There wasn’t ever really going to be much thought about what today’s activity for 30 Days Wild would be; it had to be our seal watching trip!
When we first decided we were going to spend the weekend in Norfolk a boat trip out to see the seals was suggested and met with a lot of enthusiasm. I’ve seen seals quite a lot of times in the last year but I’m not one to turn down a boat trip or a chance to oggle at mammals.
We were booked onto a trip with Beans Boat trips leaving from Morsten Quay. Somehow we managed to end up towards the start of the queue and secured ourselves prime seats at the front of the boat. The boat took us down a little channel, across Blakeney Pit and towards the point, accompanied by commentary from our guides. They were full of interesting facts about the boats and scenery around us but really we all just wanted to see the seals.
Our first sighting was a Grey Seal bottle-ing to get a closer look at us. Its Roman nose quickly disappeared beneath the water and our guide advised us to look towards the point where some dark blobs were quickly revealing themselves to be seals basking in the sun that had finally decided to show itself.
There were both Common and Grey Seals basking in the sand. Common Seals have ‘cuter’, rounder faces and are generally smaller and lighter in colour. Grey Seals have the long noses ‘like a dog’ and are mostly bigger and darker. Of course fur changes colour drastically depending on if it’s wet or dry. The boat passed back and forth numerous times letting us have a good look at the seals that seemed unbothered by our presence.
We had a few stark reminders that nature isn’t all nice and fluffy. Up on the shingle was the corpse of a Grey Seal. Not far below it on the tide line we watched the struggles of a day old Common Seal pup try to climb out of the sea and onto the sand. The poor pup was looking tired and I must admit that I wasn’t feeling particularly hopeful for it’s future but by the time we headed back it had managed to escape the waves and was resting up on the shingle. Luckily a happy ending this time!
I can’t forget about the supporting cast; four tern species breed on the shingle on the point and put on quite a show for us. I have to give a special mention to the Little Terns. I’d forgotten how small these guys were! They lay their eggs on the shingle and it was incredible how easy it was to miss them amongst the pebbles. Seeing them fly past the boat with fish in their bills did make me smile.