I’m calling this an Aloha Friday post even though it comes on Sunday. There is news from Honolulu that a Hawaiian monk seal and her pup have taken up residence on Kaimana Beach (also known as San Souci Beach) near the Natatorium at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki. You can read the Star-Advertiser story here.
Why this is cool. First, monk seals are endemic to Hawaii and are protected. When one of them takes to a beach to bask in the sun, the state cordons off an area around the seal to give them peace. Sometimes the entire beach will be closed off if the beach is small. Second, monk seals tend to seek out secluded beaches when they have a pup with them, so it is rare to see a mother with a pup.
Kaimana beach is one of our favorite beaches. When we lived in the Maliki area, we spent almost every Sunday at Kaimana. Usually, I would do a run from nearby Kapiolani Park and then meet Mary Fran and Ted, our son, at Kaimana at the end of the run. Often we would meet friends there. When we returned to Hawaii in March, we made it a point to visit Kaimana. It’s as lovely as ever.
We did encounter monk seals at Poipu Beach on Kauai and the relatively secluded beach at Kalaupapa on Molokai. In both cases we kept our distance, but especially at Kalaupapa because that seal had a pup with her. Mother monk seals can be very aggressive when they believe their pup to be threatened.
The Hawaiians have nicknamed the Waikiki pup, Kaimana, after the beach. She has become quite a celebrity and a huge cause for concern by both her mother and the locals when she wandered off. All ended happily when she was discovered in a corner of the Natatorium and returned to her mother.