Awaiting Albatross

It’s late October. That means leaves are turning the colors of jewels and carpeting the ground beneath trees in places on the continental United States. In Hawaii, the temperature needle hovers around 70 degrees at night, a cool breeze seeps in from the north, and we pull up the sheet to sleep. This is fall….

Vote for Hawaiian Monk Seals!

I submitted this photo to the annual Nature Conservancy photo contest. Last year, they received over 17,000 entries. This year, I made their Top 100 list, and I’d love for you to vote for this photo as your favorite.

How Extreme Birds Inspire Us to be Better Humans

Memorial Day. Graduation. Father’s Day. The solstice. For most people, one of these marks the beginning of summer. For me, these calendar events signal the coming completion of albatross season. Albatross? You mean those big white birds with wingspans longer than I am tall who glide over the surface of the sea as gentle as…

Tracking Twain: Finally, I Met Mark Twain

Celebrity. What makes it? I’ve thought this often since a friend’s boyfriend left college a credit or class or paper—there are many stories out there—short of graduating and went to Hollywood to become Brad Pitt. Actually, he was already Brad Pitt, but in Hollywood, he became the famous—and wealthy—actor Brad Pitt. Our society likes celebrities…

Are Hawaiian Monk Seals (Finally) Gaining Respect?

She’s not the prettiest seal. It’s neither the doe eyes nor the Buddha smile that draw you to her. It’s the scars. I’ve always said 17-year-old K30 is the poster child of threats to monk seals. After the events of this week, now more so than ever.

Holy Mōlī: Albatross and Other Ancestors

In the days before Cook introduced Hawai‘i to the world and an onslaught of foreigners arrived. Back in the days before the old religion was abolished and missionaries arrived on scene. I’ve read that winged creatures represented messengers of the gods, because, unlike mere humans, birds can fly to great lengths and heights. Places far…

Hawaiian Petrels: Refugees of the Sea

Hawaiian petrels aren’t the largest seabirds in the ocean. They’re no albatross. But with a three-foot wingspan, they can still cover some ground–er, water. According to the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project, an adult bird will fly over 6,000 miles in a  single foraging trip to provide a meal for its chick. I’d say that’s impressive. I mean, I…