British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2009-01-30 13:22:20

Happy, Healthy and Free - Seal Release at Donna Nook

Seal release at Donna NookI was lucky enough to have been involved in a seal release at Donna Nook last Friday and what a privilege it turned out to be!

The day started with me picking up Bruce another Medic and heading for Sealife in Scarborough. We were also joined by a work colleague of mine who has been bitten by the bug and when I asked him to join us he jumped at the chance(welcome aboard Rick) I drive my colleagues mad at work with my passion for seals but not only is Rick going to join this slightly nutty band but his wife and another workmate and his partner, Pete and Liz are coming on board. On arrival at Sealife, Todd had all the seals ready and crated up for us so we loaded them up and off we went.

We arranged to meet Freddie and Joel the Humberside Coordinators on the way at Hull so after all meeting up, we set off to Lincolnshire. Joel said that a call had come in about a seal in Grimsby docks so we decided to detour to Grimsby as it was more or less on our way.

On arrival at the docks we met the lock master and he told us it was a resident seal but looked 'under the weather' and seemed to have respiratory problems. Up until our arrival he had hauled out on a small part of beach but had taken off to find his lunch! It was washing down time from the fish market and we found him tucking in to a few pounds worth of fish in the water. He was a massive adult bull, covered in 'war wounds' from his battles for the ladies, he had lost an eye and a few claws, and was covered in scratches! We advised the lock keeper that there was not an awful lot we could do especially with him in the water but not to hesitate to contact us again.

We then resumed our journey after checking our precious cargo, and they were all fine (thanks to Bruce who spent the journey sat in the back of the van, and apologies to him for the bumps we drove over especially when he was trying to drink his coffee!!) Once at Donna Nook we signed in and went to meet our transport to the sand flats and the seal colony.

We took the seals two at a time in the bucket of the JCB for their final journey in a motorised vehicle and headed off. What an amazing sight to see so many seals and to see them playing in the sea. One of the little seals (a little common) had been very vocal on the journey and must have been related to houdini as she had chewed her way through the netting.

When all four seals where on the beach they all became vocal as they could probably smell and hear the call of the sea. We cut the ties, gently tipped our seals and let them go. The two little commons went first, the greys turned left instead of going straight so were a little slower going into the sea. The little commons turned to each other and to all intents and purposes gave, what looked like, a goodbye kiss to each other and swam off then the greys followed and then they were gone!

We all watched and it was a real lump in the throat moment and more than one of us had tears in our eyes (and it wasn't just from the wind blowing across the sands!!)We watched for some time, reluctant to leave that magical moment. It makes the battling against the elements and climbing over rocks and up and down cliffs so worthwhile. Awesome!

A big thank you to all the staff at Sealife for their amazing work and dedication and to one of the new staff, Amy, who came with us, welcome.

Lesley Salisbury
East Yorkshire Medic