So Far, So Good On Townsend's Rehab/Release; Satellite Tag Sheds Light On Seal's Life...
It's Good To Be Back Home!
Townsend the seal returned to the surf last Thursday. The pinniped had turned up off Old Orchard Beach in Maine, looking roughed up. He was brought to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay, where he underwent two surgeries for Middle Ear Disease and some extensive rehab that (hush hush) we told him was vacation/spa time.
Unlike Lindsay Lohan, our favorite Phoca vitulina finished his rehab time, and got himself back into good physical shape. Once he was healthy enough, the NMLC oversaw his release back into Mother Atlantic. A crowd of about 100 or so gathered on Scusset Beach in Sagamore as Townsend was released back into the wild.
Of course they carried him! It's not like he can hitch-hike back from Buzzards Bay... he doesn't have thumbs.
Townsend then put on a little show. Remember, he has been living with humans for quite some time now. They feed him, play with him, make sure he's healthy... if seals come up to him now and be like, "Its must be strange living with humans," Townsend will reply, "They're not so bad once you get used to them."
The crowd that was hovering over him didn't bother Townsend at all. He humped (sorry, that's how he moves on land, I lack the proper verb for describing seal movements) his way down to the shore, gave everyone one last look, and then jumped into the surf and swam away... for about 3 seconds. Then he popped up and did a sort of Hello, came back to shore, flopped around in the surf a while, and zipped back and zapped forth in front of his audience.
That seal was at least 25% ham.
Eventually, and most likely because he knew that some kids were up past their bedtimes, he swam off to resume his seal-type activities.
However, the fun doesn't stop there. Due to some energetic fundraising, Townsend went into the surf wearing a fancy $3000 satellite tag. The tag allows Townsend to be tracked, sort of like you when you use your GPS. Instead of Obama or some shadowy federal agency monitoring his whereabouts, Townsend has the NMLC on his case... and, because I know them well, you readers of this column.
Ever wonder how a seal spends his day? Wonder no more. Townsend's activities are there for all to see. Each little dot you see is a satellite reading taken from the transmitter Townsend is wearing. Connect a few dots, and you basically know where Townsend spends his time.
As you can see, Townsend has (since June 27th) cruised around off Sagamore and Scusset beaches, checked out Sandy Neck, went back to Sagamore, and then headed off to Manomet, where he was hanging out as recently as last night.
You'll notice that one of the dots is very far inland. We actually Google Mapped that precise location, and it translates to the Whaleback Tavern in Sagamore. Our sources say that Townsend came ashore Friday night to enjoy the attention of a trio of Mashpee Ballet dancers, who he came to know during his brief time as a Cape Cod celebrity. As the limerick goes... "Townsend the seal came out of the seas, and he's taking his women by the twos and the threes."
OK, we may have made that last part up.