Aloha! Do you know about the “Hawaiian monk seal”?
They are known as “Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua” to native Hawaiian. They have a sort of calming and cute appearance. They aren’t typically afraid of humans so you can find them sunbathing on Kauai beaches often. Just looking at them makes me feel very peaceful in a way^^
Why do you have to go to an aquarium if you can see Hawaiian monk seals up close in person in Kauai?
Hawaiian monk seal lives in the Northwestern part of Hawaii islands. They live a pretty quiet life eating fish and mollusk from the beautiful Hawaiian sea. Males are about 2m10cm(6.8 ft) and weigh 150-200kg(330-440lbs). Females are usually bigger and they are about 2m30cm(7.5ft) and weigh 250-270kg551-595lbs. Females tends to have their first baby at 5 years old. Their average lifespan is about 30years.
Look at this picture that I took at Kauai beach! Look at how cute they can be!!
However, this adorable Hawaiian monk seal is an endangered species.
Currently, Hawaiian monk seal is marked as a conservation animal.
Unfortunately, the population of Hawaii islands increases and the increasing number of tourist caused people to develop and interfere with Hawaiian monk seal’s living area., which caused the Hawaiian monk seal to neglect nursing and decreased their surviving numbers. We are very sorry…., Hawaiian Monk Seal… : (
Additionally, the number of sharks have increased, more commercial fishing, and poison caused by coral demolition, have all made the Hawaiian Monk Seal’s existence even more difficult and as a result, their numbers have decreased. Because of all this, when a Hawaiian Monk seal comes up to the beach and starts sunbathing with their belly up like these pictures above, a volunteer member or a lifesaver immediately puts the tape around the Hawaiian Monk Seal and put up the sign like this along with it.
This is what we, people in Kauai, can do to make it up to them.
We protect Hawaiian Monk Seals and that is why they can take a peaceful nap like this^^
Please be a part of helping Hawaiian Monk Seal by keeping the ocean clean^^
I saw the sad news about Hawaiian Monk Seal earlier this year. It was about Hawaiian Monk Seal who was laying down on a beach sickly. Volunteers found him and he was in surgery as soon as possible but it was too late and he lost his life on the table. Doctors found out he swallowed a plastic bag, which caused blockage in the intestines. Plastic bags are common items that people bring to the beach. A lot of marine organisms often mistake plastic bags as their food since in their eyes they looks like octopuses and squids. They can’t clearly identify. I am spreading the message the newscaster was airing through this blog. Please do not leave anything that does not belong at the beach or ocean when you leave. Please keep the beach clean for any marine organism out there. They will appreciate any cooperation^^
I met a Hawaiian Monk Seal at glass beach in Kauai!
You are free to just look at Hawaiian Monk Seals quietly from the distance(sounds a little creepy but you know what I mean…) Look at another picture of it. Sooo peaceful!!!
It may be hard to tell from the picture but this one is covered with sand and you can tell the belly was going up and down and completely feeling at ease. Hehe^^ The younger they are, the darker their appearance is. Here is another one up close! Can you see the eyes are closed? This body form give me a familiar feeling and similarity of my body. Haha.
They look pretty darn cute in pictures but when you meet in person, they are even cuter! There is nothing like meeting Hawaiian Monk Seal at one of the beautiful Kauai beaches up close, not at aquarium. It moves your heart! I find myself going to the beach they appear often, hoping I will run into one. Just sitting at the beach and looking at a napping Hawaiian Monk Seal with a calming wave crashing sounds is pure relaxing and peaceful moment. All photos are taken by me when I saw them at the beach in Kauai.
Do you see something sparkling in sand?
As I mentioned in the title, this beach is known as glass beach. Because the sand at this beach includes a lot of glass pieces like these. There are from regular bottles and such but over years, they became round edge smaller pieces because of all the traveling they went through the waves in ocean. My hubby says it used to be a lot more and had a lot of sparkling in the sand but as the word spread about this beach tourists took so many pieces of this beach and it is not the same as before anymore. It is still beautiful but it is sad that people lose respect and do not protect what the place offers. Just take the memory with you not what belongs in the island… makes me a little sad. It holds a value because they are where they belong. Don’t worry I only take pictures of them and left the glass pieces there. This beach has a lot of rocks so it is not suitable for swimming.
This beach is very close from my place. I live in the small town called Hanapepe,Kauai and it is about 5 minutes away. When you turn left from Port Allen, it will be less than a minute of driving. You will see the beach on your right next to factory.
A couple reminders to Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kauai
If you are lucky enough to meet Hawaiian Monk Seal, please promise me some things. One, don’t get too excited and scream. They don’t like too much noise around them. Second, please do NOT take pictures with flash. They are pretty sensitive to lights like that. Third, Never touch them!! I know my words may not mean anything to you but I have to inform you of this as a resident of Kauai island. I promise just watching them quietly in beautiful ocean and beach is enough.
Poipu Beach in Kauai is another spot for seeing Hawaiian Monk Seal!
Additional note for you! Not only this glass beach, but you also have a high chance of meeting Hawaiian Monk Seal at Poipu beach! Poipu beach is located in the south part of the island. This is my favorite beach in Kauai. This picture is also taken by me when I met a Hawaiian Monk Seal at Poipu beach.
Poipu beach is one of the popular destinations among Kauai island so usually you see a crowd of people and see more kids around since wave is not so strong at this beach. However, Hawaiian Monk Seal likes to come here and sunbath in the middle of the beach for a while and then go back in a water.
Poipu beach is pretty wide and large compared to other beaches in Kauai which include the area for surfing and body board. However, some parts of the beach are too shallow and those water sports are prohibited. That is where Hawaiian Monk Seal likes to go! Lifeguard on duty usually watch Hawaiian Monk Seal to protect them as well as us, humans! Hawaiian Monk Seal probably knows Lifeguard protects them if they take a nap here. That is why they keep coming back to the same spot even it gets little busier sometimes.
As my thank you, I posted the picture with one of the life guard. I biked to the beach so I have a helmet on… just in case you are wondering… haha. FYI… In the state of Hawaii, helmet is optional for motorcycle BUT you MUST wear a helmet when you are on a bicycle.
As you also figured by reading this, Poipu beach will give you the highest percentage of seeing Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kauai. You can also try Glass beach(as I mentioned earlier) or Hanapepe beach. My friends told me they met them in North shore of Kauai island, too so if you are lucky, you will be able to see adorable creature like Hawaiian monk seal!
After reading this article, don’t you want to meet Hawaiian Monk Seal in person in Kauai? As I find them, I will keep you updated where I see them!
Much Aloha Tammy!
Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kauai– Update April, 2016
This is also another picture that I took when I saw a Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kauai. This one found a good spot that was right on the edge so the sun is warm but still can feel a little bit of water ; )
I had to take a selfie with a cute Hawaiian Monk Seal! My body looks like them so it will be uncanny when I lay next to that cute one.
Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kauai – Update August, 2016
This photo was taken by one of my blog readers “Being Happy in Kauai” Hawaiian Monk Seal number 339. What a great shot! How do we know this one is 339? They keep up with them very well so you can see the sign like this and get to know them a little more. I just wish they can come up with names like Hurricanes. Apparently, he came to this beach around 9:30am and stayed until 5pm. He didn’t take a nap, it was a good long sleep! Must be a very good day for him!!
Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kauai – Update May, 2017
This photo was taken in Poipu Beach again. This was send from one of my readers “Being Happy in Kauai” I have never seen three in a row sleeping like this! That is why I was wondering if they are family like father, mother and a child or three brothers and sisters? The reader of my blog, Michiyo found them sunbathing on the right side of Poipu beach near rocks.
Hawaiian Monk Seals will give you calm feeling just looking at them.
Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kauai – Update , August, 2017
Look at him swim! Of course, they are good swimmers. Another reader of my blog “ Be Happy in Kauai”, Ryoko and Masako met this swimming Hawaiian Monk Seals from the ocean on to Poipu Beach.
Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kauai- Update August, 2018
Sometimes you can meet two of them like this. Another reader of my blog “ Be Happy in Kauai”, Yoshiko met this moving Hawaiian Monk Seal on Poipu beach. So cute♡
Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kauai- Update August, 2018
Another reader of my blog “ Be Happy in Kauai”, Mana met this moving Hawaiian Monk Seal on Kappa beach. Look at this Hawaiian Monk Seal’s face! His face heals us♡
Mana took a video, too.
Unfortunately, you can not take Hawaiian Monk Seal but you can get a stuffed animal toy as a memory instead. Haha!
Please come to Kauai to meet Hawaiian Monk Seal!
*Information may get changed or updated since I wrote the article. Please excuse me regarding to the changes you may find.