Hooray it’s May

It has so far been a very busy May.  Curiously, my morning run to Poipu was interrupted, twice by animal encounters.  As I was merrily jogging along Hapa Trail, a huge wild boar appeared to block my continued run.  Obviously, I stopped to let him disappear into the brush, I was in no mood to confront him.  He must have outweighed me by 300 lbs.  After he disappeared, I continued on, 100 yards further along the trail I was stopped by a herd of steers that had escaped from the pasture.  Again, wait and detour.  Finally, I got back on the road and eventually met Charlie at the beach.  He was wondering whatever had happened to me.  I’ve seen goats and cattle in the pastures on that route but those were firsts.  I have to admit, the morning runs to the beach are darn spectacular.IMG_0732

Early the first week of May, our old friend G22 got hooked……again.  This hooking turned out to be more complicated that the last.  He had hauled out on the beach fronting the Grand Hyatt.  We assembled the usual crew, picked up the crowding boards (large white pieces of plywood), the capture net, the capture sling, and 4 wire gates.  As well as bolt cutters and vice grips.  G22 was sound asleep close to the water when the 6 of us, carrying the boards snuck up on him and crowded him up the beach and set a wire enclosure around him.  We put up a sun shade to allow Mimi and Jamie to assess the situation.  This time the hook was wrapped around his jaw, making it impossible to pull out.  The head vet in Oahu was consulted and we arranged to capture the seal, cage him and transport him into Lihue to the base yard to await Michelle, the head vet, to arrive the next day to attempt dehooking.  In order to get him from the beach to the carrying crate, we had to roll him into a net sling, that had two long sticks for 4 people to hold and let him loose into the crate.

At the base lot, Jamie and Mimi alternated sleeping near G22 overnight until we all regrouped at 8 the next morning.  We set up a sun shade, kept dousing him with water (as they had overnight) and released him onto a tarp where Michelle gave him a tranquilizer and anesthetized him.  They had also brought a portable X-ray machine along to see if he had swallowed another hook.G22 007G22 019

Note the yellow X-ray machine.

Finally, after about 20 minutes the hook was removed, no more found and we could allow G22 to come out of his drug induced stupor.  Next, back into the carrying case and of to Lydgate beach to release him.  That beach was the easiest to back the pickup close to the water.  He was quite happy to return to the ocean.P1070314

I’m opening the end gate to let him loose.  Quite an operation……Pretty cool!

After observing the BON dances for the past 4 years, I decided that I needed to learn how to do it and what it is about.  So I started going to BON Dance practice at the nearby Koloa Jodo Mission.  BON is time to remember and honor those who have passed on before us and is supposed to be time of reflection.  The first couple of practices, I felt like I had two left feet.  This year, there 18 dances, all involve various movements with one’s hands, arms and feet.  One of the moves shows rice harvesting, another pulling fishing nets.  The other participants have been really helpful in trying to teach me the moves., though the best way appears to follow the lead of an expert.  We slowly move in a large circle and if there are more people than can be accommodated in one circle, a circle within a circle.  The dancers are both male and female and of all ages.  The BON dances occur at various Buddhist temples and missions throughout the island.  On Kauai, there are nine 2-day dances (Friday and Saturday) scheduled for this summer starting in June.  I understand Oahu has many more.   The venue has a pedestal in the center of a field with loud speakers blaring the music for each dance.  So far I can’t recognize the words announcing each dance but Im starting to recognize the moves.  Mining, harvesting rice, hoeing are among the different moves.

This week also provided another hooking.  This time it was K90.  She had a large circle hook sticking out of the corner of her mouth.  K90 is a mature female, around 300+ lb, definitely more challenging than G22.  In fact, we were called with short notice, to help.  Short notice because we have to respond before the seal leaves the beach.  A staff member from Oahu, Mark, was flown in also to assist.  So, Charlie, Tree, Gary, Mimi, Jamie and I were the de-hooking crew, Shannon and Julie were photographing.  It was especially challenging because R336, a large male was sleeping right beside her so that we had to separate them before we could de-hook her.  We first crowded them apart with large white crowding boards.    K90 is behind the boards in the picture below, with R336 to the right.

We then had to net her and hold her down, all the time making sure that R336 didn’t sneak up behind us.

R336 was in the water trying to return, while I’m standing guard.  Good seal.

We accomplished the whole procedure in 3 min 45 seconds, whereupon K90 joined her boyfriend and swam off……hookless.  This was a difficult de-hooking, due to the location, the presence of R336, and the size of K90.   Fortunately it all went well.

The second half of the softball season has started and the May 13th game was quite interesting.  Several of the players are missing, either because of other obligations or in the case of three players, injuries.   One with a broken foot from the last game, one with a strained hamstring and one with a strained shoulder.  Such is athletics over age 60.  Luckily, our team won the last game.  Afterwards, during the obligatory potluck, 3 team members from another team, who also happen to be musicians, decided to jam in the shelter.  So many Kauaians seem to be good singers….as well as dancers.  Almost everyone in the shelter was singing along and even one (septarian) entertained with a dance.  Check out the video below:

In spite of the hula being performed and the singing, most of this fellow’s teammates continued talking, oblivious to the performance.  We though were hooting and hollering, really enjoying this moment.  Neat camaraderie!

The first tropical storm of the season has been named, Adrian, almost 2 weeks earlier than hurricane season.  It isn’t supposed to approach Hawaii, but we’ll see what develops this year.

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