The Laysan Albatross story continues...A 63 year old Albatross named Wisdom has a baby...



All photos shown today are from Jaymi Heimbuch's article about Wisdom and her chick born last year.  Here's the chick!
Is it coincidence that a few days before we even knew about the albatross living in Richard's neighborhood that we read this story about a 63 year old tagged Laysan Albatross named Wisdom and her mate had hatched another egg?

Whoever gave albatross much thought, let alone found them incorporated into their lives?  We'd heard of them.  We knew they flew across the sea and had white feathers.  But, that was the extent of it.  Until now.

wisdom the albatross, with her 2014 chick
Wisdom at 63 years old, as she tends to her chick.
And, when last year this story about Wisdom's chick hit the airwaves and social media we hadn't spotted it until it popped up again in Facebook a week ago. Tom and I both read the story in awe of this magical bird and only days later Richard told us about the albatross families living in his neighborhood.

We're always surprised how life is filled with serendipitous moments, however small, from time to time, making us shake our heads and wonder about the mysteries we encounter along the way in our travels, in our lives.
leucistic laysan albatross chick spreads its wings
Could this be more adorable?  Perhaps once the eggs in Richard's neighborhood hatch, we'll be able to take some photos of chicks of our own.
Here is a quote from the article we found online:

"Wisdom the Laysan albatross is making headlines again. We've watched in wonder ever since she hit 60 years old and was still successfully raising chicks. Last year she and her mate raised another chick to fledging, and this year their newest baby has just hatched!
 
“As the world’s oldest known bird in the wild, Wisdom is an iconic symbol of inspiration and hope for all seabird species.” said Dan Clark, refuge manager for Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, in a news release. “She provides to the world valuable information about the longevity of these beautiful creatures. In the case of Wisdom, she has logged literally millions of miles over the Pacific Ocean in her lifetime to find enough fish eggs and squid to feed herself and multiple chicks, allowing us the opportunity to measure the health of our oceans which sustain albatross as well as ourselves.”
 
laysan albatross chick with adult
Mom and her chick.
Here is the link to the full story about Wisdom and her chick.  The photos we share today, we've "borrowed" from the article which had freely been offered to share for reposting.

There's never a moment that we are out and about that we aren't searching for the next sign of life in nature to warm our hearts and remind us of how delicate and precious life really is and... how fortunate we are to behold its wonders as we continue to travel the world.

Yesterday, we took a road trip and have many photos of our own to share over the next several days.  It felt as if we drove to the end of the world.  You'll see why tomorrow.

Happy Hump Day!
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Photo from one year ago today, January 28, 2014:

In our "small things" series in Africa we were excited to get this close up of a moth through the glass on the veranda door, late one night.  For other small things, please click here.

Part 2, a day to remember...Thanks to new friends...The Laysan Albatross story begins...

Here's our video of the Laysan Albatross.
 When we lived in Africa, whether on safari in Kenya or in our yard in Marloth Park, each time we had the opportunity to see wildlife, our pulse quickened and a rush of feel good hormones, one of which is dopamine rushed through our bodies.
Looking up to see if her mate is coming back with dinner.
It may be a work of art, an animal or a stretch of beach that triggers the release of the powerful hormone that makes us feel great.  For many, the triggers may be different.  For us, seeing wildlife sends us both into a level of joy that is hard to describe which has only escalated these past few years as we've traveled the world.

This nesting albatross was the first one we spotted, sleeping on her/his nest.  Both the male and female tend to the nest.
When our friend Richard invited us to walk with him in his neighborhood to see the many nesting Laysan Albatross in various neighbor's yards, upon sighting the first bird, I felt as if someone shot me in the arm.  An immediate smile overtook my face, my heart raced with excitement and for some odd reason  (hum...) I felt as if I was "home" (wherever that may be).

The dark coloration around their eyes varies from bird to bird.
For at least 30 minutes, we wandered from yard to yard, occasionally waving or talking to neighbors who were comfortable seeing us with Richard rather than tourists snooping in their yards. 

Even a hibiscus plant is a good spot to nest.
What our eyes beheld was awe inspiring; as many as five albatross at one time in various yards throughout the neighborhood, paying little attention to us as we made a special effort to stay far back to avoid disturbing them.

The pretty cul-de-sac at the end of the street.  Looking closely, we saw several birds which inspired our video.

These two were hanging around the dense vegetation in the center of the cul-de-sac.
Its important not to get too close to these seemingly friendly birds.  They release a hormone when frightened which may be dangerous to them.  Staying as far back as possible is imperative for their good health.

Then, there were three...
Luckily, our camera has an excellent ability to zoom in, making it possible for today's video and photos.  Our course, the dopamine coursing through my body, made my hands a little unsteady, so I did my best.  Usually, I refer to this shakiness as excitement and enthusiasm when in essence, it is dopamine.

Then there were four...
As we walked from house to house, we couldn't believe how many nesting, dancing, interacting and sleeping albatross we spotted.  If we say that we saw the exquisite birds in no less than a dozen yards, we wouldn't be exaggerating. 

A loner, nesting close to a house.
I wondered how residents would be able to go about their daily lives when these precious bird were living in their yards.  Surely, if it was us, we'd be sitting outside on lawn chairs, at a safe distance, watching their daily interactions with the hope of eventually seeing a hatchling.

This one reminded me of Tom, "Oh, I hate going for a walk!"
Well, we're the people who sat outside all day in the bush in 90 degree, bug and snake infested Africa waiting for the next moving creature.  Of course, we'd be equally enthralled with these birds.

So beautiful! 
For Cornell's Lab of Ornithology's information about the Laysan Albatross including a clip of the sound of the birds, please click here.

Flying is the Laysan Albatross's forte, not walking which appears awkward.
Again, we thank our friend Richard for bestowing this amazing opportunity upon us.  Without his assistance and friendship, we'd never have known about these exquisite birds, only seeing them when they occasionally fly over our heads.

It was surprising how they paid no attention to us walking by, continuing with their adorable antics.

Contemplating their next move under a lemon tree.
Once again, we find reasons to be grateful for perhaps another bit of "safari luck."

These smaller two may have been siblings, were grooming each other.
Marine Conservation Biologists in Hawaii band the birds in order to maintain an accurate record of as many birds as possible.
Tomorrow, we'll share a wonderful story of the oldest banded Laysan Albatross. Do check back and have a great day!
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Photo from one year ago today, January 27, 2014:



Neither of us had ever seen the Sickle Bush which grow in Africa.  We were fascinated by its prickly feel and look, along with its beautiful colors.  For more "small things" we found in the bush, please click here.

Part 1, a day to remember...Thanks to new friends...The albatross story begins...


Stained glass, whether antique or newer, attracts a tremendous amount of interest for its often fine workmanship as in the case of this piece in Elaine and Richard's home.
Yesterday morning, about the time we finished posting, we received an email from our new friend Richard, a 17 year homeowner in Princeville and 7 year permanent resident. 
The view from the lanai at Elaine and Richard's lovely home.
He said he had a gift for us and would be at the golf club until noon.  Planning on heading over there anyway since it was my day to workout, shortly we were on our way. 

Elaine and Richard's inviting living room filled with comfortable furnishings and amenities.
It was cloudy by the time we were out the door, preventing us from lounging by the pool after my workout.  But Tom could visit with Richard while I worked out.

The huge master bedroom is warm and appealing with its fine furnishings and d├ęcor.
Giving a gift to people you've only known a few days was beyond gracious of Richard and accepting such an unexpected gesture was a new experience for both of us. 

This antique desk and handmade wood ship are eye catching.
After our discussions of our love of wildlife and Richard's perusal of our site, he easily determined that this gift was better given sooner rather than later while we could enjoy the depth of its meaning during our time in Princeville.
The gift Richard gave us yesterday, The Majestic Albatross by Robert Waid, a neighbor of his.


Perusing these photos certainly triggered enthusiasm on our part, anxious to see even one of these majestic birds up close, if possible, during our time in Princeville.
Having discussed the wonders of the albatross on the island of Kauai and the many currently nesting near his home, this book, written by albatross expert and aficionado, Robert Waid, also lives in Richard's neighborhood. 

These bears reminded us of all the Santa Bears we had in our old lives.


This large China hutch contains many photos of family members, all of which Richard treasures.  We too had such treasures in our old lives.  Now, we have all the scanned photos as opposed to the frames and places to store them. Oddly, we don't miss having "stuff" but can easily admire the stuff of others.
Of course, we were chomping at the bit to have a peek at this amazing phenomenon, occurring right here in Princeville.  With this book in hand, our desire to witness these birds first hand only escalated.

Richard sat behind the impressive magistrate's desk giving us a feel as to how a visit to his office in St. Louis might have been.


Richard, an attorney from St. Louis, Missouri, sent his English magistrate's desk and other treasures to Hawaii years ago via a container on a ship. This method is often used to transport cars and belongings from the mainland (and other countries) to Hawaii.  Note the other antiques in his "man cave," a converted garage.

Without any prompting from us, but certainly based on our enthusiasm, Richard invited us to see his home and meet his lovely wife Elaine who had little warning that people she'd never met were stopping by on a Sunday. 
 
Richard and Tom sat outside at the golf club engaged in lively conversation while I worked out.  My HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout takes less than 20 minutes instead of the usual one hour or more most exercisers usually spend. As a result, we showed up at Elaine and Richard's home a bit earlier than expected per Richard's earlier phone call.


This stained glass window, of which Richard and Elaine have many, reminded us of the zebras drinking from our pool in Marloth Park, only one year ago.


A grandfather clock in Richard's man cave.
Of course, Elaine was gracious and welcoming while we attempted to be as unobtrusive as possible while Richard gave us the full tour of his beautiful and interesting home with expansive views of the sea.
Although not antique carpeting, this pattern is definitely befitting the environment.
Today, we're sharing photos of the tour of Elaine and Richard's lovely home and tomorrow, we'll be back with our video and photos of the "majestic albatross" (per Robert Waid).

This is Elaine and Richard's wedding photo, 28 years ago.
Thanks to Elaine and Richard for their hospitality, kindness and generosity and of course, to their neighbor, Robert Waid, for his inspiration and exquisite book



A Hawaii themed stained glass window built into a stone wall.
We'll be back tomorrow with some of most exciting and heartwarming wildlife photos /video we've been able to share in quite some time.

Happy Monday, dear friends.
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Photo from one year ago today, January 26, 2014:

Three giraffe crossing the road when we were on our way to the local market.  Even Tom couldn't stop smiling whenever there was this type of traffic jam.  For details from that day, please click here.

Complaining? Not I!...One year ago...A colorful visitor comes to call...



Cloudy skies are common on Kauai. One of the rainiest spot in the world is located at the center of the island at Mount Waiaelae, with an average rainfall of 472 inches a year, with a record of 683 inches in 1912.
It's Sunday morning at 9:15 as I write this.  An occasional bit of sun peeks through the billowy clouds giving us hope that the day will prove sunny.  But, who's to complain when last week we had sunshine the entire week, spending a few hours most days by the pool at the golf club, then off to explore the island.

A cloudy sunset creates an interesting scene.
Now, as we sit here, with roosters crowing every minute or so, birds singing in the dense forest behind us, we can't help but smile.  Even cloudy days like today are a treasure.

Only moments later it changes.
I can't help but think back to Kenya, only 14 months ago, when we had no living room and we spent 15 hours a day outside on the open air veranda.  There were bugs constantly landing on us, the heat was in the humid 90's and poisonous centipedes slithered near our feet.  We had no AC in the bedroom and no screens to open windows at night.  Only a ceiling fan offering little relief.

Later, in South Africa, we spent all of our days outside on the veranda when we had two living rooms indoors, in the humid 90's, bugs hovering near our heads, snakes at our feet and yet we stayed outside awaiting the visitors.

The boat launch at Hanalei Beach.
Oh, how we've adapted.  And now, as we languish indoors, no bugs, screened windows opened to a cooling breeze on a cloudy day and for a moment, I whine about the lack of sunshine.  But, only for a moment, when I'm reminded by a troll inside my head that screams, "How quickly you forget!"

Notice the lifeguard to the right as other jet skis enter the water at the river.
No, we won't forget.  Nor will we diminish the reality that in a little over four months we'll be living in Australia at the edge of a rainforest where the mozzies and the wild things are.  Surely, once again we'll adapt.  Living in Australia means wildlife, insects, snakes and other unknown creatures many have never see in a lifetime.

Trees hanging over the river.
In our reality, the most excitement and fun we've had has been when we've been most uncomfortable; hot, sticky, flies in our faces, stinky from repellent, clothing wet with sweat with adrenaline pumping through our veins with anticipation over the next breath sucking adventure.

Ah, I do miss that.  And yet, we sit here in luxurious Princeville, in an easy-to- keep-spotless-condo with AC (which we seldom use), screens, no bugs to speak of, with nary a thought but when the sun will shine so we can go to the pool and on a drive to take sunny-day photos or, when our next social event will transpire. 

Beach near the Hanalei River.
Yes, we are adaptable but in both directions; the roughing it variety or the ease of carefree luxury.  Good grief, we're only one hour from a Costco store when in Kenya, we had but a limited little grocer who didn't carry celery and the tomatoes were too ripe and with guards with rifles who frisked us at the door as we entered.

In all, we're grateful.  Grateful for the vast array of experiences, grateful for the people we meet and grateful for the life we've lived thus far.  And most of all, we're grateful for each other.

Oh, oh.  The sun's out.  Gotta go...the pool is calling us!
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Photo from one year ago today, January 25, 2014:
 
These Helmeted Guinea Hens were frequent visitors in Marloth Park.  In fact, as often as we saw them, we assumed they lived in the bush in our yard.  Their colors are amazing, although their chicks didn't acquire the colorful helmet until they've matured.  For details from that day's post, please click here.

A budding social life...Who knew that Kauai would be such a friendly environment...


The Wai'olo hui'Ai Church in Hanalei, a popular church and point of interest in the area.  For more information, please click here.
When one first arrives in beautiful upscale Princeville, its easy to make assumptions that with its certain sense of affluence, that it may not be an easy area to make friends.  How wrong we were!


From what we've been able to determine there are seven one lane bridges in Kauai, most of them in the Hanalei Bay area.  Hawaiian residents and tourist are highly cooperative in letting several cars pass at a time.  Often, we've observed signs posting stipulating that one allows six or seven cars to pass before proceeding.  Surprisingly, the flow moves quickly.
Many former mainland (USA) residents moved to Kauai to get away from it all full or part time. Welcoming short term residents such as us, most likely not returning anytime in the near future, may not be a top priority.

As for making friends with tourists, we find this highly likely on a cruise sharing the commonality of interests on the confines of the ship. Otherwise, while traveling, most of the friends we've made have been residents to the area. 

This one lane bridge crosses over the Hanalei River.
On a few occasions we've met tourists open to making new friends while they're traveling as in the case of the two couples we met this week, thoroughly enjoying time together: Vicki and Jerry, at the beach and Jessica and Ed, our next door neighbors for another week.

Yesterday, at the Makia Golf Club pool where I now workout and we both lounge at the pool several times per week, we met Richard, a former attorney from the Midwest, who kindly invited us to a house party on February 4th, a monthly tradition for a relatively good size group of locals observing the full moon.

Another one lane bridge crossing over the river that flows from the sea in Hanalei Beach.
Of course, we were delighted to RSVP on the spot especially when Richard happened to have an invitation with him with the location and particulars.  What a marvelous opportunity to meet locals with whom we can socialize during our four months (as of today) that we'll be living in Princeville. 

Shortly, after meeting Richard we met Shayna, a neighbor of Richard's and a permanent resident who was also welcoming and we hope to see again soon.

Many beaches are lined with trees such as these, providing some shady areas.
We never have expectations about meeting people in a new environment.  Tom and I both are very friendly.  But, under certain circumstances one can detect the demeanor of others that doesn't invite conversation. 

I find this to be the case when working out when others appear to be caught up in their own exercise routine seemingly exuding a "don't talk to me" persona.  In fact, I may be guilty of this same thing when working out, deep in concentration on doing my best in form and intensity.

Today's soaking rain will certainly been advantageous for Kauai's abundant vegetation.
It seems to us that the relaxed setting of lounging by a pool, sitting at a bar in a restaurant or casually lingering at any venue provides the best opportunity for friendliness and idle chatter.

We took this photo at the exact moment as the rooster stuck out his neck in order to loudly crow when we stopped on the side of the road.  Perhaps, he is warning the hens and chicks that danger looms, amongst many other reasons.
At this point, we're considering attending a Super Bowl party at the golf club but we're awaiting an email with the particulars.  Apparently, yesterday we were informed that there will be a cost for all members to attend.  The amount and circumstances of that fee will determine our attendance.  If food is included, most likely, none will be appropriate for me.  We have to pick and choose those events that make sense for us overall.  We shall see.

So far, we've only seen haze near the mountains, most likely due to the green hills covered with vegetation.  This particular scenario was common in the hills of Madeira, where we lived this past spring and part of summer.
Today, its raining hard enough that we may stay indoors. We've been out everyday this week and one day at "home" will be fine.  We attempt to go out each day to take new photos for the next day's post. 

Fortunately, we still have plenty of photos from this week that we'll happily share over the next few days, until the sunny skies return and we head out for more exploration.

A fountain at the entrance to a residential area in Princeville, Ka'iulani.
Here's to wishing each and every one of our readers a fulfilling and pleasant Saturday, rain or shine, snow or warmth and anywhere in between.
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Photos from one year ago today, January 24, 2014:


It was one year ago that I dropped my Acer laptop, breaking the screen.  I continued using it over a period of weeks attempting to use it in this condition which ultimately failed.  Living in Marloth Park, South Africa didn't provide us with many opportunities for promptly making a new purchase especially with my requirement of a Windows 8 touch screen.  Within a few weeks a solution was in place when Okee Dokee and I traveled to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga to make a new purchase. Please click here for details of that day's post.