Beach Monastic

Yesterday, we went down to Poipu to enjoy some snorkeling at Poipu Beach Park, on the southern side of Kauai. As we came up onto the beach, we stumbled onto an unexpected and rare siting, three monk seals were sunning themselves – two on the beach and one on an exposed sand bar. Volunteers had come and roped off the slumbering seals, keeping the curious onlookers at a healthy distance.Monk seals are an endangered species and there are only an estimated 1200 or so left in the world, all in the Hawaiian Islands. Most are in the outer Northwest Hawaiian islands, an expansive archipelago,  radiating west of Kauai, the westernmost of the main islands. However, in recent years a small population has built up (estimated around 300-400) off the main islands. Seeing one is considered rare, to see three is very unusual. We were blessed to see these wonderful creatures, and to watch one of them lazily slide back into the water and slowly head back out to sea.Young female monk seal A young female monk seal sunning herself at Poipu Beach Park, Kauai, Hawaii, on December 8, 2008. 

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