Recently, I got a bit of a different view from the back of a tandem than what I’m used to:
Nosireebob! That there’s the eastern coast of the island of Kauai, in Hawaii.
Bugman and I traveled to Hawaii with his parents, Ma and Pa Bug, to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
At one point while cycling along, I made Bugman stop and do an about-face.
“That woman was carrying signs!” I said.
We’d gotten a voicemail from Pa Bug a bit earlier – there was ilio holo i ka uaua (Hawaiian monk seal) on the beach near the hotel, and some volunteers had cordoned off the area.
Sure enough, there was a seal on the rocks down below us, near where a volunteer was planting a “do not approach the seal” sign near a piece of bleached driftwood.
Hawaiian monk seals are critically endangered, with only about 1,100 individuals left. One of the threats to their survival is human interference – specifically, bothering seals that have come ashore to rest. Volunteers patrol the cost and respond to tips from a hotline, ready to set up signage and barriers to keep the tourist paparazzi at a safe distance when the seals beach themselves.
The woman volunteer told us that the seal was a young female (as we learned from signage later, she was born May 29, 2014), and that her mother was one of the seals that was currently beached to the south, near where we were staying.
We continued down the path to the beach behind our hotel, and, happily, the seals were still there! (Some seals, anyway. These might not have been the same two seals that were on the beach when Ma and Pa Bug were there.)
The young male got restless and hauled himself back into the surf, at one point making a rude raspberry-type vocalization as he swam.
That’s about it on the biking and the seals, but I have more to share. Continued in Part 2 . . .
Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw