Saturday in Kalaupapa

This morning was an early morning, after a fairly active day yesterday.  Yesterday morning, Maria picked me up to go to the airport to drop off bags for shipping to Kalaupapa.  We went down to the terminal, paid for the shipment (mostly snacks, wine and a bottle of vodka for my shipment, boxes of supplies for bingo, wine, gifts for Maria who is a key organizer of things for this annual trip), and then they day was off.  I had a home visit, went to the dive shop, went to Patagonia to get some stuff for packing for clothes for here in Kalaupapa, and then back home to write up a court report. 

I dashed out of the house 10 minutes past my planned DP, but made it to Makani Kai by 7:00 am.  I was immediately identified as "Marie's" friend, and the family (a large group that has been coming here for ages) absorbed me into its company.  Everyone at the airport was very excited, and they were talking about how relaxing and rewarding the trip here is.  Maria arrived being driven by Earl, and escorted by Nani, the Portuguese water dog who was not able to come with.  Maria wants to train her as a service dog.  She was quite adorable!

We were on the second chartered plane, which seated 10 total (the first plane went out early, 7:15!).  I got the co-pilot seat which was exhilarating!  The clouds were beautiful, and I got some good footage of landing at Kalaupapa.  Certainly a much different perspective than the last time I came down here via the switchback trail - 3 miles, 26 switchbacks, and lots of mule poop!  We were greeted at the airport, signed in, and got our visitor badges.  These are very important, since Kalaupapa is a closed community, and overnight visitors are strictly forbidden. 

We had to hurry up and wait, as the charter flight with all the main supplies had not yet arrived.  Maria and I are staying in the same room area with Aunty Erma.  Once supplies were here, we all worked to unpack them into the kitchen, move them into the hallways, and get ready.  The cabinet and the 3 refrigerators are stocked!

It was bloody hot all day here today - since there's no internet connection, and I haven't seen a thermometer, I don't know how hot - but we have been a puddle of sweat since 10 am. 

Maria and I took off for the beach after Aunty Erma had her briefing about the schedule for the week and the cooking schedule.  I'm pretty sure I forgot the schedule within 5 minutes of listening!  The cooking and menu schedule is up on the wall, so it's pretty self explanatory there.  Aunty Erma figures out how many people are coming, puts together a menu, and procures supplies.  She then charges based upon how much food, and lodging and the charter flight schedule.  I'm glad she did this, because I don't think I could plan a trip for that many people! 

The beach was nice, I'm looking forward to a snorkel tomorrow.  the water is quite clear, and there are monk seals (one of whom had pups recently).  They are apparently quite aggressive when they have pups.

After swimming and shell gathering, we went to the bookstore, which is open, in theory, Monday to Saturday from 10:30 - 2:30, but more like 11:00 - 1:45...I got to meet Uncle Boogie, who runs the bookstore, along with Ruth (Auntie Gloria's daughter).  Very nice man, he gave me one of the national park service flyers on Kalaupapa.

After we came back and ate lunch at about 2, it was siesta time until 4:00.  Saturday night is volleyball night, and the games begin at 6 sharp!  One of the few things on time in Molokai I have seen!!  I watched for a bit, and then got in on the last 20 minutes of play time.  I was a little rusty, but it was fun, and I got in a few good shots!

Dinner was pork guisantes, salad, sashimi (from fish caught fresh today - 46 pounds worth), and fried fish.  Fabulous!  The crowd gathered together over dinner and Geronimo and Mochi (works in the kitchen) and Jazz played ukulele and guitar while we all ate.  The day wound up with planning for tomorrow's events, church and gathering salt.  I will be looking forward to the day!