I’ve seen elephants, sloths, cheetahs, monkeys and alligators. I’ve seen giant crabs, turtles and eagle rays but I had never seen seals in the wild before. The seas around the UK are abundant with places to spot the cheeky faced mammals but my knowledge of seals extended only to that they were quite smelly when I saw them at the zoo that one time.
A rainy visit to Norfolk finally gave me the chance to check out some of our home grown natural beauty.
I jumped on a train to Norwich to visit a friend last weekend. Over some local ciders she promised me a trip to see the seals and the English weather Gods must have heard our plans. We woke up to drizzly, miserable grey skies. (Like the untrue ‘fact’ that inuits have 50 words for snow, I’m pretty sure the British have 50 words for light rain). Normal English beach weather then, right?
Charlotte drove us the 20 miles or so out to Horsey. The whole area is part of The Broads National Park and was a beautiful drive, even in the rain. We donned coats, umbrellas and discussed how unsuitable my black, loafer, work shoes were for this trip and plodded off across the fields and sand dunes towards the beach.
The sea and the beach were empty. Had we come out in the rain for nothing?
We walked for a while more. There was a small, black, rounded thing floating in the distance. Was it a buoy? Maybe it was a brave soul doing a spot of swimming (I paddled, it was very cold)? Finally, it turned around to face us, the curious eyes of a grey seal watching us as we stumbled barefoot across the wet sand.
One more set of groynes and we were rewarded with a whole beachful of the beautiful (but yes, smelly) creatures. We spent an age watching them wriggle, roll around, fight and swim. There were even some pups in amongst the herd.
They were just as fascinated with us when we carefully crept past in the long grass of the dunes. WIth the seal pups around we made sure not to get too close. I don’t really fancy being chased by an angry seal!
Someone once asked me where the most beautiful beach I had ever been to was. I listed a few exotic locations but I then realised that British beaches are some of my favourites in the world. There’s a sort of romantic ruggedness to ones like Horsey.