Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Seal-Watching Sans Kayak, Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, 3/16/2014

Morning at Pier 17, South Street Seaport. Meeting friends from Sebago for an Audobon tour of NY HarborWe left our kayaks at home this time - here comes our ride, NY Water Taxi Seymour B. DurstChecking out the birds along Governor's Island.Statue of LibertyPassing Red Hook - Art Trees, and the Waterfront Museum, downtown Manhattan in the distanceNext stop, Erie Basin. First seal sighting here - only it was a seal-shaped piling doing an excellent impersonation.
Scotty Sky, one of a very small number of tankers still around in NY Harbor. I got a nice shot of 2 more together later on in the trip.Not a great picture, but it's a Red-Necked GrebeParking Lot of Broken DreamsObligatory skyline shot!Tugs and barges in the anchorage at the Bay Ridge FlatsBochem Ghent fueling, just north of Staten Island
Bay Ridge Eco DockSwinburne and Hoffman IslandsBrants and canada geese off of Hoffman. Swinburne and the West Bank Lighthouse beyond.Harbor heron nests on Hoffman IslandA juvenile bald eagle flew right over out boat!Mol Efficiency, headed for sea
Approaching Swinburne. This is the island favored by the seals.Looking back - Hoffman, Verranzano Narrows Bridge and the city beyondNadir had told us to keep our eyes peeled as we approached, and sure enough, here was our first actual seal sighting - and it was a big one!Circled the five little heads that were visible at this moment. There were a whole bunch here, and very active!Checking out the area.The harbor police on Det. Robert Parker were out doing some seal-watching too.
Seal-Watching Sans Kayak, Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, 3/16/2014, a set on Flickr.

Possibly the easiest Sebago trip I've ever planned. "Hey guys, here's the event, here's the website, buy yourself a ticket if you want to come, see you on the boat". Ended up being a great day - I'm so glad that the Bowsprite took Tugster Will on an Audobon tour for his birthday, I'm not sure I would have thought of this on my own. Click here for Tugster's post - brrr, there was still snow then! The tours were only supposed to run through the 9th, but they extended for 3 weeks. I got a ticket the first one when I found out (I'd tried to get on the one on the 9th but it had been sold out, so I was tickled to find out about the extension), and then decided to spread the word at Sebago as this seemed like a great off-season activity that anyone could enjoy. We ended up having a very nice turnout, 8 of us went, and aside from the fun of having friends along, I think this was probably much nicer than the sold-out one on the 9th. With the short notice, I think the Sebago crew made up half of the passengers - no sardines at the railing trying to get the best view, there was plenty of room for all! Sound like fun? There are 2 more left, tickets on sale here.  


c said...

Sebago Party cruise and I missed it, boohoo! Loved looking at your photos. Don't those nests in the trees look like notes on a music score? Are seals really less skittish around rumbling water taxis than around quiet kayaks? I would think the opposite. Great ship spotting photos, too! Helllllo, Sebago Canoe Club! xoxoxo c

bonnie said...

Yeah, they somehow see kayaks as being more threatening than a motor vessel - even a great big yellow one. There are those who get a little on the woo side with theories about ancestral memories of kayak hunters, but the theory my paddling friends and I have is just that kayaks are sort of stealthy and when the motion of the paddles catches the seals' eyes they read it as being stalked. When you're as clumsy on land as a harbor seal is, and you think you're being stalked, you dive first, ask questions later.

That's would actually be a great question for your friend Gabriel, I'd be curious what he thinks of it.