Harbor Seals

The lagoon is home to many harbor seals. We canoed with them over the summer and spied them sunbathing on icebergs in the upper lagoon by the Pedersen Glacier, but we have never yet gotten very close to them. They keep their distance.


These days, we see them hauled out on the ice next to the open channels in the lagoon.


We can hardly call this sunbathing, though; it’s snowing but good.


Every now and then, a brave one pops over to check us out and inspect our progress. When they watch us this way, their heads look like floating skulls with dark holes for eyes and nose.

I have yet to see one popping out of the water onto the ice. It amazes me that the ice so near the open water can hold their weight. It seems they are also capable of breaking through that same ice when coming up from below. There are holes here and there in the ice where heads pop up throughout the day, seal heads, sea otter heads, sometimes ducks.

One of these days, I’m just going to sit and watch until I see one bobbing out of the water onto the ice. I wonder how often they hop up and the ice gives way, dumping them back in the water. Does a whole row of seals ever get dumped because one hops up and is just one too many for the ice to hold? Things happen, you know, even to seals.

Categories: Alaska

2 replies »

  1. We once witnessed a duck coming in to land with a bunch of other ducks in an area of open water on an otherwise frozen lake. It landed on some clear ice next to the open water rather than in the open water. It bounced. I felt badly for it and hoped with all my heart it wasn’t hurt, but it was darn funny! Then, to add insult to injury, it slipped and slid on webbed feet across the ice before finally making it to the open water.