Laysan Albatross at Ka’ena Point

The Laysan albatross is black and white and soars in its majestic flight. Relatively small compared to other albatrosses, they are doing pretty well in terms of population numbers. They breed mostly in the northwest islands of the archipelago, but there is a colony here apparently making a comeback.  Mid-March is the time when the fluffy nestlings are growing rapidly, and the parents take turns feeding their hungry offspring. They are fearless and we can walk within a couple meters of the chicks at Ka’ena Point in Northwest Oahu.  This is a remote dramatic landscape and far from the big city of Honolulu.  It is spring break, and my sister lives in Hawaii, just a short flight from San Francisco. It is no brainer that I should be here.  The Hawaiian Monk seals basking in the sun, and sea turtles on the beach make for a memorable day in nature.  Although Hawaii has been overpopulated by people and other invasive species, there are still glimpses of the untamed nature, and the beauty is unrivaled with the big waves of the multi-colored blue Pacific. How is it possible that the current president of the USA doesn’t understand the need for protecting nature?  Some of these birds are decades old, and have survived the rapid changes to the environment. I believe that they will survive another 4 years, but other threatened species may not. 

Ravinder with Monk seal in the background
Laysan Albatross chick
Green sea turtle on the North shore

Waimanalo is a town on the south shore of Oahu, and near the sunny beach is a delicious vegan restaurant, Ai Love Nalo. Generous portions of creative bowls and sandwiches in a very simple setting with no silverware or plates.  Everything compostable. I had the BBQ portabello sandwich: perfect for a vegan exploring this part of the island. Unfortunately we didn’t see the Humpback whales at Makapu’u point, but we did see the teenagers on spring break jumping into the sea at China Walls and Spitting Caves.  The waves churn around them when they do their flips and swan dives from the treacherous heights.  You don’t find tourists here. I feel pretty much like a local here in another of my many homes.  

Honolulu is full of cars, and new big multi-story high-rises.  There are hipster cafes and expensive stores for the privileged people.  International airplanes take off and land every minute at the airport.  There are now Ethiopian and Burmese restaurants in town, so there is no need to ever leave the island: but still no Trader Joes.  I get to live cheaply at my sister’s place in Kailua, which has also expanded into the ubiquitous hipster realm.  The beaches are crowded on the weekend, and finding parking is a challenge. The water and sunny soft sand are worth it, and swimming in the warm salty sea just feels healthy. 

The locals at China Walls