We are definitely into summer now, we had a high of 86, though down on Poipu, it’s been a bit warmer, up to 88. We got a visit this week from a former neighbor and good friend of my sister, Kathy, Pua (Taylor Napuakaluaawapuhiomauka Britt) Pua’s family lives on Kauai and she was visiting with her Mainland family. It was a blast to call Kathy and her daughter Taylor on Face time. Every one enjoyed seeing each other (Kathy and Pua haven’t seen each other for over a year), and then to give them a tour of our house and a reciprocal tour of their new place at the same time, not to mention see them. Ah technology! It was a bit early in the day to share a glass of wine.
We had the usual pup duty this week, as well as a visit from the Monk Seal research team out of Oahu. They came over to Kauai to do some filming of our seals as part of a National Geographic Documentary on them. They put a Critter cam on one of our seals, V18, to follow him on his rounds and happened to come down to Poipu Beach to observe us Seal volunteers. It so happened that we had W06 roped off on the tombolo and she was moving around a lot necessitating also moving the signs and ropes around in order to keep spectators at bay. This interested the photographer and Charles, the head of the research team, so they decided that the distinguished gentleman seal volunteer with the white beard would be a good interviewee. Thus began Charlie’s 15 minutes of fame, he is waiting now for the airing of the TV special next year and for the acting contracts to roll in. Our neighbor and new friend, Peter, volunteered to be his agent. Charlie thinks he’ll probably end up on the cutting room floor, but it was still fun.
The next day we had pup duty and trekked out to the beach…..we saw 5 seals on that beach, including V18. That same evening, we attended a National Geographic presentation at the Grand Hyatt, showing Critter Cam footage from one of our familiar seals, W02. They expected a few dozen people, but by 7 pm they had to add seating for the 150 people who were present. The talk was designed to clear some misconceptions about the monk seal that has provided fuel for some of the local fisherman to object to the seals, such as, since they had seen none while growing up, they were not native to Hawaii but imported by the government to destroy their fishing….it has been a contentious issue here and numerous news articles have been written. Other issues ‘debunked’ were that each seal eats 600 pounds of fish a day – the actual number is between 15 to 20 pounds a day.
We had a “South Shore” seal meeting to discuss how to handle the seals hanging out in the Keiki (children’s) pool and learned the technique for “displacing” them – in other words training them to stay away from that small pool for the safety of the children that use it.
The next day ……more seal pup sitting. We were informed on the way to the beach, a 45 min drive, that Rocky, pup PK2’s mom had weaned him i.e. left him on his own…normal behavior. We arrived at the beach, after a long trek in deep sand ( at least a mile) to find V18 playing with him. However, we also discovered that he had lost his $5000 Crittercam. After watching this scene we watched PK2 hump up onto the rocks to sleep and noticed another seal, V12 sleeping on the beach,whereupon T18 diverted his attention to him. They must have played at least 30 min as we watched them roll around in the water…pretty neat.
Note the tracker on his back, which is essentially a GPS unit. The camera should have been mounted along side the tracker, but it’s gone. Now comes the task of trying to find it.
The Rainbow Shower trees are at their spectacular height right now, the Koloa Ladies group planted both sides of the bypass road linking Koloa to Poipu in 1998 and they are quite pretty now.
Friday night was fire-on-the-beach night, thus we watched the moon rise while sipping a Fosters beer. Eight of us enjoyed the moon shine (the natural illumination variety) and the pounding surf, while trading stories of the week’s adventures.
Koloa Plantation days started on Friday, so Saturday we took a historic walk down the Hapa Trail, Charlie, me and about 75 of our closest friends. The overgrown trail that I frequently run, had been spiffed up (mowed) for the event. A local Hawaiian gentleman archeologist gave the tour of the ‘auwai (water channels) system that supported the taro terraces from 1350 to 1850. This is an extremely arid section of land that the native Hawaiians built terraces with no tools but sticks. A fascinating tour.
Immediately after this walking tour I attended the “naming ceremony ” of the new heiau (holy ground) at the entrance to Poipu beach. This was a traditional Hawaiian ceremony to dedicate it. An hour long, they started with a conch horn call, each carved pole was climbed, the cover was untied, a lei put around the images neck, two Tee branches tied to each image, and the image was given a drink of water…..this was all done to chants. At the end all the men that participated shared water, water was sprinkled on each corner of the platform, each man in turn touched heads with each other and hugged. All the participants adjourned to a tent to feast. Quite a touching experience.