Thursday, July 21, 2016

Playtime with Burton's Oscar the Seal

I'm so lucky! We had Close Encounters of the Seal Kind.

My Seattle-based friend Christine rented a Burton beachfront house for the week so we set out on a morning harbor swim with our swimmy pal Susan yesterday. This time of year the harbor is laden with somewhat harmless jellyfish. Karen Biondo and her friend Beth were walking the beach with dogs just as we were approaching the water (Karen swims it in skins quite often), and we later met Lolly and Pam whose house is next door to the rental.

By the time we were a quarter mile out, we were basically fronting the terminal point of Burton town where the road curves. Slightly grossed out by the gooey waters awash with this primordial ooze we're guessing are millions of baby jellies, I stopped swimming and treaded water to regroup with the ladies. That's when Susan and Christine were quietly and calmly trying to inform me that there was a seal over my left shoulder (also my blind side; I cannot see out of my left eye).

He was as close to us as a coffee klatsch, like a little clique of school girls. Oscar the seal is a harbor seal and he's super curious and sweet, greyish and spotted, and looks at you with big bulgy eyes. Wendy V swims out here and her partner Pete recently snapped a photo of him swimming alongside her. I'd heard lots about Oscar so I was thrilled to actually be greeted by him. He darted around us--popping up behind each of us, stalked Susan the most (covered in mitts and booties she thought she might be the most seal-like), swam under and around us, and tailed us as we swam out to deeper water then back to the house. Needless to say we weren't doing distance this morning; plans went right out the window after this awesome exchange!

I honestly will never forget this. We swim plenty of places where the seals are there, but they never dare get close. This guy is special. Later at sunset we saw him patrolling the harbor. We'll be back!

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