Aloha mai e nā maka heluhelu, nā ʻohana, a me nā hoa i piha i ke aloha iā Hōlanikū. Kōkoke pau kēia makahiki. Ua holo nō ka manawa! He mau mea i hoʻolauleʻa ʻia i kēia pule. Ua pau ko mākou helu ʻana i nā mōlī, nā kaʻupu, a me nā makalena i ʻō a ʻō i kēia mokupuni pālahalaha. Hō ka nui o nā manu! He hana nui nō ia. Eia naʻe, hauʻoli au i ka hoʻopau ʻana i kēia makahiki me ia ʻano hana. Eia kekahi, ua hoʻolauleʻa mākou i ka Lā Kalikimaka i kēia hopenapule. ʻOkoʻa ka hoʻolauleʻa ʻana i nā lā nui me koʻu ʻohana ponoʻī ʻole. Eia naʻe, piha kēia i ke aloha a me ka mahalo i ka noho ʻana i ka laʻi o Hōlanikū me koʻu ʻohana hou a me nā hoa manu.

Howzit gangeh! Boy, has time flown by quickly. Another week pau and one more to go for the year. Can you believe it? I have found that the longer we are here on Hōlanikū, the more I lose track of what time or day it is, especially after doing the albatross count. Since we started the task last Friday and worked through the weekend–what is that, the weekend? never heard of it! Nah, nah—and as we worked into this week, I completely forgot what day of the week it was. But the days do not really matter. What really matters is the number of things accomplished between the time the sun rises and the time the sun sets. Mau nō ka hoʻokō ʻana i nā kuleana he nui! It is all for the love of Hōlanikū.

Well gangeh, the albatross count is now complete! We accomplished this huge task within six days, ending it before lunch on Wednesday. The work was tiring, but rewarding in the end. Although my feet are sore from traveling around the whole island, my legs bruised from trampling through naupaka, and my body exhausted from lack of sleep, I am so happy that we got to end this year with the exciting task of finding out how many albatrosses have made Hōlanikū their home. Among the many interesting things that I found during the count, there were a few things that stuck out to me. As I went to confirm whether an albatross was sitting on an egg or not. I found one sitting on a light bulb, another on a golf ball, and a couple of them sitting on two eggs. I could not help but laugh at those silly mōlī that tricked me. It was easy to assume that there was an egg hidden under their feathers, until they lifted higher and exposed the truth ha-ha! I am stoked that I am surrounded by so many beautiful and very interesting birds.

Anyway, you guys ready for the results? We had an increase of about 11k mōlī (Laysan Albatross) and a few more kaʻupu (Black-footed Albatross) from last year. This year, we counted a total of 35,360 mōlī and 3,381 kaʻupu nesting in Hōlanikū. We have 2,500 albatrosses in camp alone. Can you believe it? And to think of how empty this place was two months ago. Now that we have counted how many nests there are, the countdown for the eggs to hatch begins!

In addition to celebrating the success of the albatross count for this Winter 2016-2017 camp season, I am grateful to be able to celebrate Christmas with my little ʻohana and my many bird friends here on Hōlanikū. No crowds. No obsession of shopping and trying to outdo home decorations. The simplicity of our lifestyle here is all I would ever want. We found out some great news while Andy conducted a monk seal survey on Saturday morning. He spotted the first Hawaiian monk seal pup that was recently born on this very Christmas Eve. Nui koʻu hauʻoli! Later in the evening, we had a nice Christmas Eve dinner (choke food) in which we became full quickly, leaving lots of leftovers for our dinner on Christmas Day. After some quick dishes, we opened our gifts that surrounded our “Christmas tree” which was a little, potted naupaka decorated with colorful pipe cleaners and two ornaments made by previous volunteers. Like I said, I just love the simplicity of our lifestyle. These little things go a long way. After opening gifts, we played a few fun games of “Bananagrams” and then we were back into our rooms, exhausted, by 8:30pm here. Christmas Day was just another cruise day. We had a light breakfast and watched “The Hunger Games.” During the movie, we were surprised by hearing someone’s voice transmit over the radio. The voice sounded Japanese, but we are unsure. Eryn responded, but she got no response in return. With binoculars, she went up on the roof of the camp house to see if there was anybody nearby. There was no one in sight. Twenty minutes later, we heard the voice again. We are still unsure of who, what, and where that person was calling from, but that brought some excitement on this Christmas Day. We all separated and went on our own ways for the rest of the day until it was time to eat dinner (leftovers from yesterday evening). It was not the typical festive Christmas, but I could not ask for more. I am content with my current life. My love continues to deepen for my new friends, my new ʻohana, and, of course, Hōlanikū. And although it may not snow here, we had a white Christmas with the white wash out on the reefs, the sea spray filling the air, the overcast clouds, and of course our 35,000 glowing mōlī that surround us 🙂 I hope you all had a merry Christmas. Mele Kalikimaka iā kākou!

Eia ka ʻōlelo noʻeau o kēia pule: “He māʻona moku” (A satisfaction with the land). Said of a person contented with what he has, as a chief is satisfied with his domain -Ka Puke ʻŌlelo Noʻeau a Pākuʻi #807. I do not think I need to wehewehe about this ʻōlelo noʻeau that I chose for the week. I think it is self-explanatory, especially if you have read my previous blogs. Piha wale kēia i ka hauʻoli 🙂

Mahalo a nui no ka heluhelu ʻana. Mele Kalikimaka menpachiiiiiis