The end of Bon Dance season was marked with a ceremony sending our deceased ancestors out to sea again after welcoming them with the Bon Dances. It was held at Kukui’ula Harbor at sunset. Floats were made with 25 (luminaria) lined up on each float. The buddhist monk first said a prayer and mentioned everyones name on the island that had died in the past year…a representative from the family marched up to take the blessing and after the sun set designated swimmers got in the water and each of the floats were lowered into the water and were strung together and swum out past the surf line. We watched as the twinkling procession proceeded to sea taking the spirits back. It was very touching.
Almost immediately upon returning from our trip, we were scheduled to go the the all -island senior softball tournament in Oahu, featuring 65 teams from The Big Island, Kauai, Oahu, and Kauai. The team made reservations to go and play the end of the week in the Honolulu area. The upper teams were to play the end of the week and the lower ranked teams, the first part. We were ranked in the upper division, Group D, so we played late in the week. Charlie and I decided to go for the whole week and spend a little time at Waikiki before the rest of the team arrived. It’s fun to get to the big city every now and then. So, on Wednesday the team arrived ready to play on Thursday. Everyone was psyched and we won our first game. We lost the second but still had a winning record so we advanced to the elimination portion of the tournament. After playing 6 games, we made it to the championship game for our division. We were so excited but also tired after 6 games in 3 days (and remember the team is all above 60 years old). Unfortunately, we played well but in the last inning of the championship game we succumbed, so came in second in our division. Out of the 65 teams that played and out of 8 divisions, Kauai teams excelled, winning, 1st or 2nd in 5 out of the 8 divisions. 7 games in 3 days though is a lot!
All in all the week was great fun…we even got over to the beach to meet Rocky (a Kauai seal that relocated to Oahu but usually births on Kauai) and her new pup….born on the very busy beach of Waikiki. She apparently didn’t make it to Kauai in time. This was her 10th pup and all the rest have been born on Kauai. Charlie and I have pup-sat previous pups of hers – apparently she didn’t seem to remember us.Note all the people in the background. That had to be a challenging location since often a mother seal is quite aggressive. A female seal pup normally returns to her natal beach to birth. So the NOAA staff was quite worried that in five years the pup would return. After much discussion, and having experience in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, they decided to relocate the pup immediately after she was weaned to a more isolated beach. This tactic has been successful in the NW Islands, as long as it is done within a day or so of weaning, they are confident that she’ll imprint on the new beach.
Friends Barry and Mary had a time-share condo at the iconic Ilikai Hotel that we got to stay in. The view from our room is below.It has been featured in Hawaii Five O and numerous other movies.
Meanwhile, across our street dust fences went up and it appears that the new shopping center will be breaking ground soon. Soooo we put our house up for sale, thinking that it would take a while and we could browse leisurely and look for a place up country, perhaps. However, much to our surprise, we got an offer right away. After a few counters, we decided on a price and sold. Now, we had to find a place to move to. We found a nice house in Lihue, close to Costco, in a nice neighborhood and put an offer in that was accepted. So, life changes again, in November we will be moving away from the tourist center of Koloa/Poipu to the ‘big city’.
We’re mixed, in that we have settled comfortably in Koloa and this will be a whole new adventure. The new house is nice and within walking distance of Home Depot, Costco, Kmart and Safeway but farther from the beaches at Poipu. We still plan to volunteer with the seal program on the South Shore, it will just take 15 minutes longer to get there.
The crowds have diminished a little since school started on the mainland and the seals haven’t been coming up at Poipu quite so often. The summer weather has been record-breaking hot….close to 90 and with light trade winds, so we’ve enjoyed the AC we put in a couple of years ago. The trade winds have started to pick up lately and the humidity has dropped,
We’ve had super tides along with south swells and waves, making the surfers very happy but closing parts of the beach at Poipu because of rip currents. The seals don’t mind though. Life goes on and we will have some slack until we have to move…..exciting!
There has been a long gap between posts, partly because we were on the Mainland in Wisconsin for 3 weeks in September. Charlie was working part of the time, we volunteered, as we have for the past 10 years at the Madison Ironman. We did reconnect with many friends but didn’t get a chance to see everyone. I was able to run, …. twice with my old running group and Bucky Badger.
We had an awesome few days up at Washington Island, Door County, reminiscing about our years of camping on Rock Island (also circumnavigating her). We stayed at Marcia and Anton’s flat on Kendall Street, thanks to them we’ve had a convenient place to stay each time we’ve visited. Of course we had to experience the Farmer’s Market and our Saturday Morning coffee group, John, Gary, Bob, Seth and Amanda. It was a productive trip.
When we returned to Kauai, we discovered that the buyer for our house had dropped out, necessitating new moving plans. Joanie, our realtor contacted people that had been interested before and within 2 days, had a new buyer….for a little more money and 2 days later another for even more money. We had signed a contract with the second buyer so we now have a backup. Unfortunately, we lost 5 weeks while the first buyer was vacillating….our new closing is now mid-November. We’ve been packing already so that we’re ready.
Since we returned, we’ve been swamped with seal work,, having 3, 4 and 5 seals at Poipu. And to top it all off, on Friday Oct 13 I got a call in the early morning, when we were down at Poipu that all hands were needed in Lihue at Kalapaki harbor. At least 8 Pilot Whales had beached themselves on the shore and we were needed to try to get them back into deeper water. When we arrived, two of them were already taking their last breathes but people were trying to guide the rest back into deeper water. It was a wild scene, with hundreds of spectators, first responders in the water and whales everywhere. Apparently pilot whales are very social and when one is ill the rest of the pod follows, even if it results in their deaths. It was an extremely sad event, never seen at such a scale in the Hawaiian islands. Hundreds of people were out trying to help. The end result was 5 whales were lost. Charlie and I and a few other volunteers were recruited to assist in the necropsies. A remote site was set up and the 3000-5000 lb whales were transported on a flat bed to the site. A deep hole was dug to bury them after the necropsies and 8 NOAA and U of Hawaii staff were flown over from Oahu to attend. I was the official photographer for one of the whales. We had to document it all trying to determine the cause of death. We had to divorce our minds from the event and had to become clinical in our work. While the whales were in the water, a group of native hawaiian practitioners surrounded the first two whales and blessed them. Sabra Kauka, a hawaiian kumu and a friend of ours chanted, dedicating the animals to the ocean. Each Hawaiian ohana (family) has a amukua that is part of the family. It can be a whale, a seal, a dolphin or whatever so this chant is very important to link the ohana to the universe . It was all very emotional. Before we started the necropsies, the whole crew joined hands in a circle and discussed the importance of this to the culture.
Above is Sabra and the mayor just as Sabra was beginning to dedicate the whales to the ocean with her chant.
You see we haven’t been lazy…just busy.