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Sunrise Seal: Tagged

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Kauai
May 18, 2009

Four days after mom weaned her pup, mom showed up on O’ahu. Still quite skinny. I guess mom likes the bright lights of the big city.

While born on Kaua’i, mom–known as Rocky by the good folks on O’ahu who volunteer their time monitoring the Hawaiian monk seals there–spends her adult life around Diamond Head. Mind you, this is a 100+ mile journey across open ocean each way. Yet, this is the second pupping event that she hauled her very large and very pregnant body across the Kaua’i Channel to birth her youngster on Kaua’i. Interestingly, she did so on the very beach where she grew up.

Rocky was born in 2,000 on Maha’ulepu, on Kaua’i’s south shore. Soon after she was weaned, she was translocated to a more remote beach on the north shore. This is now where she comes home to birth her young. Interesting, yes? Maybe she feels safe and secure here. Still, what a trek.

Ten days after mom left, a team from NOAA tagged our girl. Because the scientists put two tags on her–in case one falls off–her official name is A00/A01. We, however, named her Kaikoa.

In Hawaiian, one of the translations of “kai” is sea and “koa” is brave. Days after this girl was born, she tempted the ocean’s waves by making a long swim around a rocky point that left her caretakers on the beach gasping. She made it fine, however, and today frolics fearlessly in the sea, sporting bright, red tail bling. I think she likes them. 

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