This week’s weather has been absolutely perfect, nights are cool and the daytime temperatures in the upper 70’s, we couldn’t ask for any better. Seal duty has been light all week, but Thursday, little T12 hauled out at Poipu, he is a young (4 year old) male. He hauled out around noon, so we were called. We set the ropes and maintained the SPZ (seal protective zone) for a couple of hours until relieved by Lynn. And since nobody was available in the evening, we came back until he left just after dark, 7 pm. We also had two turtles in the same general area, so we also had signs up for them.
Donna had her family visiting until Thursday which also happened to be her birthday. Her schedule was full of family activities on Thursday, so on Friday we organized a surprise celebration at Poipu in the morning. I made my (famous) pecan and orange rolls and we provided juice to drink. She was quite shocked and pleased for there were a few of the regular seal volunteers present.
Midway through our festivities, Mimi and Jamie called, first Tree, and then Charlie to help tag a young seal that has just appeared on Kauai. While he drove into Lihue to meet them, Donna, Lynn and I remained at Poipu to meet the head of the green sea turtle group. Crackie, an older turtle (ca75 yrs old) had been on the beach for three days and we were worried enough to call in the expert (Don). He appeared after about two hours to assure us that she was fine. We also got a short course in how to sex them, how close to allow folks to approach, and when it is appropriate to step in.
Charlie, Mimi, Jamie, and two east side volunteers met at the dirt road that skirts the ocean side of the airport. This isn’t exactly a beach, but just a narrow section of shoreline where there aren’t any rocks. One of the seals has made this a favorite spot to sleep. Our east side volunteers Lloyd and Mary Francis check these remote areas daily, and they can be quite challenging, since the terrain is rugged and there usually isn’t a path to the shore. This is also a high bluff area, with the shore maybe a 100 feet below. I’m told that the tagging went well, only took 2 minutes and 15seconds. Charlie had the mid-body duties, meaning he had to pin the seal down and keep it from struggling while Mimi did the tagging and inserted the chip. Charlie reported that the seal smelled awfully fishy.
The calendar says it’s spring, and we can see it in our yard. Our yard is now being littered with monkey poop, the long seed pods that fall from the monkey pod trees. This is what Charlie calls the seed pods. They need to be raked up and taken to the green waste disposal site. If you mow them they gum up the lawn mower – they have a very sticky gel inside the pod, and they make a mess when broken open. So monkey poop is a good name!
This week saw Charlie suffering with a plugged ear. We assumed it was a wax problem, but the over-the-counter oil that we bought didn’t do the trick. So he finally went to urgent care, and they diagnosed an ear canal infection. So he’s been getting drops in his ear, and seems to be slowly improving. It’s about time, it’s taking a long time, and besides it’s painful.
We went for a walk late afternoon on Friday in the green space between Poipu and the Hyatt Friday. When we came back there were two girls, about 10 and 12 years old, in our front yard. They approached us and said that they were playing ball at the community center, and the ball went over the wall into our backyard. So the four of us went in back, and searched the palm trees and other vegetation that we have along the wall. But no ball was to be found. They thought that maybe the ball might be in the neighbors, so they went next door, and sure enough, came back with a blue and white rubber volley ball. So we met a couple of local girls the hard way.
We also have a new baby boy. Or at least the young family at the end of our street does. We haven’t heard what his name is yet, but it will help offset the rest of the geriatric residents on our street!
Mimi stopped by earlier in the week, bringing stakes so that Charlie can assemble seal and turtle signs. Donna had provided copies of a colorful poster about respecting reefs and animal life, so Charlie cut some plexiglass and mounted the posters to that and onto the stakes. Our sign box at Poipu is getting quite full, although we did have one turtle sign wash out with the overnight tide this week.
Regardless of the signs and ropes, we always have some people who think these don’t apply to them. While we were on seal duty Thursday, Cracky was on the opposite side of the bay on the shore. The lifeguard had to use the bullhorn to tell people to stay away from the turtle – we heard him say “that’s why we put the signs up”. All of us get frustrated with people who don’t respect the animals.
See how pretty the “monkey poop” tree is:
Note that many of the branches are void of leaves. In addition to dropping monkey poop in April, they also drop their leaves. So they thrive during our winter, and go dormant in summer. Sort of a confused deciduous tree. Strange. And look at the poop, I mean pods. About 8″ to 9″ in length.
The end of the week brought very strong winds, about 25 mph and gusting, we had small craft warnings and it kept the beach population minimal, the blowing sand stings. Of course the strong winds also brought more monkey poop into the yard. Where did I leave that rake?