Yes the foot is 90% healed. I can’t run for another 3 weeks, but the boot is gone. It’s a bit intimidating to walk on it after 7 weeks, but it feels so good.
The weather returned with light trades, so it’s very pleasant, I now plan to go into the water very soon, it has been beckoning me back. It will be good to finally wash my foot!
It’s papaya season, our mature papaya tree has been providing 2 or 3 papayas every week. A slice of lime squeezed into fresh papaya, yum! The mangoes are finally ripening. The Hayden’s are really good – we gorged on them last summer, and we’re looking forward to a repeat performance this summer. We have our own mango tree, although it’s a dwarf Julie variety. The mangoes are supposed to be very good, but small. Our tree has fruit, but none ripe yet. It will be interesting to see what they’re like when they ripen.
This week we had a south shore monk seal volunteer pot luck at Donna’s in Poipu Crater. Just for the record, our paid coordinators also participated. We had a nice turnout, as well as good food. Brooke, the wife of our program lead Jamie, works with the endangered birds on the island. Some of the birds fly over 2200 miles every week to the Aleutians islands to feed! And we complain about driving 10 miles to the grocery store! The mates apparently alternate weeks, so one stays with the chick(s) while the other flys. So the birds only eat once a week. Amazing. And no frequent flyer miles with that either! I’m not sure how fast these birds fly, but if they could average 30 miles per hour, that would still be over 70 hours of flying!!! And this is each way!
One of the discussions at the potluck centered around this possibly being an El Niño year. Hurricanes have been associated with El Ninos, so there’s an uneasy interest in the topic. We’ve made some plans in the event of a hurricane by buying plywood to cover our windows, but we’re not finished yet as we still need to get more plywood. We also purchased a generator, so if we do have a storm and lose power, we could still run our refrigerator and some lights.
It’s been a slow monk seal period on the south shore. Last year we were constantly on the beach, every day. A couple of weeks ago, it looked like last year’s pattern was returning, as we had a couple of seals coming onto the beaches regularly. But now we haven’t seen those two for almost two weeks. So every day is different. Of the four seal pups on the north shore, two have now been weaned. One was tagged two weeks ago, and the plan is to tag the second next week. In the meantime, we’re looking for one of our seals that was spotted by a diver with a fish hook and 3 feet of line hanging from it’s mouth. If we can locate it, then there will be an effort to remove the hook. And since I wrote this paragraph, we had a busy Sunday with the seals. We were at the Hyatt Sunday morning doing our usual early morning scone and coffee when we were interrupted with a seal call. We’re typically contacted for these early morning call outs, as the other volunteers don’t get up as early as we do. We left the Hyatt and proceeded to Lawai Beach (about 3 or 4 miles west of the Hyatt), and sure enough, a seal was on the beach. 4DP was resting comfortably, with just one or two visitors watching her. We put up ropes and signs, and called in her identity. We were there about an hour and a half when we were relieved, so we went home to have the rest of our breakfast. In the meantime, Donna couldn’t find any other volunteers to relieve her, so we returned at 10:30 for another shift. And within an hour of being there, another seal report came in, so I left Lawai and went Poipu. W06 had come up on the beach, so I put up ropes and signs for her. Mike showed up at 1:00, so I went and picked up Charlie, since 4DP had gone back in the water. Shortly after arriving home we heard that a third seal had come on shore, this one at Mahaulepu. Fortunately Donna went out there. So, you never know what the seals are going to do!
Royden gave me another surfing lesson, he says you have to learn how to paddle and turn easily before you ever try to stand. So I paddled back and forth at Poipu, it is getting easier, I don’t feel quite as unsteady as the first time. It is hard work, particularly on the shoulders, that should give me somewhat of an advantage after my stint on crutches.
The end of the week found us at Eleele at a senior league softball game. The senior softball league is a big deal here on the island. The players, all older than 60, play games here and on the other islands and even go as far as Las Vegas to play. One of our seal volunteers Barry, was trying to recruit Charlie for the team. I should add here, successfully. So his first practice is next week. We went home, dug out our softball gloves and started practicing, wow, both of us are pretty rusty, but the more we threw, the better we got. We are both pretty excited for the opportunity, the players are a mix of ethnicities, local Hawaiians as well as hoales. The season is almost over, so Charlie may not play until next season.
Saturday night found us at a fundraiser for the softball team, a Kachi Kachi dance. That is a mixture of paniolo (cowboy) and South American music. The team provides pupus, a band, and has beer and wine for sale. There is folding chair seating around the dance floor, picnic tables on a lanai, and many men brought chairs to sit outside and chew the fat, just like a rural Wisconsin event. The seating around the perimeter of the dance floor reminded us of junior high dances – remember those?
A one-eyed, bowlegged, older paniolo in cowboy boots and shirt was having a grand old time dancing with as many women as he could find. It was a great place to people watch, with interesting outfits on many.