As the high waves subsided on Oahu's North Shore, this Hawaiian monk seal decided to take a nap at the shoreline, which the day before was covered with whitewash.
Beachwalkers in this coastal community don't take these visits for granted, but we're no longer so surprised. This particular seal came onto the shore about five miles from where President Barack Obama visited his old school friend, Mokuleia's Bobby Titcomb.
Last year was a banner year for endangered monk seals, associated with the remote northwestern Hawaiian atolls, coming to this rural stretch of Hawaii's most populous island. You can see the footprints in the sand; people walked past this napper, leaving him in peace. (Altho , according to federal law, some of those walkers should have given the seal a wider berth.)
Once in a while a loose dog will wander by. I've seen monk seals open one eye, dismiss the dog, and go back to sleep. So far, it's been a good call. The dogs have kept their distance. After all, in the ocean, the only predators a monk seal fears are some types of sharks.