Where are the seals?

EACH spring, the highlight of my grandchildren’s year is to come up to Amble and take a boat tour around Coquet Island to see the puffins and the seals.

In actual fact, because of their ages they are not so interested in the puffins at all as they do not yet realise the significance of this amazing colony of birds so close to our wonderful Amble coast – they come for the seals!

This year, as usual, we went on our trip around the island, they were proudly wearing proper binoculars for the first time! We fairly soon spotted a few puffins flying around, but at a distance and not too exciting for the children. They then started looking for the seals but saw none!

The joy of the seals is their curiosity as they always came up close to the boats so the children could always get a good view on them. By the end of our trip they had only spotted about four young seals in the distance so were very sad indeed.

A few days later my husband and I went down to the harbour and mentioned the lack of seals to a fisherman. He said that a few weeks earlier there had been hundreds of seals around the island, but they had now all disappeared and he had no idea where they had gone or why so suddenly.

Does anyone have any idea why these wonderful creatures have left Coquet Island? They are such a wonderful tourist attraction and are the main reason why tourists go on the boat trips around the island, once the puffins have gone off back to sea for the rest of the year after having had their young. many people do not realise the significance of the colony of roseate terns that also nest there, but all enjoy our wonderful seal colony.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received, especially whether they will come back next year so my grandchildren can once again enjoy their trip around the island to see them again.

Mary Rapley


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