The Laysan Albatross Are Busy In Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii

Laysan Albatross - Kauai - Hawaii

You know how excited I get when the Laysan albatross arrive back on Kaweonui Road in Princeville. For the last couple of weeks partners who have not seen each other for months are reuniting and it is a happy scene.

There is lots of preening and affection happening up and down the street. The couples are deciding on the perfect spot for their nest and then starting its construction. Females are laying their eggs (one per bird) while the males take one last period at sea before having the first, long sit on the egg. From that point on, the two partners take turns on the egg while the other flies a thousand miles for food.

Meet Dora. She arrived first this year and patiently waited until Larry showed up. Together they decided to nest in the cul-de-sac at the foot of Honu Point’s driveway. I captured this short video of Dora as she started to build a nest around herself just one day before she laid her egg (one of the landscapers witnessed the event).

Larry is at sea for a few days. When he takes over Dora will be off to find food. If this egg is fertile we can expect a chick the fourth week of January. In the meantime Dora seems pretty content.

Laysan Albatross - Kauai

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Hawaiian Monk Seal – Another Kauai Treasure – Hawaii

Hawaiian Monk Seal - Kauai

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.

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The First Albatross Of The Year Returns To Kauai – Hawaii

Albatross on Kauai

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.

Kalama’s Journey from Hob on Vimeo

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Kela’s Glass Gallery – Glass Art Shopping on Kauai, Hawaii

Kela's Glass Gallery - Kauai, Hawaii

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.

Kela's Glass Gallery - Kauai, Hawaii

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Princeville Library Sales – North Shore, Kauai, Hawaii

Princeville Library Sales – North Shore, Kauai, Hawaii

North Shore residents are extremely proud of their Princeville Library, built 19 years ago. This fully stocked, air-conditioned source for books is perfect for borrowing adult and children’s books while on vacation. A large magazine section and DVD rentals are an added bonus. Computer access and wifi make this an important resource for visitors and locals alike.

The Princeville Library is a perfect place to take your children to pick out books to read while visiting the Garden Island. This saves you from having to pack and carry heavy books when traveling. If rain is keeping you from the beach, this quiet sanctuary may be just the spot to while away a few hours.

Friends of the North Shore Library at Princeville is the local affiliate of Friends of the Library of Hawaii, an active group of library users and advocates which for years has supported Hawaii’s public libraries through funding for programs, books and supplemental materials. Four times a year this group offers books, puzzles, cds and dvds for sale at very reasonable prices. Book sales are held on the FIRST Saturday of March, June, September (first Sat. after labor day), and December. The selection is huge and is held in the back room of the library. If you are on island for one of these dates, do not miss it! The Princeville Library sale starts at 9:00 for members and 10:00 for nonmembers.

Princeville Library - Kauai, Hawaii

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What To See On Kauai – Kilauea Lighthouse – Kauai, Hawaii

Kilauea Lighthouse

A must-see for anyone visiting Kauai, especially if you are a bird or whale lover, is the Kilauea Lighthouse. It is a photographer’s dream location. Sweeping, panoramic, whitewater views, with sea birds circling above and burrowing on land, one can not help but get an impressive shot of the beauty that makes Kauai so special. Even more exciting are the humpback whales that cruise by in their pods during whale season (November to April).  It is not uncommon to witness humpback whales breaching or pounding their fins on the surface of the ocean at this north shore whale sanctuary.

If you are staying at Honu Point, the Kilauea Lighthouse can be seen from the house. It sits 180 feet above sea level on the most northern piece of property on Kauai. The original lighthouse (circa 1913) is no longer in use but it is an historical landmark. Today a modern light shines out to sea. Here is an early morning winter view from Honu Point.

Kilauea Lighthouse - Kauai

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Laysan Albatross on Kaweonui Road – Kauai – Hawaii

Albatross on Kaweonui Road - Kauai - Hawaii

It is a special time of year for guests staying at Honu Point on Kaweonui Road in Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii. The Laysan albatross chicks who were born in January are very busy practicing to fly. We have ten in the neighborhood and it seems that no matter what time of day you drive by one of them is spreading its wings to test the air flow.

Yesterday I stopped to take three videos. The first two are right from my car as you can tell when the chick decided to check out a piece of frond in the road.

These chicks have stayed very close to their nests for six months with mom and dad flying in to bring them food. The only baby fluff left is on their chest and head. The rest of the body is covered in flight feathers. They have not seen the ocean yet but in a couple of weeks they will find their way to the bluff and take a giant leap of faith. From there they will head out to sea for three to four years, flying about 1000 miles to find and catch their first live food.

To get ready the albatross chick raises and lowers its huge wingspan to test the wind, running down the side of the road. You can see how unsteady they are at this point.

The cutest part is when they start taking little hops to get airborne. Keep in mind that they never actually fly until they jump off the bluff. In years past we have had at least one chick per year jump from our property, Honu Point.

Each albatross chick is banded and, if they stay safe for their years out to sea, they will return to where they were born to find a mate. Our neighbor, Cathy, is compiling a family tree of the birds who have been born and raised in the Kaweonui Road neighborhood since the late seventies. It is always a celebration when one comes “home.”

Vinney fledged from just outside Honu Point’s master bedroom in 2015. An author and neighbor took this great shot. We are waiting for Vinney to come back.

Albatross Fledging on Kaweonui Road - Kauai

Photo by Robert Waid, author of Majestic Albatross of Kauai

So, if you are visiting Kauai from January to July, be sure to take a drive around Princeville to get an up-close and personal view of these amazing birds. If you are lucky enough to watch one fledge it will be an event to remember, for sure.

For more of my blogs, or to subscribe, go to the right hand side of this page. Mahalo!



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Photo Tips And Tricks While Visiting Kauai, Hawaii

Photo Tips And Tricks While Visiting Kauai, Hawaii


Last week I ran across an article by Jefferson Graham in the USA Today newspaper called, “Photo Tour: Kauai, Hawaii’s Magical Garden Island.” Apparently Mr. Graham has a blog where he shares photo tips from all over the world. Sounds to me like a pretty good excuse to travel! Within the article there is a video called “Photowalk” which shows where and how to get the best shots on Kauai. Despite the fact that he mispronounced Na Pali, I thought it was worth sharing.

Of all the reasons to love Kauai, Mr. Graham narrowed it down to five.

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Hike To A Waterfall – Ho’opi’i Falls – Kauai – Hawaii

Hoopii Falls - Kauai - Hawaii

Lots of visitors who come to Kauai want to hike to a waterfall and I have just the one for you. In fact, on this hike you get two falls for the price of one hike and it is free. Ho’opi’i Falls is on the Kapa’a Stream.

The trail can be very muddy with lots of mosquitoes if there has been a  lot of rainfall. The two times that I went to the falls were in the middle of summer and it was dry and pleasant. This video, taken in July 2017, by Clifton Passow, will give you an idea of what the trail is like:

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Your Albatross Chick Fix – Four Months Old – Princeville – Kauai


If you follow my blog then you know that I LOVE the Laysan albatross chicks in Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii. Moana, who was recently banded H712, and lives just four houses down from Honu Point, posed for me in his/her awkward stage of loosing fluff to flight feathers. All the chicks in the neighborhood are now about four months old and they are starting to wander a few feet further from where they were born. They are also testing those long wings to see just what they do in the wind. Each wing gets folded in four parts before it rests near the body.

As I was driving away from Honu Point on Wednesday another chick was having a very good morning. Mom or Dad had flown back to the island with lots of food to share. It had been quite awhile since the last meal and he/she was hungry. Even after I stopped filming, the chick kept trying to get more and more regurgitated food until finally the parent said enough and walked away. Best with sound.

Here are three more cuties in the neighborhood. Each one is at a little different stage of development but they will all be fledging at the end of June or into July. Between now and then they will continue to spread those wings and start running down the street to practice their take-off. Perhaps they will get an inch or two off the ground but that is it. Not until they take that giant leap of faith off the bluff will they actually fly.



Once these Laysan albatross leave our island they will stay over water for three to four years. Then, as long as they can stay safe, they will return to our neighborhood and we will know who they are from the band that was placed on their leg. Our neighbor, Cathy, who you may see walking every afternoon to document the lives of these fascinating birds, has a very long family tree of the albatross of Kaweonui Road. How can anyone not love these birds?

To watch the live albatross bird cam from Cornell Lab, go to

For more of my blogs or to subscribe, go to the right-hand side of this page. Mahalo!


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