Published: March 6th 2009January 26th 2009
Wildlife Refuge Sign
Color the bird's beak blue rimmed in orange. Its webbed feet are red.
Another early start was required because arrangements had been made at Kilaueia Lighthouse National Wildlife Refuse for us to get in early. That way our group had the full attention of the staff. We had an hour before they had to let the others in. Fortunately, our eager beavers were on time and stayed within the time frame we had.
Our old bus rolled in before the disbelieving eyes of tourists waiting to enter the refuge. We were greeted by the staff who split us into two groups. They explained the birds whose refuge here is nearly unique in the world. We were able to see them with binoculars. Again Marty reports well in her blog:
The lighthouse is no longer functioning but there are electronic beacons next to it that continue to serve planes and boats.
The staff urged us to watch for whales. Most of the group had already seen some near Lahaina or at other places on our trip. I never did see them despite spending much of my time in this refuge staring through my binoculars. I became impatient with whale watching and headed for the rest room. When I came out,
There is no geological tie with the volcano on the Big Island.
the group was coming back along the path, exclaiming how they had all seen whales just after I left. Oh cherry pits and wingnuts . . . !
But we still saw the state bird called the NeNe, a relative of the Canada Goose, that chooses to not fly much anymore.
Our bus loaded so we could leave before the tourists were due to come in. And we were off to Hanalei. We never saw Puff the Magic Dragon but we sang a verse or two of his song.
Susan taught us a Hawai'ian song about an ancient form of fishing called "hukilau." The hukilau is a communal fishing process from which everyone that takes part benefits. A spotter watches for schools of fish to come into the bay looking to feed where a small river meets the ocean. When the spotter sends word, the whole community rushes down to the shore with their nets. The nets have strings that sweep down from the main rope. Unlike gill nets, the dangling strands are not weighted down to scrape the bottom. They sweep the fish together by simple physical action. The people then jump in the water and
Red-footed Booby island refuge
With binoculars, we saw hundreds of birds.
catch the fish by hand and throw them into containers. When all the good fish are caught, the rest are released by lifting the hukilau net out of the water. Few fish are snagged by their gills and turtles are not caught except as a delicacy. And the catch is divided up among the participants with a fair amount going to the spotter.
Susan and Rob worked for a plantation owner when they were young. He also was the spotter. And though hukilau fishing is seldom practiced, they participated on a regular basis not that many years ago.
She showed us the small bay where they did that kind of fishing. She mentioned that Rob usually left earlier to go to work and used their row boat to cross the stream. She swam the stream when she went to work. After nearly two years of this routine, she learned that other commuter swimmers like herself were coming down with nasty infections from bad stuff in the water. She changed her routine and commuted by boat after that.
We took the bus from there to a taro plantation. We saw it from an overlook and then drove down
Hawai'i's state bird
among the ponds. Taro can be used many ways but the corm (a root- like structure near where the plant stem comes out of the water) is where the most nourishment lies. That corm is ground into a sticky paste which is used as a starch staple to the Hawai'ian diet.
It is called "poi."
The bus took us into Hanalei where we picked up our sandwiches and beverages for lunch. We went to a cottage of the Wilcox family, the same ones who ran Grove Farm. While we ate out on the back porch, we heard more of the story of early life in Hanalei and the part the Wilcox family played in it.
After lunch, the group walked over to the church behind which the Waioli mission buildings still stood as an historical site. Part of the group went off with Susan to use bathrooms. The rest of us looked at the church and then found a porch with benches on one of the mission buildings. We sat and watched birds while we waited for the others to return. After a half hour, I was chosen to see how the others were doing. I found
Years ago, Susan and Rob had to cross this river mornings and evenings to go to and from work.
them touring the home of the original missionaries. I was told the tour had just started and that the rest of us could join them. When I returned to the others and shared that offer, they looked around from our comfortable spot on the porch and thought, "Hey wherever we are and whatever we're doing, it's in Hawai'i."
So we stayed and waited for the others to rejoin us.
On the bus, Susan apologized for the mix up.
She then reminded us that of all the islands, Kaua'i had not been conquered by King Kamehameha. They wisely negotiated a merger which brought them into his sphere of influence but still left them some measure of autonomy, being the furthest island of the chain.
After a nice supper back in Kapa'a at our hotel, Susan briefed us on the morning agenda and our afternoon flight to Oahu.
There are more photos below