The first evening of our Cape Cod vacation we all piled in the car for the 20 minute drive east to Chatham where my mother claimed you could see dozens of seals as they followed the fishing boats back into port. I believed her since that seems like something a seal would quickly catch on to, and she was right. When we got out of the car and walked to the dock to where the Sea Dancer was unloading her catch of flounder there they were, about six large grey seals lazily circling around the back to the boat waiting for scraps to be tossed overboard.
This one was even monopolizing the drain hole at the back so he or she could lap up every last bit of fish. If you click and enlarge you can even see a scrap about to fall right into the awaiting seal's mouth:
They were incredibly unphased by the ten humans on the dock right above them. And didn't even flinch when the truck that was receiving the catch started its diesel engine and pulled away with a rumble.
Thousands of grey seals live on the sand bars that form around Monomy Island at what's referred to as the elbow of Cape Cod.
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If you enlarge this photo you can see a whole colony of them right off the dock where I took the other photos. They're the black lumps on the sand bar in the center of the photo, past the bow of the boat.
Seals have made such a successful rebound in the last few years that every summer, around Labor Day, there's another great white shark sighting. Yesterday five were spotted off of Chatham and many of the popular surfing beaches have been closed. Two of the sharks have been tagged with satellite tags so scientists can track their movements. I'm sure more info will be released in the next 24 hours. I will keep you posted. The last phone call I recieved from my husband today while I'm stuck at work was to tell me he was heading towards Chatham to go surfing. I, however, think I will stay off my surfboard during this vacation, I just know too much about shark behavior to feel comfortable with five prowling great whites out there. One perhaps....but not five.
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