Posts Tagged ‘Princeville Kauai’

Aloha, Kauai – Hello Winter

February 21, 2018

In the words of Nelly Furtado:

Flames to dust
Lovers to friends
Why do all good things come to an end?

Alas, the sun is setting on our 10-day trip to Kauai. I try to stave off the melancholy that worms its way into my consciousness toward the end of our trip. As a culminating celebration on the evening of our last full day, the five of us – David and I, Steph and Vic, and my brother Eric – always go out to dinner at the Baracuda in Hanalei. My brother Eric sits on the end of the table, to my left, and I turn to him. “Do it, Eric …”

Eric knows. It’s become a yearly ritual – his duty to cheer me up with his “My heart beats for you” routine:

There. You’re feeling better now too, aren’t you? So sad to leave Kauai.

Okay. I’ll do it. I’ll share a few last photos before we head to the airport.

A last Kauai sunrise:

And Steph and Vic’s bird feeder – which not only attracts hoards of birds, but Nene geese and an egret as well:

One Layson albatross hung out about every day behind Steph and Vic’s house, as if waiting for the swoop of an interested suitor, making the mating noises with the clapping of its beak, and the whining – one day another albatross swooped in several times and then landed and they danced together.

Often though, this albatross would wait there patiently, occasionally flap its wings and finally fly off.

The Albatross is a totally different bird in flight:

Layson Albatross in flight above Larsen’s Beach

Our last day, Saturday, Jan 27, Eric, David and I climbed the Nounou Mountain Trail East to the top of Sleeping Giant. You don’t want to do this hike under wet conditions. We had had a couple of sunny days and decided to do it. The path that takes you up on top of the Giant’s head is about 4 miles round trip with about 1000 ft elevation.

Sleeping Giant’s Head

The hike is considered moderately difficult, but you’d better wear good shoes:

David

Eric and David

Almost to the top of his head now..

You can do it!

On top!

Here’s my video of the panoramic view on top of Sleeping Giant

Eric on top:

Headed back down now.

David

We beat Eric down. I caught a picture of him coming out at the trail head.

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018

Okay, time to wash the mud out of our shoes, take a shower, get our shit together for the airport.

Wait! One last photo of Kauai – near Anahola …

And my favorite photo of Eric on Larsen’s Beach:

And my sister Stephanie with the sea turtle:

Larsen’s Beach

Stop it, Jody.

Okay. Facing the inevitable. We’re at the airport in Lihue now – waiting to board the 11:15 pm red-eye to L.A.

Goodbye, Paradise!

So sad…

Vacation’s over!

Except Eric. Eric is interminably happy.

David and Eric fall off to sleep as soon as the plane to L.A. takes off. I know because I’m wedged between them, in the middle seat, hardly able to move my arms or legs, wide awake. The plane is pitch black dark so we can sleep. But of course, I never can sleep. Or I perceive that I’m totally not sleeping. But I must doze a bit. How else to endure that petrified seated position for six straight hours?

Descending for the landing in L.A. – 6:30 am, Sunday morning:

We arrive at Gate 50 or something and just need to go to 52A to catch our flight to Salt Lake. Great – look it’s just ahead there to the left! Oh… then down this staircase…

Into a long line to an outside door to … catch a bus?

Outside now on the tarmac … Waiting for the bus…

‘Good morning, L.A.!’

Get a seat on the bus!! We did. Sat and watched the line and luggage pile in, one after another – cramming into the seats and then filling the standing room in the aisle clear up to the bus driver. I picked up my phone from where I was sitting and captured a photo:

Happy happy joy joy

It was a ten minute bus ride to our gate in the far flung American Airlines terminal. We unload and head into the terminal – oh that’s right, I remember! There is one food concession in the whole terminal. Jump in line! We’re starving.

We thought we were half nuts to get in line since we were about 20 people back. But we still had a good 45 minutes until boarding our flight to Salt Lake. No. We were totally sane. Look at the line piling up behind us! (Yes, I took photos. How else to entertain myself as the line inched forward?)

I stepped out of line and took a photo of David, with the line ahead of us –

David in line with his calm ‘whatever’ face

Then photos of the line building behind us

Eric, David and I ordered 3 ham, egg and cheese mcmuffin type sandwiches with coffee – so hot we couldn’t drink it. But it didn’t matter so much, when it cooled down enough to take a sip it was so bitter I couldn’t stomach it anyway. Not that I didn’t try. I knocked a wave of hot coffee on my leg before boarding our flight to Salt Lake.

Here we are in flight:

Flight to Salt Lake, Sunday Jan 28

11 am – landing in Salt Lake!

From here we drove the nearly 3-hour drive home to Idaho Falls.

This area of the country has enjoyed one of the mildest January’s on record. These peaks are usually blanketed in snow this time of year. In Idaho Falls the temperatures have been hovering in the 40’s, 10-15 degrees above normal.

We’re home in Idaho now. A consistent ‘Where’s Waldo’ activity keeps our minds and bodies busy in the back yard, complements of our miniature poodle, Rudy.

Find the dog turds:

There’s actually two of them, should I zoom in?

Yea, getting back into the routine. Here’s what our back yard looked like yesterday:

Feb 20, 2018 – 11:19 am

A skiff of snow hoisted on 20 MPH winds with a forecasted high of 16 degrees.

So yeah, winter in southeast Idaho is not going anywhere …

Kauai and the Love-Struck Layson Albatross

February 12, 2018

Back to Princeville on the north shore of Kauai … I always look forward to watching the magnificent sea birds, the Layson Albatross. There are 22 species of albatross ranging widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific. They are absent from the North Atlantic. So if you live on the east coast of the US you won’t see them. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are home to 97.5% of the Layson Albatross.

Layson Albatross near Steph and Vic’s back yard

Check out this Audubon link for a marvelous photo of a Layson albatross and her young. Albatross breed on Kauai during the months of November to July. They leave their breeding grounds and evidently most go northwest toward Japan, then northeast toward Aleutians, before turning south toward Hawaii again. Non-breeders may wander anywhere in the North Pacific at any season.

Incubation for a albatross egg is 64-65 days. The period from hatching to fledging is 165 days. A young albatross returns to its breeding grounds three years after fledging, and first breeds at the age of 7-9 years. (Check out this wikipedia link on Layson Albatross.) It takes several years of courtship for a male and female to bond, but they bond for life. The courtship involves the use of ritualized dances – up to 25 different movements. So if you visit the northern shore of Kauai between November and July, you can witness their courting – ritualized dances. It’s quite entertaining!

On Saturday, January 20, 2018, David Eric and I were walking near the golf course when we came upon a group of four adolescent albatrosses engaging each other in a mating dance. I captured a video. They make such a racket with their whirring, clucking, whistling, and beak clapping, you usually can hear them before you see them!

We stood 30 feet away and kept watching them. They seemed a bit oblivious to us, they were so engaged in each other.

Soon two albatrosses wandered away from the others to continue their dance. They look so clumsy and awkward on land the way they waddle! (In the background of the video you will also see another albatross nesting near the bushes.)

Be patient with the video and see what happens when one albatross walks away …

I think of the Beatles song “Hello, Goodbye” when watching the Albatross mating ritual.

You say yes, I say no
You say stop, and I say go go go, oh no

You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello

I don’t know why you say goodbye I say hello

I say high, you say low…

Here’s a link to marvelous video I found on You-tube of two albatrosses engaged in, shall I say, a ‘passionate’ mating dance – (Oh, you might want to skip the ad and turn your sound down – they make quite a racket!) Well worth watching this video, however, warn the person in the next room that you are about to play it… based on the experience at my house … (I ran David out of the kitchen when he heard it, Megan hollered at me from the next room, ‘What’s that?” – Hey, just a pair of love-struck Albatrosses!)

Albatross look so big and awkward the way they waddle on land, you wonder how they launch their bulky bodies into flight. I caught an albatross on video taking flight right near Steph and Vic’s patio (January 25, 2018). It nestled by the golf course as if waiting for someone, clapped its beak a bit, then as if running out of patience, went into a running take off toward the ocean …

At the end of Larsen’s beach there is a large protected albatross nesting ground, off limits to hikers. Larsen’s beach is probably our favorite hike, I’ve blogged about it several times – link to the blog I wrote last year – Besides the albatross flying overhead, you will likely run into endangered monk seals and large sea turtles sunning themselves on the beach.

Anyway, in case you think these birds are too goofy and awkward to be impressive in flight, think again! Albatross are highly efficient in the air, covering great distances with little exertion. I took a couple of videos of albatross in flight at Larsen’s beach:

They fly in formation – move over Blue Thunder air show!:

Here’s a photo I captured last year on Larsen’s Beach of an albatross landing.

Dropping in for a landing

Look at those webbed feet! Yeah, that’s because they are swimmers too, going after fish, squid and krill in the ocean with squid as their main staple.

Here’s a photo I took at the trailhead of Larsen’s beach.

Trail to Larsen’s Beach

Hike down through the grasses and across the beach to a point where you discover the arch. Here’s a video I took of the arch in January 2016 …

Sit down and picnic above the arch and enjoy the air show, as there are scores of albatrosses nesting on the bluff right above you.

Maybe humans could learn something about courtship from the Albatross, who engage in mating ritual dances over several years and bond with their mate for life.

You’re welcome, my fellow humans, yea, as we muddle awkwardly through one of our courtship rituals – Valentine’s Day.

Just sayin’…

Kauai’s North Shore: Princeville, ‘Puff’, Starfruit, Giant Surf, and a … Mermaid?

February 4, 2018

When we visit Kauai, we stay in Princeville on the north shore. It is the rainier part of the island, but on most rainy days showers give way to mists and rainbows, and sun again. Below is a (admittedly rather crappy) visual of the Island. Locate Princeville on the northern edge and you can see that to get to sites on the western side of the island you have to drive around the perimeter of the island.

Island of Kauai

Kauai is small enough, though, that you can reach any area of the island by car in an hour or so. Just for fun, here you see a topographical map of Kauai. It is very mountainous, which explains why you can’t drive across the island.

Our favorite places around Princeville include Hanalei Bay, Lumaha’i Beach, and the Queen’s Bath, all of which we visited this last trip. Hanalei Bay is about a 10-minute drive west of Princeville on the North shore, home of “Puff the Magic Dragon” made famous in a song in 1963 by Peter, Paul and Mary. (OMG! 55 years ago?)

We walk to the end of the dock and then down the beach along Hanalei Bay

Steph and Vic walking the beach at Hanalei Bay

Here’s a picture of David on the beach. Do you see the girls in bikinis?

Nothing wrong with David’s vision


No?

David does. Wading in the water by the dock …

By now, being so very hungry and thirsty after our walk on the beach, we head to the Kalypso in Hanalei for lunch and libations. When my drink arrives I find myself staring at … Yoda?

You’re going to eat me?

I shouldn’t eat him, right? Well, he is a slice of starfruit. It’s quite tasty. The pulp is crisp and not too sweet.

Steph and Vic have a starfruit tree in their front yard, with ripe fruit.

Starfruit tree

Here you see one being sliced:

Okay, to make this blog extra special I’ll include the video I took of my brother Eric with his assignment from Victor to harvest the ripe starfruit on their tree:

Despite the rigorous requirements of the job, Eric seems up to the task.

By the way, after you visit Hanalei you absolutely must drive 8 minutes further west on Route 56, pull off to the side of the road and park, and walk the path down to Lumaha’i Beach! We visit this beach every year. It is magnificent with high surf, albeit it is unsafe for swimming and surfing most of the year. This beach was made famous for a scene in the movie ‘South Pacific.’ The surf was low when we visited this year and I didn’t take a video. But it is worth sharing the video I took last year…

Although I do catch a rooster crowing three times (??) in the background, my video doesn’t hold a candle to a video I found on You tube of the same spot: click on this link – taken on January 20, 2016, during record high surf with an added bonus of lots of girls diving into the crashing waves in bikinis. (You’re welcome, honey)

I took a photo of the short climb back up…

Onward now, to the Queen’s Bath, again, only a few minutes drive from Princeville. Here, a visual of the area:

So high tech – screenshot of a Google link

You can practically walk to the Queen’s Bath if you’re in Princeville, however, the path down to it is treacherous after a rain. David, Eric and I hiked down to it on a sunny day, after a few rainy days. Boy was it slick! We didn’t follow too closely behind the people in front of us.

The trail takes you down onto a ledge of rocks

Follow the rock surface along the shore to the point – where you have marvelous views of the distant coastline.

We have been to the Queen’s Bath several times but have never seen the bath because it was covered by high tide. But today – we hit it at low tide. The ocean has retreated enough to expose the bath, and the waves crash over the edges of the bath replenishing the water. As the bath comes into view – we notice a swimmer in it.

It’s a mermaid

A mermaid? She must have washed up into the bath from the ocean with the other fish? Hey if fruits can make eye contact with you while perched on the edge of your drink in Kauai, then why would a Mermaid encounter surprise you?

Pretty certain she’s a mermaid

Suddenly the mermaid disappears from sight and humans of all sizes scramble to the edge of the bath like clusters of crabs.

They jump in, swim around, climb out, and another group lines up along a descending ledge, climb in, and swim.

We watch the swimmers a while, then decide to hike back out. (Maybe next time we’ll wear our suits, or flippers or something.)

Hiking back out now.

The muddy path weaves through what looks like a Giant’s petrified potato patch.

Hiking back up from Queens Bath

Toward the top of the trail I pass a very large spider. Do you see him/her? She’s right in the center of the photo – a yellow blotch.

Spider is dead center

Here, I’ll zoom in on her so you can get a closer look:

See her striped legs? I think she’s a common Kauai garden spider. Pretty exciting. When was the last time you saw a large garden spider?

Okay, well, we blast our muddy shoes, legs and feet with the hose nozzle before we announce our arrival to Steph and Vic back at their house in Princeville.

So … why do I keep writing these endless Kauai blogs??? Just think! I could have been outside instead, picking up dog turds strewn across our back yard that dropped like pine cones out of the winter snow melt.

Kauai, Here We Come! – January 2018

January 31, 2018

January 17, 2018. We’re headed back to Kauai! We’ve made this 10-day trip to visit my sister Stephanie and husband Victor at their home in Princeville, Kauai, every January, for seven years running. I’ve blogged about it every year, too – written 42 blogs, covered every topic imaginable. (Go to the main site of my blog to the Kauai category and you will find them, ALL of them.) So of course I wasn’t blogging about our trip this year, couldn’t possibly!! Yes? NO???? YES!! How else to return home and fend off the Idaho winter blahs? Can I drag this series of blogs out till spring? Maybe…

We hit the road from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake in David’s truck Wednesday evening, January 17. Husband David is driving, my brother Eric is riding shotgun, I’m in the back seat. I snap a photo as we fly past Pocatello, Idaho, near sunset…

Pocatello, Idaho

It always takes a while to decompress and relax into the trip. After 2 1/2 hours of driving we stop for dinner. And make a toast!!

Yes, we are happy!

Get this party started!

We fly to Kauai the next morning,Thursday, Jan 18. Most important order of business: The Kilauea Farmer’s Market!

Oh oh-hope we can find a parking space

It’s raining, but that puts no damper on the crowds.

Stephanie and Victor shopping for organic produce

Eric totes the goods.

We circle the fountain in Princeville on the way to Steph and Victor’s house. We had heard that it might be replaced with something a little more, shall I say, ‘Hawaiian’ but we are glad it is still here.

Princeville fountain (made famous in the movie “The Descendants”)

We enjoy a changing sunset from Steph and Vic’s back patio

The first thing every morning is to walk! Hike. Get that heart pounding. What better plan than the hike to Anini Beach? Just what the heart doctor ordered! (Maybe not) The trailhead beckons….

Oh joy …

Which message should we take more seriously? The original?: CAUTION DANGEROUS CONDITIONS PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK or CAUTION ANGER US CONDITIONS …blah blah blah … ‘PIS’?

We’re headed down. Me, because my hubby is. You can glean a little perspective on how steep the path to Anini Beach is by the person ahead of us?

Do we really have to do this?

We actually don’t hike this every morning. Because you have to hike it back up. I did it, maybe, three times this whole trip. Why make myself angry?

Instead, let’s stay up high, on the golf course, (possibly illegally? As tourists, we don’t know for sure…) The top of the golf course overlooking the ocean is a world of rainbows, hearts and …. Nene Geese and Albatross!

Here, I take a picture of David taking a picture of the rainbow.

David and I photographing the rainbow

That is an albatross in flight and those are Nene Geese – an endangered species that doesn’t seem as afraid of humans as they possibly should be (??)

We passed a Bird of Paradise a few feet beyond the rainbow

That’s a bird, alright

Do you see the Nene geese (goose?) in the background of the photo? Gorgeous tropical flowers adorn the paths along the Golf Course and the Westin resort in Princeville..

A solitary egret welcomes us (maybe a stretch)

and a rooster alights from the bushes as if to escort us off the premises.

Which reminds me of a joke:

‘Why did the rooster cross the Road?’

???????????????????????

‘To see his friend Gregory Peck’

‘Who?’ What? I know. Anyone under the age of 60 totally doesn’t get this joke. It’s one of about two jokes (both of them ridiculously stupid) I can tell from memory.

Well that pretty much puts a wrap on my first blog of our 2018 Kauai trip.

Got you all revved up now, don’t I?

One Last Kauai Sunrise

March 5, 2017

“Move on from Kauai already!” you say. “You’ve been back from your trip more than month!” I know, I know. So which would you choose, more photos of ‘Idaho’s seemingly endless winter so far’, or this:

Kauai sunrise, January 26, 2017

Kauai sunrise, January 26, 2017

A Princeville, Kauai sunrise! We took a walk along the Princeville golf course later that morning, after a thunderstorm waned into a Kauai mist

Followed by a rainbow.

January 26, 11:02 am

January 26, 11:02 am

We had several blustery days. I enjoyed the sound and movement of the wind through the towering palms

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You can be there too, imagine yourself standing next to me, in this video

A couple more photos to share… this tree on Ke’e beach near the Kalalau Trail

Warning to tourists- “Hanging your clothes on this might tip it over”

How does it stay up? Its root system appears to be completely above ground. Shouldn’t they post warning signs for tourists? “Do not nap under tree.”

The Kauai garden spider – I didn’t see as many on this trip as usual, but who nowadays ever sees a garden spider?

Top view of the spider first, then a view of its yellow underbelly:

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Farmer’s market produce provides fabulous organic garden-to-table ingredients for our personal chef, Victor:

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And a marvelous spread for breakfast – Mango, pineapple, rambutan! Rambutan? Yes, those red hairy balls.

red hairy balls are rambutan

red hairy balls are rambutan

Here, Eric will model them for you:

Such a handsome human specimen

Such a handsome human specimen

Okay so the photo is a bit of brain overload. Where do you focus? On the red hairy balls, the astronaut kitty floating in outer space, or what Eric might be concealing in his mouth?

Did I mention we bought several delicious organic grapefruit?

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I modeled those:

The worlds most luscious boobs

The world’s most luscious boobs

I cherished this moment to showcase my boobs, the sheer size, voluptuousness, form, erectness! I couldn’t have imagined myself with such a set even in my wildest, most unfathomable dreams.

My moment was quickly out shadowed by Eric sporting his swimsuit on the back patio.

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Okay, Eric, so the pineapples might be tolerable. Please warn me the next time you plan to take a swim. I’ll meet you when you’re in the pool. Although who can’t admire your physique?

Is that a chest implant?

Is that a chest implant?

A physique shaped by decades of hauling antique furniture to and from your store, delivering to customers and singlehandedly loading and unloading truckloads of antique furniture to and from weekend furniture shows across the west.

Okay, so vacation is about over. One last shot of the Kauai landscape, as the sun is about to set …

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and several more shots of rum in our last round of Mai Tais at the airport in Lihue before we board our plane

January 28, 10:20 pm - David buys the last round

January 28, 10:20 pm – David buys the last round

You know, to help us sleep on the 6-hour red-eye.

12 noon Sunday, January 29 – Flying over Utah now, nearing our descent into Salt Lake City.

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Salt Lake City is under a blanket of smog held in by a temperature inversion

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We’ve hit the road toward home – It’s a 3-hour drive from Salt Lake through northern Utah …

I:50 PM - near Brigham City

I:50 PM – near Brigham City

into southeast Idaho… Here we are near Downey, Idaho, about 3PM, Sunday, January 29:

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Oh joy! We’re home now. I see the plows have been through the neighborhood.

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And the people we hired to shovel our driveway did their job too

Driveway is shoveled!

Driveway is shoveled!

We have cleared the sidewalk to the street.

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Megan stayed back home in Idaho with companions, instead of going with us to Kauai. She kept us abreast of news from home, in particular, this one issue, through text messaging:

“Hi Mom. Titan and Einstein are in the back yard again. Rudy keeps barking”

To enlighten you, here’s the photos I took of the situation we met in our back yard upon our return home:

Better situation with a winter garden than a summer garden, however, Rudy seems to know better...

Better situation with a winter garden than a summer garden, however, Rudy seems to know better…

Rudy is fond of Titan

Rudy is fond of Titan

Rudy hot foots it back to the house

Rudy hot foots it back to the house

Here you see the source of the problem: David’s last fix for the hole in the fence along our back yard held up about, uh, two days?:

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He engineered another fix right away. The snow’s been so deep in the back yard, I didn’t take a close look at it till yesterday –

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Huh. So is that going to suffice as the permanent fix? Come spring I could set some vibrant blooming flower pots around it, – heck, submit a photo of this unique yard art/floral arrangement for publication in House and Garden Magazine.

BTW – Which neighbor is responsible for repairing or replacing a fence establishing the boundary for both properties? Should I get an opinion from Mexico on this?

The Day of the Layson Albatross

February 16, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017 – our third full day in Kauai. It’s cloudy and blustery today.

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We’re hanging out at Steph and Vic’s house contemplating plans for the day, when we hear a racket outside on the golf course. Albatross!

There’s three of them. One is waddling alone near the back patio

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While two more are engaged in an elaborate synchronized mating dance. I capture some of it on video:

The pair carried on for several more minutes. What a treat it was to witness! According to this link, Albatross courtship is unique among seabirds, both in its complexity and its duration. Males and females engage in a coordinated dance, facing each other, and what you are witnessing in my video is bill “clappering” (in which the bill is quickly opened and closed repeatedly); “sky calling” (in which the bird lifts its bill to the sky, uttering a call like the “moo” of a cow); and fanning the wings while prancing in place. These displays are performed in repeating cycles for up to an hour each, numerous times per day. This behavior allows potential mates to evaluate each others’ suitability as long-term partners.

Albatrosses appear to bond for life. After the initial courtship phase is over, the elaborate courtship rituals are much reduced or abandoned altogether in subsequent years. Researchers believe that this mating dance functions more in choosing a mate than in the long term maintenance of the pair bond.

Here is a youtube video with a closer view of the mating dance taken on Kauai on Valentine’s Day, 2015. Hmmmm. Considering the 50+ percent divorce rate in America, (higher for second and third marriages), maybe we should mimic the mating ritual of Albatrosses. Instead of lavishing our heart’s desire with valentines, chocolates, flowers, jewelry, and expensive dinners on Valentine’s day, we should engage each other in a face to face mating dance involving synchronized hoots, flings, grabs and bends, claps, slapping our teeth, strutting, and skyward calls in hour-long sessions, repeated throughout the day. You know, to test our compatibility with a new love interest. Plus, think of the added bonus of counting each step on our fit bits!

I Googled “Albatrosses on Kauai’ and came across this very interesting blog by Cathy Granholm, “My Albatross Diary” , documenting current news about the Layson Albatrosses in Princeville, Kauai. Cathy lives in Princeville from November to July. She has had an albatross nest in her yard for three years in a row. She monitors the Laysan albatross nests in yards and on golf courses throughout the community of Princeville. Her last blog was published on Jan 2, 2017, featuring Kirwan, the most photographed Albatross in Princeville. I wonder if my photo of the solitary albatross is Kirwan?

On the afternoon of that same day, Eric, David and I decided to take our favorite north shore Island hike, to Larsen’s Beach, home of a large nesting area for Albatross. The nesting area sits atop a rock cliff and is off limits to humans. We saw many Albatross flying overhead and I caught several photos. Whereas Albatross waddle and look clumsy when they walk, they are magnificently graceful sea birds when they fly. Here’s some of my photos of Albatross in flight:

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Of course, Larsen’s beach is also a napping spot for endangered monk seals and sunbathing sea turtles. We met both of these magnificent species on the beach as well. I have photos. And action videos. (Of napping monk seals?) You betcha. And of sunbathing sea turtles. Here, I’ll give you a teaser:

Okay, well, not a lot of action there. And the sea turtles will have to wait. Somehow their introduction here would pale against the captivating life-force of the Layson Albatross.