Well, one seal anyway…

Today the monk seal returned, resulting in me taking about 200 photos. Plus, the turtle bay was incredibly clear, so I was able to take another couple hundred photos of them. Then Cyn and Sam and I went on a fantastic cruise around the Na Pali coast, which is accessible only by boat (or helicopter), during which we saw maybe a dozen whales. So, you guessed it, hundreds more photos.

First, the seal. When a seal finds a spot in the sun, officials string rope all around to keep people like me away. Thanks to a friend’s long lens, I was able to keep my distance while still taking lots of shots.

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The seal was laying out right next to the turtle bay. Because the sun was out and the water was clear, it was easy to spot the turtles even when they were submerged.

Then Cyn and Sam and I went on a whale-watching cruise. It was a phenomenal trip. The guide suggested we leave electronics (digital cameras, for example) at home. I’m glad I didn’t. Within a few minutes, we saw six water spouts in the distance. Captain Alan turned the boat and I got out my camera, which I had stashed away under the seat and inside some plastic bags.

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Eventually we saw perhaps a dozen or more humpback whales, including a rare sight indeed: a mother and her baby calf. At first we saw only the baby, prompting the nervous question: “where’s the mother??” The answer was, right next to baby. As we were in shallow waters, we assume the baby was nursing. According to Capt. Alan, baby humpback whales nurse 80 gallons of milk a day. That’s about what I drank when I was a teenager.

The cruise lasted about four hours and included some rough waters in order to make it around several points to secluded beaches, secret waterfalls and hidden caves. In fact, this whole part of the coast is a state park. It’s illegal to touch the beaches by boat and without a permit. To reach them, people have to hike 10 or more hours through treacherous terrain. But, it looks like it would be worth it.

Anyway, it was a great way to spend an afternoon. I worried about my camera, frequently wrapping it in plastic and stowing it under the seat. Cyn took Dramamine to quell her propensity for sea sickness. Sammy enjoyed the whales and then fell asleep. Even when we smacked 10-foot waves and got a face full of sea spray, she simply snoozed. By the time we returned to port, the sun was setting on the horizon and we were ready to return home to get dry, get fed, and get a load of the photos.

Tomorrow we go kayaking.

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