The Northeast Fisheries Science Center, a federal research arm based in Woods Hole, Massachusetts is reporting increases for gray seals and harp seals. Springtime estimates for harbor seals along the Maine coast nearly tripled to more than 75,000. A few of these 75k seem to enjoy vacationing on the northern islands of the CBBT once the water temperatures drop off, especially around the third island. According to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach, the first seals start arriving in December and the number picks up through March before they head back north.
The Mirror contacted the Virginia Aquarium, and while a seal survey count has not taken place, there have been several sightings. Estimates are around 20 to 24 seals visiting this season.
The Aquarium offers a Seal Spotting Sea Adventure, running in January, but please confirm availability on the link listed below. Here’s a brief description:
Seals are frequent visitors to this area when the water temperatures drop, although their favorite haul out spots can make them difficult to see. During this 2.5 hour trip, catch eye-level observations while educators from the Aquarium provide information about the species that frequent our waters. Tickets are $28 for ages 12+ and $24 for ages 3-11. Tickets can be purchased at http://tickets.virginiaaquarium.com/default.asp?cgCode=14&cgName=Sea%20Adventures%20Boat%20Trips
The Virginia Aquarium stranding team asks, so it can do population surveys, that sightings be reported to 757-385-7575 along with a picture or video if possible.