It does feel like taking care of the Hawaiian Monk Seal embodies the spirit of Earth Day and we feel like we are doing our share. We’ve had anywhere from 2 to 5 seals up at one time, and often on multiple beaches. We have even identified two that we hadn’t seen on the south shore for quite some time. F30, a young seal born to our big scarred mom, K30, appeared one day and a Niihau seal 1AA appeared at the end of the week. Our little female 1KY who we tagged about 2.5 years ago also seems to be feeling her hormones and has been playing with any other seal that’s around, and when none is around, with snorkelers and swimmers. We’ve taken several videos of her approaching swimmers and snorkelers, and NOAA staff have had several conference calls on how to handle this. This supposedly, will pass but right now is a problem so the NOAA and Aquatic Resources folks are experimenting about how to handle it. We’ve gotten some signs warning visitors not to swim with the seals, they are wild and might bite. It seems though that only a small percentage of visitors pay attention to the signs, so we are experimenting with other ways to inform visitors. The turnover in visitors also means that we are constantly educating new groups who sometimes are here only once. All this means that both of us have been on the beach many hours each day. We are certainly feeling the absence of some of our more active volunteers.
We did take some time to go to the KCC culinary luncheon. This was a french theme and the students did an outstanding job, starting with the menu and ending with truffles. This is the last dinner this semester though. The menu, designed by the students was really quite attractive.
We also went to a new place, Jo2, in Kapaa – actually it was our second time there. It was opened quite recently by a well known Kauai chef, Jean-Marie Josselin, one of the chefs that introduced a “fusion” menu to the island around 20 some years ago. We went with our friends Doug and Joanie and enjoyed an outstanding meal, not only savory but also beautifully presented.
This was to thank Joanie for taking me for a “spa experience” at her “club”, Kukui’ula, an upscale Poipu community centered around a golf course. Salt scrubs, steam room, sauna and freezing dip, and water aerobics were finished off with luncheon overlooking Kukui’ula Harbor. What a treat! Interesting to see how the 1% lives.
The second week dawned busy as well, first of all Doug broke his wrist and ended up having surgery to insert a plate. Then mid week I got a frantic call from one of our volunteers that a seal was being attacked by a man at Salt Pond, a local beach and it was being video taped…live and posted on Facebook. It was my favorite seal, K30, the 17 year old, deeply scared female, who we think is also pregnant. I immediately called Mimi, the Kauai head of our program. Numerous others called Mimi and Jamie; the Kauai police, and the State Department of Land and Natural Resources police all responded. Needless to say, this resulted in a huge uproar, a flurry of phone calls, newspaper reports, and even both major TV stations from Honolulu were reporting. The local newspaper ran a headline of “Kauai’s Sweetheart seal assaulted”, showing all of her many scars (large shark bite, a dozen cookie cutter shark bites, a propellor scar and an entanglement scar around her neck. Less than two days after all of this happened, a young man was arrested with help from witnesses. The upshot of all this publicity is that it illustrates that the community really has become to care about their monk seals. Luckily, K30 was able to hold her own and appears to be just fine, though a bit more wary than previously.
Note all the scars on her.
The West Kauai Seniors had two games the last week, one a make up. Charlie has also settled into his new role as announcer – he helps out announcing games his team isn’t playing in. He is getting pretty good reviews too.
Unfortunately, the team lost two of the 3 games, the last one in extra innings after leading the whole game. I still chuckle over some of the pidgin that I hear at the games – this weekend’s game included the following exchange among two individuals:
” How you bruddah?
“I stay gud”
Concise and to the point!
We took a break from seals et al on Friday to dine and watch the sunset with Tree at Shenanigans at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The beach is one of the nicest on the island and it is restricted, so its a perfect way to escape the crowds.