Great frigatebirds meet Tropical Storm Darby

A great frigatebird angles into the winds of tropical storm Darby.
Tropical Storm Darby reached the Big Island yesterday. It was due to pass over this corner of the island during the night. The predicted track followed the north coast and since it was packing 60 knot winds on its approach, storm warnings were issued.

The power went out here Friday, getting the jump on the storm, but luckily it was just for an hour or so. Saturday dawned dark and windy with sudden, intense downpours, but in the early afternoon the weather broke for a short while and I went down to the coast to see how things looked. In truth, while it was very windy, it didn’t look that much worse than it often does around here.

On the way back from a short walk, some movement caught my eye. A large bird angling along the coast. Then another. In all, three great frigatebirds headed east, into the teeth of the storm. They made slow progress, sliding toward the coast, then away. Even though it was slow going, their progress looked effortless. They glided on the air currents, beating their wings only occasionally. The nice thing about their slow progress was that they remained in view for some time.

Returning home, the power was out again, but as the afternoon progressed the winds died to nothing (the storm had tracked farther south than anticipated). The early evening was tranquil enough that when I stepped outside, mosquitoes quickly buzzed around me. Mosquitoes do not do tropical storms.

Around 8:30 in the evening a decision needed to be made. Power had been out for seven hours or so and the contents of the refrigerator weren’t likely to last the night. It was time to pack the essentials into a cooler while trying not to lose whatever cold air survived in the fridge.

A smooth, military-style operation was worked out. Doors opened, items whisked from shelf to cooler, ice blocks rearranged. The operation was a success. I snapped the lid down on the cooler and the exact instant I did so, the microwave beeped and the power returned.

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