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what’s with all the seals on obx beaches?

Seals are pretty cute and playful, so it’s been fun to see their smiling faces turning up on our Outer Banks beaches from Carova to Ocracoke. While I did notice that more seals seemed to be turning up every winter, I didn’t think to wonder why. Well, Jared Lloyd has been giving the seals a LOT of thought, and we love his piece in the Coastal Review Online. Jared’s thinking and investigating has revealed some interesting answers about the seals showing up on the OBX, and even more important questions.

seal on the beach

Harbor seal pup taking a break in Carova. Photo by Jared Lloyd.

“Old live oak and red cedar stumps rise from the sand at the edge of the sea, the artifacts of island migration and the constant change that characterizes life on a sandbar – and very real threats to life and limb when navigating this beach at night by vehicle. This is not my first rodeo, however, having spent much of my life driving this very same stretch of sand along the Currituck Banks.

A dark shape catches my attention beyond my headlights. With all of the stumps around there are plenty of dark shapes to jump out at you, but this one is different. This one is moving. This one is crawling out of the ocean. I conclude that this is decidedly uncharacteristic behavior for a stump, even for this time of night, and come to a stop in order to get a better look. Hauling itself from the cold and wind churned waters of the Atlantic Ocean this evening is an adult harbor seal.

This is pretty new stuff. If you found yourself cocking your head to the side and thinking that you have never heard of such a thing, then rest assured this is for good reason. Thirty years ago, there were no seals on these beaches. In fact, when we look back into the primary sources of the annals of history, we find the record to be conspicuously empty of any mention of seals at all. It has only been since around the mid-1990s that these animals have begun making an annual appearance — and quite frankly, no one has a clue as to why. But, there is one person who is determined to find out.”

Read the rest of this great story on the Coastal Review Online.

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