It was a bright but brisk day when we headed to the East Marina, in Point Lookout, Long Island. The winds would eventually, once we were out on the water, send us indoors to the cabin for some hot chocolate, but not before we saw lots of seal lazing about the cold waters. We were told to look out for big bowling ball-like shapes by the rugged captain Bob, the less rugged conservationist Other Bob, and the animated guide who clearly spent her whole life as a theatrical girl who wanted to work with animals when she grew up.
Kudos to her, because she more than just works for animals, she ended up working for the Riverhead Foundation, a noble organization and the only one certified to rescue seals, turtles, dolphins, and whales found in the New York area. If you ever see an abandoned sea creature, these are the guys to call and by purchasing a ticket aboard their cruise you are giving money to their cause. It's only twenty dollars a ticket too!
The other shipmates consisted of very old ladies with their husbands (if they were still alive), but most were alone. The other half was made up of heavy smokers in weird jackets with girlfriends that so didn't want to be there. We all clambered around the boat braving the winds to catch a glimpse through our (awesome) binocs of the shiny harbor seals. They rarely got too close to the boat and it would be considered harassment if we went too close to them (not becoming of a conservation organization) but even at a distance seeing their whiskery, playful faces floating above the water was quite thrilling.
The whole trip takes about an hour and a half and we saw about twenty five individual seals on our outing. It's a great winter activity, particularly during a mild winter afternoon. Reservations are required and the last cruise is scheduled for April 27, 2008.