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2011 - Hawaiian Monk Seal Swim

Known to the native Hawaiians as ʻIlio-holo-i-ka-uaua, or "dog that runs in rough water," the Hawaiian monk seal is near the brink of extinction. Help save this magnificent creature today!

2011 Swim for the Seals - Lanai to Maui open Water Challenge - September 3, 2011!  

They Swam, They Conquered!

On September 3, 2011, three teams representing The Marine Mammal Center participated in the Maui Channel swim - one of the world's most challenging open water swims - tohelp save the Hawaiian Monk Seal!

For the second year in a row, the weather and the water were big challenges and there were a lot of great competitive open water swimmers. Out three teams - Lahaina, Kapahua, and Molokai - had their work cut out for them but they did amazingly well and Team Lahaina came in the top 10 all female team competition - way to go! 

The annual 9.6 miles race begins on the island of Lanai and ends at Kaanapalli beach on the island of Maui. In between are some challenging rough water and a lot of great competitive open water swimming. Six-person-teams on individual escort boats trade off swimmers after successive half hour legs, then switch to 10 minute legs until the finish line is reached anywhere from 3 to 8 hours depending on sea conditions. Swimmers compete in seven categories based on the ages and sex of the team members. The grand prize goes to the first team to finish. It’s an amazing event; however, it is not a swim for beginners or the faint-hearted!

Well done to all of our Hawaiian Monk Seal swim teams!

All funds raised will help us build a dedicated Hawaiian monk seal hospital on the Big Island. The team have raised just over $26,000 and need your help to reach their $35,000 fundraising goal!

Swim Overview

 Excerpt from Marjorie Boor, volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center and one of three team captains for this year's challenge:

Team captain Marjorie Boor battles huge ocean swells during the 2010 Maui Channel swim.
© The Marine Mammal Center


 “There’s nothing like swimming in the open waters of Hawaii. It’s just you and the ocean -- no flippers, no wetsuit, no snorkel or mask, just swimming free in the home waters of the Hawaiian Monk seal,” describes Marjorie Boor, swim team coordinator and one of three team captains from this year’s 2011 Maui Swim for the Seals. On Saturday, September 3, The Marine Mammal Center participated in the longest, largest open water relay swim in the world – The Maui Channel Swim - to raise $35,000 to build the Hawaiian Monk Seal Healthcare Facility, in Kona, on the Big Island.

Swimming for Seals is a natural fit for The Marine Mammal Center. Three teams of open water swimmers, some staff members, some Center volunteers, traveled to the place where the Hawaiian Monk seal lives and struggles to survive. “Team Hawaiian Monk Seal” had three swim captains: Dr. Rebecca Greene, one of the Center’s associate veterinarians; Ken Coren, Animal Crew volunteer and lifetime member of San Francisco’s Dolphin Club; and Marjorie Boor, one of the Center’s long-time volunteers in the Veterinary Science, Education, and Stranding departments. An annual event since 1972, this international race begins on the island of Lanai, and ends on the island of Maui and can take anywhere from three to eight hours, depending on conditions. Each team had six swimmers, each swimmer took one 30-minute relay-leg, then rotated in a series of shorter 10-minute legs, all the way to the finish line.   

“There is always the potential of a wildlife encounter during the swim, particularly the tiger sharks and Portuguese man-of-war which frequent these waters are always on our minds.  Thankfully, we have our team looking out on our escort boats, keeping each swimmer safe and comfortable,” explains Boor. “This event is a natural match of location and cause, to raise awareness and lifesaving funds to help save the Hawaiian Monk Seal,” adds Boor. ”It feels like another world, swimming in such pristine, turquoise water, with beams of sunlight streaming through,” explains Boor. “I think I speak for everyone who has done this swim in saying that being a guest for the day in the natural habitat of these amazing animals adds huge perspective to their plight.  They are never far from our thoughts while we are in the water, in fact last year our mantra to get through the rough water became: “be the monk seal”. 



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