First you slog through the sand with your sand-sitter, beach bag, umbrella, and cooler, until you find the perfect spot. Next you take out the novel you’re reading and put it on your lap.
Deeply inhale the fresh, cool air—edgy with salt and seaweed seasoning. Feel the contrast on your skin of the warm sun and the chilly ocean breeze. Close your eyes and listen to the gulls and terns as they hunt for fish or potato chips.
Take out your binoculars. Now, gaze at the ocean.
Then it happens—you sight your first gray seal, riding a swell close in to shore. As you focus your binoculars, you hear the echoes of your discovery as people, young and old, point out the seal to each other. His comical, conical head pokes out above the wave. His intelligent eyes scan the crowd, who is watching him watching them. Is he curious or sardonic? You try to study him, but, in a flash, he’s gone.
It’s not uncommon to see a group of seals, now. Since they became a protected species in 1972, the gray seal population in the area zoomed from ten thousand to over three hundred thousand. Since great white sharks like to eat seals, they are moving closer to shore.
Come watch the seals in the ocean off Cape Cod, but if you see a fin, don’t go in the water!