I’ve never bought into the idea of Black Friday, but when #OutsideFriday became a thing this year, I ditched the madding crowds at the mall for a quiet morning at the beach.
Most of the harbor seals were lounging on Treasure Island yesterday, but I found Freckles and Marilyn at their favorite hangout: Goff Island Cove.
Freckles sniffed the air when I arrived, as if to say, Oh, it’s you again!
Seems as if someone enjoyed a hefty Thanksgiving meal…need I mention his name?
Look at that smile! Could Freckles be any cuter?
Zoom a little closer….you’ll see blue skies above Goff Island, reflected in those liquid brown eyes!
Freckles tends to think he’s the star of the show, but sleek-bodied Marilyn knows how to vogue for the camera.
She loves mugging for trusted visitors, but when noisy tourists show up on scene, she sticks close to the water’s edge and flushes at the slightest hint of danger.
Freckles gets perturbed on rare occasions (pictured here, after being provoked by an aggressive pair of bipeds that ventured too close while snapping selfies). But once he’s settled in for a nap, he doesn’t typically budge from his comfy roost until the high tides return.
Freckles and Marilyn put on quite the show for me–a two-seal act, performed for a limited audience.
But when the holiday crowds arrived on scene, Marilyn threw wary glances over her shoulder, inching ever closer to the water before slipping into the sea.
No crowd shots in the mix, but I recorded the seals in action. I didn’t notice anything unusual–not while I was snapping photos, and not while I was shooting video. But when I sent this YouTube link to my knowledgable, observant friend in New York, she encouraged me to examine the photographs up close, and to watch the footage again.
See how Marilyn favors her left flipper? she asked. See how she keeps it lifted as she scoots across the rocks, how she splashes instead of gliding into the water?
I’m grateful for my friend’s vigilance, and for Letty, the tide pool educator who fielded our concerns and passed along my images to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. While Marilyn seems healthy enough, she’s got claw marks and a fairly recent wound on the uppermost part of her left flipper, both of which seem to suggest she’s been attacked and might need medical attention. If that’s the case, I know they’ll take good care of her. Teamwork at its best.
Quiet observation at a seaside sanctuary, and trusting relationships, shared among species. I didn’t do any bargain hunting yesterday, but I carried home from #OutsideFriday these invaluable gifts from the sea.