I've always wanted to see seals, but for some reason never have. My mum's birthday was coming up and like me she loves to do new things, so I booked a seal watching cruise with Sea Searcher Boat Trips for us to go on.
The boat was due to depart from Ramsgate harbour at 11.30am. In usual fashion we were early, giving my husband the opportunity to eat some prawns from the little fish van, which he ended up sharing with a plucky little seagull. We were so lucky, it was a beautiful day - warm, blue sky and just some light cloud. Not bad at all for September.
At about 11.20am we were beckoned onboard by the skipper, Tony. It's not a very big boat and there were only 9 of us, which was a really pleasant size group. There may be a few more in peak times, but I shouldn't think too many more are squeezed on.
It took about 20 minutes to get to Pegwell Bay. The journey was smooth and Tony provided some entertaining commentary along the way, highlighting points of interest and explaining a little bit more about the nature reserve we were visiting.
When we reached the seal colony I couldn't believe my eyes. There were so many of them and they didn't seem at all phased by our presence. Some lay soaking up the sunshine on the water's edge while a few others were cooling off with a swim. Their faces were incredibly expressive and they looked happy. It's hard to accept they can be agressive when you see them like this, calm and even playful.
Tony manoeuvred our boat as close to the seals as he could and we remained in the bay for about 40 minutes, which was more than enough time to enjoy the experience. Being such a small group, everyone had a great view from the boat. During our time there we encountered just two other sea vessels with people on a similar trip.
As well as the seals we saw seagulls, including one that was rescued from being entagled in fishing line, and egrets. There were also some fantastic views of Kent's coastline. On the way back the sea was a little choppier, but still a very pleasant journey and we all just about managed to stay dry. I think there may be times when you'll get splashed with some sea water, but just a little.
We arrived back at the marina at about 1.00pm. Tony was keen to check that we had enjoyed the trip, which we all confirmed we had. At £20 per person the one and an half hour experience was definitely worth the money and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in a boat trip to see wildlife.
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