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A Great Underwater Encounter With A Rare Critter

We had an amazing encounter off the coast of Maui in Hawaii. While snorkeling at Molokini (an ancient volcanic crater top between Maui and Molokai) we encountered an unusual visitor. An endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal joined us!

There are only an estimated 1,500 of these cute critters left today and this big fella really enjoyed cavorting with snorkelers. We were swimming in water varying between 30 and 8 feet when this crittter showed up and thank goodness I was armed and ready with our trusty Minolta underwater camera!!!

The only tough part was distancing myself far enough away from the seal to get good underwater pictures!!! Our dive-master explained that this particular seal shows up two or three times a year at Molokini and stays for a few days.  

The seal is a male and loves to meet people.  When he approached my daughter, he came up to her face to face as if they were standing in the water while actually floating.  He very gently placed his flippers around her waist and his face was so close to her mask that she could feel his whiskers on her face! He blew some bubbles toward her mask and then proceeded to visit with other divers!

Keep in mind as you look at the pictures below, this is a completely wild critter that just happens to like people! And since his species is on the endangered list, it's a Federal Offense for people to touch him.  But there are NO RULES prohibiting him from touching people! It was a really neat encounter!!!!!!!


Click here to learn more about these rare seals.

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