A NOTE ABOUT TOMORROW'S LUNCH
Dear John and Alex:
Last Saturday got permission to get into the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on The Big Island of Hawaii. The huge, usually off-limits Hakalau Rain Forest is located on the windward side of the Mauna Kea volcanic mountain between 2,500 and 6,500 feet above sea level.
This year the Forest is only open to the general pubic twice (up from once-a-year). Four-wheel drive required. It is down the mountain from a dozen observatories including the Canada France Hawaii Telescope.
Anyway, got to the rainforest early and my wife and I joined a Hawaii University Ecology professor and went into the forest looking for tiny colourful songbirds. The 32,000 acre preserve was established in 1985 to protect endangered birds and native Hawaiian plants.
Our mission was to find and photograph 'akepa, the 'akiapola'au, the 'i'wi and the 'apapane - all unique and rare Hawaiian rain forest birds.
We were with serious bird watchers, none of whom found it funny when I yelled out "Lophophanes" and pointed my binoculars at the chest of our male guide's rather large man boobs. We all know that Lophophanes are a rare species of tit birds, so you'd think these birders would have cracked up at my joke. They didn't. (Sorry to Victoria's husband ***, but Hawaiian birders are boring, and without a sense of humour and yes they judge you by the size of your binoculars.)
Anyway, traveling down the mountain we came to a hill where our leader had spotted an endangered bird that was too small to see (or photograph) with a name I couldn't pronounce. We climbed up the slope to peer up into the rain forrest canopy. I stepped on a loose lava rock, twisted around on my ankle first to the left and then to the right and fell down on the ground. I was yelling bad words. Loudly.
|US forest ranger (l) and birder look for endangered birds|
Our tour leader, still smarting from the tit comment, yelled out "look a Megascops Kennicottii", and pointed his binocs at me. Big laughs this time. However I wasn't being a screech owl I was more a Limpkin (the household crying bird).
Forest rangers got me out aboard a Federal four wheel drive and took me to the park base where two buff EMS guys bandaged, iced and examined my hurt ankle. Said it was a strain. Sent me on my way.
Believed them. Walked around Hawaii for the next week making people retch at the sight of my purple toes.
Got back to YYZ Thursday morning - saw my doctor who said it was broken. Got a cast on Friday and this morning I got more treatment and clean bandages at Sunnybrook Hospital. Getting an air cast next Monday. Back at work immediately after the plaster dried. Hard going but people are lining up to buy me sympathy beers - hint hint.
Look forward to seeing you both at lunch, it has been a long time. We need a booth that can accommodate crutches.
BTW: Never birding again, going back to shark diving.
*** Last name of birder removed to protect the identity of an innocent
Five Weeks Later .....
|First One Down The Hill Gets a Broken Ankle|
Great picture but so no worth it! ( wish my ankle was as tough as my Olympus Tough camera which took this shot without any help from me).
WHAT DO YOU FIND AT THE TOP OF THE TALLEST HAWAII MOUNTAIN? POPULAR FACEBOOK POSTING BY SWEIR
|Snowman and Selfies On Top of Hawaii's Tallest Mountain - composite photo by Stephen Weir|
There are a dozen scientific observatories built on the summit of Mauna Kea on The Big Island, Hawaii. The telescopes, including the Canada France Hawaii Telescope, have been built there because of the altitude, the clear skies and the isolation of being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
We drove (four wheels only allowed on this road too) to see the observatory complex last week. We walked from the parking lot up an additional 200ft in elevation along a narrow dirt trail to reach the actual top of Mauna Kea mountain at about 14,000 ft above sea level.
|Maria Nenadovich took this picture of me at the top|
BTW: As we summited we walked past two women busily taking selfies above the clouds!
Took this last week in the State of Hawaii. Note that there is a large bush right beside the intersection of a plaza parking lot. Given how many people leave their driving skills behind them when they enter a parking lot, the owners probably figured Whoa is a better word than stop. Worked for me!
TIGER SHARKS AND HAWAIIAN BOARDERS - FLICK'R
At the Kona town pier there is a sign posted for blue water boaters asking them to report any sightings of floating dead whales. The island doesn't want the bodies to float into port because dead whale is a favourite food for tiger sharks and they follow the food into shore.
The goal is reduce the number of tiger sharks near the swimming and surfing beaches of Kona!
WAS ADAM TAKEN BY A SHARK?- FACEBOOK POSTING
Someone has carved a memorial to Adam into the bark of a Kona, Hawaii beachside tree (pictured).
|The Shark Tree and RIP Adam - Kona, Hawaii|
IMHO: The mystery will probably never be solved.