This post was written by Rupa Datta (Education Program Manager) and Capt. Dan Blount (Public Program Manager) both of the Save the Bay Organization. Save the Bay is an organization dedicated to preserving, respecting and admiring our Bay's wild life.
Seal Watching on Save the Bays M/V Alletta Morris in Newport has become a tradition for many families during the last 12 years. Seals, the winter visitors of Narragansett Bay, can be viewed in the Bay between the months of November through April. If you have been to Newport during this time of the year in the past, chances are you have already seen Save the Bays vessel M/V Alletta Morris on the water, exploring the waters. You may have wondered: Why are they out there in the middle of the winter? Well, Save the Bays Seal Tours offer an experience unlike any other in the area. As part of Save the Bays mission to foster environmental stewardship for the bay, the Seal Watch tours include narration by experts to help expand your knowledge about these marine mammals that are similar, yet different to other mammals, including humans!
The narration includes notable characteristics including their migration patterns, food habits and identifiable features, along with laws and regulations for conservation of these species. The tours offer the patrons on-board an up-close and personal look at our Bays furry winter visitors. The passengers are taken out to Citing Rock in Newport Harbor, which is a popular hangout spot for seals, too! Seal watch tours generally run for an hour, but on some days a two hour tour is offered, visiting the famous Rose Island Lighthouse.
Families and patrons interested to know more about seals and the other animals in Narragansett Bay do not have to stop with the Seal Watch Tour as they can continue their exploration by visiting Save the Bays Exploration Center and Aquarium located on Easton's Beach, Newport. In addition to the many viewing tanks housing animals from the bay, the center features a number of touch tanks, including dogfish sharks and skates. For more information about the center: www.savebay.org/aquarium
If the seal watchers want to bring more information to their kids schools located in Rhode Island or surrounding areas, Save the Bay has opportunities for that as well. Among numerous classroom programs, one particular program focuses on Seals of Narragansett Bay called Sealia. The program includes hands-on activities that expand on knowledge about seals with the help of a life-sized model of a harbor seal. For information about Save The Bays education programs: www.savebay.org/education
What does the winter of 2014-2015 have in store for you? Save the Bay will be kicking off this years Newport Seal Season this Thanksgiving Weekend! The trips are designed for all ages, so whether you are 5 or 95, Im sure your experience on the Alletta Morris will be one that you wont soon forget! We cant wait to see you out there this winter! For more about Save the Bays Seal tours and schedule: www.savebay.org/Seals