Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Geckos were one of the delights of our Hawaiian adventure. Before we left home I told Lewis that he could expect to discover both bugs and geckos lurking inside the condos and hotels where we would be staying. It turned out that we encountered almost no insects—two cockroaches over 23 days—and no geckos. We were a little disappointed with the latter; we were looking forward to having a gecko roommate or two. This is not to say that these diminutive creatures were scarce. Once we figured out where to look for them, they were everywhere. One even wandered out of the engine compartment and onto the windshield as we drove along the road to Hana. This resulted in several unscheduled stops so that a Certain Boy could exit the vehicle to get a closer look.
There were different varieties of gecko—some larger; others more colorful. Our favorite variety was the one pictured in the first seven images, all taken at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden north of Hilo on the Big Island. We spent the better part of a day here wandering the trails, enjoying the amazing variety of flora and stalking the geckos. One gecko in particular seemed to take as keen an interest in us as we did in him (her?). He would creep out toward us on one of the large heliconia leaves only to retreat after a few seconds. Then, a few seconds later, he would venture out again even closer. After approaching within arms length, he disappeared for good—or so we thought. It eventually occurred to us that he might be watching us from a different vantage point and, sure enough, there he was right above us looking down.
Our first close encounter occurred on Kauai weeks earlier at the Allerton-McBryde National Tropical Botanical Gardens visitor center. Darla spotted him and, after an extended chase, I caught him. He was so tired by this time that he was willing to sit on Lewis’ arm without making any attempt to escape. Needless to say Lewis was ecstatic after this experience, which created an ongoing imperative to commune with as many of Hawaii’s geckos as possible. It was only after returning home and reviewing these images did we realize that our first encounter was not with a gecko at all but one of the islands’ Anole lizards.
[Click on a thumbnail to view the entire image.]
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