Saturday, January 24, 2009

Coney Island, January '09 - Friendly Fur Seal

Having a non-paddling weekend for a change. Some of us had been hoping for a paddle today, as the forecast was mild temperature-wise (mid-30's) - but by yesterday the windspeeds we were seeing in the forecast had gone from a just-fine 10 kts when I was looking early in the week, up to a windchillin' small craft advisory "gusting to 30" when I looked yesterday. The incipient plans were dropped.

It was absolutely gorgeous out though, so as I frequently do when conditions preclude getting out in boats, I went out to Coney Island.

I ended up having the most amazing time at the aquarium - I ended up alternately playing with & watching other people play with a fur seal!

It being cold, I had all the usual cold-weather accessories - scarf, hat, and gloves. When I went inside the Sea Cliffs exhibit, where they keep the otters, seals, walruses and penguins, I took off the gloves & scarf. I was standing in front of the seal tank when I noticed this seal seemed to be looking at me much more intently than seals usually look at the people looking at them.

So I waved my scarf at it and suddenly - oh, hello!

I never saw a seal quite so interested in what was going on outside it's tank.

It seemed to be particularly intrigued by waving scarves.

Me, I couldn't get enough of this game. The seal would follow you from one side of the window to the other - if you stepped back from the window, it would watch you intently - I even figured out that if you walked away from this window, there was another window about 12 feet down the hall & the seal would zip down there & wait for you...too funny!

I took about a zillion pictures of other people playing the seal's game and then finally realized that the Optio does have a little video capacity, so here's a little sample of the fun. This wasn't even much, you get the basic idea here, but the bigger your motions, the more the seal seemed to like it. These folks were a little reserved.

The funniest thing was as I was leaving, right at closing time. I went back upstairs to the outside section of the exhibit. As I was walking past the seal pool, I stopped for a second - and curious, remembering how this seal had had no problem tracking me from one window to the other, I waved my scarf again - and within a couple of seconds, the seal popped up & swam right over to me!

I felt very, very bad that I didn't have a fish for it!

On another note - is it just me or does that sea otter appear to be winking?

Tomorrow's colder but less windy. Could've been a paddling day, or I could have gone to the pool - but it's my friend Elsa's annual Irish music party and that was such fun last year. Woman does not live by boat alone. At least not this woman!


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