Malama Monk Seal Voyage #7: Lisianski

Heading to our small boat safety briefing, I overheard the Commanding Officer tell our Chief Scientist that a tropical storm was headed for Laysan in the next 48 hours. Laysan: the island we’d most recently departed. The same island on which we’d re-deployed one of our field campers, Carrie, and dropped off two bird biologists…

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 #4: Endangered Cargo

It looked like someone had spilled a bottle of glitter on the sky last night. That’s how many stars were twinkling when I stepped onto the aft deck for my “seal watch.” The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands lay in a curved line on a map. You’d think our route would start with the nearest—Nihoa—and follow in…

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…