Moving day…Wow! What a lot of work!!…Time to unwind and relax…

A beautiful sky before sunset.

With the family moved out and Tom and I now alone, yesterday we began the process of moving from the bigger house to the smaller house which Tom affectionately refers to as the “bird house.”

Usually when we move we only have to pack our clothing and supplies, tidy up after ourselves and be on our way.  With 12 days remaining on the Big Island, moving next door was the most comprehensive move we’ve had in 27 months.

A distant dorsal fin.

What made it more difficult was twofold; one, we paid deposits on both houses and want them back in their entirety, and two, we had food and household supplies to move, all in a 24 hour period. Now, this doesn’t sound like much. But, believe me, it was.

There were two refrigerators to clean and one to make room for the transferred perishables. (We’ll toss leftovers when we leave on January 15th).  There were beds to make, laundry to do, floors to sweep and wash, bathrooms to organize, and of course, the unpacking of our luggage. 

Lots of action here.

When we repack for the 15th, I will be reorganizing and further lightening our load for the next flight from Kona, Hawaii to Lihue, Kauai with a layover in Honolulu for an hour. 

The thought of staying put in Kauai for four months is pleasing for both of us. We’ll have plenty of time to explore the gorgeous island, lounge at the beach, and try a few of the highly-rated restaurants in the area. 

Correctly timing the shot from considerable distances is a craft that neither my bad shoulder nor our camera can do. If we upgraded to a camera with a higher capacity for distances, it would weigh more. It’s a catch 22.

Although there’s no pool at the condo we rented we’ll certainly find a good spot to whale watch when the Hanalei Bay is across the street in the fabulous Princeville area. We couldn’t ask for more especially since we chose this particular condo for its excellent price for the otherwise pricey area. 

Sacrificing a little in amenities over price was our plan as we prepare for the next leg of our journey. The segue in Princeville for us is a place to regroup, plan, and get ready for our next big foray outside the US which will be for at least the upcoming two years.

The black and white fluke. It was almost dark outside.

Last night, our final night at the big house, we found ourselves on the lanai having exhausted all of our energy in packing and moving all day, we saw one pod of whales after another, more than we’ve ever seen before.

Getting good photos of whales is especially difficult for me. My bad shoulder prevents me from holding up the camera for long enough to capture the perfect shots. Plus, our camera, although capable of taking good photos, is not capable of the long-distance shots required when whale watching. 

Two whales, side by side.  It could be a mom and baby.

Sure, a tripod would help but the added weight is not practical for us when we’re already up to the max with our two large and one medium suitcase, one carry on duffel bag, one computer bag, and one handbag. I can’t imagine a free hand able to hold a tripod. 

So, this is the way it is, the best we have to offer thus far as we continue to watch for the massive gentle beasts that waft through the sea with grace and ease. We love every sighting, hollering “blow hole” each time we spot the spewing stream of vapor exuded by these amazing animals.

When Tom yelled, “Over here!” I was focused on another whale and missed all but this shot when two whales did a full breach, simultaneously. I saw it but just didn’t focus on it quickly enough.

Now, each time we holler “blow hole” we’re reminded of the fun times we spent with our family, eyes peeled at the ocean, squealing with delight each time we spotted a whale. In their absence, we’ll continue this enjoyable pastime well into the future months to come.

It takes looking at this photo for a moment to see the fluke and how its positioned.

May you have a fabulous weekend. Once fully settled in a few hours, we’ll surely do the same.

Photo from one year ago today, January 3, 2014:

Often, when zebras came to call, they’d attempt a sip out of the pool. As soon as they detected the taste of chlorine, they wandered away in search of other more potable sources. For zebra facts and photos of multiple zebras at the pool and the story from one year ago today, please click here.

One by one…They return to their homes…Visit to Lava Tree Park…We begin to return to our wanderlust lifestyle…

This sign served as a valuable warning to keep us and others from exploring beyond this point when we visited Lava Tree Park yesterday.

As Tammy, Tracy and Vincent head back to Minnesota today, we are reminded of how quickly the time flew.  Now, only daughter-in-law, Camille and granddaughter, Madighan remain in Big Island for another week during which we’ll spend together at the beach, the park or strolling along the boulevard in the village of Pahoa.

Lava Tree Park has been closed to the public due to the risk of lava fissures creating vast openings in the ground. In August, Hurricane Iselle ravaged the Big Island leaving this and other parks closed due to risks from fallen trees and resulting lava shifts. We visited yesterday with Tammy and family going as far as we could stay safely within the marked areas.

Today, we’ve already begun the process of moving back into the house next door that Tom refers to as the “birdhouse” (so it looks from the aerial photos). This house is also situated in close proximity to the raging surf, the spray from the surf, and the roaring sounds. We’ll be as content as we were in the “birdhouse” prior to December 20th when we moved into the house next door to accommodate our family’s arrival.

A crevice area that was fenced off to protect visitors. This crevice was very deep.

Although we’re only moving next door, we still have sheets, towels, and more laundry to do plus the packing required as for any move. Packing neatly isn’t an issue right now. We only require that the clothes fit into our luggage and we can close our bags. Once we leave the Big Island in 13 days, we’ll be more diligent in regard to packing neatly.

Another roped off crevice in the park.

A huge storm is brewing in the islands over the next 24 hours, expected to hit the Big Island tonight or tomorrow morning. As a result, we’ll stay put hopefully not pounded with rain while we move next door.

Big Island is all about the lava as shown in these drawings.

This morning I packed my clothing and later today, I’ll begin the process of packing all that we have scattered about this big four-bedroom house, mainly in the master bedroom, en suite bath, and kitchen. I’ll be relieved when we’re done and situated, perhaps stopping to take a breath and realize that most of them are gone, back to the frozen tundra of Minnesota, now with temperatures below zero.

Map of Lava Tree Park original walking path.  We were restricted from venturing any further than the “You Are Here” designated area on this map.

Oh, how right it was that we left such a cold place, definitely not a good settling point for seniors. The risk of falling on ice and snow, hazardous driving conditions, and shoveling and snow blowing simply doesn’t make for an ideal scenario for the aging population. Plus, being cooped up during the long winter as a retiree never appealed to us.

Sign on display at the park.

Yes, we are warm weather people, following the sun wherever we may go with a few exceptions into the future, as we seek to fulfill our dreams of a few cold-weather wildlife expeditions. 

A picnic area in Lava Tree Park was desolate. 

I’m a little out of sorts today. As the storm brews, the air is outrageously humid and I can’t seem to shake this sticky feeling. We awoke before 6:00 am this morning to say goodbye to Tammy, Tracy, and Vincent. Showered, dressed, and ready for the day by 6:30 am, we have a long day of work ahead of us. 

Hibiscus, hearty flower that they are, continue to grow in the desolate park.

Soon, we’ll be settled and at peace, as we spend our final 13 days on the Big Island, amid an upcoming storm, the lava flow, and us two old-timers looking forward to the next phase of life as we carry on our worldwide travels.

Downed trees and shrubs in Lava Tree Park continue to flourish.

Also, thanks to our many readers who graciously inquired as to my dear sister’s health. She left the hospital yesterday and is recovering nicely at home. Son Richard’s shoulder injury is on the mend. We enjoyed a lengthy chat yesterday.

The highlight of living in these two neighboring houses has been the raging of the wild surf.
While lounging in the chairs, one is kept cool by the spray from the waves.
A huge surf pounded the shore yesterday.

We’ll be back tomorrow from the “birdhouse” with more good news to share. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed this lovely house but look forward to being settled once again.

Be well and have a safe first Saturday in 2015!

                                            Photo from one year ago today, January 2, 2014:

We left an egg outside for the mongoose who’s families often surrounded our house. We were happy to see one of them enjoy it. For details, please click here.

“Leaving” is bigger than “moving”…

We are now situated at Karen’s home for the next nine days.  Everything for our stay here is unpacked and put away.  We’re welcomed by Karen and her two sons with open arms. We haven’t been overnight guest in a friend’s home in almost 20 years.  Its an odd feeling.  We’d better get used to being in a home “other than our own” based on the upcoming travels.

This move was more work than any move I can ever recall.  Under normal circumstances, when moving, one opens a drawer, examines its contents and in a somewhat systematic manner proceeds to fill a box with the drawer’s desired contents and the rest is thrown away. Simple.

Later, the box is moved to the new location, either near or afar, opened to reveal its contents while finding an appropriate spot in the new home. Simple. That’s called “moving.”

Nope, not us!  We aren’t “moving”. We’re leaving.  Big difference.  Here’s how ‘leaving” goes:

  1. Open a drawer, examine its contents
  2. Remove all the contents from the drawer
  3. Consider the resale value of each item
  4. Remove all items of sentimental value
  5. Place items of sentimental value in one of four separate boxes (one for each of our children’s families)
  6. Determine if anything in the drawer is appropriate to travel the world with consideration for usefulness, weight and least of all, it’s desirability.
  7. With all items out of the drawer, wash the interior of the drawer.
  8. Place the items to be kept in containers for future packing
  9. Return all remaining items to drawer in a neat and concise manner
  10. Close the drawer
  11. Scream!  Go to the next drawer, closet, cabinet, storage bin, plastic bag, refrigerator, freezer, chest, trunk and repeat the same process, over and over again.
That’s leaving!
In the past few months, finalized in the past few days, we have prepared for the following considerations:
  1. Clothes, medications and supplements, special foods, technology, cords and chargers, toiletries, cosmetics and my special pillow to last us for the nine days here.
  2. All of the above plus comfortable clothes, jackets, cooler, beverages and snacks for the four day road trip which begins in nine days plus…the roof top carrier for the car, yet to be installed.
  3. All of the non-perishable food and supplies purchased at Costco on Saturday for Tom’s upcoming party on Saturday for anywhere from 100-200 guests. I’ll be picking up the food and cake for the party mid-day on Saturday.
  4. Documents, tax receipts, medical records and forms, insurance forms and additional paperwork to attend to in Arizona.
  5. For the two month stay in Scottsdale, Arizona and Henderson, Nevada; everything listed here plus food to purchase while there.
  6. For our upcoming world travels; six suitcases, two carry on bags, a duffel bag of med and supplements, two wheeling carts, two laptop bags, and a purse and a over-sized murse (man purse which Tom hates!).
Done?  Yes.  Much to our surprise.  Exhausted? Yes, but will be better in a few days.
So, I sit here writing this blog in a comfy soft leather love seat, my hot tea in my mug, overlooking the calming lake at Karen’s home, her big fluffy dog Wrigley, sitting at my feet, the chill of fall in the air and for now…I am home.