Watching grey seals bobbing around in the water is a joyful experience. Luckily, Cornwall has plenty of them, but there are a few things to know about these doe-eyed creatures. Firstly, they are an endangered species, so it is important to keep a respectful distance, as many a seal has been injured trying to escape from people wanting a closer look. Secondly, they are especially vulnerable where there are seal pups around. If you spot a poorly seal, then the British Divers Marine Life Rescue are the people to contact. The Rescue Hotline number is 01825 765546.
The best way to see seals is usually to go on a seal safari. Try Padstow Sealife Safaris or Newquay Sea Safaris for seal-spotting. Seal Island from St Ives is a popular boat trip where you may see a seal colony and if lucky, also spot a dolphin, sea birds, basking sharks and even whales.
You can see seals virtually all along Cornwall’s coastline, but key watch points are Pendennis, the Lizard, Porthgwarra and Gwennap Head, Land’s End and Sennen, Pendeen, Cape Cornwall, St Ives Island and Godrevy Point, Trevose Head, The Rumps and Pentire Point. Basically, the farther west, the higher the likelihood. On land, these large mammals look a little clumsy due to thick fur and a layer of blubber, but in the water, they are gracefully athletic.
You may be approached by seals if swimming or surfing as they are curious and like to play, which can feel a little intimidating as they are large animals. Stay calm and let them observe you – they are gentle unless threatened. Just in case, here is some National Trust advice.
Due to the large number of seals off the Cornish coast, there are invariably some casualties. You may want to visit the Cornish Seal Sanctuary at Gweek to see some rescued pups. This is a sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates grey seal pups who have been separated from their mothers, injured on rocks, or who are suffering from malnutrition. Give them your support by visiting, and help the seals off the Cornish coast.
If you think you know all about them already, check out these amazing seal facts.