Yesterday, early morning on Kauai, I sat at a stoplight in the heart of Kapaa en route to the airport. When I looked to my right, I saw the Sleeping Giant poking its head above Safeway, and I noted his head swirled in some clouds while the air around his feet was clear, and I realized that it was one of those kinds of days when the rains come from the south, a Kona system.
Gary Smith had just shared with me about winds. Last Friday, sitting around Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, he talked about the many winds in the area. I’ve heard it said there are more than 100 named winds in Hawaii. Gary talked about dry Hanalei winds that come from the west and variable winds that swing around the island in a clockwise fashion and the numerous kinds of Kona winds that come from the south—southeast, due south, southwest. Of course, Gary had names for many of them. He Kaupe’a ka makani o Namahana is known as the sail-filling wind and rain of Namahana, an area just west of Kilauea Point.
I drove further south toward the airport, passing the turnoff to Lydgate State Park and the Wailua Golf Course, heading deeper into the 50 shades of grey above me, and I thought how today, the fifth of July, felt like the second day of a weekend or the first day of a work week. It certainly didn’t feel like a Thursday. But it was the day after Independence Day and the celebration of my brother’s birthday, so when I parked at the airport—and the skies erupted as I made the dash from my car to TSA—I settled in at the gate and texted him.
And, then, I reflected on the past few days, as the skies lightened and the sun vaporized the clouds.
Independence Day meant a little something different for me than it has in the past. This year, it meant freedom for one Laysan albatross chick after nine days in rehab. Sadly, nine others from its cohort year did not survive a dog attack that took place the day after we’d banded these chicks in preparation for their imminent fledging—their first flight that would take them thousands of miles around the Pacific Ocean and last several years. It had been a disturbing nine days. Chasing down dog traps, setting them, baiting them, checking them. Touching base with Tracy, the rehab technician, collecting towel donations and delivering them. Checking on the surviving chicks in the wild to make sure they were still, well, surviving. (They were. Four have even fledged.) And conversing with a team of agencies and biologists and volunteers to determine the best course of action for five chicks in rehab once they were determined ready for release. One chick didn’t make it out of rehab. Another was released on July 1. And one I”ve dubbed, “Freedom” was released Independence Day. Two more remain in rehab. I hope they have their own Independence Day. Soon.
Hawaiian Airlines called my flight. I took my window seat, where the sun was now trying to blind me. Everyone likes to joke about Hawaii’s weather—partly sunny, partly cloudy, chance of rain. But this turn of sunny events surprised even me.
I was headed to Keauhou Beach Resort on Hawaii (Big) Island—where I type this--to check out the Aloha Music Camp
, put on by the Beamer family. I would also tour an organic vanilla farm and enjoy a lunch infused with the second-most labor-intensive spice in the world. But there will be more to come on those two adventures. This blog post is about the past.
June was a slow travel month for me. At least, slow for travel in Hawaii. I did manage a trip to Oahu and a tour of Otsuji Farms. I did chase the Transit of Venus across Kauai. I did help flipper tag two Hawaiian monk seal pups. I did spend 10 days on the mainland, attending my best friend’s daughter’s wedding in Missouri and a travel bloggers conference in Colorado.
For the most part, June was a fun month. It just didn’t end well for me. But July? July is starting out to be a very freeing month.