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Kaimana Beach swimming event on Labor Day is keeping an eye on monk seal mom and pup

Cyndia Lavik/Waikiki Roughwater Swim

Last week, the state increased the boundaries around Rocky, a nursing endangered monk seal, and her pup at Kaimana Beach in Waikikī. Officials believe the pup may be weaned in two to three weeks.

But that timeline runs very close to the upcoming Waikiki Roughwater Swim, a major swimming competition expected to draw hundreds of swimmers to that very beach.

"The very first message we put out to our swimmers was, 'Hey, there's a monk seal pup down there. If you go down there, pay attention to all of the signs, pay attention to all of the instructions. Follow them.' We've also told them we fully expect that by the day of the race, the pup and her mother will have moved along," said race director Stefan Reinke.

The race is scheduled to start on Sept. 5, Labor Day. It's the first time in two years that the competition takes to the water.

“We've had some interest from people outside the state, from Japan, from Australia. We've got a lot of folks coming in from the West Coast," Reinke said. "We probably won't have the same level of Japanese participation this year."

"We’re expecting a crowd of somewhere between 600 and 800 folks participating in the race, and they bring their friends and family along. So it's going to be a good-sized crowd down there on race day and at the Hilton for the finish," Reinke told HPR.

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This interview aired on The Conversation on Aug. 5, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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