Beneath the Waves Encounters True Accounts of Experiences with Acquatic Friends
True Accounts of Experiences with Acquatic Friends
LuSeal, An Encounter with a Monk Seal
This day, a friend and I went to Ho’okena Beach for a swim and a Hawaiian Monk Seal was there basking on the beach.
It was a Sunday so there were many at this beach and most were respectful and kept their distance. This young, roughly
200 pound seal was trying to sleep, she appeared disturbed by nearby children playing in the surf. She would wake, bark at
the children, occasionally took quick lunges toward them, then covered her eyes with her pectoral fins and tried to get back to sleep.
The Monk Seals are nocturnal and find beaches early in the morning to sleep. This would have been the perfect place for her
to rest had it not been for all the folks who turned out to enjoy their Sunday here.|
My friend and I watched this seal for about 15 minutes to make sure she stayed on the beach before we ventured into
the bay to snorkel. All looked well for us so on we went out into the vast blue and over the beautiful coral.
We were enjoying ourselves for about an hour, looking at all the tropical fish and ocean scapes. We had forgotten all about the young seal on the beach, completely focused instead by this magical underwater world. We were heading back toward the beach, yet still about an eighth of a mile away when all of the sudden I felt something warm and soft rub up the length of my body! My first thought told me it was my friend and when I turned my head to look, I saw an adorable seal face with big brown eyes looking deeply into my eyes....eye to eye, nose to nose, belly to belly!!! It was like being hugged by a large, soft woman in a fur coat!!
|Curriosity then Contact|
I pulled away from her but she kept coming up to me intent on looking into my eyes and hugging me full on!
I had some leaves in my wet suit just in case the dolphins showed up, so I pulled them out to see if she wanted to
play with them. She looked at the leaves for a second but clearly wanted ME and lunged toward me.
I began spiraling and spinning away from her in an attempt to put a little space between us. I continued this
action for a few minutes and soon realized that this action was futile. Just try to out maneuver a seal in the
water... Seals as I’m sure you know, are probably one of the most agile creatures in the water. I could not get
away from her advances.
I pushed her away, yelling at her “NO, NO!”. That didn’t work either. She looked back at me with her eyebrows raised up as if to ask why I wouldn’t play with her. I raised my head above water to clear my snorkel and she raised her head, again intent on maintaining eye contact. She was so sweet, and appeared to only wish to play and connect. Yet, I remembered the warnings I had heard about the Monk Seals. They can bite and hold onto a person and sink them. I felt it would be best for her and for me to swim away from her. Again, just try to out swim a seal...
I began swimming as fast as I could toward shore. She easily stayed right with me, landed on my back sinking me several times, then she swam around to my belly again and again swirling around me. She stayed right with me the entire time. As I approached the shore we shared the same wave. We surfed this wave together until we reached the shore. I didn’t stop to take off my fins before landing on the beach as is my usual practice. Instead, I rode the wave all the way in then stood up and she was laying on one of my fins looking up at me with her soft brown eyes that seemed to question my behavior when all she wanted to do was play.
There was a crowd of people that had gathered to see if I was all right and the seal stayed right there as if she were demanding an answer from me.
My friend had who stayed a respectful distance away during this dance was quite shaken up from what she had just witnessed. She had never seen such an insistant wild animal seemingly looking to befriend a human. I was amazed and after integrating the experience wished I hadn’t reacted with fear. I wish I would have remained calm and simply observed her. Its just that I kept hearing all the stories of seals hugging people and sinking them and biting. I kept thinking that I just didn’t want her to bite me.
I found out that this 2-year old Monk Seal’s name is “LuSeal”.
Those who monitor these endangered mammals have been following her around the Hawaiian islands since she was born. She was tagged and had been relocate several times, yet keeps showing up on our beaches. Those who live here know to leave these seals alone. There are only an estimated 1,200 Monk seals on the planet and they only live in the Hawaiian island chain.
To learn more about Hawaiian Monk Seals, go to:
To find out how you can contribute to their well being, please go to:
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