Social Media Postings About My Recent Trip to the Wilds of Hawaii

Yes I broke my @#&£§≤#! ankle birdwatching in the rainforest


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
The other birders shushed me as I lay on the ground. My pain swears were scaring away the 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
Not to dwell on my broken foot .... but, five weeks later I got around to downloading the pictures from my pocket sized waterproof back-up camera. The picture above was taken as or just after I fell down a hill while taking pictures of endangered birds in a usually off-limits US government rain forest on the Big Island (Hawaii). 

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).


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
It wasn't a tough climb and my wife and I found it interesting albeit very chilly. On our way to the top we saw Hawaii's only snowman. Without a cloud in the sky (all below us) and no pollution, the view of the telescopes was beyond a Kodak moment.

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!

Photo: When Stop isn't a powerful not word!

Took this last week in the US. 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!


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!
One surf board rental place takes a gallows humour approach to the frequent Tiger Shark sightings and has a board with teeth marks, proudly on display on their shop's front steps.
On the Big Island you just can't escape the Tigers, even if you don't go in the water. Hilo Shark's Coffee Shop is popular even though it is up in the highlands of Kona !!!!

Roadside Memorials Are Hard To Figure Out Sometimes! 
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
On the next tree in the cluster there are also bleached shark fins nailed into the wood. Were the fins and the carvings done by the same person? Was Adam killed by a shark? Why would people nail shark tails onto a tree anyway?

IMHO: The mystery will probably never be solved.


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