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Seal Spotting on the Long Island Sound

When the waters up north grow too cold or freeze solid, seals migrate south to Connecticut to find the food and comfort they need. Which means you can migrate to several spots in the state to watch them at work and play. Mix and match them in a way that suits your schedule.

Seals that are native to Maine escape south to Long Island Sound every winter for warmer waters and a somewhat milder climate.

Journey out onto Long Island Sound in hopes of seeing some of the seals and waterfowl that spend the winter just off our shores during The Maritime Aquarium’s 2020 season of Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises.

These invigorating 2.5-hour cruises seek out some of the harbor seals and gray seals that come into the Sound each winter. Maritime Aquarium educators will point out these federally protected marine mammals and talk about their natural histories. They’ll also help identify such winter waterfowl as buffleheads, mergansers and long-tailed ducks.

Cruises occur on many weekends through April 12. Dates and departure times vary by low tide.

Dates in January are:

–  Sat., Jan. 4 at 11 a.m.                       –  Sun., Jan. 5 at noon

–  Sat., Jan. 18 at 11 a.m.                     –  Sun., Jan. 19 at noon

Binoculars will be provided. The Aquarium’s unique hybrid-electric research vessel has a climate-controlled cabin but, because the best viewing is outside on deck, participants should dress for the weather.

The cruises offer memorable family fun but please note that all passengers must be at least 42 inches tall. Guests under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Space is limited so advance reservations are strongly recommended. Walk-up tickets will be sold, space permitting. The cruises depart from the dock outside the Aquarium’s IMAX movie theater.

For reservations, to see the full cruise schedule or for more details go to www.maritimeaquarium.org.

Seal Watch Cruises are also offered by Project Oceanology in Groton and take you out onto the Sound beginning in early March. It’s an adventure that will test your hardy soul, but the rewards are memorable.

Project Oceanology has been monitoring the seal population in Fishers Island Sound for over 15 years. Participants will census seals at several locations in Eastern Long Island Sound, and also collect data on seal activity levels. Discussion and analysis will focus on seal population distribution and trends in Long Island Sound, and on the behavioral ecology of seals.

From exploring a legendary lighthouse or trawling for sea creatures, take a journey aboard this floating classroom for a unique on-the-water experience. Reservations required.

For additional information visit www.oceanology.org/seal-watch-cruises

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