Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snorkeling in Kauai with Hawaiian Monk Seals

Sometimes, it is the simple things that make us happy. I will be the first to tell you that I love diving and would much prefer diving to snorkeling. However, everything has its time and place. I have learned that snorklers are people, too! We have added a really awesome snorkel tour that is just as fun, safe and easy as everything else that we do. Lots of cool stuff to see here. 

While walking down to the beach, we stopped to say hello to a couple of the local Hawaiian Monk Seals (that can only be found in the islands).
The Hawaiian Monk Seal is a species that is considered endemic to the islands. The word endemic means that the species is unique to a region (i.e., is found no where else) and is believed to have evolved there. Many other species found in Hawaii are considered indigenous, which means that they arrived in the islands under natural conditions such as by wind or by water, but can also be found in a number of different regions. Examples of animals indigenous to Hawaii are the humpback whale, the green sea turtle, and the Laysan albatross. 

Many believe monk seals got their name from their monk-like preference for solitude; others think that the loose skin around the seals' neck resembles the hood of a monk's robe. Ancient Hawaiians apparently thought neither and named the seal Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua, which means "dog that runs in rough waters," referring somewhat back to their ancestral history. Monk seals are also sometimes referred to as "living fossils" because as the oldest living members of the pinniped order they have remained virtually unchanged for 15 million years.

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