Entre Pères et Mers

Harbor seals in the Somme Bay

Last update : November 2002

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A few years ago, by the end of August, we went in the Somme Bay for the first time with our Zodiac boat. We went from Saint Valéry (Somme) and after a while in the channel, we switched off the boat engine and let the Zodiac drift during a short time, making the most of the sun of this ending summer.

Suddenly, our attention was caught by a shape gliding over the water. We first thought it was a Labrador or a Newfoundland dog swimming in our direction. We were surprised and about to go to the animal with the idea that the dog could be exhausted. At that moment, we were situated at one nautical mile far from the coast.

But the animal dived. He reappeared nearer us and we could then understand it was not dog but a marine mammal. He was only at a distance of 50 meters from the boat. We were really surprised because we never heard anything about such animals living in the Somme Bay before that day.

Our new friend swam around the boat during ten minutes, coming nearer to us and observing us. Then he went away in the North direction.

As soon as we could not see him any more, we also went away, without switching on the engine, and thus rowing, fearing to hurt him with the propeller. We never could see him any more, but we met other harbor seals playing in the waves, on a sandbank. We were pressed for time because we had to go back in the harbor of Saint Valéry before the tide ends going out. This unexpected encounter is still a great memory for us.

After these years, we still have a real pleasure to observe the harbor seals in the Somme Bay. There are around 70 harbor seals in the Bay. In June, we met several time young mothers with their babies, swimming side by side.

 

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