An evening amidst the seals

The tidal crack: as the tide rises and falls, so does the sea ice, an action that, in some areas like Big Razorback Island, maintains a crack large enough for seals to go in and out (they also maintain their own holes by scraping at the ice with their incisors). The ice on the left is called "fast ice" because it is fastened to the island and does not move up or down, whereas the ice on the right is free floating, following tidal action.

The ice during the evening is typically full of hauled out seals, mostly just snoozing. The tidal crack is right behind me in this picture. Sometimes they galumph a distance from the crack to nurse and sleep.

Mom-pup pairs are scattered about. Most of the pups are now old enough to be swimming, and some of them are exceedingly robust! I guess swimming is made easier when you grow your own water wings. We are just about to start weighing a sample of pups at their 20th day of life. These pups should be at least twice their birth weight of 65 pounds!

Some snooze unmoving for considerable periods of time...come storm or blowing snow. With 3-4 inches of blubber to keep you warm, this is just a day at the beach during summer!

Curious pup trying out 90 degrees. Mom snoozing in background (copper color is her mouth).