Sunday 22 January 2017

The seal pup

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There are few free pleasures in life so over the Christmas holidays we decided to go see the last of the seal pups that had been born on Horsey Beach. We prepared a picnic and off we went.  There is a small price to pay for the car park, but it's worth it. It was a typical gorgeous British winter's day. The sun was out and the sky blue, but there was a chill in the air which had the family wrapped up in their hats and gloves.

Because of the seal pups, the main beach was roped off so we walked the scenic route at the back of the sand dunes with views across the marshes. Along the way, there are information notice boards with question and answers for the children about facts on seals. There were throngs of people walking back from the various viewing points, and dogs on leads that loved to be fussed over by anyone that gave them the attention.  Then we reached our destination and climbed the wooden steps to the top of the dunes.

The views on both sides were stunning. Sea views to the left with adult seals and their pups hidden among the sand grass, and views to the right across the flat landscape to the far horizon.

A volunteer warden was on hand to give information about the seals and are very informative. We found out that all of the pups are abandoned by their mothers after they are weaned, and the adults will return to the sea. As for the pups, well they are still shedding their coat which is not waterproof so they can not go into the sea to catch food. Eventually, after a couple of weeks, the pups will have their new coat and sheer hunger will force them into the see. Until then some pups will try to latch onto other mothers who are still feeding to sneak a meal, but will be rebuffed and driven away.

Then a seal pup appeared from behind a dune and headed our way. It started to climb the sand bank and did not seem afraid of humans. The family thought it would stop when it knew we were there, but it seemed to be attracted to us.

Closer it came. It would stop, look at the children then start it wobble again up the sandbank.

And closer it came. Then I realised it seemed to be attracted to my daughter. She had her hood up and around the edging it has white fur and probably for the pup she looked liked a mother adult seal. And then finally it came onto the path that ran along the top of the sand dune. There it laid and did not seem that bothered about the crowd that was gathering. 

The wardens kept people from getting too close as everyone wanted to take pictures. We decided to leave the seal, and go for walk further along the dunes until we found a more secluded place to eat our picnic. We found the perfect spot looking inland and laid out the blanket. The food was basic fair and we had hot chocolate in the flask to warm us up. 

The winter sun was now on its early descent to the horizon when we got back to the car. It was three o clock and getting dusky. We had all enjoyed a long bracing walk in the clean fresh sea air, enjoyed the beauty of mother nature and learned some things along the way. 

It was a simple pleasure for the family which cost four pounds for parking and about six pounds to make the picnic, and for me that was ten pounds well spent.



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