Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 28: Harp Seal

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, my husband and I were able to observe a harp seal in Camden Harbor this afternoon. He read a news story on Village Soup about a harp seal that had been photographed on the kayak floats in Camden Harbor on Thanksgiving. Then he saw on Facebook that a friend of ours had seen it chasing fish in the harbor this afternoon. So we decided to go try and see it.

The sun was just setting as we got to the public landing, casting a pink glow on the horizon behind Curtis Island. A lone loon drifted past, as we wandered down the pier to the kayak floats. And there was the seal--fat, happy, stretching itself on one of the floats. It seemed alert to the two couples watching it, but not alarmed. Several times it flapped its back feet, revealing that what looks like its tail is really two big feet with a small tail in between. It waved a front foot at us. It seemed to be showing off in a lazy, seal kind of way. Only when the church clock tolled four did it seem at all startled, tilting its pale face toward the sound, then relaxing again. We decided this big reclining creature would look right at home on a couch watching football.

A guy walking past told us it had been hanging out in the harbor for a week and a half. He said the Marine Resources people had checked it out and given it a clean bill of health. What it's doing this far south is a mystery, but a harp seal has been seen here before. Maybe this is the same one, back for another little vacation in warmer waters.

On the walk back along the pier to our car, we ran into a friend working on his fishing boat. As we chatted, the Mount Battie star lit up for the night, a magical moment.

Amid wrapped schooners,
harp seal, loon, lone fisherman.
Chilled couple watching.

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