Hawaii: Ducks and miscellaneous scenes

I guess I’m addicted to ducks, because part of my trip involves a twice-daily trip to a lovely nearby marina to feed a handful of ducks whom I’ve come to recognize. The crowd include a mixture of mongrelized ducks with genes from mallards, muscovys, and perhaps Hawaiian ducks (Anas wyvilliana), closely related to mallards. There are also small black ducks with white collars, which may be some domestic breed I’ve never seen.

At any rate, I’ve been able to find Honey & Co.’s high quality duck food here, and the waterfowl get that and mealworms.

Me at the local marina, which connects to the ocean. There are a fair number of ducks (at least three are visible), though I don’t know how they survive in salt water. What do they drink?

Evening feeding:

Sunset over the highway:

A mother and ducklings in a local park near the Marina’s outlet. There were ten, now down to seven. This makes me ineffably sad, even though I know such attrition is “natural.” All I can do to help them is give food to the ducklings, but there are many hungry mallards about to steal their food:

A Hawaiian stilt, (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni) an endangered subspecies of the black-necked stilt. Six of them live in the marina. I don’t feed them, but love to watch them fly or walk on those ridiculously long legs. I’ve named the head stilt (below), who always checks us out, Rumpel, and the other five are Rumpel Stilt’s Kin. Since Rumpel sounds Jewish, the other five are called Gimpel, Moish’, Schlomo, Yetta, and Sadie.

The island of Molokai visible to the southeast. It’s 22 miles away.

Local surf. I’ve seen surfboarding, but on two trips to the North Shore, where some of the world’s biggest and most treacherous waves occur, I haven’t seen big surf. Note the person standing dangerously close to the shore.

A very foolish local taking photos while driving on a winding shore road. Cops take note!

Dole pineapple fields on the way to the North Shore:

Downtown Honolulu. This is ‘Iolani Palace, the residence of Hawaii’s rulers from 1845 (Kamehameha III) to 1893 (Queen Liliʻuokalani). It’s now a museum, a National Historic Landmark, and “the only royal palace on U.S. soil”.

Across the street is a building that, Wikipedia tells me, is “Aliʻiōlani Hale. . . a building located in downtown Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, currently used as the home of the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court. It is the former seat of government of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the Republic of Hawaiʻi.”

“Located in the building’s courtyard is the famed gold-leaf statue of Kamehameha the Great.”

This is indeed a famous statue. This is one case of cultural appropriation that does seem grossly insensitive in several ways. I’d heard of the statue long before I saw it. From Wikipedia:

The statue had its origins in 1878 when Walter M. Gibson, a member of the Hawaiian government at the time, wanted to commemorate the 100-year arrival of Captain Cook to the Hawaiian Islands. The legislature appropriated $10,000 for the project and made Gibson the director of the project, which originally included native Hawaiians but they soon were off the project and Gibson ran the project by himself. Gibson contacted Thomas R. Gould, a Boston sculptor living abroad in Florence, Italy to create the statue.

Even though photographs of Polynesians had been sent to him so that Gould could make an appropriate likeness, he seemed to ignore them. A Roman nose and more European features were adopted. This is most likely due to the fact that Gould was in Italy studying Roman sculpture. The stance of a Roman general with gesturing hand, spear, and cape are also Roman appropriations. The belt or sash on the statue’s waist is a symbolic rendering of the Sacred Sash of Liloa. In 1880, the initial sculpture was sent to Paris, France, to be cast in bronze.

The original was lost in a shipwreck in the Falklands but was insured and replaced with this second casting. Then the original was recovered; it now stands at Kohala on the Big Island (“Hawaii”) in front of Kamehameha’s birthplace.

Kamehameha I (1736[?]-1819) was the founder and first ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

And my two cat friends, the rescue Persian Pi and the rescue ginger-and-what cat Loki, who used to go outside but now just looks out the window:


  1. Posted January 12, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    From the same Wikipedia article:

    “However, historians have noted that from the photographs that were sent to Gould, certain features of the statues were influenced by Hawaiian brothers John Timoteo Baker and Robert Hoapili Baker. Two photographs of the former survive, one in its original form and another in the form composite with the bare legs of a Hawaiian fisherman.”

    On the black-and-white photos, these Hawaiians look (to me) indistinguishable from Europeans. But I immediately mentioned the similarity between the pose of the statue of Kamehameha and that of Augustus of Prima Porta.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I had to go back and check my photos when living in Hawaii because I was not sure if I saw the statue of Kamehameha on the Big Island. I do have one but there are others on line. Apparently he lived the last of his life in the Kailue-Kona area on the Big Island. For those not familiar this is the western side (dry side) of the Island. This is also the big tourist area and big charter fishing area of the Big Island.

    • Hunt
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      There’s one in Hilo also, where I live. It’s a copy. Someone stole his spear a couple years ago, and everyone was upset. Not sure if they ever recovered it. I drive by it all the time without noticing it. Funny how things become familiar and not noteworthy.

    • Hunt
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      There are actually 4! The last one is in Washington DC. Hmmm, whoda thunk it?

  3. Christopher
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    There are worse things to be addicted to. Now, if you start turning tricks in order to buy duck food…

  4. Posted January 12, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I’ve enjoyed all the lovely photos and write-up, PCC(E). Thanks!

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Spurred by a previous post (you all know the one), my wife ordered a Spam sampler from “da Hawaiian Store.”

    • DrBrydon
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Try this again:

      • DrBrydon
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        😦 I don’t know how to image.

        • DrBrydon
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink


          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted January 13, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

            I see your SPAM and raise you a SPAM, SPAM, SPAM … and … good grief, what barbarian miscellany is that in your image? Spam which is not Spam-flavoured? To quote the immortal (so far) Terry Jones, “Urgghh!”

    • Posted January 12, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      LOL! I am not responsible for any ensuing cardiac events!

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Mazel tov to Rumpel and the whole mishpokhe!

  7. rickflick
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    In sunset over the highway, that moon looks very much like our own here on the mainland. Who’s appropriating here anyway!?

  8. Hunt
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    The guy taking a picture with a cell phone is probably a tourist. For some reason they like renting the muscle cars to them. Easier for them to kill themselves on the highway, I guess.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 13, 2019 at 2:51 am | Permalink

      But who took the picture of the guy taking the picture with the cell phone?


      • Posted January 13, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        I did, but I was not driving!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 13, 2019 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        The dash cam for crash evidence? Which typically have a “start videoing or photographing NOW” button intended for drivers who are more on the ball than others.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 13, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Old joke : which sort of cars have the most exciting driving characteristics? Front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or hired?
      The odd thing is, the idiot driver has the screen of the phone facing the view, so will struggle to get his finger onto the “shutter release anachronism”.
      Or he’s trying to photograph something behind-left from the picture point of view. But with the same problem of shutter release and distraction.

  9. Posted January 12, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    I was thinking that maybe the ducks get their fresh water from the upper reaches of this bay, where water from streams or agricultural run-off enter. I know there are marine wetlands where dragonflies can breed, and that is exactly how they do it.

    • wetherjeff
      Posted January 13, 2019 at 5:32 am | Permalink

      I was wondering how they avoid ingesting too much salt. Surely every morcel of food would be swallowed with some saltwater, and absorbent foodstuffs would be saturated with it. Does anyone know how they manage this?

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I see that the distaff half of the Hawaiian delegation to the US House of Representatives — the lovely and articulate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard — today tossed her hat into the ring for the 2020 Democratic US presidential nomination.

  11. Heather Hastie
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Another great post on your trip to Hawai’i. I’m enjoying these posts very much.

  12. Posted January 15, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    o/` might as well face it, you’re addicted to ducks …

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