This past week has been somewhat stressful, Charlie was working in Oahu from Wednesday through Friday and except for one day, the beaches were pretty quiet. The one unquiet day I had to coordinate management of 4 seals on 3 different beaches. I ended up spending about 6 hours on the beach.
Charlie was attending energy conservation meetings at the University of Hawaii in Oahu, in respect to the Hawaiian culture, this is the typical way a meeting starts anyplace in Hawaii. The fellow on the left (notice the attire) started the meeting by blowing into a conch shell, four times, in four directions, representing the points on a compass. The second person then performs a traditional chant. Very inspiring, unless you’re the person who is scantily clothed!
Charlie returned Friday night, and I met him at the airport after spending the two previous hours at Pua Kea golf course listening to music. Every other week a group made up of senior softball players, the same that jammed at Kona last August after the tournament, play at the golf course. After picking up Charlie, we went back to the golf course, hoping that the group was still playing. They were, and we stayed while they played another hour. So the 2 hour event went 3.5 hours – great fun, it was a blast. The audience…..and players were all local; our friends, Barry and Mary, and I were the only haoles (Caucasians ) there. This is the Hawaii that few tourists get to enjoy, and is extremely enjoyable, in fact I almost was late to pick Charlie up at the airport, I was having such a good time. The players “talk story”, sing and play their instruments, (drop-ins even play); they tell me that this is the normal garage/carport type occasion. It seems that everyone in Kauai either sings or plays an instrument……the spontaneity and friendship is infectious.
One of the drop-ins that normally plays in a resort on the east side, he just stopped in to jam.
Saturday started much more somberly, the husband of one of our seal volunteers died over the week and a “paddle out” was held in front of the Waiohai hotel, a favorite surfing spot. He was a surfer, and even though a haole, had lots of surfer friends on the island. The ceremony is very touching, after calling everyone with a conch shell, a prayer, a song and eulogies, the family, in this case, Curtis takes the urn out in an outrigger canoe past the surf line and spreads the ashes. The surfers follow on their boards and participate by surfing. Leis are brought out and the flowers strewn over the water from the leis. Everyone was admonished to cut the strings on the leis (because the thread isn’t biodegradable) and throw the flowers so as not to entangle any sea life with the complete leis.
A representative group of seal volunteers greeted Curtis dressed in our seal shirts to show solidarity.
We had to rush off afterwards to Charlie and Barry’s softball game…that they won. Since I’m the scorekeeper, I too, had to leave before the food came out.
Then to add to the stress, early Sunday morning, after our Grand Hyatt coffee/chai, we checked Poipu beach to see if W06 had left yet only to discover that our girl had miscarried….again. This time the fetus was quite a bit bigger. Jamie, the NOAA head of our program came down to retrieve it. He will be sending the body to Oahu for necropsy to see if they can determine what happened. It was a perfectly formed male about 43 cm long, hopefully W06 will be able to carry one to full term in the future. It’s especially sad for us, since we consider her one of our own on the South Shore. And this is her second miscarriage, having miscarried a year ago January in the same location. Sad…..