Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Aloha Good People

Just a reminder KAILUA volunteer training is tonight Wednesday at 130 Kailua Road...
(at the beach center in the sailboard & kayak rental)

Please if you are interested, or know someone who is interested come down at 6:00.... there will be information about the up coming Seal Count. This is a great opportunity to meet other volunteers and catch up on what is going on in the Hawaiian Monk Seal World.

Even if you have attended one of these sessions... come by with a friend!
I look forward to seeing you!

DB Post Tuesday September 30th

The Rabbit Island gang was M&M,R301 (95% molted), Hoku and Sadie, but there is bigger news !

Irma is BACK !! and as an extra added bonus, she brought Kermit back with her !! Team Billand won the turkey, when they called at 1300 with the find. The Billands found the pair near the "Wind Sock" on Kalaeloa Beach, near the Coast Guard Air Station. Irma was last seen in Ewa Beach, back on 8-7-08. She was due to give birth any day, and just as last year, she simply disappeared, until today. The numbers indicated that she would probably have weaned her pup around the week of 9-21-08, and could very well pop up somewhere anytime after that. Today was that day !

Kermit was last seen on Oahu, at Rabbit Island on 6-14-08. We got confirmation from the Kauai folks that Kermit was hangin' out over there on 8-8-08, and recent conversations indicated he was still there as of a couple of weeks ago.

Just as with last year, her pupping travels remain a mystery. Last year she was first seen near Ka'ena Point with a Kauai male in attendance, indicating that she was probably returning from the north. Since Kermit was known to be on Kauai, there is a good chance that she is once again returning from the north. Since she was not reported either year, on Kauai, it's possible she went to Niihau or beyond, but there is no proof, to date, that this is the case. It's just my Monachus gene talkin' again.

With the dynamic duo back, things are gonna' get a lot busier in the SW and SE quadrants. I sure hope they are over there Waikiki visits, but only Irma knows. Aloha, DB

DB Post Monday September 29th

M&M,R301,Buster,Hoku&RB08@RI, U/U@BH, 9-29-08
The Rabbit Island cast was M&M, Buster, Hoku , RB08 and R301. Watching R301 rot was about the most interesting part of the day. His D#9 molt is 85%. It took a while to get started but these last couple of days he has made great progress. R301,and Hoku did a swim play session, and were joined in the water by Buster. . They all hauled out together at one point, but after the 2nd swim session, Hoku gave them the slip. R301 and Buster hauled out together at the left end, while Hoku snuck in behind the water front rocks at the Middle Cliff area.

I stopped by Blow Hole on the way home, and found a small, 2 red tagged animal with a new coat, doing 9-10 minute dives. My Monachus gene says that it was Sadie, but, of course, by scientific associates demand an Unknown/Unknown designation.

Charles sent the latest map. Kolohe is still in the Kaneohe area, and , of course, Hoku is at RI. Aloha, DB

Sunday, September 28, 2008

DB Post Sunday September 28th

M&M,R301,RB08&Hoku@RI, RSF@SB, 9-28-08
The "Century Bike Ride" race made travel in the SE quadrant an absolute nightmare today.

The Rabbit Island cast was quiet again today. M&M, R301, RB08 and Hoku just flopped all day. R301 is rapidly rotting now. He had made dramatic progress since yesterday. His D#8 molt was 60%.

Bodysurfer posse member, Mike, called at 0746 to report that an animal was just hauling out at SB. I managed to get from the pier, back to Sandy Beach without killing any of the zillions of bike riders, and found Right Spot, 100 ft east of the "Full Point" Lifeguard stand.I cordoned her off and readjusted the cordon as required throughout the day. She has remained there all day. I'll return to recheck her at dark. Right Spot departed SB at 1834 of her own volition.

Joanna Tabor (bless her little Honu heart), made the Ka'ena Point trek today, and found Benny , all alone at the end of the world. Aloha,

Saturday, September 27, 2008

DB Post Saturday September 27th

M&M,M38,R301&Buster@RI, and a Vegas Call, 9-27-08
I checked Sandy Beach, first thing, as usual, and Lona was not there. I picked up the stuff and continued on. Despite several checks of the SE Quadrant I did not see Lona nor Right Spot today.

The Rabbit Island cast was a tad boring today. M&M and M38 were close, up in the Morning Glory and would move down to the water front later on. M38 departed at 1039, and later M&M moved to the left end of the beach.

R301's molt has finally begun to take off. He is rotting nicely now, at a conservative 25% on D#7.

Buster was a late arrival and hung out near R301 all afternoon.

At 1622 I got a call from LAS VEGAS !!! It was Barbara Billand , calling to say that she'd just gotten a call from Tracy about an animal at White Plains (which apparently turned out to be Nimitz Beach, close by). Tracy obviously had no idea they were in Vegas, but next dispatched the Browns to check it out. I have no clue as to ID at this writing, but when I know....you'll know. My Monachus gene says...............Rocky , but we can't rule out a possible Irma return, and of course it could be anybody. Aloha, DB

DB Post Friday September 26th

M&M,M38,R301,Buster,Hoku,Sadie@RI, Lona@SB, RSF@BH, 9-26-08
It was a busy little day in the SE Quadrant. The Rabbit Island cast was M&M and M38, Hoku, Buster, R301 and Sadie. Everybody but M38 just laid there, M38 was still in "cruiser male" mode , and was a pain in the butt, to everybody else for a while.

I found Lona waiting for me at the extreme east end of Sandy Beach. She remained there all day.

Tour Bus driver, posse member Derek called to report an animal at Blow Hole, and when I arrived I found Right Spot doing 5 minute dives. She was still there at end of day.

I had a "wild goose chase" afternoon call for 3 animals at Spitting cave. It was Turtles ! Aloha, DB

Friday, September 26, 2008

Volunteer Training and Sign Up

Aloha Good People!

Just a reminder...

Wednesday October 1st
130 Kailua Road ( next to the Kayak & Sailboard Rental)

Thursday October 2nd
Waikiki Aquarium ... 6pm - 8pm

Northshore Saturday October 4th
Waimea Valley Pikake Room
10 AM - Noon

Leeward Monday October 6th
Ewa Beach Library 6pm - 8pm

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Transmitter Info on Kolohe and Hoku

Aloha All, The latest map shows that Kolohe continues to patrol the Kaneohe Peninsula, and as we know, Hoku is back home at Rabbit Island. Still no Kerby sightings. Aloha DB

DB Post Thursday September 25th

R301,M&M,M38,Hoku,Sadie,Buster@RI, Right Spot@Sandy Beach, 9-25-08
Right Spot popped up in my life again today, with a call at 0631 about an animal on the rocks at the Blow Hole end of Sandy Beach. She remained there all day . She departed of her own volition at 1726.

The Rabbit Island cast would prove to be M&M, R301, M38, Hoku, Sadie and Buster. R301's molt has finally begun to progress a bit. D#5 is 5%.

M38 was in cruiser male mode today. Hauling out to interacted with every other animal , in most cases twice. Aloha, DB

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

DB Post Wednesday September 24th

R301,M&M,Buster,Hoku&Sadie@RI, Lona@SB,Ewa Girl@HB, 9-24-08
My day began by finding Lona (R017) waiting for me on the main beach at Sandy Beach, fronting the Pipe Littles break. Posse member Otto said she was there when he arrived at 0500. I immediately began cordoning her off, and just as I was tying the rope to the last pole, she did 4 slow rolls and entered the water (f#%*!!!!!). I was ultra thorough in my inspection of the SE quadrant , but did not see her again today.

At 0651 I found Ewa Girl still on her left side flats perch. Chances are excellent that she overnighted.

The Rabbit Island cast began with R301, M&M and Buster at the left end. Later Hoku and Sadie would haul out to join them. R301 seems to be going for the "Longest Molt Ever" trophy, presently held by Chester. On D#3 he is still only 3%.

The entire cast was in snooze mode when I departed the pier at 1500. Aloha, DB

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

DB Post Tuesday September 23rd

R301,M&M,Buster&Hoku@RI, Lona@SB, EG@HB & Right Spot@SC, 9-23-08
It was a busy little day in the SE Quadrant. My day began with Lona (R017) waiting for me at the east end of Sandy Beach at 0612. She would remain there all day. Her last sighting was at Kawela Bay on 9-1-08. Her last visit to SB was on 3-14-06. Lona departed SB at 1844.

I also got another surprise, finding Right Spot (R016) doing 6 minute dives at Spitting Cave. Her last sighting was with pup at Kalaupapa, Molokai on 8-12-08. Her last visit to Spitting Cave was on 10-30-05.

Ewa Girl was back at her usual spot, on the left side flats of Hanauma Bay.

The rest of the cast was much the same as it has been. R301, and M&M were at the left end of Rabbit Island and they were later joined by Buster and Hoku. R301's molt is progressing slowly. D#3 is unchanged from yesterday at 2%. Aloha, DB

Monday, September 22, 2008

DB Post Monday September 22nd

R301,M&M,Buster&Hoku, Rabbit Island, 9-22-08
It was a decent cast at Rabbit Island, M&M, R301, and Buster would spend most of the day together at the left end near 1BS, and Hoku joined them late in the afternoon. There was barely any interaction at all. R301's D# 2 molt is 2% . Aloha, DB

Sunday, September 21, 2008

DB Post Sunday September 21st

M&M,M38.R301,Hoku,RB08,Sadie,Buster@RI, 9-21-08
Yesterday's Unknown Male question was answered today when I found RM38 along side M&M this morning. He was in "cruiser male " mode today, with swim/play sessions with RB08, and Hoku. Sadie spent the day at the right end of the beach, had nothing to do with the mob at the left end. R301 was there also, and began his molt today (D#1 1%) with a small bare spot on his chest. Buster hauled out later in the day, and joined the rest of the left end mob. Aloha, DB

Saturday, September 20, 2008

DB Post Saturday September 20th

Buster,M&M,R301,Sadie,Hoku,RB08&URTM@RI, 9-20-08
It was quite a gang at Rabbit Island today. They day began with a neat row of animals on the beach front incline just left of 1BS. Hoku, Buster,M&M,R301 and Sadie were all lined up. RB08 would join them later, and everybody except M&M got into the water for a swim/play session in the afternoon. All except Sadie would haul out afterward.

I became aware of a red tagged, med/large , male partially visible at the right end of the island. He just never gave me anything to work with, and I'm stuck with what I hate most in the world, and Unknown animal , at the end of the day. Maybe tomorrow ? Aloha, DB

DB Post Friday September 19th

R301,M&M,Buster,Hoku& RB08@ RI, 9-19-08
The gang at Rabbit Island included M&M, R301, a 100% molted Buster, Hoku, and RB08. Buster,Hoku and R301 would do a long swim/play session, and Buster and Hoku did an addition session. Aloha, DB

Friday, September 19, 2008

Some History of the Hawaiian Monk Seal

Aloha Good People;

The following information was written by Thea Johanos of NOAAs PIFSC. She was responding to a question from a volunteer on Molokai.... and she refers to two papers. I have a copy of the PDF file if anyone is interested in the complete paper.


Hi All,
Because of public perceptions that the Hawaiian monk seal doesn't belong here, our Molokai volunteers asked for information that might be helpful in countering this belief. Below is the reply that I sent them, which you might also find interesting or helpful.
Cheers,Thea ----------------

I'm attaching papers on monk seals that includes information on early recorded sightings of monk seals in the main islands and how long they have been here. The bottom line is that the ancestors of the Hawaiian monk seals arrived 15 million years ago at a time when the current main islands weren't even formed yet, and are one of only two endemic species of mammals in Hawaii (meaning that the species originated/evolved here and is found nowhere else). The other endemic mammal is a hoary bat. Monk seals are fully capable of swimming among the various islands in the archipelago and there is no reason why they wouldn't have been in the main islands before human arrival 1500-1600 years ago. At the time of human arrival (bringing dogs, etc.) there were many endemic birds such as flightless geese that quickly went extinct and are not represented in chants. Monk seals likely were quickly decimated and stopped reproducing in the main islands because of the vulnerability of mother/pup pairs that spend 6 weeks near one spot on the beach. Still, monk seals continued to visit the main islands on rare occasions. Though these visits were not well documented, the paper by Kenyon and Rice lists some sightings from the early 20th century. Below, I've included a summary that I wrote this summer on recent movements of monk seals:

Although infrequent, interatoll movements of Hawaiian monk seals have been documented between the major breeding locations in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) and other areas within their known breeding range. Necker and Nihoa are geographically intermediate between the NWHI and the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI), and most movements of monk seals summarized here are between Necker and Nihoa and French Frigate Shoals (FFS), the nearest major monk seal breeding location to the west, within the NWHI. There are also a small number of documented trips between Necker and Nihoa Islands and the MHI. In a few cases, seals may have traveled directly between the NWHI and the MHI or Johnston Atoll without an intermediate visit to Necker or Nihoa Islands.

In total, 58 seals are documented to have made 107 trips between the major subpopulations in the NWHI, Necker and Nihoa Islands, the MHI, and Johnston Atoll in 1983-2007. This is a minimum number of trips as we have had little observation and tagging effort at Necker and Nihoa Islands, and have virtually no sighting information from Niihau, the island within the MHI with the largest seal population, which is also geographically closest to the NWHI. Many seals made one or more round trips between FFS and Necker or Nihoa Islands, with one male making three round trips between FFS and Necker. One noteworthy male, born at Laysan Island, traveled to FFS and on to Nihoa and Kauai as a subadult and finally returned to FFS as an adult. And, a juvenile male, born at FFS, was resighted off Hawaii Island, sick and injured, and was brought into permanent captivity. Finally, an adult male, originally identified and translocated from Laysan to the MHI, made two round trips from the MHI to Nihoa, returning each time to the MHI. Several adult females have also made noteworthy trips. One seal, born at Midway Atoll, first traveled to Laysan and then on to the MHI where she was first seen on Molokai. She subsequently became the first monk seal known to have pupped on the Island of Hawaii. Another adult female, born at FFS, traveled to Johnston Atoll and remained there for about a year before disappearing. Finally, an adult female first identified on Kauai has been resighted at FFS.

Since the MHI paper was written, I've also heard that there is a paper that mentions finding monk seal bones in ancient Hawaiian middens but I don't have the paper. If I find it, I'll send that along too. Becauseof the size, I didn't include the whole Kenyon and Rice paper. Good luck in your outreach!

Best always,Thea

Thursday, September 18, 2008

DB Post Thursday Spetember 18th

M&M,Buster,Hoku&R301@RI, 9-18-08
Once again it was the same Rabbit Island cast that you've met before. M&M, all slick and clean began the day at 2BS but moved to the right end of the beach. R301 started and ended at 1BS, but in the interim did a long swim/play session with Buster and Hoku. Both R301 and Hoku would haul out together later in the afternoon near 2BS, and Buster hauled out alone near 3BS. His D#6 molt is 95%. Aloha, DB

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Calling ALL Monk Seal Volunteers!!!

From: Jennifer Maldonado <cruisingkismet@msn.com>
Aloha Volunteers,

Seems like forever since I’ve had the opportunity to write you all. It’s time for the semi-annual monk seal count and we need your help! The monk seal count will happen Saturday, October 18, 2008. To find out more please attend one of the upcoming monk seal volunteer meetings:
KAILUA Wednesday,
October 1st 6pm - 8pm
Kailua Beach Center 130 Kailua Road
WAIKIKI Thursday,
October 2nd 6pm - 8pm
Waikiki Aquarium
October 4th 10am - 12 noon
Waimea Valley - Pikake Room
October 6th 6pm - 8pm
Ewa Beach Library

*IMPORTANT: Even if you are not available for the count please join us for general volunteer information as well.
** ALL NEW MONK SEAL VOLUNTEERS SHOULD ATTEND THIS MEETING!! This is a great opportunity for you to bring a friend. Ask you friends, family and neighbors if they would like to be a monk seal volunteer too.

DB Post Wednesday September 17th

M&M,Buster,R301&Hoku@RI, 9-17-08
The day began with finding a bare,naked lady on RI. M&M is 100% molted, on D#6. Buster's D#5 molt was 45%. Hoku and R301 were down at the left end of the island. Buster joined them briefly, and all went for a swim/play session. R301 and Hoku hauled out to the left end again, and Buster moved down to spend the rest of the day with M&M at the right end of the beach.

Charles sent the latest map of Da' Boyz. We know that Hoku has been back at RI for a few days now, but Kolohe continues to patrol the Kaneohe/Moku Manu area. Aloha, DB