Yesterday was a rest day for me, I did absolutely nothing except take care of Marije, who is on the mend from the flu. I felt bad about not going outside on such a beautiful day but I absolutely had to relax my legs after using them too much in all the beautiful weather we’ve been having in the last week. An upshot of staying inside was that I was on the computer a lot and read a post about seals in Holyrood on Karen’s blog. She in turn had read about them on yet another blog, from which I concluded that these seals had been in the Holyrood Marina for at least two days now. Since it was way too late for me to go there and see them, I set the alarm for 5 AM and turned in early.

So, today I woke up and my warm bed said to me: ‘it’s too early, go back to sleep’.

I can’t make rational decisions before dawn so I have trained myself to ignore any lingering laziness which tries to assure me beyond a doubt that it’s much nicer to stay in bed. It turns out that it’s always a good idea to get up early, and today was no exception. After a tricky one hour drive over the TCH and the Holyrood Access Road I arrived in the marina before sunrise. To avoid disappointment, I had convinced myself on the way over that the seals would probably be gone by now. But, as you can probably imagine, I was very happy when I found the seals still there!

There were at least thirteen seals in the marina, as far as I could see at any one moment. Some seals were very passive, just lying still on the ice in the middle of the harbour. Others were very active, swimming around and slip sliding through the snow and poking their heads into the fine white powder that blanketed the harbour ice.

Here are a few pictures from this morning:

Daybreak & Seals - Holyrood

Daybreak & Seals - Holyrood

I’m no expert on seals, I’ve only seen them here on five separate occasions and usually they don’t hang around waiting for me to get close. These seals however, had no problems with me at all, some of them were a bit skittish when I arrived but they soon adapted to my presence, including my ominous looking tripod. Other seals didn’t even flinch when I sat down in the snow right next to them. In the photo above you can see two types of seal, the small one on the left is a Harbour Seal and the big one on the right is a Harp Seal, that’s the same species as the seals they have at the Ocean Sciences Centre in Logy Bay.

Seal tracks in the snow - Holyrood

Seal tracks in the snow - Holyrood

The big Harp Seals were mostly just relaxing on their back, but the Harbour Seals were constantly scooting around and sliding over the ice, ploughing through the fine powder snow and leaving tracks in the harbour. It really looked like they were having a lot of fun with it.

Harbour Seal in the snow - Holyrood

Harbour Seal in the snow - Holyrood

How cute is this little guy! Right?

The Harp Seal does not have the same high cuddle factor but this girl is still pretty attractive:

Harp Seal portrait - Holyrood

Harp Seal portrait - Holyrood

Then again, these claws weren’t meant to cuddle anyone:

Fresh flippers - Holyrood

Fresh flippers - Holyrood

In case you were wondering about the reason Harp Seals are called Harp Seals, it’s because of the big ‘harp’ shape on their back:

Harp shape on the back - Holyrood

Harp shape on the back - Holyrood

The seals were more than enough of a show on their own, but that didn’t stop a Bald Eagle from joining in on the fun. He was a long way away though, so I took one shot of him and then concentrated on the seals again:

Bald Eagle in the Marina - Holyrood

Bald Eagle in the Marina - Holyrood

After three hours I packed up my stuff, thanked the seals for their cooperation and left for home. I guess it’s obvious I enjoyed myself in Holyrood, maybe I’ll return there soon if the weather allows it. Today was spectacular though, just like the entire last week, but tomorrow the forecast mentions something called ‘rain’. Sigh…