Malama Monk Seal Voyage #6: Meet Ama`ama.

The commanding officer, chief bosun and I were aft on Oscar Elton Sette in the early evening when Dr. Michelle, our onboard veterinarian, threw both arms in the air and started an exuberant dance. If it had been an NFL Sunday, I would have thought her team had scored a touchdown. Next to Hawaiian monk…

Malama Monk Seal Voyage #5: Laysan

I was walking on the leeward side of Laysan Island, over 900 miles northwest of Honolulu, when Megan, one of the remote field campers with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program approached me. The full complement of seabirds flew overhead or roosted in nearby bushes, including two new species for me during our┬átrip: Bristle-thighed curlew…

Malama Monk Seal Voyage #3: French Frigate Shoals

The other morning, we woke to a view of La Perouse Pinnacle, our first sighting of land in over 24 hours. Sitting at the center of the atoll known as French Frigate Shoals, the 120-foot tall rocky outcrop is the last remnant of the original volcano. The pinnacle was named after French explorer Jean-Francois de…

Malama Monk Seal Voyage #2: Saving a Species One Pup at a Time

We woke to grey skies and a view of the island of Ni`ihau from three miles off shore. Two bottlenose dolphins porpoised off the starboard side of the Oscar Elton Sette while a few inquisitive juvenile brown boobies flew out to investigate us. A gentle rain started right as we launched our first mission of…

Malama Monk Seal Voyage #1: Departing Honolulu

For the next few weeks, this is home: the Oscar Elton Sette. We disembarked Pearl Harbor yesterday at 0900, and a small pod of spinner dolphins, a spotted eagle ray, and several turtles wished us bon voyage as we left the calm of the harbor. The skies were blue and the sun was bearing down…