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Sunny day brings seal pup Cloudy to the beach

After a wild windstorm with churning seas on Thursday, yesterday turned out to be a beautiful day with long sun breaks and dramatic clouds. Seal Sitters’ hotline operator Cheri fielded a report late in the afternoon of a harbor seal pup resting below the sea wall along Alki Avenue. On the scene within minutes, our first responder convinced an amicable crowd of people who were sitting on the wall above the alert pup to move away so a perimeter could be established. Cones, signs and sandwich boards were then placed adjacent to the sidewalk with yellow tape stretched in between to give the alert pup an adequate buffer zone to rest.

While setting the perimeter, a quick call was made to Lynn S, scheduler for the day. She immediately consulted our online volunteer calendar and called those who had entered time for the late afternoon and evening hours. Shortly thereafter, volunteers Lars, Betty and Ralph showed up for duty with their binoculars and educational materials - ready to protect the pup and educate the public about harbor seal behavior. Next, came Angela and her 9-year-old son Jack eager to help out. The youngster named the pup Cloudy.

Volunteers Theresa, David and Eilene stayed until well after dark. Cloudy returned to the Sound at almost 8 o’clock when the high tide washed over him. The pup was beginning to shiver by that time in the cold air with damp fur. Since weaned pups tend to be on the thinner side with less of a blubber layer to keep them warm, it would be the equivalent of a person being out in the cold with a windbreaker instead of an insulated down jacket.

Cloudy hasn’t shown up yet today, but may reappear this afternoon after a late-morning high tide in excess of 12 feet. Angela reports that Jack woke up early this morning and the first thing out of his mouth was “I wonder if Cloudy came back to the beach?” We certainly hope so - and rest assured that if he does return, volunteers will be protecting him on these busy urban shores.

While scouring the shoreline for signs of pups early this morning, our first responder noticed some derelict net caught in the rocks below the sea wall. We will attempt to remove that today so that this treacherous piece of marine debris can no longer endanger marine wildlife.
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