We are learning the ways of a island. Who knew that when you need a screen repaired, you call Bruce Yamaguchi to come and repair it on site. Nobody does it in house. He came within a day and repaired it. I hate to admit it, but after only one week, I walked through the screen and slit it. And therefore the need to call Bruce.
Of note this week was the time we spent finishing the fence and repainting the balusters on the lanai.
Charlie noted that miracle of miracles, Spam now comes in flavors. As you may know, spam is a tradition here. Garlic, Jalapeño, cheese, and black pepper are the new flavors. We haven’t gone ‘that local’ yet!
To give people a sense of food costs here, milk is $5.39/ gallon, a dozen eggs $3.50, bananas $1.49/ lb (and they grow wild here!), Miller Lite $8.99/ 6 pack (without the 5 cent deposit) and 4.166% sales tax, last of all sweet corn is $1.09/ear. Gasoline is about $4.65 a gallon, except at Costco, where it’s $4.17 a gallon. Needless to say, Costco’s gas line is always 3 or 4 cars deep.
We also spent an hour being trained (sorta) on Monk Seal watch. We went down to Poipu beach to get our first orientation, to help with roping off three Monk Seals. The Monk Seal is extremely endangered so a group of volunteers sponsored by NOAA and the State of Hawaii is called when ever a seal pulls on to shore to rest. We discovered that the seal hunts at night and needs to sleep on a beach during the day in order to survive. The Seal Response team is called and ropes off a area to keep the seal from being disturbed and to keep the tourists safe. Then acts as a resource to visitors with questions. We went up to a beach on the east side on Friday with another volunteer to protect a seal mom and her pup. The pup is less than 2 weeks old,,still black in color, but growing rapidly. When born they weigh about 25 pounds and are about 3 feet in length. They stay with the mother for about 45 days. And by then they weigh around 200 pounds. The mother doesn’t eat during that whole period, and she loses about the same amount that the pup gains. And then the mother leaves, forcing the pup to manage for itself.
Unfortunately, during the seal experience on Poipu beach, I forgot that I had my phone in my pocket and now it appears to be ruined. I put it in rice (per experts advice) for 24 hours or so, but it hasn’t seemed to help. Apparently salt water isn’t real great for phones! So I may not be answering any of your phone calls during the 2 year contract period!
The greatest thing right now is the mango season, we have one almost every morning for breakfast. The Handel variety is especially good, and we’ve become friendly with our local fruit stand vendor. And we’re still enjoying the chalupas from our nearby Mexican food truck vendor.
The monkey pod trees are beginning to bloom and leaf out, as are the Rainbow Shower trees and the Plumeria . This morning on my run, I noticed that the cacti are also blooming.
Charlie took this picture of K30 (the seals are all tagged and numbered though we understand that you get to know them by scars after a while) on Poipu beach
We both took our first stint at Monk Seal pup watch on Friday. Presently we are shadowing one of regulars until we are fully trained. The mission this morning was to pup sit a new mom and her baby. The baby is only two weeks old and is still black. The pups are born black in order to stay warmer and as they gain weight, they turn gray. They double their weight every week and by the time they are weaned (about 45 days) are looking bigger than the mom, she is emaciated since she hasn’t eaten since the birth. She then leaves the pup on it’s own…..the seals are solitary creatures.
This was quite exciting, it was on an isolated beach on the north side, and a decent hike to get there. She, like most moms was very protective of her pup so we had to rope off a considerable area to keep both her and the pup safe as well as to protect any people that might walk up. There was a young male that kept coming up probably hoping to mate with her, but she was very aggressive toward him. The beach was ideal for them but also since it was somewhat protected by a reef, ideal for swimmers. Below are a few pictures Charlie took that shows both. Each stint is 3 hours, however after driving both ways and letting your replacement know what happened, we left home at 7:30 am and returned at 1:30.