Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Census for December 7, 2010
2 Chelonia Mydas basking.
6 Chelonia Mydas Actively feeding in the tide pools.

Under state law, the penalty for anyone convicted of harassing an endangered Hawaiian sea turtle, including disturbing its nest, on first conviction, is a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $2,000, or by imprisonment of not more than one year, or both. For a second or subsequent offense within 5 years of a previous conviction, a fine of not less than $500 or by imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.

It was well after nightfall when I finally arrived home. The 5-mile walk home was made more difficult by the fact that I had to carry all of my equipment. Up the hill I trudged with backpack, beach chair, binoculars, and the whole 9 yards. Everything made it home except for my TWSC cards and Data Records Book. The TWCS materials were ripped up by the husband of the woman who hit me in the eye with her camera case, which all could have been avoided if her twin 6-year-olds would have just stepped back into the turtle safety zone. Then I would not have had to give the little tykes double yellow cards and physically remove them to the parking lot. Personally, I think the mother’s reaction was a little over the top. I was only running to the parking lot with her children under my arms to protect the sea turtles from her little ones repeatedly getting inside the 15-foot TPSR. I told her and her husband there was no need to be confrontational, but they were too unbalanced to listen to reason.

After a tiring day, it was comforting to see that wifey was considerate enough to put my pillow and blanket out on the couch so that I could get a good night’s sleep. I needed a good rest because I knew tomorrow would be busy now that my TWSC system was ruined and I would have to address all violations the old fashioned way. What did we do before technology? There has to be a way to perform this mission more effectively. Let me sleep on it, as all my best ideas come after a good rest.

The brainstorm hit at 3 a.m. How could I not have thought of it before? The solution … a flag system. I could raise a flag of warning and blow my whistle without coming in camera bag range of the offenders. Brilliant, and I knew just where to get some colored flags. The other day wifey and I were driving up in Woods Valley and drove past a house that had numerous flags right in front of the house. Surely they could spare one or two. Now, Woods Valley is well off the beaten track. We were told it was an area inhabited by old hippies who just wanted to farm and do their own thing. That is exactly what my purpose could use is some of that good old 60’s hippie feeling. Hippie farmers would be happy to donate a few flags to help Mother Nature.

With that, I knew I had to act on this brainstorm or I might forget by the morning. So I quietly slipped out of the house to make a quick drive up to Woods Valley and the flag house.
I found the house with the flags without a problem. There must have been 50 flags draped around the front porch. I’ll just run up grab a couple and get back home in time for breakfast before heading into my office. I walked up the driveway just past the sign that read…

Hare Krishna
Temple of the GlitteringLeftShoe
Hare Rama

I climbed up on the porch and gave a good tug to the first flag. It wouldn’t budge. They were all tied together and on the same line it looked like the week’s laundry was out as well. Just one quick tug and I’ll be on my way. I tugged and tugged and with one last mighty heave the line gave and I tumbled across the porch and fell into a large ceremonial gong. What a racket! I noticed a light had come on in the house and thought it might be a good time for me to be on my way. So I scurried to the car with the flags trailing behind me. By the time I started the car every light in the place was on. I stepped on the gas and headed down the hill back towards Pahala. Mission accomplished, and the turtles will be safer tomorrow. As I began to speed down the hill with my lights off, not wanting to wake any of the locals, I noticed in my rear view mirror that all the gentleman in the house were out waving at me, probably wishing me well.

When I got home I reeled in my new turtle saving equipment. Not only did I get the two flags I needed, but I also had every flag from the porch as well as the items that were on the clothes line. My bad! I had fifty flags that had tags reading Genuine Tibetan Prayer flags and 15 bedsheets of a peachy pastel color. I thought about taking them back, but it was a long drive back up the valley and surely they have more bedsheets. And with the jovial send off they gave I surmised they would not mind a donation to the docent program.

It is shaping up to be another great day in the life of the Senior Docent of Punaluu.

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