The past two weeks have first been quiet and then very eventful with our seals. We had several days off, no seals, giving us a chance to do some yard work and also paint our lanai floor. Things get very dingy after a few years and the lanai was looking pretty scuzzy. Now it looks wonderful. We’ve had welcome rain so the vegetation has become verdant (but this means too, more trips to the green waste dump. We’re happy that we decided to bring our pickup truck when we moved here 3 years ago.
Early last week, Charlie and I decided, after a very busy day on the beach, to check out a new place for music, drinks and food. Our musician/softball friend was playing on the beach at a place called Lava Lava. We trekked up there (in Wailua) just for a break. It was in a lovely setting and I rewarded myself with an exotic drink, called Sandy Toes….Charlie had a beer.
It was just what we needed.
Unfortunately, we have had two seals hooked recently with large circle hooks. One, F28 was captured and transported to Oahu the first week of June and has been returned after surgery to remove the hook. However, we weren’t yet able to breathe freely because F30 appeared last Friday….logging in the keiki pool at Poipu. Logging means the seal is just floating around without trying to come on shore. K30, our large, scarred, female normally logs during the late stages of pregnancy but most seals don’t unless there is something wrong. We noticed that behavior early in the morning and spent all morning observing her until around noon, she swam over to one of the tide pools on the island where Jamie and I could get closer to her and see if there was anything wrong. Sure enough, after two kids called attention to it, we saw a 80-100 lb test fishing line coming out of the right side of her mouth. This is pretty major and can result in death. So the troops were mobilized, Jamie drove to base to obtain a carrying cage and on the way, made arrangements for the Coast Guard to fly her to Oahu. In the meantime, I stayed at Poipu just watching and hoping that she would haul out. She never did, so about 3pm Jamie returned with Mimi, Lance, Tree, Evin and Charlie. By this time the beach was packed (it was a State Holiday, King Kamehameha Day). Since she wasn’t hauling out, we had to go in to the water with several “fences” (heavy duty screen framed with pipe) and crowding boards. We waited until she was at least close to shallow water and started. We formed a large arc and started crowding her, very slowly, into shallower water. She obviously wasn’t feeling too good and didn’t object too strenuously. I was at the shallowest end but still up to my chest in water with a large plywood board (crowding board) about 5X4ft, being plummeted by both waves and wind. We finally got her into about 2 feet of water, put a net hammock around her and brought her to shore. It was nerve-wracking because seals, when stressed, can stop breathing (she did for a couple of seconds) finally, we lifted her into a crate on a pickup truck and Jamie and Mimi drove her to the airport in Lihue. The vet from Oahu flew over to monitor the flight back. On Saturday, we got the word that the surgery was successful, the hook removed and she was recovering. It had lodged way in the back of her throat and wrapped around her tongue so it was essential to get her. Kudos were passed around and we are all relieved. She has been contained for a few days, but she is recovering well and we expect her to be back on Kauai soon.
This X-ray was taken in Oahu by the Monk Seal Research Foundation, showing F30’s hook. There has been pressure for fisherman to use barbless hooks …..they are easier to pass though and also to remove this one was not. F30 was K30’s 2014 pup. F30 is one of the two remaining pups out of 5 born in 2015, both have been hooked in the past few weeks.
On a positive note, Charlie’s softball team played really well this week and won their game. Go West Kauai Seniors!
On Saturday night, we were just settling down for the evening, when I got a call from Sabra Kauka, a highly respected Kumu by both the Hawaiian and other communities. It seems that she had picked up a young couple from Washington State that was walking along the highway from the airport carrying large packpacks. Plans had fallen through for them to meet up with some folks from Poipu. Rather than just drop them off somewhere, Sabra called and asked if we had any ideas for where they could camp. We volunteered our house for overnight since it was getting quite late on a holiday weekend. They were quite appreciative for the offer and we ended up having a nice visit. This is the embodiment of Aloha that we love about Kauai. The next morning, Sabra had found a place for them to camp so they packed up and we drove them out to a site at Mahaulepu after stopping for our obligatory Sunday morning Grand Hyatt coffee, though a little later than sunrise. Their plans were to partake of the Kauai bus system for the rest of their trip.