Spirit of Aloha

When moved to Hawaii we knew that there was something special about these islands, we couldn’t put our finger on it but we knew. We weren’t expecting what we have seen and experienced. As photographers we want to photograph those moments in time where you wish you could press the pause button and just hold onto that time forever. So often we realize how special that time was in our lives a little too late, and wish that we could go back and have some solid memory that it happened. Sharing our photos and experiences with people allow us to expose a side of Hawaii that so many forget. Hawaii isn’t just about the Mai Tais, Leis, Zip-Lining, Shopping, there is so much more here that so many fail to see. Having my parents experience the spiritual side of the islands helped them to understand why we have grown roots here and feel so connected to the land. Thomas being a concierge and myself being a Marine Biologist and Naturalist has allowed us through work to learn about the islands and have a better understanding of their history and their future. On the night of July 31, with a little bit of the old Hawaii and the new, the islands welcomed us with open arms and rewarded my parents for the thirty years they have dedicated to each other, and healed their hearts to allow them to move forward another 30 years. We can sit here and write about how this evening made us feel, but sometimes images tell the story better. We are so thankful and blessed when the people closest to us can experience the hidden majesty and allow the aloha spirit to resonate within. 

The skies opened up and sunshine flooded our lens as well as rainbows, emerald green mountains, turquoise ocean, Hawaiian chants and musical notes from Thomas’s ukulele:



These are the moments that we live for, the ones full of love, laughter and happiness. These photos make us happy, we hope that you enjoy them as well.


Pā ‘ana a ka lā‘ means sunshine in Hawaiian and that is what we have been experiencing on the island of Kauai. We took a drive yesterday to the North Shore and I completely fell in love with Hanalei. Close your eyes and imagine a place where on each side of you are tall jagged cliffs draped in a green canopy of vegetation with cascading 3,000 foot waterfalls tucked into the crevices of these mountains. Tucked at the base of this is a small town surrounded by taro fields. In these taro fields endangered Nene, endemic geese to the Hawaiian Islands feed and rest. When you open your eyes, know that this is a place that exists, a place that will make you stop, stare and make you realize that amazing beauty can still exist amongst humans. That not everything has to be conquered and developed. That this place is apart of the United States! I am still in awe Hanalei and hope that everyone can experience this magical place by the sea. I forget to mention that the ocean is also present here, and long running rivers exit the waterfall’s fresh water, creating a brackish environment all of its own. We traded the ‘Pā ‘ana a ka lā‘ sunshine yesterday for ‘Wai’ele’ waterfalls and rain. The Hawaiian’s have over 100 words for rain; yesterday’s rain was fairly heavy but warm, or ‘kawa’. The rain was a curtain on these mountains masking their beauty and just as if someone had pulled the string, the curtains opened and unveiled the pure beauty of Hawaii.




We also found a beach made completely made from glass! Some parts of the beach also had black sand, but for the most part as far down as you could dig there was sea glass! It is a little sad once you think about what sand was here before millions of pieces of glass was, but it is also amazing that the ocean can smooth and polish glass into fine particles similar to sand!

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Since living her on Maui, we have really only had the opportunity of swimming with Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins a handful of times, I mean really swimming and engaging with them. This past April we took a trip over to the Island of Lanai where we knew of a place that Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins or ‘Nai’a’ can be found resting during the day in close to shore. Here are a few photos from that morning: 

Upload from July 17, 2012

This photo is one of our favorites, the silhouette of the dolphins brings to life the feeling we had while snorkeling with them. Sometimes out of the corner of your eye you would see these shadows bursting by. Whenever you are in the ocean you can’t help to hope that those shadows would be from these agile and gentle creatures instead of those other agile and not always so gentle creatures… although we would love to photograph those guys as well. Swimming with dolphins feels like an out of body experience, as though your body is there but you are really looking down and watching it from above. To think that an animal as intelligent as humans if not more shows no signs of agitation towards you as an intruder, instead they tolerate you or they interact with you. When their eyes lock onto yours there are no words to describe the feeling. We can only show you in images.

Upload from July 17, 2012

Upload from July 17, 2012

Upload from July 17, 2012

When we got out of the water a man approached me and informed us that the he thought I was going to swim away with the dolphin. I would if I could! To be surrounded by hundreds of dolphins in magical…pure bliss.Upload from July 17, 2012

Upload from July 17, 2012

Upload from July 17, 2012

Masters of Disguise

Today I had a day off from work without my other half; when we are off we are out exploring or working on organizing our photos. The weather this summer has been really windy, strong Trade Winds, which make it hard to be out on the water. Finally though the last two days have been absolutely incredible! So to be off in incredible weather without your partner in crime is a little sad, but… I took the camera and set off for some new images. It is rare to have light to no winds here on Maui, when we do you have to take advantage of the beaches that normally are gusting and non-tolerable to spend time on. I ventured to Slaughterhouse Beach or ‘Mokuleia’, doesn’t the second of the two sounds more appealing? Slaughterhouse Beach got its name from a slaughterhouse that used to be near the beach. The slaughterhouse was built by Honolua Ranch right at the edge of the sea cliffs, but was torn down in the mid-1960s. The beach has since then been known as Slaughterhouse Beach. Its former Hawaiian name, Mokuleia, means, “district (of) abundance.” This name describes this lovely beach much better. There isn’t too much reef here, but where there was reef there was life!Upload from July 23, 2012I started to drift over to a new reef and noticed this black film floating in the water, took me a minute to register that it looked like ink! Ink from an octopus or he’e. I didn’t see her/him at first but did notice a few large goatfish scouting crevices for food, usually large fish can be found escorting he’e. Sure enough there she/he was. He’e are a favorite to photograph, they aren’t easy because usually as soon as you spot one they dart and hide, not this one! I was so surprised that she/he remained in view for so long! What caught my eye about this he’e was how large it was and the texture of its skin. These invertebrates are so curious about their surroundings and are so intelligent. Where I used to work at the Ocean Institute we had a female octopus the enitre three years I was employed there, the aquarists would have to do enrichment activities to keep her engaged and not bored, because when octopus become bored they get into trouble!! Example! Ours would climb out at night and crawl into other aquariums to eat! So they had to put astroturf on the cieling of her tank! They are so smart and so rewarding to take pictures of.Upload from July 23, 2012

Upload from July 23, 2012I pursued marine biology primarily for the large mega fauna, like whales and dolphins, but as I started to expand my knowledge and experiences I began to fall in love with all walks of life in the ocean! I still am partial to those big guys but my heart will always be with the sea turtles. Even though we have hundreds of turtle pictures, I cannot help but to snap more. Every turtle we encounter is different and has a different story. This one today was covered in algae, I wanted to direct this little guy to the nearest cleaning station because the fish would go crazy!

When you look at a turtle it is almost as if their whole story is right inside their eyes. Their eyes always seem so dense and so full of life. I wish they could tell us how old they can live and how they stay safe from predators when they are as small as the palm of our hands, or how their ancestors have survived five major species extinctions…turtles are a dinosaur, they are old and I love them!! Upload from July 23, 2012Even this little guy was camouflaged green! Honu or Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are actually green on the inside that is where they get their name. It is from all the algae they eat, but as you can see they can also grow algae on their shells and faces.Upload from July 23, 2012The best part of today’s experience was letting a fellow snorkeler know that they were hovering right over this octopus. The gentlemen had no idea that there even was one! I pointed it out and he was thrilled! So much in the ocean goes unnoticed, sometimes I would like to keep it this way but other times you have to share your experiences with other people, for them to appriciate and understand. Hawaii is full of teachable moments, that is why Ocean Allies started, was to share experiences and photos with other nature lovers. I hope you enjoyed the photos from today!! Mahalo!


In our first blog post we were talking about how we are surrounded everyday by beauty. We aren’t referring to just here on Maui but everywhere! We had mentioned how sometimes we have to go out and find these “things”, open our eyes more, be more adventurous, whatever it takes to realize the unique beauties that surround all of us. Well today was a perfect example of just that. I was sitting in our back room working on organizing our thousands of photos when my phone rang in the living room. As I turned the corner I was greeted by this massively bright and colorful rainbow stretched out across the Pacific Ocean! In Hawaii rainbows are called ‘anuenue’ and are always greeted with a smile. Who doesn’t love a rainbow?!?! I am sure by now we have all watched the double rainbow video, if you haven’t here is the link. It is a little extreme but at least he is excited about it ;) We stop the car for rainbows that is how much we love to photograph them. Here are a few of the pictures I snapped this morning:

Upload from July 13, 2012What is so impressive about rainbows is the science behind them. To think that even when it is raining out and all the colors around you are muted and gray that out of nowhere a break in the clouds happens and the sun bursts through causing a rainbow to form. If you are ever wondering which direction a rainbow will form it will always be opposite the sun. Here on Maui at least on the West Side, in the morning the rainbows generally for over the ocean and at night when the sun is setting over the West Maui Mountains. If you are so lucky to see a double rainbow form, like the man in the video above hehe then you might notice something about the order of the colors…they are reversed! Light is being reflected twice through the water droplet! This was such an unexpected treat this morning. Since we are on the topic of rainbows we would love to share with you probably one of our favorite photos that includes a rainbow
Upload from July 25, 2012There really aren’t too many words to describe these two photos, other than: who knew there really was gold at the end of the rainbow! Hope you enjoy these images and may they bring some color into your life!Upload from July 25, 2012

Hidden Mala

 This is our first post using fotojournal, first post of many that is! We have all heard that pictures are worth a thousand words, and as a photographer you hope that your images capture that moment when all the elements come together and don’t really need to be explained. Finding a blog hosting site that allows for high quality images to be displayed for all to see makes it a little easier to post and explain a little bit about why we love these photos so much. Through photography we have learned that the flora and fauna have a story to tell, of course we may not know the exact story, we can still try to provide a little insight and information about our subjects in the images to our audience! That is what Ocean Allies is all about, education through photography. We hope that our images and information can help protect the environment and all that lives within it. Knowing what is around is so important and in order for conservation and protection to happen we must understand why we need to protect the environment. Living in Hawaii everyday we are surprised by the wildlife that surrounds us, the hidden gems that you may not always notice due to the everyday hustle and bustle that surrounds us (yes even in Hawaii :). When you read our blog and look at our images hopefully you can find a quite, peaceful place where you can sit back and really take in the beauty that is in our lives everyday, we just have to take time to find it! 

Upload from July 13, 2012This summer has presented us with some out of the ordinary strong trade winds, making it hard to be out on the ocean or really out in nature period. However, yesterday and today were perfect fair winds. We decided to get out on the kayak and see what mother nature had to offer us. It is ironic actually that where we snorkeled today Mala Landing, was destroyed in 1992 by Hurricane Iniki. The reason that is ironic is because we currently have three strong weather systems slowly moving towards the Hawaiian Islands. Luckily for us here the water temperature is about 78 degrees, hurricanes needs about 80 degrees to progress. So we were spared today at Mala, but the landing wasn’t so lucky 20 years ago. The pier sunk and created this beautiful habitat of concrete pilings and rebar, where coral and other organisms have now moved in and taken over. Another visitor as you can see below are the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles or ‘Honu’ which like to sit motionless resting on the concrete pilings. It is illegal to touch a turtle out here, and boy have we had the opportunity but we can honestly say we have held out! It is hard though because when you look at these prehistoric creatures who have survived 5 major extinctions of other species, you have to wonder what are their secrets? How are they still here and what can we learn from turtles? These are just a few of the photos from today. We hope you enjoy! Please check back for new postings! Thank you for your support of Ocean Allies.



Our blog gives us as photographers and environmentalists an opportunity to put words to our photos. Many of our photos do not require much of a description but there are usually so many emotions attached to our photos and we would like to share them with you!