December 26, 2003

I'm approximately halfway through The Briar King, and that's probably as far as I'm likely to get. Although mildly curious as to how the story will work out, I'm finding I really don't care. I may "release" it with Book Crossing. . .

Ian's apprentice is off to the mainland for the holidays, so we're on a vacation, of sorts. Tuesday and Wednesday we drove down to the Poipu area of the South Shore for further adventures in snorkeling at Prince Kuhio Beach and Lawa'i Beach. These beaches are less protected from the open ocean than other places we've snorkelled, but we can add more interesting fish to our found list: a blue parrot fish, a flat bottom feeder who disappears when lying still on the sand, and a humuhumunukunukuapua'a, the unofficial state fish of Hawaii. We probably should have bought ourselves the larger guidebook to Hawaiian fish when we picked up our reef shoes and a copy of the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook.

We broke in the reef shoes by exploring Gillin's Beach and the Maha'ulepu area. Lithified sand is surprisingly sharp but delightfully alien. We explored the tidepools there, finding our first Hawaiian sea anenome, several enormous black crabs and many nudibranchs in various degrees of sand coverage. When undressed, sea cucumbers are unexpectedly colorful and rather slimy to touch. Yesterday, we took the reef shoes riverwalking up Makaleha Stream. Along the way, we scrambled through a bamboo thicket (thinking of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and found several sea hibiscus flowers floating downstream. Each flower starts the day bright yellow in the morning then slowly darkens to a beautiful rust color before falling of the end of the day.

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