Here we’re near the full moon, and as you can see, the tide on this north shore beach on Kaua’i is low. With all the exposed reef and naturally-formed swimming holes, our Hawaiian monk seal pup couldn’t stray too far from mom. Or me. There was one other person on the beach today–a man on a two-week vacation here in Hawaii. He hauled in an extreme telephoto lens on his Canon 20D. I asked if he had heard there was a seal pup on the beach. He said no. “Then, this is your lucky day, isn’t it?” I said. He stayed with me for three hours, tucked up in the treeline. I never got his name. Other than answering his few questions about the seals, I didn’t say much. Neither did he. But we shared a special experience, I could tell, because our camera shutters clicked away in unison like an orchestra.
On this cloudy morning, pup spent a couple hours exploring one a narrow area of water. Maybe she was investigating a sea cucumber or other marine creature just below the surface. The calm and shallow water made it easy for pup to hold her breath and explore. I counted 41 seconds as her longest breath-hold. Pup is spending less time on land, less time sleeping, less time nursing and more time doing what she will one day soon do best: Swimming.