Another seal pup that took the wrong turn.....

The farnes are now probably home to the biggest head of seals in the uk, that's some change over the last forty odd years.

I remember when I started diving that you rarely saw seals even on the islands and the standing joke was they could hear a .303 being cocked at 400 yards and be in the water before you could pull the trigger!

Fast forward to 2019, well nearly 2020 and things have really changed with an industry built up around seal kissers visiting just to interact with the seals, or at least the smaller 'uns!

I remain quite wary when diving on some sites, typically Hopper/Brada where there are long cracks leading from open water to the lagoon that are seal highways and when you see those big bull seals or at least what you see first are a pair of white rings about a foot apart....gulp thats a seal and you really don't want to be disputing right of way with around 1000lbs of seal with great big chompers at the dangerous end. Thats said the cry of the blue fiend where large numbers live and cannot be got at by the pot guys is normally too strong and I simply drop to the bottom should one of these big boys demand right of way.

Anyhow this weaned pup had hauled at at high-water onto the beach at Beadnell Haven, he obviously thought that it was a good place to rest, well it was a good news - bad news story........bad news that it is mainland so quite a shuffle over the beach and rocks to reach the sea and good news in that he was close to Dell Point so away from the normal dog walking route. He looked healthy enough when I saw him, sure a bit of sand crust around the eyes but that is normal but no signs of cuts or blood anywhere, he hissed ferociously and then shuffled off at high speed which normally means nothing broken or ruptured, so I left him to go back to the sea and continue his 'learning and growing' experience.

I am guessing that having been weaned and chased off he is simply exploring and from past experience I know that 'small pups' turn up all over the place close in-shore during early season dives, most are in reasonable condition and I guess are quite happy eating the flatties and kelp cod that can be caught as well as lobbies and also the rubbery lump-suckers that will be turning up soon to spawn on shallow rocks.

From a diving point of view I was hoping to drop in over Christmas and it was looking promising but we had a front come through on Christmas day which has stirred thing up a bit, but it is calming and I reckon that the vis is up at the 2m mark at the moment so allowing for more settling tonight I might yet get in before the end of the year to have a shufti for any bits and pieces that have been turned up by the winter storms.

If you are on the beach and see a seal pup then please leave it alone, if you are not near an existing breeding site then chances are that it is simply a weaned pup off exploring. If you are very worried and it looks distressed then by all means call the British Marine Divers Rescue hotline on 01825 765546 and they will talk you through what to look for and what actions to take, be that bugger off and leave it alone or wait for assistance.

Dive safe


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