Seals and Sharks
On Saturday, for the first time, I saw a seal here during the summer. It popped its head above water and observed us from a distance as we swam from a boat moored in Jamestown’s Mackerel Cove.
Going seal watching was a standard wintertime activity when I lived on Block Island, and I’ve come across seals hauled out on the beach countless times during off-season walks. But I’ve never seen one in July or August before.
Nicole tells me that in her hometown of Chatham on Cape Cod, seals are now a year-round presence (and, according to local fisherman, a growing nuisance). And the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management reports that seals do spend the year here sometimes, instead of retreating to more northern waters to reproduce during the summer.
Can it be a coincidence that Great White Shark sightings are also up around Chatham? The town closed miles of beach to swimming last weekend after more than a dozen Great Whites were spotted in the area. Of course, it wouldn’t be summer in southern New England without some Great White reports, and Nicole says she hears the place is filled with people hoping to spot them from land.
I’m so glad I didn’t see one last weekend, along with that seal, in the deep, cold water of the cove (colder, by the way, than the beaches in nearby Westport, or so it seemed to me – not that I used a thermometer). I guess this won’t be my summer to learn surfing. Guess I’ll be sticking to all that Shark Week programming instead.