Posted in Kauai Visitor Information

Leave Only Footprints

Footsteps in the Sand-Final 2
Hanalei Beach Park – photo source: TRR Photography

Despite the recent media attention around announcements like Starbucks’s self-imposed ban on straws and other Fortune 500 Companies jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon, the reality is that they actually are late to the party. For it was a 19th Century Native American, Chief Seattle (yes, the namesake of the City of Seattle, WA), who is attributed with promoting the movement to: Leave only footprints. While silent on the subject of straws (invented in 1888, some 20-years after his death), I am sure The Chief did not want us leaving those on our beaches or in our oceans.

On Kauai, even before the 2011 law passed requiring retail establishments to provide recyclable or reusable bags to customers, many had been practicing and supporting sustainable tourism for years. In fact, there is a strong community dedicated to Eco-tourism. I will never forget a trip to WalMart some years ago that had me making more than one trip to the car after shopping there. Lesson learned: If you want your purchases bagged, plan to bring your own boxes or bags. Or, bring the whole clan for “carry-out.” Likewise, more restaurants and eateries are using biodegradable take-out containers in spite of the higher cost to do so.

Since purchasing The Dolphin Hale in 2004, my husband and I have continued to move the needle into the green zone ourselves. By offering accommodations featuring energy efficient appliances and systems as well as eco-friendly furnishings and amenities, we hope to support sustainable tourism. With over a million tourists visiting Kauai annually–and that number growing–today is the day for everyone who steps foot on the Garden Isle to be reminded of Chief Seattle’s words:

Earth does not belong to us; we belong to earth. Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints. - Chief Seattle

Moreover, you and yours can actually help to preserve and support Kauai just by doing little things during your visit. Here are a handful of examples:

  • When making your Rental Car reservations, think “Carpool.” You can even add a second driver to your contract and eliminate the need and expenditure for a second auto altogether.
  • Purchase Island Grown and Made Products – Farmer’s Markets are a great way to do both!
  • When you do go to a grocery store or the like, take advantage of the reusable bags stocked for guest use in The Dolphin Hale.
  • Beach-combing is fun, but please leave ‘found’ items on the beach. We often find pieces of coral and shells inside the house. Things that could be supporting wildlife.
  • Even one of the wettest places on earth has a need to conserve potable water–consider showering with your partner!

I didn’t say having fun and reducing your carbon footprint were mutually exclusive. And, yes, enjoy that frappuccino sans the straw!

Malama ‘Aina (Care for the Land) ~ Aunty Tammy

Posted in Home Improvement Island Style

Pearls of Wisdom Shared

TDH New Wing Construction Pictorial
Pictured: Four Phases of The Dolphin Hale expansion to house the NEW Gourmet Kitchen (upstairs) and The Coral Room/Sub-Master and Ensuite (downstairs).

When my husband and I first concocted the idea of an addition to The Dolphin Hale, little did we realize what we were actually getting ourselves into. No strangers to “Island Time” and the costs associated with getting anything done on Kauai, we thought we were prepared both financially and emotionally to see it through. However, we quickly came to realize that while we were well braced for a tropical storm or two (literally and figuratively), we were not prepared for the construction hurricane that hit us.

Instead of completing our project by Christmas 2015, we were forced to throw some of our ‘must haves’ into the abyss and compromise on others just to be able to wrap construction for an April 1st-no foolin-relaunch and open The Dolphin Hale to guests once again. Throughout this 12-month process I have collected a few pearls of wisdom to share with you.  If you are thinking of purchasing an island home as a rental property or simply as a second home, write this down:

  • Island homes are ALWAYS in a state of decay, it’s just a matter of which Stage of Decay;
  • Everything must be shipped in across a vast ocean which will test the depths of your patience and pockets;
  • US Currency is only worth a fraction of its face value in Hawaii. ; )

Now before you conclude that I am just jaded, let me also say that there are rewards for embarking upon such an adventure:

  • They are not making more ocean front property, thus it could be a good investment;
  • As the operator of a Vacation Rental, your island vacations will be tax deductible as well as all your home improvement projects;
  • Moreover, you will become an Ambassador of Aloha–sharing it with all who become your guests.

Or, you can always do the smart thing and just rent The Dolphin Hale!

With Aloha ~ Aunty Tammy

Posted in Kauai Visitor Information, Kauai Wildlife

Shearwaters Season Starts September 15

Kilauea Lighthouse (pre-restoration), Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
– photo source: TRR Photography

The official “Save Our Shearwaters” season begins September 15th, so this month I thought it only fitting to dust-off this post and add a few updates for 2019.

Before you get the wrong idea, please know that this post has nothing to do with the state of water in any form.  In fact, a Shearwater is a bird.  And, these medium-sized long-winged birds call Kauai home.

It is estimated that 90 percent of the world’s population of Newell’s Shearwaters are attracted to Kauai for what amounts to a trifecta: cliffs for roosting, mountainsides for building burrows/nests, and, of course, the ocean for fishing.  Commonly, Shearwaters may be seen following whales to feed upon the fish disturbed in their wake.  In fact, these birds can dive as deep as 230 feet underwater to get the job done, but I digress…

Layout 1

While Kauai is The Garden Isle, light pollution has created a real challenge for the young birds born here.  When leaving their nests for the first time, usually in mid-September through mid-December, they are vulnerable to mistaking artificial light sources for the moon while attempting to make their way to the sea.  The confusion causes the birds to circle around until they become exhausted, eventually crashing to the ground, a phenomena called “fall-out.”

Unless saved by human rescuers, the grounded birds are unlikely to survive, getting run over by cars, or eaten by dogs and cats.  The good news is that the Save Our Shearwaters (SOS) program has been very successful in rehabilitating these chicks.  And when strong enough, the young birds are released over the ocean where they are free to follow the moon as Mother Nature intended.

Should you cross paths with one of these distressed birds while staying at The Dolphin Hale, please call the Hanalei Fire Station, or take the bird there for aid.  It’s the island way.

One of the best places to see these and a variety of other sea birds: http://www.kilaueapoint.org/seabirds in their natural habitat is to make a trip to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. Further, you need not pay an admission fee for the best view found in the cove. If you are lucky, you may even spot a Hawaiian Monk Seal catching some zzz’s on the rocks below.

For more information on this program and how to properly handle the birds, please visit http://SaveOurShearwaters.org.  “AO”!

Mahalo ~ Aunty Tammy