Last Saturday marked the beginning of two special seasons at the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club – the sailing season, and the harbor seal pupping season!
There were great winds for sailing after all the boats were christened, followed by fun, great food and…fantastic harbor seal viewing from a safe and legal distance onshore. Robert Chetwynd, who hails from Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia and owns Venture III, has been docked in the harbor for about a month now. He first spotted the brand new pup last Saturday morning, which appeared to have been born at the end of the club’s dock (leave it to the gulls to signal life and death in the harbor…)
Both Venus (mom) and Neptune (pup) seem to be doing well. A volunteer from The Marine Mammal Center stopped by today to assess Neptune’s health, and believes both are exhibiting normal, healthy behavior. They’ve been hauling out on the ferry periodically, and we’ve seen Neptune nursing. Great care will be required over the next few weeks to be sure Venus isn’t separated from Neptune. There’s a second mom/pup pair nearby, so we’ll need to be mindful of their presence on docks and in the water very near the beach.
Especially during pupping season, we need to keep our distance. We’re too close if the seals start staring, fidgeting or fleeing. Harbor seals, in particular, are skittish and may rush into the water or abandon their pups. The can become stressed and may be trampled, and continued interruptions could be harmful to their health.
For lots more information about these adorable little pinnipeds, please check-out NOAA’s Share the Shore with Harbor Seal Pups frequently asked questions, and if you ever see a seal or sea lion that appears to be in distress, in a strange place, or being harassed, please call The Marine Mammal Center at (415) 289-SEAL.
Please stay back 100 yards (land or water).
Keep your dogs on a leash.
If the animal is injured, call our hotline at 1-866-767-6114.
The best thing you can do is to leave the animal alone.
All photos from Ed Larenas, Harbor District Commissioner and Surfrider Foundation.
Written by Kris Lannin Liang, Certified UC California Naturalist, Volunteer Marine Mammal Rescuer, Rehabilitator and Educator.