A Day in the Life of a Monk Seal at Makena

Every wonder what happens in the life of a Monk Seal that you have come across hauled up on some beach? After watching Monk Seals for a few months and just getting over the thrill of even seeing such an exotic creature I decided to stay with them until they left the area. Based on my studies I can now give an idea of what goes on in a typical Monk Seal haul out. Rather than explain I offer the following video clips as illustrations of a typical day at the beach for a monk seal.

Monk Seal haul out on January 25, 2008

Surfer girl the Monk Seal was seen hauling out onto the rocks North of Little Beach about 9:30 in the morning. Dr. Leisure appeared on the scene about 12:30 and stayed with the seal through the day and slightly past sunset. The following excerpts give a pretty good idea of just what goes on through the day.

MS 12:40 PM My initial look at Surfer Girl the Monk Seal. I have been advised that a seal has hauled out on the rocks North of Little Beach by visitor who has returned from a morning snorkel. Although I have seen this scene a few times I am always excited about the opportunity to see and study a Monk Seal. As soon as I can take a shot I do because I don't want to miss an opportunity to document the sighting.

MS 12:56 PM Surfer Girl has rolled over on her back. Not an uncommon happening with particular animal. You can tell the sex of a Monk Seal by looking at the belly area. You should see five dots. Just like a five die. Four out to the corners and one in the middle. The four outer dots at the teats of the female. The center spot is the belly button. A male only has the center spot.

MS 1:12 PM Kayaks pass by the point. They have seen the seal but take it in as they paddle by. Surfer Girl appears not to notice and sleeps through it.

MS 1:20 PM A close up of a contented sleeping Monk Seal.

MS 1:40 PM Head on view. Little movement but the seal has rolled onto stomach and moved toward the camera.

MS 1:47 PM Close head on shot. Not a lot of action watching a monk seal taking a nap.


MS 1:55 Two swimmers in the water are aware of the seal but give it space before swimming on around the point.

MS 1:56 Still sleeping the monk seal is oblivious to the shore bird walking about. First in front of the seal and then behind.

MS 2:20 A group of rather noisy swimmers appear just off shore. After some encouragement from us on shore they quiet down and depart peacefully. Surfer girl does not show any signs of distress.

MS about 2:30 PM Nicole Davis the coordinator for the Monk Seal Response team arrives to handle watching over Surfer Girl.

MS 2:36 PM Surfer girl moves to the tidal pool and splashes about for a bit.

MS 2:45 PM Surfer girl is in the tidal pool and moves about thrusting her nose into the water. It appears to me that they can thrust their nose into water or air and it doesn't make any difference to them. The nostrils close down when moved into the water and may or may not open when in the air.


MS 2:56 PM Surfer girl has moved out of the pool and is pointed toward the ocean. We are wondering if she is getting ready to leave.

MS 6:00 PM Surfer girl positioned such that she can watch the sunset appears to be taking some more nap. After the sunset I move off leaving her to spend the night or what ever she wishes to do. Past reports of similar situation suggest she will be back in the water within the hour. I need to be out of the rocks before the sun gets to far below the horizon and it gets to dark to see my footing over the rocks.


Addresses and other information on the current stewards of Makena. People like the Governor, Mayor and various state officials. Check it out.

Friends of Makena State Park

 Friends of Makena State Park was formally formed in 2003 to assist the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources in the stewardship of  Makena State Park.

Consider a contribution to Doctor Leisure's Friends of Makena State Park  if you want to help defray the cost of this site and the efforts to save Makena State Park and the adjacent lands from unneeded and unwanted development.  Twenty dollars pays for the gasoline necessary to get Dr. Leisure to the park for five days. Forty dollars pays for the ink cartridge for the printer. Twenty five dollars covers the cost of the web site for one month.

Membership is open to anyone interested in the stewardship of  the unique natural resource that constitutes Makena State Park situated on the island of Maui in the Hawai'i 'i Islands. The world famous nude beach known as Little Beach is contiguous to Makena State Park.

To declare your membership and to receive the electronic newsletter of Dr. Leisure's Friends of Makena State Park click this link: LittleBeachMaui-subscribe@topica.com  and send a blank email.

Dr. Leisure's Friends of Makena State Park
PO Box 1137
Kihei, HI 96753

--Dr. George R. Harker can be reached by email at drleisure1@aol.com.

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Copyright 2008, Dr. Leisure

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