One of the joys in staying at a great place like Punalu'u Beach is that you have time to really look around. You're not limited to the few minutes your tour guide gives you, nor do you have to be somewhere at a particular time. So after a relaxing day, my wife and I walked down to the famous black sand beach, and made our way along the rocky shore on the left hand side.
We found a stretch of level ground, and an area of thick cement that was crumbling as the ocean waves gradually wore away the lava rock beneath it. As I headed toward one relatively flat expanse of lava rock, I noticed the top shimmer, as if the rock were morphing into something else. An angry rock monster, perhaps?
By the time we drew near enough to focus on the rock (on maximum zoom), we realized that these were little black crabs.
Actually, they weren't that little: say, about the size of my palm.
I climbed onto the rock, but the crabs had swarmed over the sides. Few were still visible, or leant themselves to being easily photographed.
Still, I crouched down, extended my camera as far away from me as I could, and managed to capture one as it climbed down the side of the rock.
Ghost crabs are predators as well as scavengers, and may seem fearless as they take on baby turtles and washed-up sharks. But they're obviously wary of humans (as well as the Daleks who accompanied us on our evening jaunt). That's the way it is with most of us, isn't it? We may talk tough, and act tough, and play rough, but we're always assessing our strengths against those of others, and choosing our battles accordingly. Some of us play the game ambitiously, others more conservatively.
If there's one thing I remember from my American History classes in elementary school, it's that the first President of the United States, George Washington, retreated from battles more often than he won them. As a general in the Revolutionary War, he fought as long as he could, and then ordered a retreat, so that he and his troops could fight another day. He lost more battles than he won, but through his determination, and by sticking to his goals and ideals, he eventually won the war.
Of course, like the dragons I write about, I'm the exception to the rule. I'm strong and fearless. I don't have to weigh the risks versus the potential rewards of any given situation, or choose my battles with care. I can hurl myself at any challenge, and take on all life throws at me.
Just like George Washington. Oh yeah: and those mighty Ghost Crabs!
Related Internet Links
Article on Hawaiian Ghost Crabs
Information on Ghost Crabs from the Maui Ocean Center
Video: A Baby Sea Turtle Versus a Ghost Crab