One of Hawaii’s rare Monk Seals swims by a snorkeler, seeing what he is all about. This is an uncommon experience for snorkelers in Maui, or on any of the Hawaiian islands.
Hawaiian Monk Seals are on the endangered species list with only a few thousand known to exist. There are many fewer than that around the main islands, so seeing them is a special treat.
Seeing them in the water is even more special, as the seals often have a protector from one of several state or national agencies warning people off and helping to keep a respectful distance. Monk seals are known to be playful and will engage with people.
From the Photographer:
“Snorkeling at Blackrock Kaanapali the day before yesterday. About to go back to shore when I see this amazing creature swim by. In almost 30 years of living here I’ve never encountered a monk seal in the water. EPIC!” – Tony Lathrop
We would be remiss if we did not explicitly state that you should never intentionally swim with monk seals and you should always obey all the regulations in the Marine Mammal Protection Act.