Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Hawaiian monk seals on Maha'ulepu Beach
I may have left Hawaii physically, but part of my spirit remains there. On our last full day on Kauai, we visited the one last remaining undeveloped stretch of beach on the island, the beautiful Maha'ulepu Beach. Both our cars on the Mainland sport bumper stickers proclaiming "Malama Maha'ulepu", which means "Help (save) Maha'ulepu." All beaches in Hawaii are open for public use, but the land above the high tide line is mostly private. So far, the land adjoining this beautiful stretch of beach has not been developed, making it much more appealing to the public than beaches that lead up to plush hotels and private homes. The public can rest under trees and hike through the dunes and relax here.
We were lucky when we visited, as a mother endangered Hawaiian monk seal had hauled out of the sea on the beach, and a volunteer kept watch to make sure no one disturbed them. They spend most of their time sleeping, but now and then the pup gets hungry and waddles over to mom, nosing her and crying out until she rolls over to expose her teats for him to feed. We got to watch this process. At the time, the baby was only 2 weeks old but growing fast. What a treat, and a fine ending to our time on this beautiful island.