2014-11-20 / Nature

Seal Time is Here

By Jack Kelly

Save The Bay’s award-winning seal tours are scheduled to begin on Saturday, Nov. 22, at 1 p.m. The SV Aletta Morris departs from 142 Long Wharf Dock and travels to seal haul-out locations near Rose Island. Special two-hour trips, with a tour of Rose Island, are available during the season.

Harbor seals and gray seals make up the majority that migrate south from Canada and the Gulf of Maine to local coastal waters in the late fall. The gray seal is also colloquially known as the horsehead seal, because of its large head and elongated face. They are drawn to Rhode Island waters for warmer temperatures and the large schools of herring and other stock fish. Occasionally, young ice seals, such as harp seals and hooded seals, will be found along our southern coast, mixed in with local wintering populations.

Seals will “haul-out” onto rocks or beaches at low tide to digest their food and warm their blubber in the sun. This is a common occurrence and offers great visibility for seal watchers.

Tours will be offered on weekends and during school vacations, with the daily schedule based on the time of low tide. They will run through April. Save The Bay provides expert guides and binoculars, with free parking at the Long Wharf Dock site. For more information, call 401-203-SEAL or visit savebay.org/seals.

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