It is always fun to be walking along a Kauai beach and discover a Hawaiian monk seal sunning on the sand. Residents are very protective of Hawaii’s state mammal because they are one of the only two remaining monk seal species on Earth and their habitat is limited to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and the main Hawaiian Islands, especially Kauai, Oahu and Molokai.
The Hawaiian monk seal is the only seal native to Hawaii, and, along with the Hawaiian hoary bat, is one of only two mammals endemic to the islands. They are on the endangered species list with a total population of approximately 1,400. The bad news is that the larger population that inhabits the northwest islands is declining. The good news is that over recent years the number of pups born in the Hawaiian chain has slightly increased.
Hawaiian monk seals spend most of their time at sea foraging in deeper water outside of shallow lagoon reefs. They hunt fish, lobster, octopus and squid in deep water coral beds. Tiger sharks, great white sharks and Galapagos sharks are their predators. To rest and breed they move onto the sand and volcanic rock. This is when we humans get the chance to observe them.
Sandy beaches are also used for pupping. Females reach maturity at age four and bear one pup a year. Births occur between March and June. Mother monk seals are dedicated to their pups and remain with them for the first five or six weeks of their lives. The pups nurse but the mothers don’t eat anything during this time consequently losing hundreds of pounds. Once the pup is weened, the mother deserts the pup, leaving it on its own, and returns to the sea to forage for the first time since the pup’s arrival. Following is a video reflecting just how protective a mother monk seal can be when confronted by an intruder.
They’re back! Each year Hob Osterlund, author of Holy Moli, Albatross and Other Ancestors, has a contest to guess when the first albatross will return to Kauai. This year one eager bird (not the one shown in the photo) was spotted at a Kilauea property on Thursday, November 8th! A second sighting happened at the Kilauea Lighthouse on Friday. That means many more will follow over the next few weeks. We can hardly wait to see who shows up on Kaweonui Road.
Those of you who have been following my blogs know how crazy I am about the Laysan albatross. In fact, if you go to my blog category list you will see that I have already written ten blogs about these birds. Therefore, I won’t go into much detail, here, about what makes these birds so special to me and others on Kauai. You can read about that in my other blogs. But, I did want to share with you a short documentary that Hob Osterlund has created, Kalama’s Journey. She has been working on the footage for this video for a couple of years. Those of you who have been to our vacation rental, Honu Point, will recognize the opening shots.
November 25, 2018 marks the 26th annual Hawaiian Slack Key Festival on Kauai! This Hawaiian acoustic guitar tradition literally means, “loosen the key.” Artists loosen the strings on their instruments making for a unique sound as they finger-pick the notes. Brother Noland and Ho’okena are two of the sixteen artists performing this year.
The holidays are right around the corner. If you are visiting our beautiful island during the next two months you might want to visit one of these Holiday Craft Fairs on Kauai. Whether you are shopping for holiday presents or a gift for yourself, you may find just the right locally made item at one of these sales.
For the finest glass art on Kauai, be sure to stop by Kela’s Glass Gallery in Kapaa. Now in their new location across from the Kapaa sports field, Kela’s offers individually, hand-crafted glass made by domestic artists, including 15 from local artists. The owners pride themselves on selling no foreign imports. I stopped by the other day and was blown away by their selection.
Walking through the gallery I was impressed by the variety of glass art. There are glass sculptures, fish and sea life, platters, bowls, paperweights, vases, candles and perfume bottles.
With the exception of the Saint Regis Hotel, you will not find a restaurant in Princeville with a better view than the Happy Talk Lounge. Whether you are in need of an island cocktail, a light dinner or a place to watch the game, this sports bar overlooking the grounds of Hanalei Bay Resort is the perfect spot to witness a Kauai sunset (other than from Honu Point, of course).
The Happy Talk Lounge also offers live entertainment every night of the week. Local musicians perform from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. While the music can be a bit loud, depending on the kind of music and number of musicians, it definitely adds to the ambiance and keeps the place lively. One of my favorites is Michael Ruff who plays the keyboard and sings.
If you are visiting Kauai, there is no better place to tee up than the Princeville Makai Golf Course. This video will surely get you in the mood.
As you can see from the video, the Princeville Makai Golf Course wraps in and out of the Princeville Resort Community. The views of the ocean, mountains and Hanalei Bay are spectacular. Besides the golfing activities I mentioned in a previous blog, there are now lessons available with the golf pro, Andrew Schmidt.
If you are on Kauai October 19th and 20th, do not miss the fourth annual Kauai Chocolate & Coffee Festival in Hanapepe, Kaua’i. Yes, it is a bit of a drive from Honu Point (about 90 minutes), but it will give you a chance to see our Historic Hanapepe Town and indulge in two of my favorite treats. This is a celebration of all things chocolate and coffee featuring a variety of these products from around the state.
The Kaua’i Chocolate & Coffee Festival spans over two days beginning on Friday with tours and workshops continuing into the evening. Then it picks up again on Saturday morning in order to highlight all the attributes of these two favorite local crops. The street festival takes place in Historic Hanapepe Town and includes farm tours, informative classes, workshops/demonstrations, live entertainment, a chocolate & coffee pampering station, a silent auction, keiki activities, sampling and much more.
Two Princeville events will be taking place at the Princeville Community Center later this month. The first features local, north shore artists who will be exhibiting their recent creations. It is a three day event starting with an opening gala night with pupus (appetizers) on Friday, October 26th from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. The show continues on Saturday, October 27th from 1:00 to 4:00 PM and on Sunday, October 28th from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. There are so many talented artists who live on the north shore of Kauai. Make sure you stop by to be inspired by their work. The Princeville Community Center is located at 4334 Emmalani Drive (across from the library and next to the playground).
A second Princeville event will be held on Saturday, October 19th (weather permitting). A giant screening of the movie, “The Secret Life of Pets” will be shown in Prince Albert Park (in front of the playground). Bring a picnic basket full of goodies and some chairs for a fun evening with the locals. The movie begins at dusk.
These two Princeville events are sponsored by the Princeville Hanalei Fine Arts Committee and the Princeville Hanalei Events Committee.
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When I picked up a friend from the airport recently I suggested we eat lunch at Cafe Hemingway in Kapaa. Another friend had just recommended it to me and it was a chance for me to check it out. The restaurant has been open since 2011 but it has gone through several reiterations since then. I always thought it was simply a coffee shop with some breakfast items. I discovered there is much more to Cafe Hemingway than coffee.
Walking into the restaurant one might think you have been dropped into a European bistro. Antique furniture and cozy settings are a welcome relief from the busy highway just outside its doors.