It is a strange and unsettling time living with social distancing on Kauai. After all, being social is what small-town living is all about. I miss the hugs that have become our welcome greeting since moving to the Garden Island. I miss the barbeques, the dinner parties, the fundraisers. I miss having friends over to play cards. I miss playing pickleball.
Even though the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus on Kauai has remained at 21 since last weekend, with 17 recovering, the state and county orders are still in place as Oahu battles to lower the curve. Our night curfew is in place, most businesses are closed, very few people are working, and face masks are required when in public. Fortunately though, Governor Ige and Mayor Kawakami understand the need for residents to exercise. Outdoor activities are a huge part of life in an area of the world where weather is pretty perfect year round.
So, surfing, swimming and hiking are still doable as long as social distancing is practiced. With this in mind, on Sunday Tom and I decided to leave Bandit, our cat, and the hens behind for an afternoon of adventure. We drove to Honu Point, our vacation rental (now closed for business), parked, and hiked down the hill to Sea Lodge Beach. The last guests who stayed at the house told us about a waterfall they discovered. We were determined to find it.
As we approached the ocean, instead of going left to Sea Lodge Beach, we turned right. After climbing across some rocks and walking down the coast for a few hundred yards, we found what a lot of people want to see when coming to Hawaii, a beautiful waterfall.
It is always exciting when one happens upon an albatross courting dance. Last month I heard the distinctive sounds of two albatross just four doors down from Honu Point Vacation Rental. I grabbed my phone and sat down on the other side of a hedge to watch the show. Soon one of the birds came through the hedge and walked toward me. I started this video as the other one came over in hot pursuit. Some preening and bobbing started; sure signs that there was love in the air.
Those of you who have been following my blogs for awhile know how much I LOVE our Kauai albatross. Each November we wait, not-so-patiently, for the adult birds to return home to our neighborhood. They have been up north, as far as Alaska, gorging on the summer’s wealth of food. But, when the weather starts turning cold, these amazing birds head south to their place of birth where they hopefully meet up with their partner in order to produce yet one more offspring.
I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Larry and Dora, the proud parents of Pela who was born last year in the cul-de-sac at the foot of Honu Point’s driveway. I was given the opportunity to choose his/her name (still don’t know the gender). Pela means “soar” in Hawaiian. Once you see an albatross in flight, you will know why I chose that name.
Frequently, guests who come to Kauai want to know where they can find the Hawaiian green sea turtle which has the Hawaiian name of “Honu.” Whether viewing from a cliff, snorkeling at certain beaches, or walking on the sand, there is a good chance you will come across one at some point during your stay on the Garden Island.
The Hawaiian green sea turtle is one of the oldest living animals in the world and Hawaii is one of the only places on earth where divers and swimmers have the unique experience of viewing them in the wild. To the Hawaiian people, sea turtles or “Honu” are sacred creatures and should be respected. They embody patience, wisdom, endurance, good luck and long life.
Fortunately for the species, Hawaiian green sea turtles are fully protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. Therefore, feeding or touching turtles in any way, including shining a light on them, is considered a disturbance and is illegal. Federal penalties include jail time and fines up to $15,000 for each offense.
Most summers our friends from San Diego visit the island and bring their drone along. This summer Honu Point was open for a few nights so we spent the late afternoon together swimming in the pool and watching the sunset. During these times Dave shot several drone videos of the property.
If you have been a guest at Honu Point, these just might make you want to book another stay. If you are scheduled to come within the next year, here’s a taste of where you will be. Enjoy!
We knew it was going to happen soon because this precious Laysan albatross chick was sooooooo ready. Pela (born January 30th, 2019) had been fed by both mom (Dora) and dad (Larry) last week so her tummy was plenty full.
I woke up to a gorgeous morning on Kauai with a walk on Hanalei Bay calling out to me. Just down the road from Princeville, I was slowed for a few minutes by the flag people stopping traffic on the hill where they are reinforcing the road. I found the first parking lot full at 8:00 but the second virtually empty. There were a handful of people on the sand and a few novice surfers waiting for the summer “surf” to arrive. Plenty of boats were anchored in the bay with kayaks and paddle boards floating by. The water was crystal clear. It was a pretty idyllic scene, so I thought I would share a few photos with you.
Two of the seventeen albatross chicks born in Princeville have taken flight. All of these chicks were born the end of January and have stayed close to their nests until now. Mom and Dad have been bringing them sustenance for months. Now it is time for each of them to head out to sea to find their own food thousands of miles away.
Pela (Hawaiian for “soar”), the chick I was lucky enough to name, is still in the cul-de-sac just at the foot of Honu Point’s driveway. He/she, like the others, has much of her body covered in flight feathers but still maintains the baby fluff around her head and chest. It is not her best look.
It has been a month since I reported on Pela, “my” Laysan albatross chick in Princeville, Kauai. He/she is now ten weeks old and growing like crazy. I will not know his/her gender for awhile so until then I am choosing the “she” pronoun. When she gets closer to fledging (first flight), the Biologists will tag her and pluck a feather to be analyzed. At that point we will know her gender.
Pela is on her third nest. She started in the nest her parents lovingly built prior to laying the egg from which she emerged. Several weeks later she moved to a spot next to the fire hydrant and built her own nest (see photos here). Now she is a few feet away at the base of a tree. Much better for photographs!
Yesterday I was gardening at Honu Point, our vacation rental next to Pela’s nest, and I heard the very distinctive sound of albatross communing with one another. So, I dropped my tool (any excuse for a rest) and headed in the direction of the noise, camera in hand. In the yard of a nearby neighbor I found two albatross beak to beak, both with tags on their left leg. I happen to know that Dora, Pela’s mom, has her tag on her left leg so I assumed she was one of the pair. But, who was the other adult bird? Larry, Pela’s dad, has his tag on the right leg. Oh dear.
Of course he/she is “my” albatross chick because, after all, he/she was born on my birthday and I was lucky enough to get to name her. Pela means “soar” in Hawaiian and that is what he/she will do in about four months from now. With in any luck, the fledge will take place off the bluff of Honu Point.
Recently I uploaded two videos of Pela with Larry, his/her dad. The first shows Pela, at five weeks old, greedily asking for some food. Not this time. Lesson: patience is a virtue. Best with volume.
One week later, Pela fares a bit better. This week’s lesson: everything in moderation. Again, don’t miss the communication between these two. Turn up your volume.