Stand Up Paddle Happiness

Aloha,

Happiness ...A Day Off, time with friends, ocean, nature..good meals..ahh.
It takes  planning for me to take time off..and it is so worth it when it all works out. Even though we live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, most of us  work quite a bit to be able to live on Maui.
  Because of my previous love affair with outrigger canoe paddling, and life spent on some sort of surfing device in the waves, I have been wanting to jump into a new sport that fits my life style now .
This new calling is a combination of  paddling and surfing. Stand Up Paddle ( SUP) takes balance, some effort and a willingness to deal with the learning curve.
My dear friends Stacey and Chet who have stayed with me many times throughout the years, had moved down to Wailea after their upcountry hiking days at Hale Ho'okipa Inn.  Stacey and I had talked about Stand Up Paddle for quite some time and this weekend , we made it happen.

Having the right equipment makes all the difference between enjoyment and struggle. I borrowed a board that turned out to be too small.  However, no worries...Wailea Beach has a concession stand with some really sweet and helpful ocean folks called Maui Ocean Activities. The Beach Boys we met were Shaun and Phillip. We were in good hands,  they run a first class activity. You can find them at mauioceanactivities.com
 or 808 357-8989, to arrange your activities.They offer snorkel gear, kayaks, and SUP boards and paddles...What more could anyone want to enjoy a day of ocean fun? Being able to support small locally owned businesses is a great passion of mine. Anyone who reads my blog posts will recognize this.


Contributing to my Happiness Level was one amazing encounter while paddling our way back to shore. We had seen several Honu, turtles, and that is always nice.
However,  when a rare and endangered  Hawaiian Monk graced us with a swim by, my Happiness meter went off the charts...He/She was quite large and just cruised right by us, close and curious. Oh, wow!!!! I managed to stay on the board despite wanting to jump up and down with excitement.

There were some visitors who shared this experience with us and they were a little freaked out. I could not help myself and had to let them know just how blessed they were. I gave them the low down on the rare Monk seal and told them if a seal beaches for a rest, the whole area gets roped off to protect them from being bothered. We are very serious about guarding these magnificent creatures, and I will never forget the sound of that seal breathing as it broke through the water and the curious look in it's eyes.
With Aloha,
Cherie

Hawaiian Monk Seal

Aloha,

I am so excited to share these wonderful photos of a Hawaiian Monk Seal resting on the beach. Years ago I remember seeing one way out by a bouy while fishing in the ocean. Up until that time I had seen very few as they were rarely sighted close to or on the populated islands.
Now, we see them a bit more often, and it is really special. Even so, it is estimated that there are fewer than 1,000  Hawaiian Monk Seals living today. They are endangered and offically became the Hawaii State mammal in 2008.

Most seals prefer colder waters, the Hawaiian Monk seal lives in warm waters in the northern most islands of the Hawiian Island chain. They forage on lobsters, fish and octopus...and are very sleek in the water.

They will haul themselves out onto the sand  to rest in the heat of the day. A seal will often spend the afternoon sunning and napping on a beach. Whenever one is spotted, someone will call a ranger to  come  and rope off the area so the seal will not be disturbed. It is a bit clumsy on land, and could easily be bothered by someone coming too close. Most people who live in Hawaii are very protective of the seal and will make sure that people keep their distance.
This particular  Monk Seal was spotted at Kamakahonu Bay in Kona a few weeks ago. My dear Ilana  Maxwell snapped these wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing your photos, Ilana! She said that beachgoers had drawn a line in the sand around the female seal to give her  space while she lounged on the beach. Look at that face,she looks pretty comfortable.

Consider yourself blessed if you are fortunate enough to see one of these beautiful creatures.

Malama ke kai..take care of the oceans..

With Aloha,
Cherie
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