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Prince Edward Islanders watching seal colony for sixty years

Yesterday David, Jolly and I got to see a huge colony of grey and harbor seals living on an island wildlife sanctuary on Prince Edward Island Canada. The Captain of Marine Adventures told us he’d been doing the tours for nine years and that the tour had been running since the early 1980s. He also mentioned that he recently had a 64-year-old woman passenger who said that her father used to take her out to see the seals when she was a little girl. It’s fun to think of how long people have enjoyed just going out to see the seal colony.

The captain told us that a few years ago the seals were counted and there were about 300, but he now thinks there are less, somewhere between 200 and 300. The seal pups were wiped out in recent winters because there was no ice to protect them when a storm hit.

I couldn’t count how many we saw sunning themselves on a sandbar with some cormorants and gulls. Or swimming out in the water to watch us. Some kept bobbing up behind the boat like they were following us. I asked the captain whether some people threw them fish–a tactic that more than one passenger on our cruise discussed. He said, no, it was illegal to feed them, but that maybe that’s what they were looking for from the boats. Fishermen would shoot them if they saw them behind their boats, he said.

Generally this wasn’t one of those narrative trips. We went out saw the seals and some mussel colonies, asked whatever questions we had. Fine. We really appreciated their letting Jolly come aboard. He just laid down and was fussed over by two sweet little girls. If Jolly wasn’t able to go, David would’ve stayed on shore to watch him. We learned from our whale watch in Campobello that when a dog barks at a seal colony, all the seals dive into the water. So, it would be understandable if the captain didn’t want Jolly. But instead of just banning dogs, he asked whether Jolly would bark.

Where to See More Seals

How to See More Wildlife in Canada

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