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NORWALK, CT – Cruise out onto Long Island Sound with The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk this winter in hopes of seeing some of the seals and birds that spend the colder months just off Connecticut’s shores.
The Maritime Aquarium’s 2021 season of “Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises” offers outings on many Saturdays and Sundays now through April 4.
Dates and departure times vary by low tide. The next cruises are on Sat., Jan. 9 at 1 p.m. and on Sun., Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. For the full schedule, go to www.maritimeaquarium.org.
These invigorating two-hour cruises seek out some of the harbor seals and gray seals that annually migrate down into Long Island Sound from their summer breeding and pupping areas off Cape Cod and the Gulf of Maine. (Harbor seals are the same species featured in The Maritime Aquarium.)
“Seeing seals out on the Sound is fun and exciting, but it’s also a rewarding result of the protections and regulations in place that have supported their populations, as well as the populations of the fish that the seals eat,” said Dave Sigworth, the Aquarium’s associate director of communications. “The annual return of the seals, and the great quantity of bunker seen all across the Sound this year, are positive indicators for the health of Long Island Sound.”
During the Aquarium cruises, seals often can be seen near the Norwalk islands resting on rocks and shoals exposed at low tide. Aquarium educators will point out these federally protected marine mammals and talk about their natural histories.
The cruises also give birders unique “on-the-water” access to see and photograph visiting winter waterfowl, such as buffleheads, mergansers, Brant geese and long-tailed ducks.
“Seal-Spotting and Birding Cruises” take place aboard The Maritime Aquarium’s R/V Spirit of the Sound, the country’s first research vessel with quiet hybrid-electric propulsion. R/V Spirit of the Sound has a climate-controlled cabin but, because the best viewing is outside on the deck, participants should dress for the weather.
Special COVID precautions include required mask-wearing, reduced capacity onboard, and no provided binoculars. (BYOB: bring your own binoculars.)
The Maritime Aquarium’s cruises offer memorable family fun but please note that all passengers must be at least 42 inches tall.
Tickets for a “Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruise” are $31.50, or $26.50 for Aquarium members.
Advance reservations are required. Reserve your spot by calling (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206, or by going online to www.maritimeaquarium.org.
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