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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Harbor Seal Curiosity

We've been having problems with our plumbing here at the marina, and my goal over the last two days has been to fix it. I won't drag you through the miserable details of my hours of work, multiple trips to the hardware store, and tears of frustration, but in an effort to focus on the positive side of things, I wanted to post about a harbor seal that came to check out my handiwork. While I was figuring out a way to maneuver hoses under the dock, there were a lot of hoses, boat hooks, ropes, fenders, and hands in the water. As I was securing a hose, a harbor seal surfaced right between the dock and the boat next to me, startling me so much I nearly fell in the water. I can only assume that he/she was coming over to see what all the commotion was about, since its only a few times a year I see seals right in the marina, and rarer still that they're actually in a slip with the boats! We both scared each other, because the seal quickly flipped over and dove again. It was a very cool experience that (almost) made all the hard work worth it - at least I finally, triumphantly, fixed the plumbing, too.

The above picture is of course of Popeye, Friday Harbor's resident harbor seal (blind in her left eye) that takes fish from people off the main dock. She left for a few weeks last month and did return at least once with her pup, making it two years in a row that she's given birth. Unlike resident whales, who stay with their mom their entire life, harbor seals have five short weeks of nursing before they're weaned. Popeye has never been a big fan of her pups hanging around the marina for very long - this definitely seems to be her "turf" here. The harbor seal that startled me while I was working with the hoses could easily have been the one in the photo, though - that's how close I was!


Vera said...

A wildlife encounter under the worst of conditions! In spite of a certain human ?!#&*%@ who caused your problems, the island is still a magical place to be.

The K said...

So can we call you hoser from now on?