Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Queen's Bath

Just around the corner
from where I am living 
in Princeville Kauai
is a steep path
that descends to the ocean
Daily dozens of car loads of tourists
come to bathe
in the Queen's Bath

Curious, I thought it was time
I took a look at the Queen's bath
so early one morning
I made my way 
down the red dirt track

passing little waterfalls
tumbling over lava rock boulders

that made their way into small pools
but hardly what you would call
a regal bath

and finally emerging at the ocean

mindful of the fact
that it was almost a year to the day
that I broke my left ankle

I decided not to clamber over 
the rugged lava rock
in search of royal ablutions

but it appears that in the past
others have taken 
greater risks than me

so I returned up the pathway

under the pandanus trees

and following the call 
of little brown birds
I walked along the bluff
above the ocean
hoping I could see what it was 
that enticed the holiday makers
down onto the hot black rocks

I could not see much 
other than the brown nameless birds

and the plainer coloured females

and then I noticed that I was in 
Wedge-tailed Shearwater territory

I skirted a patch of cactus

and almost fell down a hole

the Shearwaters nest in burrows
up to two feet long
that the birds make
in the cliff top
They are a dusky brown bird
with white breast feathers, 
thin wings, a hooked bill
and wedge shaped tail

They lay a single egg in June 
and take turns at incubation stints
The father does the honours first 
while the mother goes to sea to fish
for about 10 days at a time

Hawaii Information Image

The chick hatches after 50 days
and initially is fed stomach oil then solids
At 3.5 months the parents stop feeding the chick
For two weeks they go without food
testing their wings and learning to fly
When they have all their adult feathers they fledge
and go off to to sea
to find their own food

the neighbourhood dogs are a problem
in this colony
The birds cannot stand upright on their legs
and have difficulty moving about on land

The Hawaiian name 
for the Wedge-tailed Shearwater is ua'u kani
which means calling or moaning sea bird/petrel
due to their long oooo-errr call

I cautiously return to the ascending path
grateful that it is a dry day
and the red dirt is not slippery clay-mud

through the jungle

and home

No, this is not my house
but I love the gardens...

and proceeded to look up Mr Google
for pictures of the Queen's Bath

which does look rather enticing 
on a calm day

but the sea is unpredictable

and the waves 
can come crashing through

I think I'll do my swimming
in the safety of Hanalei Bay



  1. Oh my goodness, I love the look of this place!!! Where hwere these photos taken? Hawaii? :(
    I would love to venture here. How very fascinating!

  2. Phew, that was quite a walk. So very enjoyable though, to see so much along the way. The Queen's Bath looks tempting but, as you rightly say, the sea is unpredictable. Better safe than sorry.

  3. delwyn, a sensuous, beautiful walk through the hawaiian lushness - what a treat!!! i know that it's "home" to you for now but how does it compare to your home down under for you? steven

  4. The first little pool may not be as regal, but it was enticing to me...maybe a princess's bath!

    The Shearwater's nests are very unusual, I would not have guessed a bird's cavity!

    When I'm hiking on the side of a steep hill, the thought of my once broken left ankle makes me a little cautious too!


  5. That is quite the adventure waiting for you just outside your door. No kidding, that path looks steep and challenging, nevermind the danger of the Queen's Bath. What a glorious picture of the Shearwaters!

  6. Always a treat to accompany you on your beautiful and informative walks Delwyn.

    I first started following your blog just after you had broken your ankle last year. And now here you are one year later scaling mountain cliffs in Hawaii!

  7. Reading your blog is like taking a mini vacation or a short meditation- both very good things! Thanks.

  8. I've seen that sign for the birds on other islands. Now I know the story - thank you!

    I love Hanalei Bay. I was out one day on a hobbie cat and a giant hammerhead shark swam right below us. It was the only time I actually saw a shark the entire six months I was in Hawaii.

  9. Thank you for this post. What a beautiful place you're living in now!

    The Pacific can look very inviting and then suddenly sweep people away. The coastline near here, like the Queen's Bath, is far more dangerous than it appears and claims several lives each year.

    I am also mindful of your ankle break from a year ago and am glad to hear you're taking precautions to protect it.

  10. Breathtaking beauty all around you, a wonderful climate, ocean breezes and the scent of plumeria... what more could a girl want? I wouldn't have gone all the way down that hill either.

  11. excellent post. paging visitor and convention bureau!

    never turn your back on da sea...

    Aloha from Honolulu (welcome!)

    Comfort Spiral

  12. Delwyn-always enjoy my visit here.
    Your personal experiences along with info is a great combo.

  13. Steep enough, Delwyn! Watch out for your ankle. I think you were prudent to return up that root-gnarled path. I am a little fearful of the massive force of the sea - I don't think I'll be joining the Queen.

  14. The very words 'Queen's Bath' are enticing. I think I'd be tempted on a calm day to experience it. That is if I were accompanied by my lifeguard qualified son, just in case.

    I enjoyed this walk with you so much. It had everything; beauty, adventure, spirit, heart and discovery.

  15. I so enjoy walking with you Delwyn. You have an eye for the sweetness around you.

  16. I did have a comfortable walk in your post.

  17. It looks like a pretty regal bath to me, even if the path to it is fraught with holes and pokey plants and danger.

    That walk would surely keep one on her toes! Thanks for taking us along. :)

  18. i have read that when people venture out onto ledges they can fall through seemingly solid vegetation, and plunge into the ocean--only to be battered by waves into the cliff face, and never heard from again.
    It's a jungle out there!

  19. I think your instincts are good.

  20. Wow. What a place. So beautiful!

  21. Thank you for this walk back through my memories-- and am embarrassed to admit that you know more than I do about the flora and fauna of Kauai than I do-- growing up there I think I took advantage of the beauty around me-these birds seem similar to penguins in how they hatch their eggs and feed their young... wonderful nature lesson.

  22. Lovely walk Delwyn. I'm certainly glad you did not re-injure your ankle in the burrows. Kauai is a wonderful place. I am fearful of the sea in Hawaii as I had some difficulty with the undertow when I was there once upon a time.

    For the last hour or so I have been researching in my bird books & online to determine what kind of bird is in the trees. They have the beak of grosbeaks... yes, definitely a grosbeak. Now to get a second opinion from the G-man.

    Okay... we have concluded it is the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, but not in its breeding plumage which would be much more colorful. The streaks on the lower photo indicate a female & she is less colorful. We could be just full of it as to the exact type, but it is some sort of Grosbeak. Whew!

  23. Your blog takes my breath away...lovely.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.