off the Beaten Path: Super Pods~

This is what you see first in the far distance. Sea birds congregating over dolphin herded fish balls. Note the dolphin in the lower center of the photo. For every dolphin you see at any given moment on the surface, there are scores more underwater (click to enlarge).

As you focus in, you notice odd splashes everywhere around you, and dolphins cresting in the distance.

The Captain spins the boat,

in fast churning 360 degree circles,

as dolphins race towards you,

to play in the wake.

They swim,

directly at,

alongside,

and underneath the boat,

far surpassing the speed and skill of the captain.

Cheers to you from the stunning dolphin super pods~