Charismatic megafauna

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Did anyone else read that New Yorker piece by Ian Frazier about seals in New York City? I guess that means I needn’t have traveled as far as Norway to see one in the wild, but that’s how it happened, anyway.

We took a boat trip to see the Moskenstraumen maelstrom (which, after inspiring a story by Edgar Allen Poe, brought the word into the English language). Alas, since the day was fine, it wasn’t doing much. But our seal-watching efforts paid off handsomely: a couple of seals popped their heads up out of the water as we rode by, and then we spotted a rock upon which dozens had gathered to sun themselves. They are pretty slow-moving on land, which was good for our purposes. (Though it turns out to be quite difficult to shoot pictures from a moving boat, behind a row of people wearing day-glow yellow life preservers! Sorry for the blurriness.)

One by one, they all lumbered into the water…

… until only one seal was left.

He stayed there, looking at us, for a minute or so, and then he followed the others.

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