Finally, we saw the notorious Tasmanian Devils..A video!….Fabulous day out!

In fact, the devils of Tasmania are not as ugly as expected, except when they show their teeth when threatened. The photos we’d taken of the rescued animals, the intent of Wing’s Wildlife Park, left them little reason for them to feel threatened in the spacious habitat in which they comfortably live in the park among other like animals.

Our short video about the Tasmanian Devils.

We didn’t know quite where to begin sharing our photos from yesterday’s visit to Wing’s Wildlife Park in Gunns Plains, Tasmania. There was a wide range of native wildlife only to Australia inspiring us to take many photographs that we were excited to share.

Over the coming days, we will publish photos in groups of animal types based on the fact that we have too many to publish in a day. For those of our readers less interested in wildlife, please “bear” with us. 

The natural habitat included hollowed out tree trunks, stumps and isolated areas to comply with their natural instinct to burrow at certain times.

Then again, when we’ll be in Antarctica in 12 months and Africa in 13 months, neither of which will be able to resist posting wildlife to the point of being ridiculous. For us, as we’ve mentioned many times, the greatest joys in our travels are surrounding wildlife, vegetation, scenery and culture.

Yesterday’s visit to Wing’s Wildlife Park especially appealed to us based on the facility’s goal of presenting rescued animals. We have little interest in regular zoos when animals are purchased, kidnapped and taken with the intent to be trained for show’s to satisfy the public’s curiosity. 

Posing for a photo.

Over these past few years we’ve visited a few such places that were indeed rescue facilities, but the animals “performed” or were ridden by visitors. Such was the case when we visited Moholololo Elephant Rescue facility in Hedspruit, South Africa three years ago this month.

We’d heard that the elephants were rescued and care for by some the finest rescue people and support staff in Africa as outlined in the story we posted here. At that time, we passed on the elephant ride uncomfortable with the concept. Instead, we each did a short walk with an elephant holding our hands with their trunks a shown in the photos from that post.  

I tried to get a teeth baring photo when three Tasmanian Devils were playing a bit, but it happened so quickly, I missed the shot.

In a seminar we attended upon our arrival the presenters explained that the elephants were treated with loving care and were unable to be returned to the wild due to injuries and disabilities preventing them from being able to sustain life. 

As a result and due to a lack of funds, donations from the public and fees to enter the facility helped offset the cost of the elephant’s care and quality of life.

Taking a sip in the pond.

Its under these types of circumstances that we appreciate and understand the intent of wildlife rescue facilities, especially when we’ve witnessed their loving care.

On the other hand, a regular zoo, has little appeal to either of us with this one caveat… when we visit Minnesota and if, our grandchildren want  us to go with them to visit the popular Minnesota Zoo, we won’t say no. 

They almost looked quite huggable.

Sometimes, we have to put aside our principals for a short period in special circumstances. A day later, we can return to our beliefs and ethics, especially knowing we’ll be back in Africa a mere six months after leaving the US for the family visit. 

Visiting Wing’s Wildlife Park left us with a good feeling. The public is allowed to feed and pet many of the animals who seemed to enjoy the attention and of course, the food. 

A warm sunny day kept this little fellow lounging in the sun for a nap.

Their areas were clean with plenty of appropriate food and vegetation befitting the nature of their species.  When the staff entered the various habitats, the keepers voices expressed loving and gentle tones that the animals seemed to respond to with enthusiasm.

The fees to visit the facility was a little high for this area at AU 23, US $16.89 per person. We hadn’t called in advance requesting they waive the fees for our story which occurs in many instances. In this particular case, we chose to keep it low key and simply enjoy ourselves at our leisure.

On the road to Gunns Plain we stopped for photos at an overlook. Sadly, this Tasmania Devil was lying dead in the grass, most likely hit by a car. We’ve seen considerable road kill in Tasmania. The roads have no shoulder and many nocturnal animals are killed at night when motorists aren’t able to stop in time to avoid hitting them.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with other wildlife photos and look forward to “seeing” you then! Thanks for being an integral part of our life of world travel!

Photo from one year ago today, January 6, 2016:

As we boarded the ship one year ago, we noticed it was still decorated for Christmas. For details of a medical emergency prior to boarding the ship and how we handled it, please click here.

A rockin’ good time!…Anini Beach rock concert performed with friend Rick on the guitar…

Our friend Rick is quite the talented songwriter, guitar player and music producer.
Stuart and Rick of Group Therapy obviously enjoyed every moment of entertaining their many avid followers and friends at the pavilion at Anini Beach on Sunday afternoon. We couldn’t have been more thrilled to be included in this special event.

From the band Group Therapy’s Facebook page: “Local north shore musicians on Kauai comprises of Rick Robbins – Guitar, Al Overton – Keyboards, Stuart Hollinger – Bass & Vocals, Jerome Camposeo – Drums, and Debra Drayton – Percussive arrays and Vocals”

Stuart, on bass and vocals, has an amazing voice. Last year, Stuart won the  2014 Hawaiian Hoku Academy of Recording Arts Award for rock album of the year.
 Al, on the keyboard.
Debra, on percussive arrays and vocals, is going on safari with Cathi and Rick to South Africa within weeks.
Jerome, on the drums.
The following is a quote from another website:

“Rick Robbins is a guitar player, a producer, and songwriter. Born Rick Beilke in Tulsa, Oklahoma he spent most of his high school years going to classes during the day and playing gigs from 9 p.m. until the wee hours of the morning. “That was really rough,” he said. “I just couldn’t wait to be done with high school.” In fact, the day after graduating from Memorial High, Rick left Oklahoma to go on tour. Still in his teens, he came to Los Angeles and built a reputation as a session musician working with recording artist Phil Driscoll then spent the next three years as a session player at A & M records. Not a bad beginning for a bright-eyed kid from Oklahoma!

He toured Europe, the United States, and Canada with rock legends Leon Russell and Joe Cocker and has played with many of the guys from Eric Clapton and Bob Segar’s bands. He toured with Joan Armatrading and joined John Lennon in studio recordings and also worked with George Harrison. As a touring musician, Robbins played stages all over the world with  Rick Danko, The Band, Paul Butterfield, Richie Hayward, Little Feat, Ray Parker, Jr., Andy Gibb, and Phillip Bailey, Earth, Wind & Fire, just to name a few.”

We met Cathi and Rick at our first full moon party we attended in February. The fact that they are soon returning to South Africa for safari immediately connected us with our shared passion for wildlife.

The pavilion at Anini Beach was the stage for yesterday’s fabulous performance by Group Therapy, our friend Rick’s band. In the center is lead singer Stuart, to the right is Debra on percussive and vocals. The support beams prevented a good photo of the entire group.

With Cathi gone for almost a month in March for the birth of another grandchild, we missed an entire month of getting together. With the intense connection we all experienced, we knew we’d end up spending as much time together as possible as our days in Kauai wind down.  

This past Wednesday we had a fabulous dinner and evening at their home here in Princeville sharing the details in this post on Thursday. They also invited us to attend the concert and beach party on Sunday (yesterday) at Anini Beach. 

Speaking of hippies as in yesterday’s post, many now seniors, flock to the beaches to enjoy the continuation of a life of decades past, along with the rest of us more traditional folks.

Rick and his professional band, Group Therapy, were performing a free live concert at the Anini Beach pavilion, not only for invitees but also for the enjoyment of anyone who happened to be at the beach between 2:00 and 5:00 pm.

Anini Beach is a local favorite.

As it turned out, there were about 100 in our group and more dancing and rocking and rollín’ to the beat. Need I say the band was terrific, talented, animated, playful, and totally engaged in offering this complimentary venue.  That’s the people of Kauai, for ya,’ friendly and inclusive. Its like nothing we’ve ever seen!

Rick’s favorite fan and wife, Cathi, and my new friend with whom I share a unique kinship.

In addition, there were other new friends in attendance making us feel further included and a part of this amazing community of many retirees, like us, from the mainland and other parts of the world.  We couldn’t stop smiling.

There’s my guy, grinning from ear to ear, as always having a great time.

Many danced on the grass including the adorable Cathi. She and I have determined we are “sisters of another mother” and with more time, surely we would have become “glued at the hip.” I’ll miss her.

Anini Beach is our favorite beach in the area, easy to access with ample parking and of course, beautiful views.

To hear her beloved husband Rick (married 32 years), experienced guitar player, songwriter, and producer, play along with his band was both exciting and reminiscent of day’s long past when many songs they played were familiar from our younger days. 

More new friends, from left to right, Steve and Susan who hosted our first full moon party in February at their lovely home. Then we have Alice and Travis, with whom we dined out over a week ago. We look forward to seeing them all again.

The music and lively response from the audience were refreshing. It was an entirely new experience for us in our travels. Neither of us can recall the last time we attended a live outdoor concert. Was it decades ago?

Richard, our friend, and personal social director.

Although Tom and I sat glued to our chairs with Richard at our side for the first hour or two, we had an opportunity to mingle at the break while from time to time, I wandered about taking photos we’re sharing today.

This adorable couple perhaps well into their 80’s were dancing along the shore while the band played. We all cheered them on. This is what Kauai does to seniors! Keeps them young!

What a fun event! Our lives in Kauai continue to be filled with one memorable experience after another. We’ve never been bored for a moment thanks to our friend Richard, our personal social director, who ultimately is responsible for us meeting many of the fine people we’ve met in these past three months.

A guest had brought along a bouquet of flowers, reasons unknown but pretty none the less.

As for Cathi and Rick, we’re looking forward to spending time with them again, as well as the other fine friends we’ve been fortunate to meet in Princeville.

A windsurfer provided additional entertainment.

Today is my workout day requiring a trip to the Makai Club and a stop at the Princeville Shopping Center to purchase a few items at Foodland. I’ve already spent a little over $300 on groceries this week so it’s no surprise that another trip to the market is on the agenda as we run out of vital ingredients for preparing our next meals. 

A Hawaiian woman thoughtfully lined the edge of the stage with the flowers for “good aloha.”

However, the quality of our lives has made the higher costs of living in Kauai worth every dollar spent. No complaining here. Besides, we budgeted for that!

Happy Monday for those who work and a happy “What day of the week is it?” for the rest of us!

Photo from one year ago today, April 20, 2014:

Many cats live throughout the souks cared for by the shop owners and food offerings from tourists. For more on this date’s story, please click here.

The exploration continues…Photos backlogged….Lots of fun sightseeing on the Big Island…

With cooler temperatures on this side of the island, there wasn’t a huge number of bathers in the tide pool at Ahalanui Park.

Each day we’ve explored the island and have accumulated many photos we’ve yet to share. We need to spend the next few days in slow mode in order to catch up!

The volcanic thermal heated tide pool at Ahalanui Park where we spent time yesterday afternoon. The park is closed from 12:00 to 1:00 pm each day for cleaning and maintenance.

Actually, neither Tom nor I would mind a lazy day today.  If the weather clears, we’ll head to the massive, life-guarded community pool about five miles down the road in the village of Pahoa for some sun and fun with the kids.

This side of the Big Island has no sandy beaches based on the lava flow over the past million years. There are some sandy beaches on the Kona side but swimming in tide pools in a safer alternative, especially with children when there’s no risk of rip tides and sharks.

Although, sightseeing is fun from time to time, we especially enjoy sitting on the patio whale, sea turtle and wave watching, all mindless drivel.  With family at our side, it couldn’t be more enjoyable. Luckily, they too, love this leisurely pastime. It takes no arm twisting at all to encourage any of them to hang out with us in search of the next blowhole.

There was no shortage of views at Ahalanui Park.

Then again, when they’re ready to go, we join in on most activities, except for shopping outing for trinkets and such, or when visiting any of the malls in Hilo, a pastime we’ll easily forgo. Neither of us have any interest in window shopping and thus, tagging along is a pointless activity. Plus, the kids tend to feel rushed knowing we’re waiting. Without us, they can shop at their leisure.

TJ enjoyed swimming in the tide pool. He and the kids mentioned they spotted tiny fish through their swim goggles, while swimming in the pool that had entered through the opening to the ocean as shown in the photo below.

Yesterday, our goal was to find the popular tide pools within a 30 minute drive from Pahoa. It turned out to be a lovely day when not only did we find one of the two tide pools we sought (the main tide pool area of Kapoho is for another day), we stumbled across another park, Isaac Hale Beach Park and later Ahalanui Park where we spent a few hours while TJ and the two boys swam in the warm volcanic heated waters.

It was a beautiful day, not quite 80 degrees with a mostly clear sky.

As well as time at the two parks, we spent several hours in the minivan, lunches and beverages packed, stopping to take photos, relishing in the exquisite natural beauty surrounding us. Stopping at the Mamala grocery store for a few items on the way home, we didn’t return until 4:00 pm, ready to relax with more whale watching and a nice homemade meal. 

At the far end of the tide pool, there’s this passageway to the sea which has a large screen that prevents the entrance of larger marine life.

I stayed busy in the kitchen making Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, garlic bread and salad for the five of them with chicken and avocado salad for me. With only one large pot, cooking the large portion of noodles and sauce was challenging. Later in the evening I wrote to the owners asking if they had a larger pot we could use during our stay.

The pool cleans itself naturally as the water enters and exits through the passageway to the open sea.

This morning our kindly local landlords arrived to not only remove our trash but also leaving an enormous pot that will serve us well during our time with the family. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. 

Beyond the tide pool there are various rock formations.

Ah, its the simple things, as always, that find us smiling and content; the six of us (soon to be more) sitting at the kitchen table having a meal together, chatting all the while, loving the time together; all of us, riding in the minivan oohing and aahing over the exquisite scenery in front of us; Jayden giggling as we drove over a roller-coaster type road; Nik’s occasional tossed out a morsel of wisdom he happily bestows upon us. 

Again, we observed these peculiar vine-like tree trunks, Albizia trees, which are reminiscent of scenes in the movie, Jurassic Park.

We’re loving every moment and will continue to do so in larger doses when the others soon arrive, ten days from today. We’re not wishing the time to fly by in expectation of the others arriving. We’re simply reveling in every moment that we have.

We stopped at a small park along the road that was closed due to storm damage from last June and July, yet to be cleared of downed trees and branches.

There’s a price to pay for living this life we live, the world as our oyster, always on the move.  That price is clear.  But, we choose to have it all right now cherishing every moment we have in front of us with each of our family members as precious time well spent.

Even the road to the tide pools was an experience in itself. The red on the road is the shirt of a biker making her way up the hill.

And when they’re gone, we’ll joyfully recall the new memories we’ve made with all of them, as we continue on in making new memories of our own, traveling the world for years to come, feeling their love all the while.

The back of a humpback whale we spotted from our backyard in Pahoa.  In Maui, we heard there are few whales near the Big Island.  Ha!  We see them everyday as we successfully search the sea for blowholes.

We’re grateful for it all; each moment, each memory, with the hope and expectation of many more to come.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, December 11, 2013:

As we stood near the banks of the Crocodile River in Kruger National Park in South Africa, we were privy to an elephant ritual as shown on our post on this date, one year ago today.  Please click here for details.