Friday, July 15, 2016

Issy Goes Home

Photos and story by Kimberly Wright

On June 17th Issy was released into the Pacific Ocean, at Chimney Rock, alongside 11 other very plump and healthy harbor seals with whom Issy had been spending lots of time – at the Marine Mammal Center – these past 3 months. As I opened the crate to let him out, he was a little hesitant at first, as this pool probably looked way bigger to him than the one he was used to swimming in at the center. But he finally poked his head out, caught up with his buddies, who were already battling the small waves, to actually get into the ocean and he made his first attempt. He was tossed back a couple of times, as most of them were, but he got the hang of it pretty quickly. Within just a few minutes, all we saw were a few little heads popping up out of the water, looking back at us all for the last time. Then they were all out of sight, probably looking for their first meal in the big ocean...maybe something other than the herring that they had been eating all this time.

It has been a truly magical experience to have rescued this newborn from drowning [off Issaquah Dock] and then be able to teach him how to eat and to be able to thrive in his natural habitat these past few weeks. I got so much pleasure just weighing him each week and celebrating every pound that he put on. But the biggest celebration came when he went home. I was a bit sad to think that I will probably never see him again, but so grateful that he is back where he belongs.