Hawaiian monk seals haul out on beaches and, in this case, the old seaplane landing on Midway Atoll to rest, birth and nurse pups, and molt. The seals are extremely sensitive to human activity -- when the islands of Midway were used as a military base, the seals all but disappeared from the beaches.
But now, two of the three islands of Midway are considered critical habitat, and nearly every beach on the third island -- Sand Island -- is closed off to human activity. Having quiet places to rest has done the seals a world of good. There was at least one seal, and sometimes even three, hauled out every day during our stay on Midway, and one day even a mother and pup were spotted on a beach.